Sunday, August 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab CM seeks revised price for paddy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today urged the Union Government to declare the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy (common) and paddy (grade-A) for 2003-2004 on the basis of the cost data provided by the state government to enable farmers to get a “remunerative price”.

He demanded that the minimum support price should be suitably revised upward, thereby revising the minimum support price of common paddy and grade-A paddy at Rs 675 and Rs 743 per quintal, respectively, in place of Rs 550 and Rs 580 per quintal as already announced by the Central Government as per the recommendations of the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP).

In a communique addressed to the Union Minister for Agriculture, Mr Rajnath Singh, Mr Amarinder Singh said the cost data for paddy provided by the state government had been calculated exactly in the same manner and using the same methodology as had been done over the past more than 30 years.

The cost of Rs 675 per quintal for paddy (common) and Rs 743 per quintal for paddy (grade-A) worked out by the state government for kharif season 2003-2004 was, therefore, the minimum break even price for a Punjab farmer and any minimum support price fixed below these levels would compel him to sell his produce at a loss.

It was therefore, difficult to understand why a different methodology should have been adopted this year by the CACP resulting in the announcement of minimum support price for paddy, which were 22 per cent lower than the cost worked by the state government in accordance with a time-tested methodology, the Chief Minister said in his letter to the Union Minister.


Hike paddy MSP, say farmers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 23
More than 200 farmers led by Mr Jhanda Singh, district president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), yesterday staged a dharna in the district administrative complex here in support of their demands. Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the BKU (Rajewal), and Mr Baldev Singh Mianpur, president of Punjab unit of the BKU (Rajewal), also joined the dharna.

The farmers’ demands include an increase in the MSP of paddy to Rs 760 per quintal from Rs 560 per quintal, payment of Rs 125 crore arrears of sugarcane crop to the farmers, linking of crop rates with the price index, and reduction in the power bills of farmers.


Hanspal calls it year of development
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, today said a lot had been done on the implementation of the fiscal reforms aimed at economic development, yet the government needed to do much more.

Looking back at his one year as the PPCC chief, Mr Hanspal, who took over on August 18 last, said though it was the “year of development”, finding requisite funds remained a problem. However, efforts should be made to get more money under the centrally sponsored schemes with the state contributing its own share.

In fact, the Centre owed to Punjab Rs 600 crore, as per the recommendations of the 10th and 11th Finance Commissions and also under the centrally sponsored schemes. The Centre was “discriminating” against the Congress government and giving a “step-motherly” treatment to Punjab.

He substantiated his charge by saying that there was no reason why the Centre should not permit Punjab to clear its Rs 500 crore sugar stock or pay up Rs 4,342 crore that the state had spent on foodgrain procurement. The government was also seeking quicker movement of foodgrains outside the state, which is stuck with old wheat stocks dating back to 1997-98 that have become unfit for human consumption. The Centre had also denied Punjab its due share for fighting the draught in Kharif 2002.

Mr Hanspal conceded that there were “some wrinkles” between the party’s organsational and legislative wings. He was, however, confident of not only ironing out these wrinkles for co-ordinated functioning but also projecting the government achievements.

Mr Hanspal did not respond when asked why the Chief Minister was shy of political discussion with his Cabinet colleagues on policy matters or if the Chief Minister’s decision-making inner-circle lacked “political wisdom” or if it was true that Captain was influenced by “babus and bureaucrats”.

Mr Hanspal told TNS in an exclusive interview that the mandate of the Congress government was clear—implementation of the election manifesto-2002 and the 11-point Mount Abu agenda, circulated by Ms Sonia Gandhi to all the Congress-ruled states. There were also two committees to oversee the progress. One dealt with the election manifesto and the other was the coordination committee. These committees have had two meetings each and it was only now that some semblance of activity had become visible.

He said the state government was now cautiously proceeding to implement promises made in the election manifesto in the socio-economic sector. Depending upon the availability of funds, it was proposed to introduce schemes like “Ashirwad” and ensure regular payment of pension to the old and widows. The former was modified version of the earlier “shagun” scheme, where in, the government gifted money at the marriage of the girls belonging to the Scheduled Castes and backward classes.

The launching of Rs 500 crore “Rajiv Gandhi Pendu Jan Sehat Kalyan Yojna” was also part of the government plan to ameliorate the lot of the Scheduled Caste and others by providing them latrines, he added.


Tribal girls: NGO team visits Nawanshahr
Poonam Bath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Perturbed over reports about trafficking in women from tribal belts, the Jharkhand Government has sought the assistance of a Faridabad-based NGO, Shanti Vahini.

A team of the NGO accompanied by a few mediapersons arrived in Nawanshahr late in the evening today to study the problem in depth. The team, which spent most of the day in Mansa today, is here to conduct a thorough survey of the area for getting the data on the number of migrant girls from the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, UP and Nepal, working in the area and to ascertain the kind of jobs they were doing.

The SSP of Nawanshahr, Ms Neeraja Voruvuru, disclosed that the NGO, whose primary objective is to monitor trafficking of women, had already undertaken similar surveys in many districts of Punjab and Haryana to ascertain the quantum of human trafficking in general and women in particular, besides getting to know the organised gangs involved in this illegal activity. This would, in turn, help the agencies concerned to launch a concerted drive to check the menace.

The recent escape of three teenaged tribal girls of Munda tribe in Bihar from the clutches of an influential agent in Bheen village of Nawanshahr district, brought to light the existence of the trade in this part of the region. These girls had been lured by middlemen in Jharkhand and Punjab by promising them domestic jobs for Rs 2,000 or so per month.

One of the girls, Asrita Thopa (15), who had been physically assaulted in the house of middleman Jagdish Singh, is being set back to her native place. Accompanied by an Assistant Sub-Inspector, (ASI) her father, who is already in Nawanshahr will be taking her back after securing her release from Nari Niketan, Jalandhar, where she has been lodged. The other two girls, Somi and Sangita, who had also alleged harassment at the hands of the Bheen-based agent are yet to be brought to Nawanshahr as promised by the Pendu Mazdoor Union, it is learnt.

The SSP of Nawanshahr, Ms Neeraja Voruvuru, when contacted confirmed the arrival of the team and said all possible assistance would be made available to it. She disclosed that a survey of the area by the police has brought out that 1,000 odd migrant labourers (Jharkhand and Bihar) were presently employed in the district, including 30-40 women, mostly major. They were working as domestic help or farmland labour in the houses of landlords here and the minors indicated in the survey are mostly children of these migrant labourers.

