Wednesday, September 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab faces milk drought
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
It may sound bizarre but it is true. The Punjab is facing milk drought for the first time over the past one decade. The milk production has come down by over 20 per cent in the state and the milk plants in the cooperative and private sector are facing shortage of milk despite increase in price by 62 paise per litre for the first time during the past many years.

Admitting fall in milk production, Dr D.S. Bains, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, said,‘‘ Due to draught like conditions in the state, most of the buffaloes and cows could not conceive in time. The delay in their conception has resulted in that the calving period has been delayed by over one month. Consequently, the state is facing a shortage of milk at a time which is the peak production time in the state.’’

The milk industry experts, however, blame the pricing policy of the cooperative milk plants for the present crisis. Even after increasing the price, the farmers would get Rs 10.50 per litre for milk with 6 per cent fat and 9 per cent solid not fat (SNF), though that milk is sold for Rs 20 to Rs 22 per litre in the Delhi market, and even at Rs 17 to Rs 18 per litre in the local market.

A senior official of Milkfed disclosed that they were facing shortage of milk since a large number of farmers were supplying to the private vendors of Delhi, Noida, Gaziabad, where they were offered rates up to Rs 12 to Rs 13 per litre. On the other hand, the mafia was operating in the state, that was bringing synthetic milk made of urea, paints and other dangerous products to the state. It was supplied to bulk sweet manufacturers in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and other towns.

It is to be noted that out of total production of 211 litres milk per day in the state, the Cooperative plants are supplying fluid mild to the tune of just 5.16 lakh litres/day in the market to the consumers. But due to fall in production by 20 per cent, he claimed, they are facing shortage to the tune of 30 per cent. The production of ghee, milk powder and other milk products have already been cut down.

Due to shortage of milk, paneer and “khoya” made of synthetic milk is coming from Meerut, Saharanpur and Muzaffar Nagar from UP. Dr Bains disclosed that the department had brought this issue to the notice of the state Chief Minister. But it was only the Health Department that was empowered to take action against the violators of the Food Adulteration Act.

He said the department had urged the Department of Health to conduct raids in collaboration with the Animal Husbandry Department. He felt that the department was of the view that with the increase in milk prices, a section of farmers would shift towards dairy and the increase milk production.


Calcutta’s appointment challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Challenging the appointment of Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta as the General Secretary of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Secretary Harbeant Singh today claimed that President G.S. Tohra was appointing his “own men to important posts”. The appointment, he submitted, was also against the relevant rules.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice S.K. Mittal issued notice of motion to the SGPC, Mr Tohra and Mr Calcutta.

The notice was accepted on behalf of the respondents. The case will now come up for further hearing on October 6.

Seeking directions for quashing Mr Calcutta’s appointment, the petitioner contended that Mr Tohra, soon after assuming the President’s office, started appointing his own men in an arbitrary manner “in utter deviation from the rules”.

Mr Calcutta, he asserted, was Mr Tohra’s close associate and remained loyal to him even during his “rough” times.

Mr Calcutta was, in fact, the General Secretary of the political party floated by Mr Tohra.

Giving details, the petitioner submitted that the retirement age of SGPC employee as per the relevant rules was 58.

Mr Calcutta was, however, 65. In his case, all the service rules were waived. Rather, the appointment order itself stated that the service rules were not applicable in his case. Moreover, the bar on age and need for advertising the post were being waived off. 


Dilmegh is SGPC additional secy
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 2
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, today appointed his close confidant, Mr Dilmegh Singh, as additional secretary following the decision of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission restraining Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta from functioning as the chief secretary. However, Mr Harbeant Singh, secretary, SGPC, has been asked to prepare a report of 12 gurdwaras which are likely to be taken over by the SGPC.

Mr Dilmegh Singh, a postgraduate from Panjab University, Chandigarh, was personal assistant to the SGPC chief for more than four years. Mr Harbeant Singh is a matriculate.

