Saturday, August 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



VC briefs CM on varsity closure
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 29
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai today apprised Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on his reasons for suspending teaching as well as ordering vacation of the hostels following which the Chief Minister directed the police administration to stop hooliganism on the campus immediately.

The VC met the Chief Minister at the latter’s New Moti Bagh residence in the evening and apprised him of the situation prevailing on the campus. Senior civil and police officials were also present at the meeting.

However District Police Chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal when contacted said the local police had not taken action against any of the student leaders whose entry into the university had been banned. When asked about the request made by the varsity authorities to him in this regard, he said no written request had been made and that the police could take action only if a written request was made to it. He said action had not been taken earlier during the course of the agitation by students as it was perceived to be an internal matter of the university.

According to a varsity spokesman, Dr B.S. Sandhu, the Vice-Chancellor told the Chief Minister that the present agitation on the campus was no longer a protest against the fee hike, but a move by extreme Leftist forces instigating students to disrupt the academic atmosphere on the campus. He said the Chief Minister was briefed as to how the varsity had brought down the fee hike to only 15 per cent of the earlier fee after negotiations with the two main student bodies - the ABVP and the Sikh Students Federation. He said the Chief Minister was briefed that following this the agitation had been hijacked by extreme Leftist forces which had forced the university to close down all teaching work and ask the police to intervene in the matter.

Meanwhile the university administration today closed down power and water supply to all its hostels in a bid to get students to vacate them immediately. While a number of girl students had vacated the hostels in the morning, the tide was stemmed with student leaders appealing to them to go back. Following this a number of girl students who wanted to go home were transported to the varsity main gate in a bus by the authorities. However the bus was prevented from leaving the main gate by student activists and turned back to the hostels.

At present half of the girl students have left for their homes. However very few boys have gone home. With the university closing down all kitchens in the hostels, the agitating students have made arrangements for bringing cooked food from the Bahadurgarh and Dukhniwaran gurdwara.

The Vice-Chancellor said he had been in touch with the police authorities since August 27. He said he had talked to SSP Umranangal and outlined three things: that the entry ban of 12 students by the varsity should be implemented, those sitting on hunger strike in front of his office should be removed and the gates of the varsity should be kept open.

Mr Boparai said to his surprise he could not reach any senior police officer for two hours last night when students started collecting in front of hostel number seven. He said he had eventually talked to a DSP who had later informed the varsity authorities that he did not have the force to take on the students now and would talk to them in the morning. He said he had received a call from the SSP late at night in which the latter had offered to set up a meeting with the suspended students.


Boparai for sack of Pro V-C
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 29
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai today disclosed that he had submitted a case for the removal of the university’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, with documentary proofs to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh even as he accused the Pro VC of being hand in glove with students who had paralysed the functioning of the university which had ultimately led to its closure.

In an interview with The Tribune on the campus today, the Vice-Chancellor said he had submitted a case to the Chief Minister in which he had given at least six acts of “omission and commission” committed by the Pro VC along with documentary proof. He said in a few cases where documentary proof was not submitted, he had listed written evidence from members of the faculty. He said the opinion of the state Advocate-General had also been taken to make out a fool-proof case against the Pro VC.

Mr Boparai however refused to disclose the cases which had been made out against Dr R.N. Pal. He said the matter was still being considered by the government. This recommendation had been submitted to the government nearly two months back.

Mr Boparai has meanwhile also accused the Pro VC of being in league with the students who have been demanding a complete rollback in the fee hike imposed by the varsity in the present academic session. He claimed that one present student, Gurpal Singh, and a former student Sewa Singh, whose entry into the university had been banned for indulging in “disruptive activities” had remained closeted in the office of the Pro VC two days back.

He also disclosed that two days back when the agitating students started coming towards the residences of teachers on the university campus at night holding burning torches in their hands, the Pro Vice-Chancellor had asked the university security Incharge to allow them to proceed. This fact had been officially put on record by the Security Incharge, Col (retd) Alamjit Singh, he added.

The VC also indicated that it appeared that the Pro VC was in collusion with student representatives of the ABVP, the student wing of the BJP. He said during the recent speeches by agitating students, an ABVP student leader had narrated an incident which concerned a point raised by the Dr R.N. Pal at a recent meeting of the varsity Syndicate. The issue, which concerned a senior faculty member, was narrated word by word by the student with the alleged facts which had been earlier presented by the Pro VC.

The Pro VC when contacted said he did not know about any case having been sent against him. He said as far as meeting with two students who were spearheading the agitation was concerned, the allegations were false. He said similarly he was neither meeting nor was he in league with any ABVP activist.


Coalition governments harmful, says Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 29
Making a significant departure from the Congress Shimla declaration favouring alliance governments in state and at the Centre, its general secretary, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, today said coalition governments were a failure and not in the interest of the nation.

Ms Kidwai, in charge of the Punjab Congress affairs, who was here for the first-ever Congress workers’ training camp, said the Congress was in favour of forming a government at the Centre on its own, but the party could form alliance with like-minded secular parties to keep the BJP out of power.

While talking to mediapersons here today, Ms Kidwai, when asked about the AICC’s Shimla declaration and her statement that such alliance governments were not in the nation’s interest, said “The Congress could go to any extent to keep the BJP out of power”. She hastened to add that instead of alliance governments, the Congress would go for adjustments to form government at the Centre.

Terming the NDA a complete failure, she alleged that the present regime had endangered the social fabric of the nation. She accused the BJP of releasing dreaded terrorists at Kandahar. The names of these four terrorists were not included in the list of 20 most wanted terrorists, which had been handed over to Pakistan. She also alleged that the present regime was being guided by foreign powers. “In the past five years, under the NDA government various scams had been unearthed. She said the Bofors scam was merely a political issue, which was being used to derive political mileage by other parties. “The issue of the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi’s, foreign origin was also being raised repeatedly to mislead the public as the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s, popularity is on the decline”, she asserted.