She said while the minors would be sent back, those who are major would be registered properly so as to check the incidence of exploitation. The government, on its part, should also evolve some mechanism to crack down on such middlemen and check exploitation of any kind. They should ensure that that daily wages scheme is followed while making payments to these labourers, she added.


Lal Singh may be summoned to Takht
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, Aug 23
The Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, said today that Finance Minister Lal Singh would be summoned to Akal Takht and excommunicated from the Sikh Panth if he did not seek a public apology for comparing the Nehru-Gandhi family with Guru Gobind Singh at a recent function at Patiala.

He said a meeting of the Jathedars of the five Takhts would be held at Amritsar on September 4 and if Mr Lal Singh did not seek a public apology by then, he might be summoned to Akal Takht.

Talking to The Tribune here, the Jathedar said Mr Lal Singh had delivered a blasphemous speech under a conspiracy hatched by the Congress leadership to flare up communal passions in a bid to drive political mileage during the Lok Sabha elections.

He asked how could Mr Lal Singh compare the Nehru-Gandhi family, responsible for the murder of thousands of Sikhs in the country in 1984 and the demolition of the Akal Takht building in 1984, with Guru Gobind Singh.

The Sikh Sangat should be vigilant about the nefarious designs of the Congress leadership, which was trying to hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs, he added.


Punjab minister denies report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Mr Lal Singh, Punjab Finance, Planning and Cooperation Minister, today denied a report published in a section of the press, which had attributed a statement to him comparing the sacrifice of Guru Gobind Singh with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Describing the report as baseless, factually incorrect and misleading, he clarified that he had not compared the supreme and unprecedented sacrifice of Guru Gobind Singh with any individual. Issuing such a statement was nothing short of a sin, he said.

Mr Lal Singh said planting of such a news was nothing less than a conspiracy hatched to tarnish his image.


Missing woman cricketer’s mother demands action
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 23
Mrs Naseeb Kaur, a widow and mother of Mandeep Kaur Virk (19) of Faridkot has blamed Mr Ravi Sharma in charge Lynex Club Jalandhar for cheating her daughter and taking her to England for playing cricket and arranging a job for her there. Talking to reporters here yesterday, Ms Naseeb Kaur said that on April 8 her daughter left Faridkot for Amritsar to take her flight on August 9 to London along with 13 other cricket players. Failing to get any message for 24 hours she contacted the son of Mr Ravi Sharma at Jalandhar, he not only misbehaved with her but also failed to give any clue in this connection. On August 12 she (Naseeb Kaur) received a telephone call from her daughter who told that Rashmi daughter of Ravi Sharma who also accompanied her humiliated her and demanded Rs 2.5 lakh for returning the passport to her dispite the same amount already having been given to Mr Ravi Sharma for arranging her visit to UK.

She further alleged that her pocket money was also snatched by Rashmi causing great harassment to her abroad. Ms Naseeb Kaur further disclosed that two days back she also got a telephone call from a woman posing as a police official to bring her daughter back but did not give proper clue or other identification in this connection. Ms Naseeb Kaur further disclosed that Mr Ravi Sharma earlier also carried her daughter along with his son Navdeep Singh for playing Cricket in Sri Lanka and Bangkok in June last. She said that her husband Mr Shubegh Singh died in a road accident last year and she had arranged Rs 2.5 lakh for her daughter’s trip by raising a loan.

Her two sons were unemployed and she was unable to arrange more money to meet the demand of Mr Ravi Sharma. Moreover the family was unable even to meet daily requirements. She has appealed to the Prime Minister the Union Home Minister and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to help her and bring her daughter back to country. She has also demanded stern action against guilty.


Police unable to solve industrialist’s murder case
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The Moga police has not been able to solve the case of the murder of an industrialist of Kot Kapura, whose mutilated and charred body was recovered by the police from a field near the Moga bypass on December 10 last.

Family members of the victim have demanded a CBI inquiry into the case. It is not being investigated rigorously to shield a police officer, then posted at Dharamkot, they have alleged.

Mr Gagan Singh, a son of the victim, said the case was investigated by the ADGP, Crime, who, in his report, had questioned the investigations of the police, but nothing had been done after that. Accompanied by former Home Minister Buta Singh, he had sought the intervention of the Chief Minister, who had deputed his Political Secretary to do the needful, but nothing happened, he said.

The charred remains of 55-year-old Mukand Singh, an aide of the former Home Minister, Buta Singh was spotted in a burnt vehicle. He reported the matter to the police, which identified the deceased victim on the basis of certain documents.

The police claimed that he had been tortured and hacked to pieces. The body was doused with petrol and set ablaze in his car to destroy evidence. The victim had received three wounds on the head with a sharp-edged weapon and his arms and legs had been severed.

Mr Gagan Singh alleged that the police was shielding a certain police officer, who was suspected to be behind the murder. The main accused, Darshan Singh Gasha, was detained by the police twice, but let off on account of insufficient evidence, he pointed out.

He condemned the charges of moral turpitude against his father. He said the police was yet to disclose the antecedents of the women who, according to the police, were with his father before he was murdered.


Rift between Cong leaders come to the fore
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 23
The differences between Mrs Santosh Choudhry, MP from Phillaur, and Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, member, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, came to the fore when a majority of the Congress sarpanches and panches criticised Mrs Choudhry openly for ignoring Mr Khaira in the Bholath Assembly constituency.

The Bholath Assembly seat falls in the Phillaur Lok Sabha constituency and in the Assembly elections, Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira fought from the Bholath Assembly constituency as a Congress nominee but lost to Bibi Jagir Kaur, a SAD nominee.

In a show of strength, Mr Khaira today organised a function at Begowal village to honour newly elected Congress sarpanches and panches. More than 4,000 panches, sarpanches and prominent persons of the area participated in the function.

Earlier Mrs Choudhry, along with Mr Pritam Singh Sikri, secretary of the PPCC, organised functions at Nadala, Jaid and Bassi villages in the Bholath area in which Mr Khaira and his supporters did not participate.

To support Mr Khaira Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Mr Raman Bhalla, administrative member, Punjab State Electricity Board, Mr Tarlok Singh, educationist, sarpanches and panches of 77 gram panchayats participated in today’s function. Mr Jarnail Singh, sarpanch of Nadala village, Mr Stephen Kala, sarpanch of Raipur Raian village and Mr Shamsher Singh, sarpanch of Dhakran village criticised Mrs Choudhry for creating groupism in the party by ignoring Mr Khaira in Bholath.

Mr Partap Singh Bajwa and Mr Jasjit Singh, both ministers, said they would bring the matter before Chief Minister and the party high command so that differences between the two leaders could be resolved.