With the change of guard, Mr Dilmegh Singh will conduct the proceedings of the SGPC executive committee being held at Fatehgarh Sahib tomorrow. If Mr Harbeant Singh refuses to accept the orders, the proposed SGPC executive may take action against him.


Cong to take NFL selloff issue to Parliament
Our Correspondent

Nangal, September 2
Members of the NFL Bachao Samiti today got support from the Congress as a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Ms Meera Kumar, backed their struggle against the disinvestment of the company.

Ms Kumar, while addressing a press conference here today, said she had discussed the matter with former Union Finance Minister Manmohan Singh and the party high command.

She said the Congress was against disinvestment in profit-making public sector units. Since the NFL was the largest producer of fertilisers in the country, apart from being a profit-making unit, the decision to privatise it was unfortunate, she maintained.

Ms Kumar said the Congress would take the issue of proposed privatisation of the NFL to Parliament. The Parliamentary Committee on Disinvestments has already opposed the move on NFL disinvestment.

Already, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie have been urged to stall the process of NFL disinvestment.

Ms Kumar also addressed a public rally in Sector 2 of Naya Nangal. The rally was also addressed by the local MLA and Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, Mr K.P.S. Rana and the president of the NFL Officers Association, Dr Arya.

The NFL management had warned their workers against participating in the rally. However, despite the warning of disciplinary action, many workers of the company participated in the rally.


Workers’ bid allowed

Chandigarh, September 2
The high court today allowed National Fertilizer Limited Employees Union to offer their bid. The organisation, National Fertilizers Limited, is being disinvested and the employees were seeking permission to bid.

Taking up the case, a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, asked the petitioner to furnish bank guarantee within three weeks. The case will now come up for further hearing on September 26.


High wage bill cause for concern
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Even as Punjab looks up to the World Bank for $ 125 million financial assistance, the government is still processing the bank’s interim report submitted in February.

The major task before the political executive is to deflate the ballooning annual wage bill of Rs 4,112 crore. “Punjab is overstaffed and its civil service is unsustainable”, cautions the report.

Three factors have bloated Punjab’s babudom and bureaucracy, besides the pay hike recommended by the Fifth Pay Commission. If political reasons allowed group A to swell, making the administration “top-heavy”, the guaranteed hefty salary packets under the assured career progression scheme have also inflated the wage bill.

Punjab has hardly taken any measures to check the ballooning wage bill. Whatever measures were proposed were scuttled by political considerations and vote-bank politics. With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, continuing with “freeze” on recruitment and the ban on creation of new posts is politically impossible.

A case in point is the Council of Ministers’ approval on July 16 to appoint 40-odd persons as staff to the new ministers against non-existent posts while it rejected the Financial Commissioner status to four IAS officers of the 1974 batch, saying there were no posts.

These institutional problems, says the World Bank report, are because the state lacks a tracking system to improve human resource management and mechanism to assess redundancy. It is only now that the employees are to be paid their salaries through banks. So far, the salaries were disbursed in bulk to 6,000 drawing and disturbing officers scattered across departments based on unverified lists of names submitted by them to the Finance Department, often with fictitious entries, notes the report.

The report takes cognizance of the problem of frequent transfers, often politically motivated, particularly in the Education, Health, Police, Revenue and Transport Departments.

Now a major reshuffle is again on the cards with the new Chief Secretary and Director-General of Police in place. Should Punjab not have a transfer policy to curb political interference as the present guidelines are in the form of only a circular that allow “pre-mature” transfers on either administrative or compassionate grounds?

Political observers say that in the absence of political commitment, the administrative reforms will remain on paper like the fiscal reforms.


Authorities mum on reopening varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
The Punjabi University authorities today opened the hostels for a short period to facilitate the striking students to take out their luggage. The authorities, however, maintained silence on the reopening of the varsity with nobody available to comment on the issue.

According to sources, the university Provost, Dr H.S. Bhatti, ordered the opening of all hostels in the morning for about one hour to allow the students to take out their personal belongings. The university also provided its buses to students to go to the bus stand.