She declined to answer when asked about the raising of the issue of Ms Gandhi’s foreign origin by the Congress’ alliance partner, the NCP, in Maharashtra. She also failed to answer when asked about the Congress’ alliance with the NCP in Maharashtra when she had said that alliance governments were a failure.

Reiterating that peace and development would be raised as issues by the Congress in Punjab for the elections, she expressed satisfaction with the anti-corruption drive initiated by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.


PSEB amends sales regulation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 29
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to amend its sales regulation to help the prospective consumers located beyond 500 metres of village outskirts who want to avail urban pattern supply for loads above 10 KW.

An official release here said this was being done to attract more industry in the rural sector of the state. However, it said all applicants who wanted to avail supply through this scheme, would have to bear the requisite expenses for the creation of necessary system of the board. The board would continue to supply power to domestic load within 500 metres of village outskirts on low transmission on a single phase up to the load of 10 KW.

Beyond 500 metres of village outskirt, farm houses would be connected on urban pattern feeder through single phase 11 KV line to be erected at the cost of the consumer for which suitable capacity of single phase transformer would also be provided at the cost of the consumers. Option of metering their case would be at 11 KV or low transmission with 3 per cent transformation charges.

All new single phase or three phase consumers without any upper load limit beyond 500 metres of outskirts would also be required to install their own transformers. The consumers would have the option to get the supply metred at 11KV or at low transmission with 3 per cent transformation charges depending upon the load.

For the release of the industrial connection, the conditions for getting statutory NoCs from the agencies concerned would have to be arranged by the consumer concerned. No new agriculture connection or shifting of agriculture tubewell connection to urban pattern supply feeders would be allowed. The applicants would be charged only normal service connection charges or actual cost whichever was higher.


PSEB saves Rs 2 crore in arbitration case
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 29
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has saved Rs 2 crore in an arbitration case pertaining to the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar. The thermal plant had awarded a contract of Rs 18 lakh in 1988 for the sewerage system in Stage-II of the plant to Jai Bharat Construction Company of Panchkula.

The company completed its work in 1994. Earlier the arbitration clause was not mentioned when the contract was given to the company. However, the PSEB added this clause in its purchase regulation schedule.

On the basis of this regulation the contractor demanded arbitration in his contract that was denied by the PSEB.

The contractor, moved a local court that allowed arbitration in the contract in 1995. The PSEB moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Ropar court’s decision. However, the High Court dismissed the PSEB’s plea. A retired Chief Engineer of the PSEB, Mr Adarsh Kumar was appointed as the arbitrator in the case 1996. The contractor presented 14 claims of Rs 1.8 crore before the arbitrator. Apprehending bias on the part of the arbitrator the PSEB moved a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court on January 22, 1997 The Supreme Court stayed the proceeding in the case on March 17, 1997.

The arbitrator, however, continued with the proceedings. The PSEB’s plea to the arbitrator to go slow on the Special Leave Petition case also did not have any effect. He announced an interim award of Rs 17,69,707 on January 18, 1998, payable from February 18, 1997, along with an interest of 18 per cent per annum.

However, in a recently passed decision a Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising the Chief Justice of India Mr V.N. Khare, and Mr Justice S.B. Sinha allowed the petition of the PSEB setting aside the orders of the lower courts.


Nursing wounds of delay
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Cherishing dreams of a career abroad, hundreds of nurses from Punjab have been left high and dry as the Punjab Nurses Registration Council has failed to send their validation forms to foreign agencies on time, upsetting their career plans and resulting in monetary loss.

Nurses from cities like Patiala, Ludhiana and towns like Garhshankar queue up outside the office of the Punjab Nurses Registration Council at SAS Nagar everyday to make inquiries, as they have already missed the deadline of November for appearing in the test, which is a must before they can take up a job or study abroad.

“Not only have I lost Rs 15,000 which I paid as fee for appearing in the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) test, to be held in November, but I have lost one full year, as now I can take the test only in March next year,” laments a nurse from Patiala. It is mandatory for nurses seeking jobs in America to clear the CGFNS test, the formalities for which include a nursing validation form from the nurses council concerned.

“I had deposited the money and postal charges in July itself but the form has yet to reach England and I have lost the job that had been arranged for me by my relatives,” rues a nurse from Garhshankar.

“Ever since, I joined here on July 7 I have cleared close to 800 validation forms, which had been pending since November last year,” informed the Superintendent, Mr Gurpal Singh. I admit that many nurses have missed out on good job offers abroad and suffered monetary loss because of the delay on our part but it is not our fault as ultimately it is the Registrar who has to sign the forms, he explains.

The staff at the council say it is the absence of a full-time Registrar and frequent transfers for the past two years that resulted in this problem. Despite examination and registration work of more than 85 nursing colleges being handled by the council, there have been four Registrars and that too with additional charge, resulting in delay, the staff point out.

In fact, Mrs Gulshanbir Kaur has joined as the new Registrar, just two days ago but has yet to take charge from her predecessor Mrs Balvinder Kaur. With the council, remaining in the thick of controversies, one after the other, a lot of staff has recently been transferred here. “There has never been any delay on my part as I have even been taking forms home to sign them, so it could be due to clerical mistake or incomplete forms,” said Mrs Balvinder Kaur, who is also the Principal at Sri GuruTeg Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar.