Cong workers to campaign for Rajasthan
Assembly poll
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
Even as the dates for the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, due by November this year, have been announced by the Election Commission of India, the Congress high command has started mobilising the party workers of Punjab for campaigning for party candidates in these elections.

For this task, the party high command has devised a plan for mobilising workers to teach them how to campaign and how to counter the opponents of party candidates in the elections. The party high command has decided to organise a workers’ training camps in Punjab in this connection.

Mr Surinder Singla, local MLA and Chairman, High-Powered Finance Committee, Punjab, while talking to TNS pointed out that Mrs Mohsina Kidwai, general secretary, AICC, and in charge, Punjab Congress affairs, would preside over the workers’ training camps. He added that the first such camp would be held at Bathinda on August 29.

Mr Singla said, in these camps, the workers would be asked about their problems first and after removing these they would be given tips for the election campaigns of the party candidates in Rajasthan. He said these camps would be beneficial for the party for the coming Lok Sabha elections, which could be held any time.

Sources said the party high command had decided to enlist the Congress workers of Punjab in the election campaigns of the party candidates in the coming Rajasthan Assembly elections because of close proximity between Punjab and Rajasthan. Besides, the party high command was of the opinion that the party had played a pivotal role in the victory of Congress candidates in the Assembly poll of Himachal Pardesh and that it could be repeated in Rajasthan also.

The party high command had decided to enlist the Punjab Congress workers in the Rajasthan Assembly elections campaign to cash in on the generosity shown by the people of Punjab and the Congress government to Rajasthan by sending foodgrain, fodder and wheat husk for the drought-affected areas of Rajasthan.


UN peacekeeping contingents to have 30 per cent women
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 23
All UN peacekeeping contingents will have 30 per cent women personnel in future assignments, Dr Kiran Bedi, Adviser to the UN Secretary-General in civil police divisions of the peacekeeping force, said.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Dr Bedi said she had put forward the proposal to the UN Secretary-General to induct women police and military officers in all peacekeeping operations undertaken by the UN to maintain peace and civil orders in strife-torn countries in various parts of the world.

She said the move would help restore confidence among women and children in war-ravaged countries. Dr Bedi said that the UN peacekeeping force had already inducted women police and military officers from Indian states of Sikkim and Delhi.

She said the UN had requested all nations to contribute their forces to the peacekeeping force. She said the demand for the UN peacekeeping force, especially having Indian contingents was growing to maintain civil orders and to check human rights violations.

Regarding her recent visit to Kosovo, a trouble-torn country, Dr Bedi said for the peacekeeping troops it was the most challenging assignment. She pointed out that the Indian forces had been doing an excellent job in the area despite all odds.

Answering questions about sending a peacekeeping force to Iraq to maintain law and order, Dr Bedi said it was for the Security Council to take a decision on the issue.

At present UN peacekeeping multi-country troops were currently deployed in Kosovo, East Timor and Sierra Leone. Dr Bedi said she had already visited these trouble spots and appreciated the role of UN troops for providing all possible help to the suffering humanity while maintaining difficult task of peace and civil order there.


Good monsoon checks water table fall
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Sunam, August 23
What should warm the hearts of ground water experts is the development that this year water table has not further dropped in the countryside in Punjab and Haryana, thanks to the moderate to good rainfall all over the region.

In fact, monsoon, which has been above normal in most parts of the country, has put the agricultural economy on the road to recovery in all major parts of the country. “Rain still means a lot to farmers even in modern era of tubewells and technology-supported agriculture”, said an agricultural economist. “ A crop can be grown almost free of cost in case of good rainfall in this region”, he added.

A quick survey conducted by The Tribune in the Malwa area, especially Sunam-Cheema belt, where water table has been going down rapidly for the past several years, has revealed that there has been no decline in the water table this year. Farmers say that it is because of the good rainfall. “It will be wrong to say that rainfall was bountiful. But it was better than the previous five years”, said Mr Hardip Singh, a resident of Chhurpur, near Patiala.

Mr Hardip Singh said “it appears that I do not have to re-install my tubewells next year. Otherwise, because of the continuous fall in the water table, I have been re-installing the tubewells after every two years to save them from going dry”, he added. For installing an ordinary tubewell in the Patiala area, one has to spend about Rs 25,000 but for setting up submersible tubewells, which have replaced most of the ordinary tubewells in the past few years because of regular fall in sub-soil water table, one has to spend Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000.

This year, farmers spent a little on diesel to nurse paddy. “We have been getting power supply for eight hours almost daily. And rainfall has been helping us”, said Mr Nachhatar Singh of Grachon village near Sunam. “We purchased 21 barrels ( each of 200 litres) for 21 acres of paddy last year. However, this year three barrels have been enough so far. There was a saving of about Rs 40,000 because of less consumption of diesel”, he claimed.

Even ground water experts also admit that there is no fall in sub-soil water table this year. “ Exact picture in this connection will emerge only around September 10 when the data will be available for evaluating the water table position in Punjab and Haryana. However, on the basis of indications available from the field, we could say that there would certainly be improvement in the water table in certain areas in both the states”, said a senior officer of the Central Ground Water Board.

Since 1998, this region witnessed rapid fall in the water table. A large number of blocks were declared as critical areas owing to steep fall in the water table. Because of scanty rainfall in the past few years, the withdrawal of ground water was far in excess than the re-charging of the water table. However, this year the withdrawal of ground water was minimum compared to the past five years, farmers said.

Mr Satwinder Singh, a farmer from Ramgarh village near Nabha, said that water was available at a depth of 60 feet in his area. In the winter this year, he had further sunk his tubewell by 11 feet to save it from going dry during the paddy season. “Now I feel that there is no need to spend money as rainfall has been good”, he added. “Temperature has remained relatively low this year. That has resulted into good tillering of the paddy plants this year. “If one paddy plant had 20 off-shoots last year, the number is double this year”, he asserted. If weather remains friendly during the paddy harvesting days in September-October this year, farmers could expect a record yield of paddy”, he asserted.


Multi-speciality medical camps in Rajpura
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, August 23
For the poorest of the poor, this day brought a great deal of comfort. Converging on a highway hospital in Rajpura (Patiala) were over 700 persons to seek free-of-cost medical treatment for multiple ailments during the first-ever multi-speciality medical camp organised in this part of the Punjab.

