Wednesday, August 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Govt notices to SGPC-run institutions
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
After giving several opportunities to SGPC-run medical and dental institutions to fall in line, the Punjab Government today decided to play tough with the management of these institutions.

The government today served show cause notices on the institutions. Sources said the institutions had been told to implement government instructions regarding admissions and charging of fee by September 1 or face derecognition.

“We have made the management of these institutions clear that the government will withdraw the no-objection certificate to the institutions after September 1, if the orders were not implemented.

The sources said five points were raised in the notices. The SGPC colleges have been told to admit the students of government quota, who were allocated admission after counselling held under the supervision of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. No money should be taken above the charges fixed by the government.

The institutions had been told to refund the money that had been charged above the prescribed fee structure admitted against the management quota seats. No student should be admitted as an NRI as such seats had been abolished. The admission of the students who had been admitted, exceeding the limit of the fixed quota of management seats, should be cancelled, they said.

The government had got the report that against the 25 seats of the management quota in the medical college, 29 students had been admitted and in the dental college against 30 such seats, 35 students had been admitted. Of these, eight students had been admitted as NRIs to the medical college and 10 as NRIs to the dental college.

A senior government officer claimed that affected students and their parents had been making complaints against the SGPC colleges everyday. A deputation of parents had met the Medical Education Minister, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, a number of times in this regard.

The sources said the colleges had not kept any seat reserved for dependents of the 1984 riot victims. The government had reserved 1 per cent seats for such victims.


MLA booked in dowry case
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 26
The Shiromani Akali Dal today suffered another setback when the Amritsar police booked an Akali MLA, Mr Vir Singh Lopoke, and 10 others, including his wife Balwinder Kaur and son Ranbir Singh, for allegedly torturing his daughter-in-law Navjot Kaur for dowry.

In an FIR, running into 10 pages registered at the Sadar police station here, Navjot Kaur alleged that the MLA had committed a fraud with her family by saying that his son had got selected as DSP but did not join as he was preparing for the PCS examination. “Since he (Mr Lopoke) was a ruling party MLA in 2000 when the marriage was solemnised, we never thought that such a senior leader could defraud anybody”, she said.

Navjot Kaur alleged that her in-laws dragged her by her hair in full public view during her pregnancy in June, 2001, which led to premature delivery. She alleged that she was cursed by her-in-laws for giving birth to a female child.

Dr Balkar Singh, father of Navjot Kaur, who retired as Head of the Department of Economics and Sociology from Punjab Agricultural University, alleged that his daughter was tortured for not bringing ‘sufficient dowry’. He said when he gave a car, Mr Lopoke got it changed as he said that it (the car) was not as per his status.

The FIR further states that in view of the Assembly elections, Navjot Kaur was taken to their house by her in-laws as Mr Lopoke feared that deserting his daughter-in-law would give him adverse publicity. However, after the elections, Navjot Kaur was again subjected to torture.

Mr Lopoke refuted all charges levelled in the FIR. He alleged that he and his family members were booked at the behest of the Congress and senior police officers. He said his daughter-in-law had contested the election for Sarpanch against his sister-in-law with the “active support of the Congress”. Denying support of the Congress, Navjor Kaur said she had contested the election to show villagers the ‘real face’ of the MLA.

The Sadar police station registered the FIR on the basis of a report of the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP. Apart from Mr Lopoke, his wife and his son, the police had booked Mr Sucha Singh (brother of the MLA), his wife Amarpal Kaur, Ms Surjit Kaur, her husband Harcharan Singh, Rajbir Kaur (sister-in-law), her husband Harbax Singh (both from Patiala), Gurmit Kaur (aunt), and Parmjit Singh (uncle) under Sections 406 and 498A of the IPC. However, no arrest has been made so far.


Protected forest land transferred to PUDA
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
In complete disregard to the Forest Conservation Act, the Revenue Department of Punjab has transferred around 87 acres of protected forest land in Gurdaspur district to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). The land was transferred without the mandatory clearance from the Centre.

Taking serious note of the violation, the regional office of the Ministry of Forests and Environment has asked the Punjab Government to ensure that no violation takes place on the forest land. The Secretary (Forests) Punjab, has been asked to initiate suitable action against the officials concerned.

The forest land, covered under thick growth of trees, falls in Malakpur and Bharoli Khurd villages. Inquiries reveal that the Irrigation Department transferred the land to the State Forest Department in 1999. Till date the State Forest Department has spent around Rs 10.50 lakh on plantation, said a senior official of the Forest Department.

The Conservator of Forests, Northern Region, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Mr Dinesh Kumar Sharma, said despite repeated reminders the State Government has not replied on the present status of the land. “ The Forest Department had been asked to verify whether the ownership of the land still vested with PUDA”, he added.

Sources in the Forest Department said by the time the State Forest Department noticed the violation, the PUDA had started demarcating the land and fenced it. The land was intended to be sold for a residential housing scheme. The DFO, Pathankot, brought the violation to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur. As per the law, no non-forestry activity can be undertaken on forest land without the permission of the Environment Ministry. But no action was initiated against the revenue officers.