There are many nurses who say that they will have to once again take the International English Language Teaching Service (IELTS) test, as it is valid for a specific period only. Some of them are even considering moving to the Consumer Court, to seek damages for the delay on the part of the council. They also alleged that the staff at the council was much more prompt in sending the forms of nurses, whose cases were being handled by agencies whereas individual cases were pending for months together.


Work on science city at snail’s pace
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 29
Work on the Rs 100-crore Pushpa Gujral Science City (PGSC) project is yet not over even though the deadline for its completion expired about one-and-a-half years ago.

The foundation stone for the project on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road near here was laid on October 17, 1997, by the then Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral. The primary objective of the project was to inculcate scientific temper amongst younger citizens and general public. It was envisaged that about 5,000 visitors on an average would visit the place daily.

Even as the project had generated hopes among residents of the Doaba area that it would boost tourism in Punjab for being the state’s first and the country’s second science city, the delay in its completion has belied their hopes.

The science city was to be completed within three years of the release of the first instalment of funds by the Central Government, which was to contribute an amount of Rs 70 for the project. Though the Central Government released the first instalment of Rs 5 crore on March 31, 1999, followed by subsequent instalments totalling Rs 37.5 crore, the project is far from completion.

Inquiries revealed that the delay in completion of the project was mainly due to a delay in releasing funds by the Central Government. Even as the state government had already extended its share of Rs 30 crore in the shape of development of infrastructure, which includes roads, land and a 12 MW power station.

The first instalment was released by the Centre about one and-a half years after the laying of the foundation for the project. Had the Centre been serious about of its completion, it should have released the requisite funds of Rs 70 crore by March 31, 2002, but the total amount received so far was far less.

Mr Bhagwant Singh, Director of the science city, said 60 per cent of the work had been completed. “We can complete the first phase of the project and open it to people within six months if we get an amount of Rs 5-7 crore now,” he said, adding that a large format film projection system and a 3-D simulator had been received. The first phase of the project included a planetarium, indoor laser show, a 3-D cinema house, a boating facility, a restaurant and a cyber cafe.

The main dome of the science city building, Mr Bhagwant Singh, said was unique as it symbolised earth, made of small colourful tiles. Of the Rs 37.5 crore, 21 crore had been spent on internal roads and the building.


And now Guru Granth Sahib in Spanish
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Now Guru Granth Sahib is available in Spanish in eight volumes, thanks to the efforts of Mr Gurdev Singh Khalsa of Houston (USA).

According to Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, the translation was done at the instance of Yogi Bhajan, chief of the World Sikh Dharma. Mr Gurdev Singh Khalsa has used “neutral Spanish”, which is the prevalent language in Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay, the South American or Latin countries.

In addition, Japji of Guru Nanak Dev has been translated in Guarani, which is indigenous language used in Southern Bolivia, Northern Argentina and Paraguay.

Mr Gurbachan Singh Khalsa, a leading jewellery designer from New Mexico in the USA, travelled to South American countries and organised the first Kundalini yoga festival in Asuncion, Paraguay, where more than 130 locals learned yoga practised meditations from Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Many Paraguayans also attended special bhangra classes conducted by him.

Talking to The Tribune over the telephone, he said a special programme was organised for the “prakash” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Spanish in Paraguay . A similar function was also organised in Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Recalling history of the Sikh diaspora in Latin America, Mr Tarlochan Singh said it was about 100 years ago, that Sikhs from Punjab were taken to Argentina by the British for the construction of a railway line between Argentina and Bolivia. They settled in the province of Salta in Northern Argentina and engaged themselves in agriculture. They have moved from farming to business and are now considered as a highly respected community in that area.

During the past 50 years, the community got itself assimilated in Argentina’s culture by marrying local women. Its members now speak Spanish. After the visit of Giani Zail Singh, the then President of India to Salta, Sikhs built a gurdwara in Rosario de la Frontera, where they offer “langar” (community kitchen).

The community has recently engaged a Punjabi-knowing granthi.

Mr Gurbachan Singh Khalsa provided them with a copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Spanish.


SAD to move Amnesty on police excesses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had decided to submit a report regarding police excesses in Punjab to Amnesty International. A meeting of a committee set up by Mr Badal to prepare the report was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar.

Mr Badungar alleged that excesses had been committed on Akali workers by the police at the behest of the Amarinder government in the past few months. Several former Akali ministers were humiliated in police stations, he alleged.


Canada quashes ‘black list’ of 22 Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
In a significant development that would fulfil a long-standing demand of the Sikhs after ‘Operation Bluestar’, the “black list” of Sikhs prepared in 1984 was quashed in Canada due to the efforts of Dr Bhisham Agnihotri, an American of Indian origin.

This was stated by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary chief secretary, SGPC, in a statement issued here today. The information was given to them via e-mail by Mr Raghbir Singh Bains, president, Sikh Education Society, Canada, and patron, Encyclopaedia of Sikhism.

The ‘black list’ was prepared soon after ‘Operation Bluestar’ during the tenure of then Prime Minister Ms Indira Gandhi enlisting 22 Sikhs alleged to be militants all of whom were Canadian citizens.

The list was prepared to debar these Sikhs, allegedly indulging in terrorist activities from abroad, from entering into India apprehending that they could create trouble.

The new development would now allow all Canadian Sikhs to seek visas for India without fear of being arrested. In a statement issued today the SGPC also gave credit of quashing the “black list” to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, for his perusal of the matter and unstinted support.


From pillar to post in search of daughter
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 29
Mulkh Raj, a migrant labourer, is running from pillar to post to get an FIR registered regarding the abduction of his daughter by his neighbourer about a week ago.