NHRC starts probe into dead bodies’ case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has started an inquiry regarding the finding of a large number of dead bodies in the canals and distributaries of this district.

Official sources said the NHRC had written to the DGP, Punjab Police, to a send it a detailed report in this connection. The DGP has further written to the SSP, Bathinda, to do the needful.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, Bathinda, when contacted, confirmed that the NHRC had taken up the matter with the Punjab police. The DGP had asked for the number of claimed and unclaimed bodies found from canals during the past five years. Mr Harbhajan Singh, SP (Headquarters) had been appointed as the nodal officer for the task.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the NHRC ordered the inquiry when Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, general secretary, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Punjab, took up this matter with the commission on basis of a report in The Tribune on July 16. Mr Brar urged the NHRC to institute an inquiry into the matter.

As many as 25 dead bodies had been recovered from various water channels dotting this district in the past five months. Most of the bodies found were mutilated, decomposed and were beyond recognition.

Mr Vijay Goyal, President, Sahara Jan Sewa, Bathinda, who along with volunteers of the organisation had performed last rites of many such bodies, said out of the 25 dead bodies found till date from April, only four or five had been identified. The deceased, who had been identified belonged to Ludhiana and Sangrur districts while one was a resident of Rampura Phul town, who had committed suicide after murdering a son of his friend a few months ago.

Police officials, said they made investigation into these cases to find out where the person was from and whether it was a case of murder, suicide or natural death.


Cong men stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 2
Congress activists from the Sangrur and Bhawanigarh blocks staged a dharna against the alleged “anti-people” policies of the NDA government here today.

Mr Subhash Grover, the president of the District Congress Committee, said the NDA government had failed on almost every front.

Among others who participated in the dharna were Mr Darshan Singh Majhi, the vice-chairman of the local Zila Parishad; Mr Darshan Singh Ghabdan, the president of the Block Congress Committee, Mr Rai Singh, Bhawanigarh Block Congress president, and Mr Dharam Pal, the president of the Bhawanigarh town Congress unit.


Traders devise way to evade tax
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
Even as the authorities, including the sales tax enforcement wing, have started tightening the noose around tax evaders who used to bring goods by way of road, a large number of traders have started using passenger trains to transport goods from Delhi and other parts of the country to this region to evade tax.

This new modus operandi that came to light about a week ago has shocked the sales tax authorities. The authorities have set up nakas around various railway stations of Punjab to check this trend.

Sources said the authorities came to know that goods worth crores which had been brought from other parts of country without any invoice, had been lying on the platform at the local railway station. As the railway authorities did not permit tax officials to seize the goods, nakas were set up around the railway station.

Mr Jaskaran Singh Brar, Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO), said he had seized goods of daily use worth about Rs 4 lakh while these were being shifted from the station without paying the sales-tax. He said penalty to the tune of Rs 1 lakh would be imposed on the trader.

Officials of the Sales-Tax Department on the condition of anonymity said the traders were waiting for the nakas to be lifted.

Now it was a question of who got tired first. The tax officials had been manning the nakas round the clock and the traders had been paying money for keeping the goods at the platform after the expiry of the stipulated time.

The officials said the traders had been bringing the goods on special coaches of express trains instead of goods train. A large number of transportation companies had also adopted this method to evade tax.

The officials had seized medicines worth lakhs that were brought without invoices. Mr M.S. Kundlas, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Bathinda, could not be contacted.


Efforts afoot to trace monument’s history
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 2
Efforts are on to trace the original royal owner, who built the 150-year-old heritage monument — The Jalandhar Division Commissioner’s palatial residence in local Baradari since 1846 — when Sir John Lawrence, the first Commissioner of Jalandhar Division, acquired it immediately after the first Anglo-Sikh war.

The 30-acre Commissi-oner’s residence, which reportedly belonged to the Maharaja of Kapurthala and was declared a “heritage monument” by the Punjab Government in 2001, was taken on rent by the East Indian Company in 1846 immediately after its victory in the 1845 first Anglo-Sikh war. The East India Company then appointed Sir John Lawrence as the first Commissioner of the CIS Satluj Doab area, who stayed in this building from 1846 to 1848. Though it is not known who was its original owner and who built it, efforts are being made by Mr R.S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, and Brig Sukhjit Singh, a scion of the Kapurthala royal family, to dig out the truth.