The sources said the PUDA had approached the Forest Department to get permission for a change of land use. In a high-level meeting held two months ago at Chandigarh, the Forest Department suggested to PUDA to apply to the Ministry of Environment for a change of land use. But till date the PUDA has not applied.


Inspection of nursing institutes ordered
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Taking note of the violations in admissions committed by various private nursing institutes Mr Satish Chandra, Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab has sought a detailed project report about the infrastructure, financial sustainability and manpower requirement of these institutes.

Mr Satish Chandra said Dr V.K Sharma, Director, Research and Medical Education had been asked to conduct fresh inspections before these institutes were allowed to start admissions. The preliminary no-objection certificates granted to these institutes clearly stipulated that “no admission shall be allowed without proper inspection and written orders of the government”. These NOCs were granted in February and May this year.

The Tribune had highlighted on August 13 how some of these institutes — enjoying the patronage of ruling party politicians in Punjab — had started admissions to various courses even as they violated the norms on infrastructure and financial sustainability. In fact, a former DRME, Dr Ravinder Singh, had in a letter written to the Punjab Health and Medical Education and Research Minister, Mr R.C Dogra, opposed the grant of NOCs for starting various nursing (ANM/GNM) courses in these institutes, citing deficiencies regarding the availability of land, building and financial sustainability. He had stated that most of these institutions did not have the required resources to establish and run these institutions and all funds were to be generated from the students only, which was inappropriate.

While the Victor Institute of Nursing and Paramedical Courses, SAS Nagar, has claimed that the institute was legally established after it obtained an NOC from the Punjab Government following proper inspections by the Indian Nursing Council (INC) and the Punjab Nurses Registration Council (PNRC), Mr Satish Chandra said none of these institutes had approached him for a final clearance to start admissions. Inquiries reveal that the Victor Institute of Nursing has applied for permission to start admissions following The Tribune report.

Mr Satish Chandra clarified that none of these institutes would be given permission till all required formalities were completed before the expiry of the NOC period. The government could also cancel these preliminary NOCs if a specific complaint was made about the violation of rules. Action would be initiated against the defaulters following fresh inspections.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government has changed the Registrar of the Punjab Nurses and Registration Council. Mr Satish Chandra disclosed Ms Gulshan Bir Kaur would be the new Registrar.

Inquiries reveal that there were complaints against the previous Registrar for being hand in glove with the President of the PNRC, Dr DPS Sandhu, who is also the Director, Health and Family Welfare, for undertaking out -of-turn inspections and granting affiliations in violation of norms due to political pressure. She was operating from Amritsar and not from SAS Nagar as required, sources add. The former Registrar could not be contacted.


Rally against Naushera Pattan incident on Sept 2
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 26
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will hold a rally at Naushera Pattan in Gurdaspur district on September 2 in protest against police highhandedness on Akali and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and workers who were proceeding towards a bridge to be “inaugurated” by Mr Vinod Khanna, member of Parliament from Gurdaspur.

Briefing mediapersons at Gurdwara Alamgir after a meeting of the political affairs committee of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said the use of fire, lathi charge and tear gas on BJP-Akali workers only showed the desperation of the Congress which believed in a confrontationist attitude. He said 90 to 95 per cent of the bridge had been completed during the Akali-BJP rule with the efforts of Mr Vinod Khanna and it was only fair that he inaugurated it.

Mr Badal demanded the immediate release of all those arrested in this connection.

Mr Badal disclosed that the party had postponed its September “jail bharo” programme. The new date will be announced after the forthcoming Assembly session.

Lashing out at Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, for comparing the Nehru family with the 10th Sikh Guru at a function in Patiala recently in the presence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal demanded an unconditional apology from Mr Lal Singh. He said: “He should seek an unconditional apology from the Sikh Panth as Mr Lal Singh has compared the biggest enemy of the Sikh Panth with the Sikh Gurus. He said it was the Nehru family that had masterminded the attack on the Golden Temple in 1984 and the Sikhs considered the family anti-Sikh.

Mr Badal criticised the Congress government for politicising the administration of the state saying that atmosphere vitiated by the Congress was very detrimental to the interests of Punjab.

He disclosed that the party had formed a three-member committee comprising Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and Mr Sucha Singh Langah to assess and nominate candidates for the forthcoming gurdwara elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Besides others, those who participated in the political affairs committee meeting included Mr G.S. Tohra, Mr S.S. Dhindsa, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr B.S. Bhundar and Capt Kanwaljit Singh.


No alliance for Lok Sabha poll, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 26
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha and SGPC elections without any alliance. The SAD (A) will contest the Lok Sabha elections on the cart symbol and the SGPC elections on the horse symbol.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the SAD (A), said the party had declared its four candidates for the Lok Sabha elections — Mr Simranjit Singh Mann from Sangrur, Jathedar Bhag Singh from Ropar, Mr Harjinder Jakhu from Phillaur and Mr Sat Pal Singh Fauji from Bathinda. He claimed that the position of his party was very strong in these constituencies.