A world apart from the routine single speciality medical camps, the multi-speciality camp was organised as a birthday celebration by a Rajpura-based doctor and social worker Dr S.B. Lal Mittal, who dedicated his hospital as a charitable institution today. With a medical and social service of over 50 years behind him, Dr Mittal chose his birthday to make this offering to the people from the disadvantaged section.

Contributing to the missionary zeal were 16 medical specialists from the Mission (Philadelphia) Hospital in Ambala. On an average, the Mission Hospital organises 65 village-to-village dental and eye camps annually.

The most significant development of the day was the announcement of a long-term association between Dr S.B. Mittal and medical experts from the Mission Hospital, Ambala, who will together hold multi-speciality camps at Rajpura every Saturday, beginning from today. This will be the first attempt of its kind to reach out to the suffering patients, who often land up in worse medical conditions due to inadequate financial resources.

Talking to The Tribune about the special camp he organised with the help of 16 medical experts from the Mission Hospital, Ambala, Dr Mittal said, “The results of this camp will be the reward of 50 years of my medical service, which are complete today. To make it a success I have associated with the Mission Hospital, Ambala, besides over 10 NGOs active in health and rehabilitation programmes. We will hold such camps for the poor every Saturday. Medical advice, aids and medicines will be available free of cost.”

In attendance as supervising expert of the effort was Dr Sunil Sadiq, general surgeon and Director, Mission Hospital, Ambala. The team of doctors in specialities like ophthalmology, orthopaedics, gynaecology, dermatology, paediatrics, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery and dental treatments handled over 650 cases, some very complicated ones like those of congenital deformities. Three residual polio paralysis cases were also registered for treatment.

The maximum rush was recorded for dental treatment which is expensive, if sought privately. Parked in Dr Mittal’s hospital was a dental van, equipped with ultrasonic scaling facility and dental X-ray. It was used to examine about 200 cases today. There was also a big rush for eye check-up. 


Probe into police excesses ordered
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 23
On the complaint of Ms Jeevan Sharma of Patel Nagar here, regarding police excesses against her. The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has ordered a probe against SHO police station division No. 1 and others.

She alleged that she contested Municipal Election from Ward No. 29 as a Congress candidate. The ward was reserved for women.

In March 2003, her opponent Mrs Seema Mahajan supported by a Congress leader of the area along with her henchmen captured the polling booth and polled votes in favour of Mrs Seema Mahajan, she had alleged.

The police also supported Mrs Seema Mahajan and she was declared elected, she added.

On March 13, Mr Gopal Mahajan, Seema Mahajan, Kiran Mahajan along with 10 persons teased her to demoralise her.

On March 18 when the complainent was present in front of police station division No 1. Gopal Mahajan and five others beat her up. Gopal Mahajan also attempted to molest her and attempted to kill her, she further alleged. The police did not take any action.

Instead of taking action against the guilty SHO Jagjit Singh, ASI Ashok Kumar, ASI Satish Kumar lifted her from the civil hospital where she was kept under observation for injuries received from the hands of opposite party, she alleged.

The police made her sit and stand along with Mohinder Pal and were booked under Section 107/15 the Criminal Procedure code.

The commission has registered the complaint and called the report of Inspector-General Litigation, by October 15.


Set skewed sex ratio right, says Bhai Manjit
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
“It is by involving Panchayati Raj institutions, religious and social organisations, teachers and lawyers that efforts should be made to arouse the conscience of the people to fight the growing malaise of female foeticide,” said Bhai Manjit Singh, former Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh at Anandpur Sahib, who was instrumental in getting Akal Takht, to issue a hukamnama (diktat) against the malady.

Bhai Manjit Singh, was here to attend a seminar on “Understanding Emerging Issues in Relation to Declining Juvenile Sex ration in North-west India” held at Panjab University. Expressing concern over the sharply declining sex ratio, he felt it had to be taken up as a movement, with the involvement of people from every section of society, right at the panchayat level.

“Various religious organisations can play a vital role in the crusade against female foeticide, and the diktat issued by Akal Takht two years back is being followed as a number of people have been declared ‘tankhaiya’ for committing this heinous crime,” he informed. This diktat, he said, was for the Sikh community the world over.

When he was Jathedar at Anandpur Sahib two years back, Bhai Manjit Singh was able to impress upon Akal Takht to issue a hukamnama that any Sikh who killed the girl child in the womb, would be punished. “I feel every section of society, be it religious leaders, doctors, lawyers or teachers, are in some way or the other responsible for the ‘missing’ girl child, especially in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal,” he said.

“No doubt the status of a woman in the family is determined by the fact, whether she has borne a male child or not, but this again is in the hands of the mother-in-law, who can stand up in defense of the bahu,” he reasons. He says that it is the women, who alone can fight against this imbalance in the sex ratio, which could have serious repercussions.

He felt the malaise had engulfed the entire region as the top 10 districts in the country with the lowest sex ratio in fell in the states of Punjab and Haryana. “There is a need to change the mindset of the people, along with strict enforcement of law so that a shift in the social psyche of the population, can be brought about before the already serious situation worsens further,” he stressed.

Prof Ashish Bose, while talking about the research findings on the declining sex ratio studies in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, felt that there was need to crack the unholy alliance between tradition and technology. “The unethical, illegal and corrupt practices by doctors need to be curbed, along with a strong action plan involving the government, NGOs and media,” he suggested.

Mr A.R. Nanda, Executive Director, Population Foundation of India, New Delhi, felt that it was a must to create the fear of the law. “The situation is so grim that we need to have an action plan for every village, as having a body at the block will not help,” he suggested.

A number of voluntary organisations and senior government functionaries, were present at the seminar.


Baba’s men stopped from attending celebrations
Our Correspondent

Dhamana (Ropar), August 23
The police today stopped thousands of followers of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara from attending his birth anniversary celebrations. Though there was no official ban, the police set up barricades on all routes leading to the dera of the baba located at Dhamana village, 20 km from here, following threats from Sikh organisations.

The followers who were in trucks and tractor trailers were stopped at the barricades and asked to return.

While most of them returned, some of them managed to reach the dera on foot through jungle. The police directed them not to stay back after langar and after they had paid obeisance to the baba.

The baba cooperated with the police and asked his followers to leave. Sources said the police was alerted after about 5,000 followers reached the dera last night. Some reports of confrontations between the locals and the followers were also received from Dumewal village near Nurpurbedi.

The baba alleged the police was harassing his followers and not allowing them to visit the dera. He said he was not against any religion.

Sikh organisations held a meeting at Gurdwara Bangarh in Nurpurbedi and expressed satisfaction at the action taken by the administration. The Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Tarlochan Singh, urged people to maintain peace.