Talking to reporters here today, Mulkh Raj, a resident of Kamal Vihar locality, alleged that his daughter, Anjana was abducted by his neighbourer, Nannu, about a week ago.

“Though I had made several visits to the police station concerned to get a case registered in this regard, but nothing has moved forward so far. The police is shielding the accused,” He added. Mulkh Raj said, though the brother of the accused was arrested by the police last Friday for conniving with the accused, but he was let off without any valid reason.

“I am still in search of my daughter whereas the police is helping the accused,” he alleged.

Interestingly, the SHO of Division No. 8 maintained that they could not register a case since the missing girl was an adult and it was being presumed that she might have eloped with the neighbourer.


Disappointment, chaos at DD function
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 29
The function to mark three years of Doordarshan Punjabi here last night was a bitter experience for a large number of persons who were not allowed to enter the Doordarshan complex despite holding entry passes.

A large number of persons who managed to enter the complex had to return without watching the programme. Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh and pop singers Jaspinder Narula and Harbhajan Mann were the main performers.

Seating arrangements were made for 5,000 persons at the lawns of the complex. An estimated 10,000 persons reached the place. The security personnel selectively allowed entry to those who did not possess mandatory cards for entry.

There was no arrangement for drinking water in the complex, forcing the invitees to drink soft drinks at a high price. There was a lot of inconvenience due to parking of vehicles on both sides of Bhagwan Mahavir Marg.

The scene outside the main gate was pathetic. Persons were virtually begging before the security personnel to secure entry though they had valid cards. The crowd became unruly when the main gate was opened for some time to facilitate the entry of a Congress leader. Visitors were seen roaming inside the building without check.

Television anchors made several appeals to the audience to maintain discipline during the programme, but in vain. Mr F. Sheheryar, Director of the Doordarshan kendra, was not available for comments.


Health awareness drive from Sept 1
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 29
The Punjab State AIDS Control Society will launch a statewide family health awareness campaign. According to Dr J.S. Kahlon, Civil Surgeon, Ferozepore, during the fortnight-long campaign, beginning September 1, the Health Department, with the co-operation of the civil administration, will organise special camps to check sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS.

Special teams of doctors have been constituted. Dr I.M. Challana, SMO, Civil Hospital, has revealed that nine such special camps will be held at Fazilka. Three camps will be held in the Civil Hospital here on September 2, 9 and 12. Four camps will he held on September 3, 4, 11 and 12 at Radha Swami Colony, Nai Abadi, Jattian Mohalla and Truck Union Locality, respectively. Two camps will be held on September 8 and 10 in the slum area dispensary.

Patients suffering from sexually transmitted diseases will be given free medicines for a week and re-examined later. In first phase, 40,000 persons in about 8,000 houses have been surveyed by health workers and 207 patients identified. In the second phase, the entire population of the town will be surveyed by September 1. Subcommittees have been constituted in the slum areas of 10 wards of the 21 wards in the town.


AIDS awareness campaign from Sept 8
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 29
An AIDS awareness campaign will be organised in the district from September 8 to 22.

Disclosing this in a press note issued here today, Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, said the district had been divided into eight blocks for the campaign. He urged the NGO’s and heads of educational institutions to make the campaign a success.

Dr Goyal said during the campaign literature and posters would be distributed in all villages.

Camps would also be organised for the married men and women.

The District Public Relation Officer assured the Civil Surgeon that the campaign would be given publicity through print and electronic media and also through public address system to motivate people to attend the camp.

Ms Raj Gupta, Dr Khem Raj, Ms Jagtar Kaur, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Sidhu, Ms Gurminder Pal Kaur were among those who attended the meeting.


District status demand for Fazilka gets support
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 29
The demand to upgrade the Fazilka subdivision as district headquarters received a boost when the local Bar association came out supporting the Fazilka Bar Association. A joint rally has held in support of the demand on Thursday.

The local Bar association in a press note said the people of this subdivision had to travel as long as 150 km to reach the district headquarters at Ferozepore. Fazilka had every infrastructure to host district offices, it said.

Mr Satpal Kamboj, president of Jalalabad Bar Association, and senior advocate Mr G.K. Jindal also addressed the rally.


Mann writes to Vedanti
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today presented a memorandum to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, expressing concern over the decision of the Supreme Court, dismissing his petition.

Mr Mann’s writ petition demanding a CBI inquiry into the murder of former Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke was rejected by the Supreme Court.

He blamed Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal for most of the ills being faced by Sikhs today.


Govt staff stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 29
At least 300 government employees under the banner of the Punjab Mulazam Sangharsh Committee today staged a protest dharna and took out a rally at the district administrative complex here in protest against the privatisation of public sector units and handing over of the control of government departments to Panchayati Raj institutions.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Harcharan Channa, state general secretary of the Democratic Teachers Front, criticised the state government for taking “anti-people” and “anti-employee” decisions under pressure from World Bank and International Monetary Fund. He asked the government to withdraw decisions, relating to commutation of pension, encashment of leaves, medical allowance and vacant posts.

Mr Harjit Singh Balian, senior vice-president of the Technical and Mechanical Employees Union, demanded the regularisation of services of daily-wage, work-charged and adhoc employees. Ms Usha Rani, demanded regular scale for anganwari workers.


Probe begins into missing players’ case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 29
The police has begun an inquiry into the disappearance of three handball players of Sangrur Public School from their rooms in Italy in July. Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, Sangrur, today ordered the SHO of the local city police station to complete the inquiry within 10 days and submit his report.

The three players were members of a 35-member handball squad for the International Mania Cup.