Mr Mann stated that he was ready to present a Bill on cow protection in the Lok Sabha if the Hindu majority asked him to do so. He said Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr L.K. Advani were not serious on the cow protection Bill.

Mr Mann condemned Mr Advani for not receiving his party’s memorandum at Longowal on August 20. He urged the Akal Takht Jathedar to summon Mr Lal Singh, Punjab Finance Minister, for comparing the Gandhi-Nehru family with the family of Guru Gobind Singh.


Cinema row: CBI probe sought into stay of DC’s order
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
A section of CPI leadership today demanded a CBI probe into how the order of cancellation of licences of two local cinema houses allegedly involved in screening of blue films was stayed by the Principal Secretary, Home, Punjab, Mr Sanjit Kumar Sinha. Representatives of various social organisations also said they would meet AICC General Secretary and in charge, Punjab affairs, Mrs Mohsina Kidwai, on August 29 when she would address a Congress workers training programme here.

Mr Joginder Bhasin, former vice secretary, CPI, Punjab and Mr Jagdish Singh Ghai, secretary, CPI (city committee), alleged that by staying the operation of Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal’s order cancelling licences of two cinema houses, Mr Sinha had proved that bureaucrats were above the government and were not bothered about public opinion.

The CPI leaders said that such action on the part of Mr Sinha would encourage culture of obscenity in the city being spread by screening of X-rated films, naked posters and vulgar songs by vested interests.

On the other hand, representatives of various social organisations, said that they would meet Mrs Kidwai on August 29 and tell her all facts. They added they would also show some documentary proof against those cinemas, which were involved in screening of X-rated films.

Some Congress workers said that stay granted against the operation of order of Mr Aggarwal would cause a major setback to the credibility of state Congress government and would adversely affect the prospects of Congress candidates whenever election to any Municipal Corporation body would be held.

Mr Sinha, Principal Secretary, Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, on August 24, had stayed the operation of order of District Magistrate, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, issued on August 8, in which he had cancelled the licence of Ajaib cinema for its involvement in screening of blue film and pasting of obscene posters in the nook and corner of city.

The order of Mr Aggarwal in connection with the cancellation of licence of Ajaib cinema had been stayed till September 25, 2003. Mr Sinha had issued these orders after going through the appeal of Ajaib cinema and comments given by Mr Aggarwal on the same.

Mr Sinha had stayed the operation of order of Mr Aggarwal despite the fact that State Minister, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra directed Mr Aggarwal to take strict action against culprits on August 15.

Mr Aggarwal had cancelled that licences of two cinema houses of this city on August 8 after a report from the police that a case had been registered against those cinema houses, which had been screening X-rated films and hence their licences should be cancelled.

However, the cancellation of licences had created a controversy when it appeared in a section of press that Mr Aggarwal had cancelled the licences of two cinema houses being run by same person when his family members were not entertained properly when they went to watch a movie.

Meanwhile, representatives of about 11 social and voluntary organisations had met State Minister, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, on August 15 here and asked him to ensure that legal action should be taken against the guilty, who had been involved in the screening of blue films. Mr Samra had directed Mr Aggarwal to take proper action against the culprits.

After that about 30 social and voluntary organisations took up the matter and threatened the Punjab Government and district authorities that they would launch an agitation if any favours were extended to the cinema house owners.


More all-women police stations needed: DGP
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 26
The Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, today held a meeting with police officials of the Ferozepore Range and discussed the law and order situation in this border zone. Mr Siddiqui said his basic purpose behind visiting all district and range headquarters was to get an insight into the functioning of police stations and the problems being faced by the force.

Mr Siddiqui stressed the need for cutting the expenditure of the police. He said the security cover being provided to officials and other persons was being reduced. Mr Siddiqui said proposals of schemes regarding modernisation of the police force had been sent to the government. He said the new Punjab Police Act had been drafted and sent to the government, which would place it in the Assembly for approval.

Mr Siddiqui said there was a need to set up more women police stations in Punjab as due to fear of men in uniform, a lot of atrocities against women and cases of sexual abuse went unreported. He said women did not feel comfortable going to police stations to explain their cases.

On officers in the Punjab police, who have come from paramilitary forces or belong to other cadres Mr Siddiqui said the interests of Punjab police officers could not be overlooked and it had been decided to raise a special cadre for those officials so that the seniority of the existing staff was not affected.

Mr Siddiqui laid the foundation stone at police highway post near Talwandi Bhai. 25 km from the district headquarters. He also inaugurated at CARE centre established by the Ferozepore police to settle cases pertaining to marital disputes and crime against children and women.

The DGP visited the Ghal Kalan police station in Moga district. The meeting was attended by Mr S.K. Sharma, IG (Border), Mr Hardish Randhawa, DIG, Ferozepore Range, Mrs Anita Punj, SSP, Moga, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP, Muktsar, Mr Praveen Sinha, SSP, Ferozepore.