Earlier, tension prevailed in the Nurpurbedi area as various Akali organisations demanded a ban on the birth anniversary celebrations of the baba. Akali leaders had threatened to disrupt the celebrations if the administration failed to take action.


Harassment to Akali leader’s kin: probe ordered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 23
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) directed Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Tarn Taran to ensure that no harassment was caused to the children and family members including women folk of an Akali leader Mr Gurvinder Singh.

The commission has also directed the DGP to conduct an inquiry in this regard and submit his report in three months.

It was alleged that not only Gurvinder Singh, his children along with the children of his brothers Gurgid Singh and Gurbir Singh were being harassed by the police. The children namely Saranvir Kaur, Kiratveer Kaur, Gurbir Singh, Harbir Singh, Karanbir Kaur and Gursheer Bir Singh could not even go to school for fear of being abducted and tortured by the police. It was also alleged the police used to pick up women of the family to harass them.

Mr Charanjit Bakshi, a social activist who made the complaint with the PSHRC said that Gurvinder had alleged that the SSP Tarn Taran Police district, DSP Patti, SHO police station Sadar had registered false cases against him at the behest of Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Irrigation Minister of Punjab, during panchayat elections in end of June this year.


Impostors swindle video parlours
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar), August 23
A group of persons posing as T-series officials allegedly in connivance with some cops duped owners of many video parlours in the area. Sources said that the said persons along with some cops visited various video parlours in villages around Nangal in the past few days calling their business illegal. They threatened to take action against the owners of the video parlours under the Copyright Act.

After issuing threats on the first day the alleged cheats visited the parlours once again and asked the owners to get their things registered under the Copyright Act by depositing a fee with them. They collected varying amounts ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 3000 from the owners of the video parlours and issued them receipts.

The receipts are subscribed as ‘Movie Master Copyright Protection’. They, however, do not have any address of company that has issued the receipts. Apart from the masthead three mobile phone numbers, 98147-04170, 94172-04170 and 98156-04170 are given on the receipt.

When this correspondent tried to contact one mobile number, 94172-04170 responded. The person speaking at the mobile identified himself as ‘Sood’ not giving his full name. He told that he used to work with the company that collected licence fee but had left them. About his mobile number on the receipt he told that the receipt books might be old. He gave another number 01881-310161. However, this Reliance mobile phone number did not respond.

The SHO Nangal Mr Varinderjit Singh when asked said that he had no knowledge about the cops accompanying any company official. He, however, assured to look into the matter. 


Govt doctors for private practice
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 23
After remaining silent for nearly one month, doctors in government service who want to forsake non practising allowance in favour of private practice have started raising their voice to be allowed this option.

A number of doctors of the Government Rajindra Hospital who are working in clinical departments today decided to submit a representation in this regard to the Punjab Government. Doctors, included professors, associate professors and assistant professors.

While talking to TNS they said the option of private practice would allow them to retain their dignity as well as make private practise possible. Speaking out their minds, the doctors said they had been quiet on the issue earlier because they felt they were in the minority and did not want to be seen as sabotaging the struggle of the large body of doctors against NPA.

The doctors said now that the government was considering giving the option to doctors to forsake NPA if they wanted to do private practice they had decided to come out in favour of the option and give their support to such a move. The doctors said the chance to do private practice without fear would help them in regaining their dignity.

As many as 11 doctors in the Government Hospital expressed their willingness to forgo NPA. These are Dr Surinder Singh, Dr Mohinder Singh, Dr D P Singh, Dr Kuldeep Sharma, Dr Hari Krishan Mandan, Dr Gurjinder Singh, Dr Anil Vij, Dr Chawla, Dr V.K. Sharda, Dr M.M. Gupta and Dr Kanwarjit Singh. They claimed they expected more doctors to join them.

Meanwhile, the PCMS Association of the local Rajindra Hospital today claimed that allowing doctors to do private practice would adversely affect the health sectors. The local PCMS unit President, Dr D.S. Bhullar, said allowing private practice would result in less attention to the poor as government doctors were at present were overstressed due to emergency work, looking after post operative patients, medico legal duties and even attending to VIP duties. He said this fact had been brought to the notice of the committee constituted to decided on the issue.

Dr Bhullar said earlier also the government had instituted the experiment of having pay clinics in 1972. He said even then NPA had not been discontinued as it had been given the title of a special pay by the Third and Fourth Pay Commissions due to the arduous nature of duties of doctors.



Nod to set up 2 grid stations in Kharar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 23
The Punjab State Electricity Board has given sanction to set up two new grid stations in the Kharar area to improve power supply. The board has given the nod to set up a 220 kv grid station at Jhanjheri village and a 66 kv station at Gharuan village.

This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, and Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, while addressing a gathering at Rasanheri village today after inaugurating a medical and dental check-up camp being organised by the Health Department and Lions Club Top.

He said land for the grid station at Jhanjheri village had been arranged and construction would start soon.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh gave a cheque for Rs 50,000 to the Headmaster of Government High School, Rasanheri, from his discretionary funds as this school has shown very good results in the area.

He said the school would be upgraded to the level of plus 2 from the coming year.

Dr Rajinder Singh Saggu, Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, addressing the gathering, talked about various services available in hospitals run by the corporation.

Dr Harinder Rana, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, said special camps on family welfare would be organised in the district from September 1 to 15 and free treatment would be given at these camps.

Dr S.S. Dhanoa, SMO, Kharar, said 415 persons, including children, were medically examined during the camp today.



Powermen reject agreement with board
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 23
The Technical Services Union today rejected the July 7 agreement between the PSEB Employees Union and the power board management.

In an open session at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here, the union’s general council comprising, Mr Karora Singh, Mr Manjit Singh and Mr Tarsem Lohian presented the resolution seeking the rejection of the agreement. Hundreds of members of the union raised their hands in support.

The union alleged that senior leaders had not taken members into confidence before reaching an understanding with the board.

They said the leadership should now convene an emergency meeting of the union’s general council within 15 days to discuss vital issues affecting employees in the wake of the proposed privatisation of the board.


Rinwa demands CBI probe against IG
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 23
Punjab BJP chief Brij Lal Rinwa today demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegations against Inspector-General of Police Mohammad Mustaffa for his alleged involvement in the settling down of Muslims in border areas during his tenure at Ferozepore.

“I had complained to the union Home Ministry about the dubious role of Mr Mustaffa during his tenure in the border district of Ferozepore by helping Muslims to settle down in the areas. We have evidence that madrasas, mazars and mosques were established on the government land under his patronage,” Mr Rinwa told mediapersons here today.