Pensioners meet Deputy Commissioner
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
The Punjab State Pensioners and Senior Citizens Welfare Association met the Deputy Commissioner today for highlighting their grievances. The association headed by Mr Avtar Singh Afat presented a charter of demands to the Deputy Commissioner. They alleged that banks officials and lower staff were harassing them by not releasing the dearness relief since January besides delaying travel concessions.


Excommunicate Lal Singh, demands Sukhbir
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General-Secretary, SAD, and member, Rajya Sabha, has sought the “ex-communication” of Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, from the Sikh panth for his alleged ‘objectionable utterances’ in which he equated the family of Guru Gobind Singh with that of Nehru-Gandhi family.


Six-yr RI for ASI
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 29
Mr S.S. Gupta, Sessions Judge, yesterday convicted Tirath Singh, an Assistant Sub-Inspector, Punjab Police, under the Prevention of Corruption Act on a charge of accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 from Sukhdev Singh, a farmer of Bhanoike village under Phagwara subdivision of this district, in order to help him in a land dispute case.

Mr Gupta sentenced Tirath Singh to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years and to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 on charge of accepting bribe and in default of fine the Judge ordered the accused to further imprisonment for one month.

Mr Gupta also sentenced the accused to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six years and to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 undersection 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act on the charge of misusing his official position and in default of fine the judge ordered the accused to undergo further imprisonment for one month.

Both the sentences will run concurrently. The judge also ordered the return of the tainted money to the complainant.



Two-year RI for ASI
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 29
Mr Harsh Mehta, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mansa, today convicted Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Jaswant Singh of the Punjab police and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for two years. A fine of Rs 1,000 was also imposed on him and in default of payment of the fine, he will have to further undergo imprisonment for two months.

Jaswant Singh had threatened Mr Kanwar Bhan of Mansa that he would be falsely implicated in a sex scandal if he did not pay him Rs 2 lakh. However, he settled for Rs 50,000. Mr Kanwar Bhan informed the police, which booked Jaswant Singh under Section 384 of the IPC and recovered the money from him.

During the recording of evidence in the court, the ASI managed to win over the complainant, who went back on his previous statement, but the investigation officer supported the prosecution version.

The court held that if a complaint turned hostile and the court also shut its eyes and acquitted the accused, the public would lose faith in the judiciary.



High Court
Directions sought for quashing notification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
If you are a backward class candidate with parents having an annual income of over Rs 1 lakh, you will not be considered for reservation in MBBS course — at least this is what a candidate has alleged before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In a petition filed against the state of Punjab, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and other respondents, candidate Agya Pal Singh of Amritsar has sought directions for quashing a notification issued in this regard. He has also sought directions to the respondents for considering him in the backward class category “without emphasising on the income limit of the petitioner’s parents for the MBBS course”.

He alleged that in case of a backward class candidate, a condition had been imposed making it mandatory that the parents should not have annual income exceeding Rs 1 lakh. Giving details, the candidate has asserted that according to notification issued on July 25, 5 per cent of the seats were reserved for the backward class candidates, whereas 25 per cent of the seats were reserved for the Scheduled Class and Scheduled Tribe candidates.

He added that in case of the backward class candidate, the condition regarding the ceiling on income had been imposed. Alleging discrimination, counsel for the petitioner added that such a condition had not been imposed in the case of the candidates applying against seats reserved for the Scheduled Class and the Scheduled Tribe candidates.

Cheating case

Taking up a petition filed by MLA Jagdeep Singh Nakai seeking the grant of bail in a cheating and a forgery case, Mr Justice Virender Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for September 11.

Nakai was booked on July 28 for cheating, forgery and other offences under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the Provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the prosecution, Nakai, with a view to becoming Chairman of Milkfed, had prepared bogus documents. It was added that Nakai had also misused his official position to make illegal transfers. Claiming to have been implicated, the petitioner had, on the other hand, asserted that he was being framed in a false case.

Orders reserved

Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the high court today reserved orders on a petition filed by MLA Sohan Singh Thandal seeking the grant of regular bail in a corruption case.

The MLA was booked under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Claiming to have been implicated in the case due to political vendetta, the petitioner, in a similar petition, had earlier asserted that he had signed a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Governor for initiating an action against present Finance Minister Lal Singh.



20 thermal plant officials get bail
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 29
At least 20 officers of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar, were today granted permanent anticipatory bail by the Additional Sessions Judge in one of the cases registered against them.

All officers have been granted bail in the case in which they were booked along with labour contractor of the plant R.S. Sodhi.

In another case registered against them along with the labour contractor Deepak Chada, however, the officers were granted an interim bail till September 3. The police is yet to recover Rs 50 lakh allegedly swindled in the case.


6 farmers’ unions hold rally
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
Holding flags and placards and raising slogans against the government hundreds of farmers affiliated to six farmers organisations held a rally here today.

They said that the government was working under influence of World Bank and other international organisations. Due to this reason the government had reduced the subsidy on farming, banned recruitment and commercialised education. Farmers urged the government to withdraw the fines against those who had been penalised for increasing the load of motors and release the amount for paddy and land under mines.

Mr Najar Singh Saidpur, Mahavir Singh Gill, Parshotam Singh Cheema, Ratan Singh Chogawa were among others who spoke on the occasion.


More water for irrigation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan will get more water for irrigation purposes than what was available last year, it was decided at a meeting of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) held here today.

The decision has been conveyed to the states as the water level in the dams is more than what it has been in the last two years.

All canals which originate from the Bhakra and Pong dams will carry more water than what was available last year. As much as 10,000 cusec of water will be released from the Pong dam while 27,000 cusec will be released from the Bhakra dam. Last year at this time, the figure was 7,000 cusec from the Pong and 27,000 cusec from the Bhakra.