Some people suggest that the early 19th century single-storeyed building, boasting of arches and an excellent blend of Muslim and colonial architecture, originally belonged to the Maharaja of Patiala, who later gifted it to the Maharaja of Kapurthala. They reason that had it been built by Sir John Lawrence, he must have added the date or month of construction in the inscription found on one of the walls, saying “In this house lived John Lawrence 1846 to 1848”.

Though it was taken on rent originally, it was formally “purchased” by the British Government in 1906 and its value by the then Executive Engineer was assessed at around Rs 1 lakh, out of which Rs 55,000 was paid to the Maharaja of Kapurthala.

Though the building has been declared a heritage monument, no funds were ever released for its preservation or repair. Whatever efforts were being made to preserve the monument were made at the personal level by the respective Commissioners. Mr Sandhu has taken care to place only such personal furniture in different rooms, which match the decor and style of the building.

“It is a privilege to live in this building which has been a witness to so many historical events,” said Mr Sandhu, the 134th Commissioner of Jalandhar Division. He was digging out more details on the building, adding that “I am in touch with Brig Sukhjit Singh, who has been helpful” said Mr Sandhu.


Private coloniser duping buyers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 2
The Chairperson, Improvement Trust, today supervised the construction of a boundary wall to thwart the attempt by an unauthorised private coloniser to lay roads to the adjacent 275 acres falling under New Amritsar Approved Scheme on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road.

The chairperson, Ms Ratna, told this reporter at the site that the coloniser promoting Basant Enclave was constructing concrete roads to connect these with three roads under the New Amritsar Scheme so that he could dupe prospective buyers by offering them plots with proper road connectivity. She said the sign ‘Under Approval PUDA’ put up by the coloniser projected a false claim, as the colony had not been approved.

Ms Ratna said the trust had already taken up the issue of mushrooming illegal residential colonies in and around Amritsar with senior functionaries of PUDA and urged them to take immediate steps to stop the construction of such colonies. The trust had also told the Deputy Commissioner about this colony and urged him not to register any of its sale deeds.

The eight acres offered by the unauthorised builder was part of the recently approved 188 acres under the New Amritsar Extension Scheme. The trust had also passed a resolution to take up the scheme.

The state government had been urged to notify the new scheme so that the process of acquiring land could begin. She cautioned prospective buyers against investing in schemes promoted by unauthorised private builders. 


PUDA to take action against illegal colonies
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has identified 250 unauthorised colonies in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur district and decided to proceed against them by targeting both developers and buyers.

PUDA has written to the district police chiefs in the three districts to register FIRs against both the developers of the colonies as well as those who had purchased plots in them. PUDA Additional Chief Administrator Ajoy Sharma, when contacted, said the police had been asked to register criminal cases under Section 120 (b) against the colonisers as well as the buyers.

He said this would mean those buying plots in such colonies would be liable for the same punishment, which could be a fine of Rs 10,000 or three years imprisonment or both.

PUDA also wants to prosecute unauthorised colonisers as well as buyers under the provision of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995. It claims that the buyers are also liable to be booked under provisions of criminal conspiracy as they were knowingly buying plots in unauthorised colonies despite knowing their status. Mr Sharma disclosed that as many as 71 FIRs had already been registered in this connection in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur districts.

Mr Sharma said, besides this, PUDA had decided to also approach courts to stop further development of unauthorised colonies and prevent the people from undertaking construction in plots purchased in such colonies. He said 28 complaints had been filed in various courts in the three districts in this regard.