Muslims decry Mumbai blasts
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 26
Muslims have denounced blasts at the Zaveri Bazaar and the Gateway of India in Mumbai in which 50 persons died and over 150 were injured yesterday.

Syed Nazir Ahmed, President, Anjuman-e-Ihtadul Muslimeen, Punjab, today in a statement said here that Islam had no place for killers of innocent people. Islam did not preach violence and the killing of innocents was an unislamic act, he asserted. Those responsible for the blasts should be punished demanded Mr Ahmed. “Allah” won’t pardon the enemies of mankind, added Mr Ahmed.

HOSHIARPUR: Molvi Sayed Azhar Hassan, District President, Muslim National Front Hoshiarpur condemned bomb explosions in Mumbai which killed 50 persons and wounded many yesterday. Mr Hassan said that explosions were done to harm business and terrorise people of Mumbai. He appealed to inhabitants of Mumbai to remain peaceful as the motive behind these explosions was to disturb harmony and peace and disintegrate the country.


Tubewell row between Jats, Dalits resolved
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 26
The dispute between Jats and Dalits over a tubewell for drinking water to residents of 4 kanal 5 marlas of village panchayat was resolved with the intervention of the district administration with both sides signing an agreement today.

The problem started on July 31, when the contractor of the Rs 30 lakh tubewell project informed the SDM Phillaur that the soil dug up for starting the project was filled up. Enquiries by the administration revealed that some Dalit residents were opposing the project. Efforts were also made by some parties to give casteist colour to it though panchayat favoured the project, claimed the district administration.

The trouble again arose yesterday when work, which was started with the police help was obstructed and subsequently tension mounted as Jats blocked a road demanding that the work should not be stopped for this reason only. The administration had to stop the work and found a solution to the problem.

Mr Amarjit Singh, SDM Phillaur, Mr Chander Gaind, DTO, Mr Gurmeet Singh, SP and Mr Kamaljit Dhillon, subsequently were deputed to settle the dispute. The team persuaded both sides to sign an agreement, according to which, of four kanals five marlas of land, a 20 feet wide and 100 feet long strip would be left for the dumping of waste.

Apart from this “shamlaat” land one kanal and nine marlas has also been earmarked for dumping of waste. He said work was resumed after both parties agreed to abide by the agreement, Deputy Commissioner Ashok Gupta said.


Pak infant arrives for heart surgery
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
A 13 month-old Pakistani boy, Mohammad Khan, with a hole in his heart and other related complications arrived on the Lahore-Delhi bus via the Wagah joint check point here today. He was accompanied by father Shah Wali Khan and mother Mehrban Khan of Dera Ismail Khan in Karachi. Earlier, the boy was admitted to a Karachi hospital but doctors there advised surgery and treatment for the boy at Narain Heart Care Hospital, Bangalore.

The father hopes that the Indian Government will help them financially under its humanitarian offer to treat 20 Pakistani children in India as a goodwill gesture.


Licences issued to 67 blood banks
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 26
The Punjab Government has issued licences to 67 blood banks. This was announced by the Punjab Medical and Education Minister, Mr Santokh Singh, while addressing a gathering after inaugurating a dental seminar organised by the local branch of the Indian Dental Association here yesterday.

He said the state government had initiated a state-level campaign against female foeticide, to remove discrepancy in the male: female ratio in the state.

He said that state government was determined to educate the rural and urban people about dental care.

Giving details of the government’s policies, he said the state government had established 400-bedded male health centre at Amritsar. He said the government was committed to work for allround development of the state.


Decision on power consumption deposit modified
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 26
Modifying its earlier decision, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has now decided that the Advance Consumption Deposit (ACD) at new rates would be applicable only for the extension of new loads. This was stated by Mr Y. S. Ratra, Chairman, PSEB, while addressing members of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry today.

Mr P. D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab), said in a press statement that the PSEB had earlier decided to charge the ACD on extended as well as existing loads.

Mr Sharma said many industrial consumers in the state were finding it difficult to have even minor extension in the load. For instance, if a mere extension of 200 kw was required for the existing load of 3,000 kw, the ACD would be anything between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 35 lakh. Hundreds of connections were held up because of this decision of the PSEB.


Bathinda without potable water for two days
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 26
Residents of the town, which has been accorded the status of fifth municipal corporation of Punjab, seems to be doubly cursed as they have not been getting potable water on one hand and on the other their localities get inundated whenever it rains.

Residents of almost all localities, which have been provided with piped water supply have not been getting potable water since the main supply pipe on the Amrik Singh road got burst yesterday morning.

The authorities could not supply the potable water as the overhead reservoirs installed in the city could not be filled due to bursting of the main line.

Mr Kamal Kant Goyal, Executive Officer, Municipal Corporation, said the repair work was going on the war footing and the supply would be restored by tomorrow morning.


Pensioner sans benefits due to red tape
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 26
Mr Chaudhri Ram Gambhir, a retired superintendent of the Education Department and a local resident, has been driven from pillars to post to get his pensionary benefits for the past two years but in vain.

In a written representation to Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab and Chairman, District Planning Board, Faridkot, who was here to preside over the Independence Day function, Mr Gambhir said that after serving the Education Department for more than 30 years in various capacities in different schools, colleges and other education departments he had retired from GTB Government College, Sathiala, Amritsar district on August 31 two years back. But till now he had not got gratuity and other benefits.

He further said that he had not been getting his pension as well for the stipulated period causing harassment to him. Due to these circumstances he was unable to carry out his family obligations as well.

He said though the state Chief Minister had promised to weed out corruption yet such elements were harassing the old-age pensioners. He has appealed to Capt Amarinder Singh to intervene in the matter.


Commissioner’s surprise check
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 26
Mr B.Sarkar, Commissioner, Ferozepore division, today expressed his concern over lack of cleanliness in the city and directed officials of local Municipal Council to remove heaps of garbage from the town.

Mr Sarkar visited schools dispensaries, government offices and hospitals of the district today and expressed unhappiness over lack of sanitation in the civil hospital here. He directed the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) to keep a watch on such things.

Mr Sarkar said that most of the students in the rural areas had been facing problems due to shortage of classrooms. He said that standard of knowledge of the students studying in government-run schools was not good.


Anganwari workers on war path
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 26
Members of the block unit of the Anganwari Workers Union, Naushehra Pannuan, has decided to boycott work till their demands are met. Ms Beant Kaur and Ms Kanwljit Kaur, president and general secretary respectively of the block unit in a press release here yesterday said the members were on the path of agitation in support of their demands which include the release of the salary for the month of July, etc.

The leaders said the union had decided that a deputation of the union would meet the Child Development and Project Officer on August 27 and to press for the acceptance of their demands.


Deputy Speaker warns officials
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 26
Chunni Kalan, a historical village in this district, which falls in the Kharar constituency, will be developed as a ‘model village’ under the Adarsh Gram Scheme. Government elementary school of the village has been upgraded and the classes will start from the next month, said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday. He was here to preside over the meeting of district officials to review the development of villages, which fall in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

He said Kajal Majra and Mulanpur Sadak villages would be covered under the Nabard Rural Water Supply Scheme and the scheme would also benefit Kotla Bhai Ka, Saddo Majra and Anait Pura villages. He said at Landran village a 220-KV grid would be set up. For the development of Chuni Kalan, Chuni Khurd, Bir, Khanpur Behlan, Kajal Majra and Mulanpur Sadak villages a special plan had been chalked out.

Addressing the officials, he directed them to redress the public grievances on a priority and not to indulge in corrupt practices. He directed the District Education Officer (Secondary) to initiate the formal process to start the higher classes at Chuni Kalan school and the CDPO, Khera, to again verify the pension cases.

Later, he attended the District Planning Board meeting.


Bassi Pathana road work resumes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 26
The decision of Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Rural Development and Chairperson of the District Planning Board, to order the suspension of Mr Santosh Singh, XEN Construction Division No.2, SAS Nagar, yesterday during a meeting of the board has proved a boon for residents of Bassi Pathana.

The work on the main road of the town resumed immediately after the decision.

The road had been dug up with the help of JCB machines, causing inconvenience to both the public and motorists.

Also, the construction work had been deferred due to differences between the road and octroi contractors.

The work on the road went on throughout the night and will be completed in a couple of days.

Residents of the town today visited the office of the Deputy Commissioner to appreciate his effort to raise the problem in the meeting.


Sabzi Mandi rehris to be shifted
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 24
The Municipal Corporation has identified five sites for the phased reallocation of rehris by year end.

The new sites for rehries include near Bhasha Bhavan, Tripuri, Lahori Gate, Shahi Dawakhana and Division Number 22.

The first to be shifted out will be 100 vendors in the Sabzi Mandi area to a site in Division Number 22. Following this rehris from various other localities will be shifted to sites earmarked for them in a phased manner . The Corporation expects to complete the project in three months.


Rajiv’s birth anniversary

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 26
The district unit of the Congress Sewa Dal on Sunday celebrated birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Tarkhan Majra. Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, and Mr Vaid Hari Krishan, president, DCC, in their address appreciated the work done by Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Jai Singh, district president, Congress Sewa Dal, Ranjit Singh, member, block samiti, Manjit Sharma, chairman, Congress Sewa Dal, Samsher Singh, chairman, Environment Protection Committee, O.P. Tangri, Ajaib Singh, sarpanch of the village, also addressed the gathering. OC


34 dairies removed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
Thirtyfour animal dairies were cleared in the areas near Gate Hakima and Shivalaya here today on orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. A strong police posse accompanied municipal corporation employees.


Markfed case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Admitting a petition challenging the appointment of Punjab’s former minister Harmohinder Singh Jassi as the Chairman of Markfed, the high court today directed that the same would be heard by a Division Bench.

In his petition, Mr Jagdish Singh Walia, whom Mr Jassi had replaced as the Chairman, had sought directions for staying the appointment, besides quashing a notification on the subject.

The petitioner had submitted that he was elected as the Chairman under the Co-operative Act for six years. As such, his removal was carried out in a mala fide and arbitrary manner.

Sarpanch plea

The high court today permitted a sarpanch to withdraw a petition with liberty to file it again as he had not made Punjab Minister Partap Singh Bajwa a respondent even though there were allegations against him.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by sarpanch of a village in Gurdaspur district Baldev Singh, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, ruled: “Categoric allegations have been made in a paragraph of the petition that the Election Commission was conducting an inquiry under the influence of Minister Partap Singh Bajwa. He has not been impleaded as a party. It is, therefore, not possible to entertain the writ petition in its present form. Consequently, the petitioner wishes to withdraw the writ petition to file fresh petition on the same cause of action”.


Central body to train farmers
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 26
The Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), a centrally-sponsored organisation, has finalised its action plan for training farmers to generate income under various self-employment schemes like fish and dairy farming and bee keeping in the district. The organisation will also train them in sowing seeds of vegetables, basmati, groundnut, cotton, medicinal plants, maize and mushroom by organising 20 training camps in rural areas in the next two months. To monitor the programme agro climatic zones, plots for sowing different crops besides silpots for the preservation of fodder will also be created in the rural areas.

The farmers will be taken to different areas of the state and other parts of the country in this regard, said Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the ATMA here today. A team headed by a senior agriculture officer has also been constituted in this connection. Initially 100 villages will be brought under the scheme the Deputy Commissioner said.


Ministerial staff’s stir enters second day
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 26
Members of the ministerial staff of various government and semi-government departments for the second day today wore black badges in protest against the non-implementation of their already accepted demands and some new demands by the government.

Members of the ministerial staff organised a rally under the leadership of Mr Raj Kumar Arora, Chairman of the state unit of the Ministerial Services Union, and Mr Surinder Pal Lehra, district president of the Deputy Commissioner’s office. Employees Association, at the district administrative complex here today to express their resentment against the state government.

The speakers urged the government to accept their long-pending demands and hold a talks with representatives of the union to resolve the crisis.

They also demanded bonus for all employees and promotional scale after four, nine and 14 years of service as promised by the Congress in its manifesto during the last Assembly elections.

Mr Arora said if the state government failed to accept their long-standing demands the ministerial staff would hold district-level rallies on September 11 at all district headquarters.


Doctor in custody not suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 26
Even after 72 hours, the district TB officer, Dr Mitterpal Devgan, who was arrested by the police on August 23, was yet to be served with suspension orders. He was arrested allegedly for doing two government jobs simultaneously.

It was alleged that he had tampered with the government record to eliminate evidence of two simultaneous jobs with the connivance of certain health officials.

Dr Devgan was later remanded in judicial custody for 14 days on the same day when the case was registered against Dr Devgan for fraud.

Dr Kanwaljit Singh, civil surgeon, said the authority of suspending Dr Devgan was with the Health Secretary. However, he said the Health Department had not get any intimation from the police about his arrest.


Extortion letters create scare
Tribune News Service

Khanna, August 26
Letters demanding money sent by an organisation the ‘Manav (Human) Bomb Commando Force’ (Naksalwadi) to certain persons in Khanna has created a scare in the city and a headache for the police.

The letters received by four persons were sent by unknown persons through a Chandigarh-based courier agency. A team of the Khanna police district has gone to the state capital to investigate the matter. The police today formed a special investigation team to trace the persons sending the letters.

The letters have been received by a State Youth Congress leader, two doctors and an industrialist. The police said the motive was just to a scare. Security was being provided to Mr Amandeep Singh Purewal Secretary of the Punjab State Youth Congress, Dr Amar Bir Singh, Dr Ranjit Khanna and an industrialist who had received these letters.

Signatures under the letter written in Punjabi were not legible, the envelope indicated stated that the sender was one Gurpratap Singh Shaheed. The courier agency was PAFEX- Prakash Air Freight Pvt Ltd of Chandigarh. Mr Narinderpal Singh SSP of Ludhiana and Khanna police districts said that the police would crack the case soon as the police had got some relevant clues and ensured the safety of the residents of Khanna.

The letter though alarming in tone was written as a request. It was titled ‘Sanman Patar’ (Honour-letter). It said Rs 1 lakh was being demanded for the help of poor and down-trodden people. It saw the addressee should consider himself fortunate as he was chosen to serve humanity.

Mr Amandeep Singh Purewal said that his servant had received the letter from the courier boy and handed it over to him in the evening. Dr Amar Bir Singh said that he had received these type of letters four times.

Dr Ranjit Khanna Director of Khanna Nursing Home confirmed that he had also received a extortion letter last year which was handed over to the then SSP of Khanna police district. He said he received another letter today.


Smack worth Rs 1.8 cr seized

Kapurthala, August 26
The police in a joint operation with the Narcotics Control Bureau yesterday seized 1.8 kg of smack amounting to Rs 1.8 crore from two women and a man during a naka near Hamira. In a press note, the SSP, Mr R.N. Dhoke, said a naka had been set up near Hamira and three smugglers, all residents of Amritsar, had been arrested. They had purchased the smack from Uttar Pradesh and were to sell the consignment in Punjab.

The SSP said the inter-state gang of narcotic smugglers was headed by Kanwaljit Kaur who was 70-year-old. A case has been registered. — UNI


4 kg of opium seized at Attari
Pawan Kumar

Attari (Amritsar), August 26
Customs officials today seized 4 kg of opium from a person at the Attari-Lahore railway line crossing here. Mr P.S. Sodhi, Additional Commissioner, Customs, said the contraband was seized from Prem Singh, a resident of Algaon Kothi village in Patti tehsil.

Mr Sodhi said that Prem himself was a drug addict and had brought opium to be delivered to another person at the railway crossing. As the person had not arrived Prem made three rounds of the area due to which customs officials became suspicious and nabbed him. On search the officials found eight polythene bags of opium.

In preliminary investigations it was found that the accused had brought opium from Jagtar Singh, a former sarpanch of Jandiala village, Mandi Dabwali in Haryana. Mr Sodhi said authorities concerned in Haryana had been informed in this regard.

However the Additional Commissioner, denied that the seized narcotics was for to be smuggled to Pakistan. He said the narcotics was to be smuggled to Amritsar.


Ayurvedic college management to sack Vice-Principal
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, August 26
Following fresh orders by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences of immediate termination of services of the Vice-Principal, Dr Vibhakar Sharma, of Sri Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College, the college management has decided to terminate his services on charges of grave misconduct involving moral turpitude. Dr Vibhakar Sharma had denied the charges.

The Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, on the directions of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, had directed the college management to initiate proceedings against the erring doctor following complaints of harassment lodged by three women teachers — Dr Anjalika Singh, Dr Suman Srivastava and Dr Jasbir Kaur — besides some students.

Dr D.C. Pandey, college Principal, admitted that the letter for termination of services had been received by the management and as it had been delivered in his absence, he could not divulge the details. Mr Santosh Gupta, president of the college management committee, said he had told Mr O.P. Aggarwal, counsel for the college management, to serve the termination orders today to Dr Sharma.

When contacted Dr Sharma expressed ignorance about the termination orders by the university and said the management could be contacted for the same.

Dr A.S. Sekhon, Registrar of the university, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue and said it was the prerogative of the Vice-Chancellor to comment on the issue.

Sources confirmed that the letter directing the college management to terminate the services of the doctor was with immediate effect.


Students demand fee rollback, intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The agitation by students protesting against the fee hike in Punjabi University has paralysed teaching work on the campus even as the varsity authorities are trying to ensure that the agitation does not expand further by directing its non teaching staff to attend to their duties punctually or face action.

The students, who have been demanding a complete rollback in the enhanced fee structure for both professional and general courses on the campus on the pattern followed by the Punjab Government, had received a boost two days back with the Non Teaching Employees Association of the campus also supporting their cause.

It was with this in mind that the varsity Registrar had issued a letter to the non-teaching employees directing them to keep off from the dharnas being held near the varsity main gate since the last few days. The letter said that it had come to the notice of the authorities that non teaching staff stopped at the main gate in the morning and only reached their offices in the afternoon when the rallies ended.

The letter added that this kind of undiscipline was affecting office work. It said that each employee should reach office in time and those coming late would be marked absent and action would be taken against such staff members. It warned the non teaching staff that the salary of the employees could also be cut.

This was the second missive by the varsity authorities to subdue the strike being organised by all student organisations of the university who have united under the banner of the Punjabi University Students Confederation. Earlier the Dean, Academic had issued letters to all heads of departments to mark the students absent in case they miss classes enmasse.

The students however, seemed oblivious of the steps being taken by the university against their agitation. But the agitation had became even more intense with the students today closing both the gates of the varsity and not letting anyone enter the premesis. Buses of the varsity bringing students to the campus from the city were also not allowed entry. The students ‘ghaeroed’ the car of the Vice Chancellor when he came out of his office today forcing him to go in. They have also launched a chain fast demanding a complete roll back in the fee hike.

The varsity authorities, meanwhile, today claimed that the stir was being led by outsiders and was politically motivated with the aim of creating disturbance in the university. Spokesman Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu said even one of the students, sitting on fast were not students of the university. Dr Sandhu said today students were made to leave their classes forcibly. The varsity official also claimed that the varsity had earlier in consultation with the ABVP and the SFI, had reduced the fee hike to only 15 per cent of the earlier fee. He said other relaxations had also been given to students according to their demands.


Protesting students block traffic
Our Correspondent

Tangori (Banur), August 26
To protest against the introduction of some new rules by Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, students of the Shaheed Udham Singh Institute of Engineering and Technology, Tangori, blocked the Kharar-Landran-Banur link road for over two hours here today.

The students, including girls, assembled within the institute premises in the morning and marched towards the road in a procession. They staged a dharna on the road and raised slogan against the university and the college management.

The road blockade resulted in long queues of vehicles on either sides of the road causing great inconvenience to commuters.

More than 150 students of the institute were protesting against the scrapping of the ‘24 credit rule and introduction of new rule (1, 5 and 2, 6) by the university. The students claimed that earlier the students with reappear in first semester were allowed to appear in the fifth semester and those having reappear in the second semester were entitled for the sixth semester but according to the new rules this provision has been scrapped.

The introduced rules says that only those students who have cleared their first semester could get admission in the fifth semester and students who have passed their second semester examination could be admitted to the 6th semester.

With the introduction of new rule, 187 students of the institute will suffer while this would affect over 2,300 students of different colleges in the state.

They were also up in arms against the institute management for misleading the students over the rules. They alleged that the college management released the university notification after charging huge fee from the affected students.

When contacted, the Principal of the institute, Mr S.K. Girdhar, claimed that the students were told about the rule before implementing them. He, however, denied other allegations.


School without regular staff for five years
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 26
The Education Department, Punjab, under its policy of rationalisation, has shifted a large number of surplus posts from different schools to where the necessity of the posts existed. Surprisingly the government high school at border village of Jhangar Bhaini, 15 km from here, was being run without regular staff for past more than 5 years.

The school, located across the Sutlej river, was inaugurated on November 6, 1997, by the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Since then the school was being run by skeletal staff deputed from nearby schools.

Realising the problems of the border residents Mr Badal had then announced to upgrade the government primary school of the village to senior secondary school. He had also granted Rs 20 lakh for the purpose. With this amount seven new rooms and the boundary wall of the school had been constructed. Since the primary school could not be upgraded directly to senior secondary level it was initially upgraded to middle standard in July 1998.

But in violation of departmental rules six posts of teachers and one post of class IV employee were not sanctioned for this school for the reasons best known to the Education Department. Even as this stalemate situation persisted the school was again upgraded to the high school level in May 2001.

However, again the required posts for the high school, were not sanctioned. Some teachers of nearby schools were posted temporarily for small periods to run this school. There were about 200 students in five classes from classes V to X now.

Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, spokesperson, Government Secondary Teachers Union, Punjab, in a statement here today demanded from the Education Minister, Punjab, that regular staff be posted in the school.


Admit cards for PCS test sent
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 26
Admit cards for the Punjab Civil Service PCS) (Executive Branch) and Allied Services (Main) examination 1998 starting from next month have been issued to all eligible candidates.

A Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) release here said candidates who do not receive Admit Cards by September 15, should collect the duplicate copy of the card from the Commission’s office from September 16 to 18 during office hours.


Raids on octroi defaulters planned
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 26
The Municipal Corporation has decided to get tough on octroi evaders and is set to check electronic and garments shops to ensure goods stored have entered the city after paying octroi.

In a bid to further increase octroi collection, the corporation plans to give a reward of two per cent of the total penalty amount to any person reporting on the illegal movement of goods. The corporation aims to evolve a fool-proof system to ensure that the name of the informer is kept secret.

A special checking drive on octroi posts has been started which has resulted in an increase in octroi collection from an average of around Rs 3 lakh to Rs 3.40 lakh. Corporation Mayor Vishnu Sharma conducted checks at octroi posts on the Sangrur road, Sirhind road, Rajpura-Sirhind byepass and Rajpura road yesterday.

According to corporation officials, the checks revealed that despite a penalty clause of a fine 21 times the value of the octroi being charged on defaulters, there were many who continued to evade octroi. Yesterday the corporation staff caught a businessman travelling in a Hyundai Accent car evading an octroi of Rs 75 on readymade garments. Another trader was caught evading an octroi of Rs 90 on account of greeting cards being bought into the city. Both were fined.

The corporation has, meanwhile, decided to step up octroi collection to meet the target of Rs 12.80 crore for this year. This is a six per cent increase on the octroi collected last year. According to sources, a survey conducted by the corporation has revealed that traders of electronic goods were the major defaulters. Accordingly, it has been decided to check shops of the electronic goods.

Besides this the corporation has decided to step up checking of all octroi receipts. Mayor Vishnu Sharma said this was being done because of disappearance of receipt books. He said the corporation had found that some receipt books on which penalties had been taken from evaders had gone missing. He said 10 persons of the branch had been suspended in the case. Subsequently, some receipt books had been traced and five of the suspended would be reinstated.

The corporation plans to strengthen its octroi posts in view of the coming festive season when it hopes to increase its daily revenue receipts. Accordingly, extra staff will be posted at checkpoints.

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