Moga SHO ordered to be shifted
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
If allegations in a complaint before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission are to be believed, a former sarpanch of Moga district was murdered by his own daughter and son-in-law. The duo later lodged a report with the police that the victim had committed suicide. This was not all. A case of abetment to suicide was registered against the brothers and other relatives.

Taking up the complaint filed by his non resident Indian son Navtej Singh Brar alleging the murder of Baga Purana’s ex-sarpanch Gurdial Singh, the Commission has now asked the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Ferozepore Range H.S. Randhawa to look into the “whole episode”.

Issuing the directions, Member B.C. Rajput has also directed the shifting of Station House Officer Mukhtiar Singh from Moga’s City Police Station “so that he may not interfere in the re-investigation of the case”. He had allegedly connived with the accused.

In his detailed order, Mr Rajput further directed that the DIG “shall transfer Mukhtiar Singh out of the district if he deemed it proper and prima facie found that he was responsible for the involvement of the petitioners (Navtej Singh Brar and others) in a false case”.

Mr Rajput added: “It is further directed that no further action on the basis of the first information report dated July 7 under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code shall be taken against the petitioners till further orders from the Commission. The DIG was also asked to submit his report well before October 2”.

In his complaint, Brar had earlier contended that daughter Gulshanjeet Kaur, her husband Harinder Singh Kahlon and another entered into a criminal conspiracy with Mukhtiar Singh. “They planned to usurp all the properties of Gurdial Singh, including his house and shops at Baga Purana, besides cash lying in different banks... They even got some documents executed in the second week of June while exercising undue influence and pressure,” the complainant alleged.

Going into the background of the case, the complainant contended that 75-year-old Gurdial Singh had eight daughters and two sons. He, along with his brothers and three sisters, was settled in Canada. Out of the remaining five sisters, Gulshanjeet Kaur was settled in Moga, along with her husband.

Gurdial Singh, he claimed, had in fact informed two acquaintances that “Gulshanjeet Kaur and her husband were after his property....” He added that the alleged suicide note was forged. It was a Mukhtiar Singh’s brainchild. Moreover, the facts mentioned in the note were self contradictory.

Claiming to have been implicated, he submitted that they could not have been responsible for the suicide as he and other members were not even present at Gulshanjeet Kaur’s house.


Blueprint for urban development released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Punjab Government has released a blueprint for development in the state keeping in view the urbanisation scenario likely to emerge by 2021.

Releasing the document — Urban Vision Punjab-2021 — Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Housing and Urban Development Minister, said urban centres played a critical role in economic re-generation. The document provides a vision statement and a framework within which the department concerned would prepare prospective plans and annual action plans to achieve planned urban development.

Meanwhile, with a view to planning and promoting overall and harmonious development in and around Kapurthala, the government has also constituted the Kapurthala Development Board. While Rana Gurmit Singh, MLA, is the Chairman of the board, Brig Santokh Singh (retd) is its Vice-Chairman.


Chemist shot dead at Jalalabad
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 29
A chemist, Pawan Kumar (25), was gunned down at his shop at DAV College Road here late last night by three unidentified robbers before looting cash from his counter.

The chemist was sitting at his shop, counting the day's collections, when three persons, who had covered their faces with scarves, stopped their motor cycle in front of his shop. One of them attempted to snatch the cash from the deceased. The other two attacked him with sharp-edged weapons and one of them shot at him twice.

Hearing the noise, a watchman rushed to the shop, but seeing weapons in their hands, rushed to the chemist's house and informed members of his family about the incident. When they reached the shop, the assailants had fled along with the money.

Paman Kumar was found lying in pool of blood. He was rushed to the local Civil Hospital, from where he was referred to Ludhiana, but on the way, he succumbed to his injuries.

Mr Surinder Kumar Kathpal, local vypar mandal president and uncle of the deceased, charged the police with negligence and cowardice. He alleged that two constables on patrol duty were standing 100 yards away, but did not dare to confront the robbers.

Pawan Kumar had been married just four months back. A pall of gloom descended on his house and his widow was inconsolable. A bandh to protest the killing and worsening of the law and order situation in the area was observed today.

A case was registered. The body was handed to his relatives after postmortem examination at Fazilka. Searches and raids were being conducted to nab the suspects.

ABOHAR: The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal on Friday condemned the killing of Pawan Kumar, a chemist, at Jalalabad. The incident sent shock waves in the district.


Self-proclaimed sadhu booked for abduction, rape
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 29
A case of abduction and rape by Sukhdev Singh, a self-proclaimed sadhu, has been registered at the Mahilpur police station.

According to the FIR the father of the victim, belonging to Yamunanagar, used to drink liquor heavily, due to which members of his family were upset. Sukhdev of Pandori Bibi village assured them that he would, through hymns, make the person give up drinking. They alleged that Sukhdev took Rs 20,000 from them on one occasion and Rs 30,000 on another.

The girl’s father disappeared and Sukhdev took her on some pretext to Bambeli village, near Mahilpur, where he stayed with her for two or three days. He raped her one night and later took her to his sister’s house at Jiwanpur Jattan. He later took a house on rent at Mahilpur and told the people that the victim was his wife. He raped her many times and disappeared after two or three days. A case under Section 363, 366, 376 and 120-B of the IPC was registered.


Prisoner dupes fellow inmates
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
In a rare incident, a prisoner in Central Jail here duped fellow prisoners of thousands of rupees on the pretext of getting them released on bail. He gave bail orders to them, which were later found to be fake in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

According to information, Sunil Sharma, a resident of Defence Colony, Dehra Dun, and an inmate of Central Jail, duped several other prisoners on the pretext that he could get them released on bail. He presented himself as a lawyer before them. He demanded Rs 5,000 from them for the purpose.