Giving examples, the PUDA officer said a local court had granted a stay on the further sale and construction in respect of a colony being developed on the Bhadson road in the revenue village of Jassowal on the outskirts of Patiala. Similarly, a stay had also been granted regarding a colony being developed by the name of Gill Enclave in the revenue village of Badungar on the outskirts of the city. He said his office had already written to the SSP, Patiala, to register cases against the colonisers as well as those who had purchased plots in both these colonies.

PUDA is specially focussing on stopping the development of unauthorised colonies in Rajpura, Nabha, Samana, Sangrur, Barnala, Dhuri Malerkotla and Fatehgarh Sahib in its Patiala zone. It has stakes in Nabha and Fatehgarh Sahib. While the development of an urban estate in Nabha is underway, it is in the process of acquiring land for an urban estate in Fatehgarh Sahib.

PUDA is also trying to revive the urban estate which was envisaged for Barnala but became unstuck following a grant of stay to some of the people whose land was to be acquired, following which mushroom growth resulted in a portion of the urban estate. Demand surveys are also being conducted for setting up more urban estates in the zone , the success of which will also depend on curbing the spread of unauthorised colonies.


Documentary to be shot on Malta tragedy
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 2
G.S. Entertainment, a prominent film company, will shoot a documentary on the Malta boat tragedy of December 25, 1996. Mr Balwant Singh Khera, chairman of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, said here today that documentaries on the tragedy had already been made in Sweden and Germany.

He said Guneet and Sohail Entertainment had sought from him names and addresses of the victims and survivors. He said this effort would bring to light the plight of parents of the deceased, inhuman attitude of human traffickers and indifference shown by the Centre and Punjab towards the affected.


2 die, 18 hurt in two road accidents
Our Correspondent

Lalru (Dera Bassi), September 2
Two persons were killed and 18 including nine foreign nationals, were injured in two separate accidents on the Kalka-Ambala highway in the wee hours, here today.

The persons who died were travelling in a Tata Sumo (DL-1CF-5344) that rammed into a stationary truck (HR-38F-4472) parked along the road at a Sales Tax barrier about 5 km from here.

The deceased have been identified as Yash Pal and Lal Chand, residents of Teejpur area in New Delhi, who were on their way from Delhi to Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.

Besides this another 16 persons including nine foreigners, travelling in a tourist bus were injured when it collided with a loaded oil tanker carrying furnace oil. Heading to Darlaghat in Himachal Pradesh from Ambala the tanker (HR-37-3497) collided head-on with a private tourist bus (HP-01-1578) carrying over 25 passengers to Delhi. The accidents took place at about 1 am.

The injured were taken to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh where they were discharged after primary medical assistance. According to the police, one of the foreign nationals who sustained serious injuries on her back was taken to Delhi by her fellow companions after the first aid in the hospital. The seriously injured woman has been identified as Ms Nivas, an Israeli national.


2 killed, 7 injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 2
Two persons were killed and seven injured seriously in a road accident late last night near Sarhali village.

The deceased have been identified as Partap Singh (21) of Khatrai Kalan village and Gurdev Singh (23) of Kamalpur village under the Ajnala subdivision. The injured have been admitted to hospitals in Amritsar.

Police sources said all the persons were travelling in a Tata Sumo. They were returning after paying obeisance at holy places. Near Sarhali village iron rods fell from a truck in front of the Sumo, due to which the driver lost control and the Sumo overturned.


Man crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 2
One person was crushed to death when his motor cycle was hit by a private bus near Bidhipur village on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road, near here, yesterday.

According to the police, the deceased was identified as Baljeet Singh of Khanpur village in Kapurthala.

The police has registered a case against the driver of the bus.


High Court
CBI probe ordered into custodial death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
In just over three years after a labourer’s son allegedly died in custody at Fazilka jail after being reportedly tortured, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High today ordered probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter.

Taking up a petition filed by human rights organisation Ahsaas, the Bench, headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, also granted the investigating agency four month’s time to complete the probe.

The organisation, in its petition, had earlier alleged that Sonu was picked up by the police on August 20, 2000. He was produced before a Judicial Magistrate the next day. Arguing on the petitioner’s behalf, counsel asserted that the boy had died on August 23, 2000. The matter was inquired into by Ferozepore’s Sessions Judge and he had submitted his report on October 31, 2001.