He also demanded a judicial probe into the violence at the inauguration of the Naushehra Pattan bridge on August 20.

Mr Rinwa said he had no faith in the inquiry ordered by the state government and demanded a judicial probe by a sitting or retired Supreme Court Judge. He warned that marches, dharnas and agitations would be launched against the state government, if the alleged false cases were not immediately withdrawn.


Milk shortage in Jalandhar
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 23
Residents of the city have been facing a shortage of milk for the past one week as a result of reduced supply from the local Verka milk plant.

Vendors contacted by The Tribune admitted that there was a 35 per cent fall in their daily supply of milk from the Verka plant. According to the vendors, the drop in supply started about a week back, but the situation worsened during the past three days.

A rough estimate, based on vendors’ calculations, pointed out that against the daily demand of 50,000 litres, the plant authorities were supplying between 35,000 and 36,000 litres of milk to the city.


Dharna by pharmacists
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 23
Pharmacists, led by Mr Amrit Garg, president of the district unit of the Punjab State Pharmacists Association, staged a dharna before the Civil Surgeon’s office here yesterday in protest against the move to have over 155 government hospitals to private parties and control of rural health institutions to the panchayats, and in support of their demands.

The demands of the pharmacists include removal of anomalies in the pay scales of pharmacists, change of designation of pharmacist as pharmacy officer, implementation of the Pharmacy Act, creation of posts of District Pharmacy Officer at all district headquarters, and supply of medicines to all government health institutions.

Addressing the dharna, almost all speakers called upon the employees of the health department to unite at one platform and raise their voice against the “anti-people” and “anti-employee” policies of the state government. They said proposed privatisation of the health institutions had exposed the “anti-people” policies of the government.

They demanded the implementation of already accepted demands. They also asked the government not to implement insurance scheme on the employees by abolishing the medical allowance. They also criticised the government for abolishing the vacant posts and reduction in the period of leave encashment to 120 days only etc. 


20 water treatment plants for Punjab
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 23
Twenty water treatment plants will be set up in Punjab with the help of a US company. Six water treatment plants will be installed in this district as the underground water is unfit for consumption. This was stated by Mr Raj Kumar Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a meeting of district officials convened for reviewing development projects yesterday.

He said each plant would cost Rs 27 lakh. The state government had already released Rs 1.30 crore for the purpose. Villages with a large population and those situated on the border would be given preference. He said drinking water connection would be provided to Government Senior Secondary School, at Bahadurpur village.


DC opens sapling plantation drive
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 23
All municipal councils of the district have been directed to implement the new scheme launched by the Chief Minister to make the state green. Under the scheme the municipal councils and corporations will spend 1per cent of their budget on sapling plantation, said Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, while presiding over different functions organised today as part of the drive launched in the district. He said the Forest Department in the district had achieved the target of planting 1.25 lakh saplings. Addressing a function at Saint Namdev Kanya Mahavidyalya, Bassi Pathana, the Deputy Commissioner said the government had given Rs 1,000 each to 100 schools in the district for planting saplings and a schoolteacher had been made in charge of the project.

Mr Shamsher Singh, chairman of District Environment Protection Society, said the society had donated more than 250 fences for protecting the saplings. Mr Sunil Khullar, chairman of the managing committee, Mr Kuldeep Malhotra, Mr Yogesh Gupta and Mrs P.Modi, Principal of the college, also spoke on the occasion. Students presented a cultural programme and a debate competition was also organised. The Deputy Commissioner also inaugurated a similar drive at the Civil Hospital Fatehgarh Sahib, where a function was organised by the Lions Club, Sirhind. At Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sirhind, the Rotary Club organised a function in this regard.



17 labourers hurt in wall collapse
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 23
Seventeen labourers were injured when a 22 feet high wall of an under construction sheller collapsed on the Nabha road here yesterday.

The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

According to information, a large number of labourers were working in the sheller when suddenly, in the afternoon, the wall collapsed. It was a kutcha wall and only 9 inches in width.

Dr NC Garg, SMO of the local Civil Hospital, said 12 injured labourers had been admitted to the hospital while the remaining five had been discharged after giving them first aid as they had minor injuries.


A clarification

Chandigarh, August 23
It was Mr Onkar Singh Thapar, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Municipal Corporation, Delhi (MCD), and not Mr Avtar Singh Hit who addressed a rally organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal at Longowal on August 20 to mark the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. — TNS



Noormahalias case: challan flayed
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 23
A few Sikh organisations of the town, in a memorandum presented to the local SDM, which is addressed to the Chief Minister, Punjab, have decried the presentation of the challan in the court in a case against Swami Shardanand, a preacher of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan popularly known as the Noormahalias, without the permission of the government or the District Magistrate.

A case under Sections 295 A and 506, IPC was registered against Swami Shardanand last year for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Sikhs in a function organised here on April 10, last year. The function was organised by the Noormahalias in which Swami Shardanand, while addressing followers of the sansthan, allegedly made certain objectionable remarks against the Sikh gurus. A few Sikh organisations raised objection to it and observed a bandh in the town to lodge their protest.



Amritsar sex scandal accused granted bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 23
A special CBI court today granted bail to the three accused in the Amritsar sex scandal case after the prosecution failed to present the challan within the stipulated 90-day period.

The accused — Sarabjit Singh, alias Raju, Sandeep Khanna, alias Sippy, and Parveen Chadha — were granted bail. The three were released after submitting bail bonds of Rs 50,000 and sureties of an equal amount.

The advocate for the accused argued that the CBI, which was handed over the case by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on May 30, had failed to submit a challan in the case. 



Health Officer gets judicial remand
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 23
Dr Prem Nath Rajput, District Health Officer, who was caught by officials of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Thursday while accepting Rs 3000 as bribe from milkman, was produced here again today in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Harsh Mehta.

He was remanded in judicial custody till September 5. Dr Rajput was produced yesterday also and had been sent in police custody for a day.


Inspector’s remand extended
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 23
Mr Ranjan Khuller, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today further extended the police remand of a Punjab Police Inspector, Narinder Singh Rana till August 25. He was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Wednesday. 

Earlier, the accused was remanded in police custody till August 23 by another court of Kharar.

Mr Charanjoev Arora, Public Prosecutor, pleaded for seven days police remand for the accused. He said that the accused was arrested in a case pertaining to accumulating assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. 

He alleged that the accused has partnership in some commission agent shops. He alleged that the accused has purchased three cars in the name of his relatives.
The defence counsel on the other hand refuted the charges of the prosecution and said he has been implicated in this case as there were two groups in the Ludhiana police. He alleged that the accused was first of all arrested and the FIR was registered against him as an afterthought.