Kuldip Chand, a resident of Qadian, along with Balwinder Singh of Tarn Taran, Jarnail Singh of Ramdass village and Mahinder Singh of Naurangabad, in a complaint, stated that they gave Rs 5,000 each to Sunil Sharma. He said after 15 days, he gave them fake bail orders. When these orders were presented in the court of the CJM, these were found to be fake. The police has registered a case under Sections 420, 466, 468 and 120-B of the IPC.


Drugs seized
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
A large number of intoxicating drugs were seized at Gharyala village during a raid by the Health Department today.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Harjap Singh Mahal, along with a team, sealed Sonu Medical Store after the seizure. The seizure included more than 20,000 tablets and capsules, and 600 injections of banned drugs.


Former ASI commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 29
Karamjit Singh, a former Assistant Sub Inspector (CID) and an undertrail in Central Jail here today committed suicide by strangulating himself.

According to an information, he was sentenced for murdering his brother in-law. He was suffering from depression. A constable, Bikkar Singh, who was on duty has been suspended.


No salaries paid to college staff for one year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Staff of Guru Nanak College, Ferozepore Cantonment, have not been paid salaries for the past one year. All the staff in the teaching and non-teaching categories have been deprived of the benefit in the college affiliated to Panjab University.

Not just the salaries, there are several related financial benefits which have been withheld from the staff leading to intervention of the university and the Punjab Government but to no avail. The staff share to the Provident Fund has not been deposited since 1996; money has been “illegally” withdrawn from the PF; and UGC and ADA (Additional Dearness Allowance) arrears remain unpaid. The staff in a written representation have said that they have not been paid salaries since August, 2002. Prof Charanjit Chawla and Dr Dinesh Talwar, both fellows of the university senate, raised the issue at the university syndicate recently. Dr Talwar has also visited the college on at least a couple of occasions to resolve the matter.

It was pointed out that the employees verified from the Provident Fund Commissioner, Bathinda, that employees’ share had not been paid since 1996. “The college management had withdrawn the money saying it would go to the corpus for a pension scheme which would be soon implemented. The employees have seen neither pension nor their PF amounts”, Professor Chawla said.

Dr Talwar said the issue had rocked PU senate and the syndicate for the past over three years. Following representations to the Punjab Chief Minister, a District Disbursing Officer was appointed. During this time a high-powered committee of PU also visited the college. In an interesting development during this period, the government released its share of finances for March-May 2003. However, salary of the staff was yet not paid. The plea offered was that the government money first needed to be supplemented with the college share before paying the salaries to the staff.

The college is learnt to have accounts worth Rs 25 lakh in different accounts which could be utilised to tide over the current financial problems, a committee member said.

Interestingly, the matter is in police records also. An FIR has been recorded against the college management under Sections 406, 409, 420 and 120-B. A college teacher said that one of the former president’s of the management committee had resigned and the college could expect some positive results under the changed leadership.

Mr Ratinder Singh Sayanwala, a former president of the college management committee, said the college was facing financial problems because of delay in release of government share of grants. The total government share had fallen much below the promised 95 per cent due to which “poor colleges like ours” faced problems in releasing salaries of teachers. The college was trying its best to arrange for the money. He said that some teachers were engaged in tuition work and some others were taking classes in schools as well. The issue needed to be sorted out in totality, he added.

Mr M.S.Bains, officiating principal, confirmed that problems regarding salaries and Provident Fund were being faced by the college staff.


Varsity constitutes panel to look into reappear cases
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 29
Punjab Technical University (PTU) has constituted a five member committee to look comprehensively into all reappear cases of B.Tech courses.

Meanwhile, the university has allowed 675 students of different engineering colleges to attend the 5th semester classes, who could not clear the mandatory first semester exam, subject to the recommendations of the committee.

Earlier, the affected students, in a memorandum submitted to the university authorities here, demanded that they should be allowed to attend the classes of 5th semester according to credit system instead of adopting the pass marks system and assured to pass the examination of the first semester.

Subsequently, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Y.S.Rajan, constituted a five member committee headed by Dr S.C. Saxena, Director, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, to review the procedures about reappear cases. Other members of the committee include Prof R.S. Khandpur, Director-General of Science City, Kapurthala, Prof G.S. Yadav of the IIT, Delhi, the Director, CSIO, Chandigarh, or his nominee and an eminent industrialist to be nominated by the Vice-Chancellor.

The committee would consider the problems and the suggestions put forth by the affected students, who have not cleared the first semester within the prescribed reappear chances. Besides, it would consider the practices of similar institutions and universities in the country as well as to obtain views of eminent academicians outside the university system.

The committee was asked to give comprehensive report to the university on the procedures for repeated chances, the methods of regulation, the methods to minimise such repeated cases and as to how the university and its colleges should act upon in such cases. The committee might also consider and recommend options to deal with the immediate cases of affected students. It was asked to submit the report within 15 days


Punjab to revamp technical education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The high-powered committee constituted by the Punjab Government for restructuring and updating the system and curricula of technical education and vocational training will submit its report within six months, Technical Education Minister, Mohinder Singh Kaypee said here yesterday.

Steps would be taken to revamp the vocational training system with a view to imparting latest technical education, especially in the rural areas.

Certain courses and trades that had become obsolete would be reviewed in the light of the report. He reiterated the government’s resolve to bring about a revolution in the field of technical education by using a Central grant.