Permission sought

In an application, members of a social organisation, Lawyers’ Initiative, have sought directions for placing on record the report of an inquiry conducted into the alleged wireless scam by Punjab’s Additional Director General of Police (Security) R.K. Gupta.

The members stated that Mr Gupta had been asked to look into the matter even though he had already submitted his report in June. The application will come up for hearing with the main case.

They had initially sought directions for a “comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the embezzlement of approximately Rs 2.58 crore” during the purchase of wireless sets. They had submitted that “out of purchase price of Rs 2.77 crore, only equipment worth Rs 18.5 lakh was purchased by an Additional Director General of Police and two other respondents without the constitution of purchase committee”.


3 get life term for murder

Barnala, September 2
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Zora Singh Thind, here has sentenced three persons to life imprisonment in a case of murder and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on each. If they fail to pay the fine, the imprisonment will be extended by six months.

Gurdev Singh of Cheema village under the Sehna police station was murdered on November 15, 2001, by his brother, Jasmail Singh, and his accomplices, Jeun Singh and Harjinder Singh. A case has been registered against them. — UNI


10-year RI for two in smuggling case

Moga, September 2
Additional Sessions Judge Sukhdev Singh has convicted and sentenced Gurjeet Singh of Moga and Nachhattar Singh of Landheke village to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined each of them Rs 1 lakh in a case of smuggling of poppy husk in 1997.

In default of payment of fine, the two will undergo further RI for one year each, the Judge pronouncing the sentence yesterday said.

They were arrested by the Badhni Kalan police on February 10, 1997 while smuggling in their vehicle one dozen bags of poppy husk, each weighing 35 kg. — UNI


Vet gets bail as cops fail to present challan

Moga, September 2
Dr Vinod Kumar, a veterinarian, who was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Peoples Representation Act, has been released on bail by the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Jagmohan Singh Chawala, here.

He was arrested on June 29 while officiating as polling officer in Gaggara village in this district during panchayat elections. The police had “recovered” Rs 15,000 from Dr Vinod Kumar, which he allegedly had received as bribe from a candidate for favour in the election for the Sarpanch. The police had also recovered some blank ballot papers.

The Judge released him on bail yesterday as the prosecution had failed to present the challan within the stipulated 60 days. The court directed the district police chief to take appropriate action against the erring police officials. — UNI


Student gets compensation
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 2
The District Consumer Forum, Ropar, has directed the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Institute of Information and Technology to pay compensation to Pooja Sharma, a resident of Panchkula.

The complainant in her complaint before the forum has alleged that she had appeared for the entrance exam for MCA course conducted by the Punjab Technical University (PTU) on June 9, 2002. At the time of counselling she chose to join IET, Bhaddal, and deposited Rs 10,000. However, later the PTU opened admission in all colleges run by it.

The forum comprising the president, Mr J.P. Gupta, and member S.K. Bhatia, however, held the Mohali-based engineering college guilty of discrepancy in service. The institute authorities were directed to refund the security of Rs 4,000 to the complainant and pay a compensation of Rs 2,000 within 30 days of the receipt of certified copies of the judgement.


8 undertrials escape from cell
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
Eight undertrials today escaped from a temporary cell in which they were lodged after being brought to the District Courts complex by breaking open the gate of the cell.

According to sources, the undertrials were brought to the court complex in connection with cases being heard by various courts. They were lodged in a temporary cell which is known as Bakshi Khana.

The sources said three or four of the accused were members of the Kale kachhewale gang. The local police has registered a case against Assistant Sub-Inspector Kasturi Lal, who was responsible for their custody. The ASI will be interrogated in connection with the escape, police sources said.

They said the Zonal Inspector-General of Police had reportedly sought a report from the Senior Superintendent of Police regarding the escape. Earlier also a few undertrials had escaped from Bakshi Khana, but this is the first time when such a large number of undertrials have managed to escape from the temporary cell.


Clerk caught accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 2
The local Vigilance Department today caught Mr Kuldip Singh, senior clerk at the District Treasury Office, red-handed while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 300 from Mr Pritam Singh, former Sarpanch of Machaki Mal Singh village, for issuing him a no-objection certificate.

Mr Baldev Singh, DSP, Vigilance, said Mr Pritam Singh purchased over five acres of land from Ms Jotinder Kaur, daughter of Mr Harpal Singh, of the same village in 1989. However, due to some dispute with Ms Jotinder Kaur, some of her relatives filed an appeal in the court against her for making a "false" deal with Mr Pritam Singh.

The court stayed the deal and appointed a receiver for the procurement of crop from the said land. After he won the case in the court, Mr Pritam Singh applied in the District Treasury Office here on August 28 for issuing of an NOC. When he contacted the senior clerk, Mr Kuldip Singh, in this connection, the latter allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 500 from him and the deal was allegedly struck at Rs 300, said the DSP.


Rs 67,906 looted from bank
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 2
A sum of Rs 67,906 was looted from Central Cooperative Bank at Karungawali village of Haryana, situated on the border of Punjab, at gunpoint yesterday.

According to information available here today, after the bank opened yesterday, three clean-shaved persons came on a red-coloured motor cycle. Two of them entered the bank and pointed a pistol at the forehead of Mr Dalip Singh, cashier of the bank, and decamped with the bounty. 


Fake registration of students detected
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 2
Mr B. Sarkar, Commissioner, Faridkot, has taken a strong exception to fake registration of students, particularly in elementary schools in the district.

During a surprise visit to five elementary schools in Kotkapura block today, he found that some teachers had made over 30 per cent false registrations in the first class to maintain their service in a particular school. Even in other classes, the number of students marked present in the register didn’t tally with the students attending the classes. He found that teachers were busy chatting while the students roamed unchecked.

In the Government elementary school in Khara village only 18 students were present against the strength of 45. He also took a serious view of the poor presence of students at the government elementary school at Waradaraka village. Holding the District Education Officer (Primary), Mr Gian Singh Basra, responsible for the circumstances, the Commissioner directed him to issue a show cause notice to four teachers, Modan Singh, Tarsem Kumari, Daljit Kaur and Gurmit Kaur, for failing to perform their duties properly at the government elementary school for boys at Kotkapura. He also asked the DEO to serve a show cause notice to Natha Singh of the government elementary school for girls of the same town who had failed to mark attendance of the students.

Earlier, during his visit to Kotkapura he also took a serious note of the poor sanitation in the town despite having more than 200 safai karamcharis on the rolls. Residents told the Commissioner these conditions were prevailing for the past two weeks. Mr Sarkar also visited the local district jail today to inquire about the problems of 165 inmates.


PTU students ask Kalam for help
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 2
A section of the Punjab Technical University students have urged the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to meet students during his visit to Ludhiana on September 4.

Meanwhile, the Sikh Students Federation (SSF) today said it would go ahead with programme of laying siege to the President’s routes if the university failed to accept its demands.

G.S. Grewal, spokesman of the SSF, said agitating students had sent a telegram to the President today with a request that they be granted time during his visit here so that they could apprise him of their problems.

Students of the university have been pressing for restoring the old credit system as their chances of taking supplementary examinations had got diminished under the new scheme. They are also demanding revision of syllabus and cut in the fees.


6 city students clear talent search exam
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 2
Six students of the city have cleared the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) conducted by the National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT).

Out of the state quota of 12 students of the district chosen by the State Institute of Education (SIE) that conducted the State Talent Search Examination (STSE) in November last year, six cleared the theory examination and interview.

The successful candidates are Arvind Singh, Satveer Singh, Umang Mittal, Jivtesh Singh all students of Our Lady of Fatima Convent High School, Varun Jindal of DAV Public School and Lavneet Janagal of Budha Dal Public School.

These students would be given a scholarship and an annual stipend for books and journals during their study tenure.

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