115 cases settled in Lok Adalat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
As many as 115 cases were settled in a district-level Lok Adalat held here today.

Mr H.S. Dhaliwal, secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, in a press note said 282 cases were taken up in six Lok Adalats presided over by Mr Lakhbir Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Mr Karnail Singh and Mr D.S. Malwai, Additional District Judges, Mr Rajiv Malhotra, Chief Judicial Magistrate, and Mrs Manjot Kaur, Civil Judge (Junior Division).

Amount to the tune of Rs 2 crore were distributed among litigants whose cases were settled. People were also made aware of the Lok Adalat scheme and facilities being extended to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women, children, industrial workers and prisoners.


Commissioner unhappy over civic amenities
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 23
Mr B. Sarcar, Commissioner Ferozepore Division, yesterday had a round of the town in the morning. He visited Main Post Office, Nehru Stadium, Telephone Exchange and Abohar Club, Government and Model High School. He found cows and pigs rotting food from the stinking garbage. Mr Sarcar found that the dump had not been cleared for many weeks.

Mr Sarcar visited other localities and found hardly 15 sanitation workers were on duty whereas 170 had been on rolls. Drains had not been cleaned. Talking to reporters in the office of the council Mr Sarcar said Executive Officer and Sanitary Inspector had completely lost check on the sanitation staff. He directed the Executive Officer to get dumping centers cleared thrice in a day. He was surprised to note that the council had liability of Rs 550 lakh but its budget was Rs 791 lakh. The council was paying Rs 23 lakh to its employees every month but the backlog in payment was of two months. Mr Sarcar expressed resentment over the functioning of the council.

The Commissioner was told that the previous Council authorities had taken loan against provident fund deposits for construction of some works, he disliked this step. Mr Sarcar asked the SDM to get the truck operators Union office shifted to the bypass. The Commissioner did not find any traffic police constable on duty at any crossing. No police personnel were present in the canal rest house where he was staying. 


Development Board formed
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 23
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Verma, in a press note said for the development in and around Kapurthala, the Government had constituted the Kapurthala Development Board, headed by Rana Gurjit Singh, MLA, Kapurthala. The Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala is the member secretary of the Board which has 10 other Secretaries of various government departments as member, Brig Sukhjit Singh is the Vice Chairman of the Board.

He added that keeping in view requirement of environment, landscaping and infrastructure of the area, the Board would scrutinise plans for the area. 


Dist TB officer held, charged with
drawing 2 salaries
Our Correspondents

Amritsar, August 23
The Civil Lines police has arrested the District TB Officer, Dr Mittal Pal Devgan, for allegedly drawing two salaries and tampering with the service book in connivance with certain employees of the Health Department.

The charge is that Dr Devgan tampered with the record with a view to eliminating evidence of two simultaneous government jobs. He was medical officer at Gurdaspur and simultaneously doing house job in the family ward of a district hospital here in 1978.

The case has been registered on the basis of an inquiry conducted by Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, Superintendent of Police (City-I) Opinion was sought from the District Attorney before registering the case. However, Dr Devgan says that he had been implicated.

The complaint was lodged by Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president, All-India Youth Association. He had alleged that Dr Devgan had applied for a house job in 1978. He was selected on January 13, 1978, and he held this post till June 30, 1978.

Dr Parbodh Kumar Kakkar, Professor of Pathology, Government Medical College, had written to the Principal that certain entries in the service book of Dr Devgan had been corrupted.

It was alleged that Dr Devgan had completed the house job and obtained the certificate while still working as government medical officer in Gurdaspur district. Mr Sultanwind had further alleged that Dr Devgan had got the evidence of two simultaneous jobs erased by tampering with the service record in connivance with the staff at the Civil Surgeon’s office, Principal of the medical college and Dr Kakkar.

The police has charged Dr Devgan under Sections 420, 466, 467, 467, 471, 201 and 120-B of the IPC.

Meanwhile, Dr Mittal Pal Devgan is said to be enjoying a VIP treatment in police custody.


Ex-councillor’s kin booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 23
The police has registered a case against a relative of a former BJP councillor in connection with a land deal fraud. Orders for registering an FIR were issued by the SSP (Ferozepore) after consulting the ADA (Legal) on the preliminary investigation report submitted by the SHO.

Ramesh Kumar Jagga of Nanak Nagri had lodged a complaint saying that Ram Kishan Aneja of the same locality had struck a deal for the sale of plot, claiming to be its owner. The deal was struck for Rs 3 lakh through Ravi Wadhwa.

Ramesh Jagga claimed that he had given Rs 1.3 lakh as advance to Ram Aneja after signing an agreement for executing the final sale deel by February 2002. However, Jaswant Singh and Surjit Singh, residents of the same locality, filed an application in the court of the Civil Judge, for restraining the respondents from executing the sale deed as the plot belonged to them as per the revenue records. The court issued stay orders and the deal was off.

Ramesh Jagga said the accused refused to refund the advance.

The ASP had directed the SHO to inquire into the matter. In his report, he said the allegations were substantial.

The Anejas have described the case as politically motivated and refuted the allegations.


Sessions Judge’s kin dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 23
Ms Manjit Kaur (40), wife of Mr Kirpal Singh, a relative of Sangrur District and Sessions Judge Jagroop Singh, was killed and four others, including Mr Kirpal Singh, were injured in an accident near Bhawanigarh on the Sangrur-Patiala road yesterday afternoon. Mr Kirpal Singh is a brother-in-law (wife’s brother) of Mr Jagroop Singh. Ms Manjit Kaur, and Mr Kirpal Singh along with their driver were returning to Chandigarh in a Maruti car after meeting Mr Jagroop Singh here.

According to information here this evening, the car of the Sessions Judge’s kin was hit a Contessa car while overtaking. A women was driving the Contessa car at the time of accident. A girl was also accompanying her. Ms Manjit Kaur died on the spot while Mr Kirpal Singh and his driver, and both women occupants of the Contessa car were injured. All the injured were taken to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala for treatment.

The post-mortem examination on the body of Ms Manjit Kaur was conducted at the Civil Hospital here and the body was handed over to the relatives of the deceased.

The Bhawanigarh police has registered a case against the woman driver of the Contessa car under Sections 304-A, 279 and 427 of the IPC this afternoon.


Court official held for graft
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib (Ropar), August 23
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau arrested the judgement writer Dilbagh Singh of a court here at 4 pm yesterday. He was arrested by SP Vigilance Ludhiana range Naunihal Singh on the complaint of Somnath of Shivalik Avenue colony in Nangal.

Mr Somnath in his complaint had alleged that he borrowed Rs 30000 from a person. Due to his inability to return the amount in time, a case was filed against him. He, however, returned the money and reached a compromise with the lender in the court following which the case was withdrawn.

He applied for a copy of agreement with the lender from the court. The accused demanded Rs 800 from him for supplying the copy. Finally it was settled at Rs 500. The complainant made a complaint to the Vigilance Bureau regarding the amount being demanded from him. The Vigilance officials laid a trap and arrested the accused.

Dilbagh Singh, however, said that he had been implicated by the Vigilance bureau. The complainant forcibly put the amount in his pocket and cops arrested him. He did not even touch the disputed amount.

The accused added that he was a judgement writer and had nothing to do with the supply of copies of court documents. The accused also found support from the Clerks Union of the Anandpur Sahib Bar Association. The president of the association alleged that Dilbagh Singh had been implicated by some vested interests.

The DSP Vigilance Ropar said that Dilbagh Singh did not touch the currency notes instead he directed the complainant to put these in his pocket.

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


Surveyor robbed of car
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 23
Some car-borne armed persons took away an Indica car belonging to a surveyor, Mr Om Mehta, near Bahua village, near here. The police has registered a case.

The surveyor was returning from Himachal Pradesh in his new Indica car when he was intercepted near Bahua.

The accused beat up the driver of the Indica, Tarsem Singh, and forced him into their car. Two of the accused sat with the surveyor and started driving the Indica towards Behram. After coming to a deserted place, they robbed Mr Mehta before throwing him out of the car.


2 held for illegal confinement of migrant
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 23
The local police has arrested two shopkeepers — Darshan Singh and Mohinder Singh — on the charge of wrongful confinement of a migrant servant Raju for 20 days and has registered a case against them under Sections 342 and 506, IPC.

Mr Raghu Nath Parshad, a family member of Raju had complained about this to the local police that Raju was working in their shop for the past four years but had not been paid any salary for this. He wanted to leave this job. Parshad alleged that when Raju demanded his salary he was kept in illegal confinement and he was accused of having stolen Rs 60,000. He informed the police that the shopkeepers had made a telephone call to the father of Raju and had asked him to come to Kharar immediately as Raju was ill after being bitten by a snake.

The family members of Raju reached Kharar and when they enquired about Raju they were told that he had stolen Rs 60,000 and had run away. According to them Raju was freed by the police from the illegal confinement. The arrested shopkeepers were presented in the court here today and were released on bail.



1,865 government schools without heads
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 23
How pathetic is the condition of government schools in Punjab can be assessed from the large number of posts of head lying vacant in the secondary and high schools of the state.

According to the figures, out of 1,304 senior secondary schools of Punjab, 1,015, constituting 78 per cent are without regular principals. Similarly, out of 1,742 high schools, 850, constituting about 50 per cent, are without headmasters. Besides these, of the 228 educational blocks,165 are without regular Block Primary Education Officers. Of the vacant posts of head in the schools, nearly 70 per cent schools are such in which principals or headmasters have never been posted ever since their upgradation.

On top of it, according to the new educational policy, more schools are being upgraded. According to Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, spokesperson for the Government Secondary School Teachers Union, Punjab, the main reason for such a large number of vacancies of school heads is that senior headmasters, lecturers and teachers have not been promoted for long. Another reason is that there has been no direct recruitment of school heads. Besides, a large number of school heads retire from service every month which enhances the number of vacancies steadily.

Mr Kalra said the government had, some time ago, sought details of cases of eligible headmasters, lecturers and centre heads for promotions. Meetings of the Departmental Promotion Committee for selection of principals was held on April 17 and 21 and on May 23. However, the meetings failed to take any decision. A similar dilly-dallying policy with regard to promotions of headmasters and Block Primary Education Officers is allegedly being adopted by the Director, Public Instructions.

Mr Kalra has demanded of the Education Minister, Punjab to frame a policy for promotions and filling the vacancies of the school heads so that administrative work and studies in the schools are not hampered.


M.Tech classes begin at PTU regional centre
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 23
Postgraduate classes started today at the regional centre of Punjab Technical University (PTU), set up at the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College. Dr R.C. Chauhan, Director, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology ( SLIET), inaugurated the Master of Technology courses in electronics and communication and in machine design.

The PTU has already awarded 25 seats in each discipline to the engineering college. The classes would be held on Saturdays and Sundays on a part-time basis. In this course, 12 subjects would be taught, of which eight are compulsory core subjects and remaining four would be offered as elective subjects over a period of two years.

In his inaugural address, Dr R.C.Chauhan said these M.Tech courses had been started keeping in mind the need for developing the faculty for engineering colleges, so that trained teachers could impart professional education to the students.

Addressing the session, Dr Dilbagh Singh Hira, Principal of the engineering college, emphasised the need for Internet-based learning.

Mr Lakhwinder Singh, Head of Department, electronics, Prof K.S.Panesar, Head of Department, mechanics, Mr IPS Gill, TPO, Prof Gurpal Singh, Head of Department, computers, and Prof R.S.Uppal also addressed the gathering.



Creation of post of DG, Schools, decried
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 23
Mr Joginder Singh Aulakh, president, of the Gazetted Educational School Services Association (GESSA), Punjab, in a press note here yesterday decried the Punjab government’s decision to create the post of Director-General (Schools) while restructuring the school education from four level to two level and upgrading the Directorate of Primary Education to elementary education.

He said that there were already three directors on school side and senior educationists were serving as directors. The powers of these directors had already been withdrawn or diluted since the past many years and these being enjoyed and misused by the respective Education Ministers.

With the creation of the post of Director-General and appointing an IAS officer to the post more powers of the directors would be withdrawn and diluted.

This will affect the functioning of Directorates managed by senior educationists who understood the problems of school education better. He decried the creation of the new post and demanded its abolition.


ABUP drive to ‘save’ education
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 23
While criticising the proposed move to include education under the purview of General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) during the coming ministry-level talks in Mexico, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has decided to launch a nationwide “save education, increase employment” campaign from August 25 to 31.

Addressing a press conference here today, state secretary of the ABVP Subash Sharma, alleged that during the past decade of globalisation in the country, unemployment had risen to a frightening level as it had touched 3.5 marks in the year 2001-2002.

He said economic policies should be framed to uplift agriculture and small scale sectors to generate more job opportunities.

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