Earlier, presiding over a meeting of the committee, Mr Kaypee laid stress on reorienting the syllabi of technical education and vocational training keeping in view the changed requirements of industry and the services sector. The committee would try to enthuse entrepreneurship among students.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, Chairman of the curricula restructuring committee, emphasised the need for updating and redefining the goals of education. He disclosed about 8 per cent of the school students got admissions in colleges and the remaining 92 per cent just finished schooling without acquiring any earning skills. And just about 6 per cent of the graduates postgraduates managed to secure government jobs.

The Punjab School Education Board Chairman, Dr Kehar Singh, suggested that the revision made by the board in its syllabi should be taken into account while reviewing the curricula of technical courses so as to establish vertical mobility. As regards the entrance tests conducted by Punjab technical University, Jalandhar, and the Punjab Technical Education Board, Dr Kehar Singh, said some weightage should be given to the marks obtained in Class X and Class XII at the time of admissions to various technical courses.

Among others who put forth their views were Punjab Education Minister, Khushal Bahl, Punjab Technical Education Board, chairperson Ms Susheela Mahajan and Mr Roshan Sunkaria, Director of the Technical Education Department.


Education bodies’ staff demand pay
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 29
To protest against the non-payment of salaries since March to nearly 400 employees of the District Institutes of Education and Training, Staff Welfare Association, Punjab, has called upon the employees of the District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET) to wear black badges on September 5, the Teachers Day if the salaries of the staff are not released by September 4.

In case the government fails to release the salaries even after September 5, then the association will serve a 15-day notice to the government and observe a relay fast in front of the Directorate of the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) at Chandigarh.

Talking to TNS over the phone yesterday, Mr Gurmail Singh, co-convener of the association said, the association had been forced to take the agitational path. Earlier on August 1, when they had planned to observe a one-day strike, the Director, SCERT, had promised them that the salaries would be released within four days. The promise was not kept, he added.

These employees of 12 institutions may not be able to get their salaries soon, as the office of the Director, SCERT, Punjab, has not got the budget released from the Central Government for the current year.

Mr Singh said this was a major lapse on the part of the Director’s office, due to which hundreds of employees were suffering for the past about five months.

The association had also suggested that the salaries be paid from the unused Centre Government’s funds of Rs 5.74 crore of last year, lying with the Punjab Government. If this amount was released by the state government, then the employees might get their salaries, he added.


Students hold protest march against fee hike
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 29
A large number of students under the banner of Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) today took out a protest march, through the town against the failure of the authorities of refund the hiked amount of fee despite the withdrawal of fee hike by the state government.

Led by Mr Sanjiv Mintoo, state general secretary of the PRSU, and Mr Sukhwinder Singh, district general secretary of the union, the protesters opposed the proposed move to privatise the ITIs. They condemned the Punjabi University authorities for suspending the student leaders and demanded an immediate withdrawal of their suspension orders.

The protesters also held a rally and staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner and raised slogans against the Punjab Government. The dharna was addressed among others by Mr Bahal Singh, state cashier of the PRSU, Mr Sanjiv Mintoo, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, and Mr Sukhcharanpreet Singh, district president of the union.

A deputation of the union also submitted a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr N.S. Walia. The union has demanded that the government should immediately issue a notification for refunding the hiked amounts of fee.


Grace marks denied despite HC order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Students of the B.Tech course of Punjabi University have urged the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, to implement the Punjab and Haryana High Court decision regarding the awarding of the grace marks to them.

Though the decision announced on August 18 by the court was to be implemented in 10 days, university officials have been sitting on the matter. The university had given undertaking to the court that it would grant grace marks to the petitioner students and the revised results would be declared in 10 days.


Students, teachers to burn CM’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 29
Students of the local Government Polytechnic College and Industrial Training Institute (ITI) along with teachers have decided to burn the effigy of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on September 13 in front of his house at Patiala in protest against the government’s move to handover polytechnic colleges and ITIs to private concerns.

In a press note issued here, Mr Jasbir Singh Gill, president, Punjab Polytechnic Employees Association, Bathinda, said they would also burn the effigy of the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, in front of his house in Jalandhar. Various associations would also organise district level rallies on September 6.

Mr Gill alleged that though the state Technical Education Department authorities had assured the association members in a meeting held a few days ago, that no polytechnic colleges or ITIs would be transferred to private hands, the state government had been pursuing the same agenda.

Mr Gill said various social and education organisations today pledged their support to the students and teachers, who had been fighting against the state government’s move to privatise polytechnic colleges and ITIs.


High-level panel constituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab, has constituted a high-level committee to consider the request for repeat chances by students of B Tech and diploma level courses in various technical institutions in the state.

These courses are being run in engineering colleges affiliated to Punjab Technical University and various polytechnics affiliated to the Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training.

The committee to be headed by Dr G.C. Saxena, Director of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, will submit its report within a month’s time. The committee will consider the suggestions of students and practices of institutions and universities in the country before making the final suggestions.


Engineering students meet Kaypee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
A delegation of students from engineering colleges affiliated to Punjab Technical University (PTU) today met Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Minister for Technical Education, and Prof Y.S. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor of PTU.

The students highlighted their problems with regard to the promotion scheme in their classes. Students had said the recent alterations in the existing rules caused them inconvenience.

The Vice-Chancellor is learnt to have assured the students to look into the case within the coming fortnight.


Students resent unavailability of books

Barnala, August 29
Resentment prevails among a large number of Class XII students of the Barnala region as NCERT syllabus books on economics, history and geography (new syllabus) are not available here. The students who have opted for economics, history and geography are finding it difficult as their studies are being adversely affected.

Many students have so far failed to get these books as booksellers are not getting the books in these subjects in Hindi medium. Class XII students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Air Force Station, have given a written representation to the Principal of the school, bringing to his notice the unavailability of the books. — OC

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |