Wednesday, October 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vigilance summons Badal again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today issued fresh notice to Rajya Sabha MP Sukhbir Singh Badal, asking him to appear again in the office of the DIG, Economic Offences Wing ( EOW) to submit the clarifications and records of his properties.

Mr A.P. Pandey, chief of the Vigilance Bureau, said Mr Sukhbir Badal had been asked to account for his financial transactions, particularly with regard to the huge amounts of money pumped into Orbit Resorts, Gurgaon; agricultural in-come, money spent on the renovation of his Sector 9 house and loans raised from his close relatives. He had also been asked to submit more information about the companies floated by him. He had also been asked to explain the gap of nearly Rs 1.5 crore in his declared income and expenditure.

An officer said “we are affording them opportunities in accordance with the law to furnish all possible details of their properties but if they fail to respond within the stipulated time frame, we shall be forced to procure arrest warrants against them”. In fact, Mr Sukhbir Badal was not able to answer many questions during his first questioning.

Similar notice has also been served upon former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. While Mr Badal had sought only 3-4 days to furnish clarifications, he was yet to do so.

The bureau had asked him to explain a gap of nearly Rs 1 crore between income and expenditure in his tax returns, Rs 10 crore loan taken from his relative, Narottam Singh Dhillon, besides his shareholding worth Rs 1 crore in Orbit Resorts.

Even Mr Badal’s wife, Ms Surinder Kaur, had been given time to furnish clarifications in this regard.

The bureau is yet to hear from Mr Badal’s son-in-law, Mr Adesh Partap Singh, and his daughter, Praneet Kaur about the properties owned by them.

Mr Pandey said the challan would be presented as stipulated by the Chief Minister. The discrepancies in the claims of the bureau as presented in the interrogation report of the petrol pump manager, Mr Harbans Lal, and of those named in the chargesheet would also be proved with the help of relevant evidence at the time of presenting the challan.



Search warrants against Harbans Lal
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 14
In connection with an FIR dated June 24 registered against former Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, the Kharar Judicial Magistrate, Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, today issued search warrants for a cold store, a house and a rice mill allegedly belonging to Mr Harbans Lal, manager of the Killianwala (Muktsar) petrol pump allegedly belonging to Mr Badal, and members of his family.

The court has ordered that a report of the searches carried out should be presentation before it on October 27.

Besides, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) today moved two applications pleading for the issuance of arrest warrants against Mr Satinder Singh Kohli, a chartered accountant of Mr Badal, and a Chandigarh police SI, Mr Nirabhjeet Singh.

The court has kept these applications for consideration tomorrow. In one of the applications the VB, through the public prosecutor, Mr Jatinderjeet Singh Punn, has written that the suspect, Mr Kohli, used to tamper with the records of Mr Badal and his family members. He allegedly used to convert the black money, belonging to Mr Badal, into white by changing the entries in the records of firms registered at the Chandigarh house of Mr Badal. The VB has added that even now the suspect continues to tamper with the records of Mr Badal.

Meanwhile, in another application against Chandigarh police SI Nirabhjeet Singh, the VB has written that he was deputed to Punjab and he remained SHO in Ludhiana and Muktsar districts. It has alleged that the accused, in connivance with Mr Badal and Mr Sukhbir Badal, has amassed a huge amount of money. The VB said the accused even invested a huge amount in the much-publicised film “Hawayein”.

The VB alleged that both the accused were evading arrest and hence arrest warrants should be issued against them.


Cabinet to take up sportspersons’ case
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The Punjab Council of Ministers’ meeting scheduled here for Friday is expected to take up the case of 337 police sportspersons and coaches.

Sources told TNS today that the necessary amendments had been made in the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, not only to adjust the existing sportspersons but also to open a window for future personnel. A memorandum to this effect has been prepared for the Council of Ministers.

The options are either to adequately increase the existing 3 per cent quota against direct recruitment to cover the existing stakeholders or to make one-time exception to protect the present ones or to adjust them against vacant posts under the direct recruitment quota.

Another key issue likely to come up is on the devolution of powers of six departments to be transferred to the panchayati raj institutions (PRI). The council will discuss the filling of vacant posts of Panchayat secretary and gram sewak and also the utilisation of Rs 15 crore received by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats.

Punjab will transfer the following departments — school education, public health, social security, women and child development, welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes, health and family welfare and rural development and panchayats. The sanctioned strength of Panchayat Secretary and gram sewaks is 2,400 and 300, resepctively. The number of vacancies of secretary is 1,160. Since a court case is pending in respect of 909 Panchayat Secretaries, who were selected during the Akali-BJP Government, all 1,160 vacancies cannot be filled.

Meanwhile, the ministers will henceforth replace their administrative secretaries in all meetings of the Council of Ministers and present the memoranda. Instructions to this effect have been issued. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has drawn up a new strategy on good governance.

Sources told TNS that the Chief Minister was upset over the way decisions taken on revenue generation and compression of expenditure had to be rolled back despite the approval of the Cabinet committee on fiscal reforms and the stamp of the Cabinet.

Capt Amarinder Singh had decided to hold weekly review meetings with groups of ministers as part of his good governance agenda and monitor the implementation of socio-economic programmes. Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill had also been instructed to hold similar review meetings and ensure proper financial back-up support.

Insiders say while a sensitive issue like the withdrawal of free power to tubewells and supply of canal water for irrigation did not cause a ripple, the rollback of enhanced college fees and funds, sales tax on CSD items and non-practising allowance to PCMS doctors etc had caused much consternation to the governments.


Steep rise in onion prices
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 14
The skyrocketing prices of onion have started destabilising the household budget in the Doaba region and elsewhere where the prices have shot up twofold in the past fortnight.

The hike is a result of excessive damage to the crop in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh due to the rains.

About 15 days ago, 1 kg of onion was priced between Rs 8 and Rs 10 in the retail market and between Rs 5 and Rs 7 in the wholesale market. Now 1 kg of onion costs between Rs 14 and Rs 16 in the retail market and between Rs 10 and Rs 11 in the wholesale market.

Wholesalers and retailers of the Doaba region, comprising Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala and Jalandhar, said up to 70 per cent of the total crop arrivals were damaged, resulting in huge losses to them. “Sometimes in a bag of 40 kg onion, 30 kg turns out to be damaged or on the verge of rotting. We have to sell them at throwaway prices ranging between Rs 2 and Rs 3 a kg,” said Mr Sohan Lal, a wholesaler in the local new grain market. In some adjoining townships, onion is selling for Rs 18 a kg in the retail market.

“I had come to purchase 5 kg of onion, but now I have opted to buy just 2 kg”, said Ms Janki Sood, a Civil Lines resident.

“Consumption of onions will have to be cut drastically but this is also difficult in view of the festive season,” said Ms Reeta, a housewife who had come to purchase onions.

Mr Nirmal Dass and Mr Kishan Lal, both retailers, said heavy rains had destroyed the crop in three states and the arrivals were from various stores of these states.

The situation was likely to remain the same up to Divali or for a month. There would be improvement following fresh arrivals from the Khirthal area of Rajasthan and Nashik in early November, said Mr Sita Ram, a retailer.


Jathedars’ role comes under scanner
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 14
The role of the Sikh clergy and the SGPC came under scanner for having failed to take preventive actions against those indulging in blasphemous acts. Sikh intellectuals said the title of “professor of Sikhism” conferred on Mr Gurtej Singh should be withdrawn.

Addressing a seminar organised by the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) here today to mobilise public opinion against the proposed controversial world Sikh sammelan to be held in Chandigarh on October 26, the Sikh intellectuals said “Sarbat Khalsa” could be called at Akal Takht as per the old traditions. They said it would be a blatant violation of the Sikh traditions to convene “Sarbat Khalsa” at a film studio as announced by organisers of the sammelan.

A resolution passed on the occasion announced that the Sikhs would not tolerate any challenge to the age-old institutions. Some of the speakers criticised the Sikh clergy for not taking action against the supporters of Mr Kala Afghana who had been challenging the edict issued by Akal Takht.

Another resolution sought the summoning of Mr Joginder Singh, editor of monthly magazine “Spokesman”, at Akal Takht for allegedly indulging in blasphemous acts. The resolution said stern action should be taken against the editor for challenging the Sikh institutions. Coming down heavily on the statement of Mr Parveen Togadia, general secretary of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, the resolution said the Sikhs had a distinct identity.

The speakers, including Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, SGPC secretary, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC president, and Mr Karamjit Singh described the writings of Mr Kala Afghana as “anti-Panthic”.

Mr D.S. Gill of the International Human Rights Commission, however, criticised the role of the SGPC for having failed to come up to the expectations of Akal Takht.

Supporters of the Canada-based Mr Kala Afghana alleged that the Jathedars had no right to treat the Sikhs of an area as their subjects. The organisers of the Sikh conference had also announced to hold an open debate session on October 18 regarding the holding of the sammelan.

Mr Inder Singh Ghagga, an international Sikh pracharak, said the SDM of Kharar had debarred the holding of rally and raising of slogans around 200 metre area of the venue.


Complainant in Bhattal case alleges threat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 14
Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, complainant in a corruption case against Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today alleged that Mrs Bhattal had threatened those who were responsible for the case against her, He urged the Punjab Governor to intervene into the matter.

In a letter to the Governor, he pointed out that he had come to know from various news items that she had held out an open threat to those who were responsible for the corruption case against her.

Mr Dhillon said threats coming from a Cabinet minister were serious and needed to be dealt with sternly.

“As the corruption case against Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has been initiated on my complaint, and I have turned down her enticing offers to withdraw the case, she has now started threatening and intimidating me through such press statements” he alleged.

He said she wanted that the Punjab government should nominate someone of her choice as special public prosecutor so that the case could be weakened.

While Mrs Bhattal could not be contacted despite repeated efforts, her confidant and vice-president, of the Lawyers for Human Rights, Punjab, Mr Jatinder Ray Khattar, said Mr Dhillon had been levelling false allegations against her to get cheap popularity.

He added that when Mrs Bhattal had not named anyone in connection with the conspiracy hatched against her to implicate her in a false case,how could he claim that she had held out a threat to him.


Bhattal launches IRDS scheme
Surinder Bhardwaj


* Mrs Bhattal did not mention even once the name of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh during her half an hour address and continued to highlight her 52-point agenda prepared by her during her short tenure of chief ministership.

* When Mr Bir Devinder Singh was highlighting the importance of trees in his address, Mrs Bhattal remarked in lighter vein that “it looks as he is keeping an eye on the forest department”. Mr Bir Devinder folded his hands and urged her to pardon him and said: “let me remain as the Deputy Speaker”.

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 14
“The Rural Development Department has unearthed embezzlements to the tune of over Rs 10 crore in the State, done allegedly by panchayats from government funds sanctioned during Sangat Darshan programmes. The government is now making efforts to recover the money and have chalked out a comprehensive development plan in the rural areas”, said Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, while addressing a State-level function at Chuni Kalan village today.

She was here to launch the Integrated Rural Development Scheme in the state by which overall development of villages would be undertaken in a planned manner at the cost of Rs 1 crore and urban facilities would be made available in rural areas. At least 300 villages, two from each blocks, have been selected under this scheme and the work would start from Chuni Kalan.

The function was organised by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker as Chuni village is a part of his constituency. People in large number turned up to attend the function.

Mrs Bhattal urged the panchayats not to misuse the funds. She said as per the directions of Sonia Gandhi, president, AICC, the government will transfer powers to panchayats next month through which they would control five departments on initially and ultimately 16 departments would be directly under their control. She urged them to work with full responsibility and not to bring a bad name to the government. She said after the transfer of powers, panchayats would be authorised to spent the amount up to worth Rs 10 lakh on their own. She said she had directed officials of the department to visit Kharod village, which had been developed by an NRI. The village had been provided all modren facilities and had become a model village. She said besides this 1700 more villages had been selected, where other development activities would be initiated.

Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister for Public Health, in his address said that it was unfortunate that as per a Government survey, in 11841 villages drinking water was not fit for human consumption. 


Youths cheated of lakhs on pretext of jobs
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 14
“Careers On Ships”, “Caring for Colleagues and Customers” and “You can earn more profit than you can ever think of”—these were the few slogans, coined by Tee Kay Shipping Company in its advertisement inserted in various dailies of the state for recruiting employees.

Lured by these advertisements, a number of unemployed youths of various districts of Punjab started making rounds of the office of the company, situated in a palatial house in the Local Urban Estate locality.

However, more than 700 youths who fell into the trap, today found that they had been cheated after they discovered that all those who were running the company had disappeared with their money. A big lock was found hanging in front of the house.

Police sources said the company inserted advertisements in dailies for recruiting youths for its worldwide shipping operations. Officials and agents of the so-called shipping company started distributing forms worth Rs 50 to the applicants by fanning out in villages in various districts of the state. After that, they charged Rs 500 from each applicant for his or her medical examination from a local hospital. They also demanded that those who wanted to serve abroad should deposit Rs 35,000 each with the company.

The suspects collected lakhs of rupees in this way from unsuspecting rural and urban unemployed youths. After collecting lakhs of rupees, the company simply disappeared from the city last night and when various applicants came to its official premises today, they found it locked.

The victims, who were standing outside the company’s office, while talking to TNS, said the company had cheated them as it had collected lakhs of rupees from them on the pretext of getting them employment abroad.

The sources said yesterday, an SP-rank officer, Mr Nilabh Kishore, had developed some apprehension about the working of the company. He asked the head of the company to produce documentary evidence to prove that the company was genuine. The head promised to him that he would produce the documents on Tuesday. However, he fled the scene last night.

Police officials also consulted Tee Kay Company at Mumbai to verify the credentials of the company operating in the city and they came to know that Tee Kay Company, Mumbai, did not have any branch in the city.

The sources added that a case had been registered under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC against the suspects. Police parties had been despatched to arrest the culprits.


Cut in staff strength mooted
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 14
The office of the Chief Electrical Inspector, Punjab, has mooted a proposal to reduce its staff strength to 44 against the sanctioned strength of 95. Sources here said it had been proposed that the electrical inspectorate of the state should be run by drawing officers from the PSEB rather than augmenting its own cadre.

The officers serving in the inspectorate should be given a promotion and merged into the PSEB and officers from the PSEB taken on deputation.

The proposals are a part of the strategy chalked out by the outgoing Secretary Power, Ms Vini Mahajan, and the new Chief Electrical Inspector, Mr Varinder Singh.

The other reforms carried out in the office of the chief electrical inspectorate include the delegation of powers from the chief electrical inspector (CEI) to junior officers.

To check the inordinate delays in completing inspections that is a source of harassment for the industry, the time limit has been fixed at within three to 30 days of the receipt of request.


Some men too fasted
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 14
Karva Chauth was today celebrated by women, some men and unmarried girls.

Mr Chitranjan Gautam, a lawyer, has been fasting on Karva Chauth for the past 35 years. “I started fasting in school and I still fast on Karva Chauth, he said, adding that his son also used to fast on Karva Chauth earlier but discontinued it now.

A teenager, Gurpreet Gopi, has been fasting for the past three years. An employee at a filling station, he said he fasted for the long life and well-being of his future wife.

Some unmarried girls also fasted for their boyfriends. A college girl said she had fasted for the success of her romance and its culmination into marriage.

The married women fasted for the long life of their husbands and a successful married life.

Bazars wore a festive look and the security had been tightened.


Pensioners’ plea to govt
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 14
The All Department Pensioners Association here at a meeting held under the Presidentship of Mr Hardeep Singh here on Sunday urged the Punjab Government to release the pension for October before Divali.

According to a press note issued here yesterday, it was also demanded that dearness allowance should also be paid with full arrears from January to September along with the pension for October. Members said it would be a nice gesture on the part of the government towards senior citizens so that they could celebrate Divali without any financial hardship.


One killed, 71 hurt as truck overturns
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 14
A truck carrying about 150 persons belonging to Budhlada, Achanak, Kulana, Satike, Kalipur and Gobindpura villager of the district overturned near Datewas villages on the Budhlada-Jakhal road today resulting in the death of one person and injuries to about 71 persons.

The persons travelling by the truck were on their way to Dhamdhan Sahib in Jind district of Haryana to pay obeisance at the historical gurdwara there.

The truck driver could not keep the balance of the vehicle due to a large number of men, women and children travelling by it.

The deceased has been identified as Santa Singh of Achanak village. Out of the 71 injured persons, 38 have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital, while 33 persons have been taken to the primary Health Centre at Budhlada.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner here who rushed to the Civil Hospital to make arrangements for the treatment of the injured, has announced a grant of Rs 5,000 to the next of the kin of the deceased and Rs 1,000 each for the injured.

He said the medicines for the treatment of the injured would be provided by the Red Cross Society free of cost. 


Ashirwad to replace Shagun scheme
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 14
The Ashirwad scheme would soon replace the Shagun scheme in Punjab. The Shagun scheme was launched by the SAD-BJP government to provide financial assistance of Rs 5000 to poor Dalit families at the time of marriage of their daughters. The Congress after coming to power had abandoned the scheme.

However, now the Congress government was planning to relaunch the scheme under a new name ‘Ashirwad’ and with modified provisions. The Shagun scheme of the previous government was limited to the poor Dalit families only. The benefit of the new scheme was being extended to poor widows irrespective of their caste and the Dalits, who have converted to Christianity. Besides, the government was also considering increasing the amount given as grant under the schemes. The amount of increase was, however, still under consideration.

Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Minister for Social Security, Women and Child Development, said while talking to newsmen here today. He was here to preside over a seminar organised by the Social Security Department to make people aware about their civil rights. After Amritsar and Kapurthala the third such seminar was organised at Ropar today.

The government was also planning to promote intercaste marriages and provide special grants to panchayats keeping good records of working for the welfare of the poor Dalits. Under the scheme the government would spent Rs 1.11 crore across the state.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, while speaking at the seminar, said grants worth Rs 30 lakh had been distributed in Ropar in the current financial year.

The Director, Department of Social Security, Mr Hans Raj Gangar, said in the current financial year about Rs 100 crore would be spent under various social security schemes of the Punjab government.

On the occasion, Mr Mann distributed cheques for Rs 44.30 lakhs as grants under various social welfare schemes.


Aid given to 12 ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 14
A rally of ex-servicemen was held at the M.R. Government College Stadium today. Retired Army officers, including decorated personnel, and widows participated in the rally. Major General N.B. Singh, G.O.C., and Brig R.C. Malik, Commanding Officer, presided.

Stalls pertaining to banking, pension, horticulture, animal husbandry and agriculture were set up and problems of ex-servicemen were solved on the spot.

They were informed about the welfare schemes, including free medical aid, tubewell connections on priority basis, and 13 per cent reservation in government recruitment. Brigadier Malik said the rally would strenghthen the bond between servicing personnel and those who had retired.

Major Gen N.B. Singh said ex-servicemen should be accorded due honour. He said a new scheme was being worked out for giving crop compensation to those farmers in whose fields mines had been laid.

Mr Bhuplnder Singh Saharan, SDM said such rallies should be held often.

Brig. B.S. Sandhu (retd.), Mr Amar Singh, Naib Subedar Karam Singh, Capt Kabul Singh, and Gurnam Singh, Dr Ajay Dhawan of the Rotary Club Fazilka, presented the widows with sewing machines and blankets.


SGPC seeks ban on function
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 14
The SGPC today asked the district administration to ban the proposed function to be organised by the Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan at Bhure Kalan village, near Jhabal, tomorrow.


Rotary Club Divali Mela
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 14
Mr Makhan Sharma, President, Municipal Council, here inaugurated a Divali Mela organised by the Rotary Club, Barnala at local Government High School, (Boys) on Sunday. Mr Sanjeev Shori, a spokesman for the Club, said the profit earned out of the mela would be spent on providing woollen garments, shoes books-stationery to poor students in the area.



CBI submits status report in panchayat secys’ case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), today submitted a status report in a sealed cover in the panchayat secretaries termination case.

After going through the report, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, headed by Chief Justice B.K. Roy, ordered the resealing of the same.

In a statement before the High Court, senior counsel appearing on the secretaries’ behalf, had on the last date of hearing asserted that 78 petitioners had so far been interrogated by the CBI. Nothing tangible had been found by the agency against them — at least to the best of their knowledge.

Taking up the case, the Bench had directed “the CBI to submit its progress or status report in a sealed cover for confidential perusal as it may have a bearing on the fate of the prayer for the grant of interim relief to the petitioners”.

The secretaries, in their petition, had earlier alleged that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta. Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October, 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepore and six others, in one such petition, had added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

100 examined in sex scam, says CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday claimed that as many 100 witnesses had been examined in the Amritsar sex-scam.

Appearing before a Division Bench of the High Court, the CBI’s standing counsel asserted that evidence was being gathered.

In his petition, Chairman of Punjab Human Rights Organisation Justice Ajit Singh Bains had claimed that a “disturbing communication” by a witness in the matter indicated that the investigations in the sex-scam was not being conducted in a fair manner. After hearing the arguments, the Bench, headed by Chief Justice B.K. Roy, disposed of the petition.

Notice on plea of Chohan

Taking up a petition filed by the self-styled president of Khalistan, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, seeking early Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) poll, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notice of motion. The case will now come up for hearing on December 1.

Dr Chauhan, in his petition, had earlier alleged that the elections were not held even though the poll was due in 2001. Going into the background of the case, Dr Chohan claimed that the elections were initially held in 1979 and then after a gap of over 17 years in 1996, but were not held after that.

Quoting the legal provisions, Dr Chohan asserted that as per the Sikh Gurdwara Act, the SGPC members could hold office for five years, but unfortunately the board’s history showed that the elections were rarely held on time. 


Scam in cotton purchase alleged
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 14
The payment of market fees (MF) and rural development fund (RDF) running into crores of rupees is allegedly being evaded by the cotton factory owners on the purchase of kapas and narma in connivance with officials of the market committees of the district. Investigation made by this correspondent revealed that 2 per cent MF and 2 per cent RDF is payable by cotton factory owners to the market committees on the purchase of kapas and narma.

A factory owner on the condition of anonymity alleged that barring a handful of owners, the rest were indulging in the malpractice. 


NFL opens krishi seva kendra

Bathinda, October 14
A krishi seva kendra was opened at NFL township and a mobile soil and water testing van was dedicated to farmers of the region by Mr P.S. Grewal, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, National Fertiliser Limited (NFL) on Sunday.

According to a press release issued here yesterday, the kendra would serve the farmers of the region by importing them knowledge about the new techniques of agriculture apart from training them in crop diversification, contract farming and allround agriculture development.

The mobile soil and water testing van would be used to undertake soil and irrigation water tests. — TNS


3 revenue officials suspended
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 14
Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, has suspended three junior officials of the Revenue Department for dereliction of duty. They are Balkar Singh, district revenue assistant, Amarjit Singh and Harish Kumar, both clerks.

According to reports, the Punjab Dairy Department last month sent a case to the Deputy Commissioner for the recovery of Rs 61 lakh as cess for two years for 2000 to 2002 from Jeevan Milk Allied Specialities Ltd, Kotkapura. It was requested that if the defaulting party failed to pay the cess its property be attached. Keeping in view the seriousness of the issue the Deputy Commissioner issued the orders on September 9 to take up the case on a priority basis.

However, the officials of the Revenue Department allgedly failed to perform their duties and did not forward the case file to the senior officers for necessary action. They rather sat on the case file for about a month.

In another case, the Deputy Commissioner suspended Sukhcharan Singh, a special Kanungo of Faridkot, who was recently convicted by a judicial court on the charge of raping a woman journalist of the area. A Patwari, Karam Singh had also been suspended for allegedly murdering his father-in-law.


Couple killed in sleep
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 14
An old couple was found murdered with sharp-edged weapons under mysterious circumstances last night at Nagoke village falling under Verowal police station. The police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC.

Dr Narinder Bhargav, local SSP, told this correspondent today here that the deceased had been identified as Jarnail Singh (65) and his wife Surjit Kaur (60) who were living at their farmhouse. Their other family members were living in the house in the heart of the village. The couple was allegedly murdered with sharp-edged weapons.


Punjabi varsity creates 3 more faculties
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 14
The Academic Council of Punjabi University today approved the creation of three new faculties of engineering and technology, business studies and law. Earlier, all three courses were covered under the Faculty of Professional Courses.

University Spokesman Baldev Singh Sandhu said the Faculty of Medicine which had been lying freezed since June, 2000, had also been revived. He said now the Department of Pharmacuetical Sciences which was associated with the Faculty of Life Sciences would come under this faculty. The total number of faculties in the university has risen from seven to 10.

The Academic Council has also renamed the B. Tech (Computer Science and Engineering) course at Talwandi Sabo as B. Tech (Computer Engineering) and made it equivalent to the course by the same name which is being offered by the University College of Engineering on the campus here in terms of syllabi.

It also gave clearance for paternity leave of 15 days to teaching and non-teaching staff of Punjabi University and its affiliated colleges on the Punjab Government pattern.

In another decision, students from odd numbers of semesters would be promoted to the next even number of semesters without any pre-condition. Admission from one year to another year would be subject to the clearance of 50 per cent of the total subsequent papers up to that semester. However, to clear the reappear of the last semester, students will be given a chance to appear in the next semester.

The Academic Council also approved in principle to start new post-graduate, diploma and certificate courses in gurmat sangeet by the Gurmat Sangeet Chair. This Chair will be covered under the Faculty of Art and Culture.


Open IIT at Bathinda: BJP
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 14
After an announcement made by the Prime Minister that five new IITs would be opened up in the country, residents of the district have been demanding that at least one IIT should be opened up in the district. Mr Sham Lal Bansal, a BJP leader said he had written a letter urging the Ministry of Human Resources Development to open an IIT in the district in 1997.

He said the ministry had assured that the proposal would be considered and with the announcement made by the Prime Minister the hopes of getting an IIT for the district had brightened.

He said the district had been emerging as a central place for the state of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and many big industries had been set up in the region. The oil refinery would also prove to be a big boost for the economic development of the region. 


Students for bus pass facility
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 14
Amarjit Raju and Sanjeev Mintu President and Secretary, respectively, of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) in a statement here on Sunday said that the PRSU would not allow Students Bus Pass Concessional Travelling Facility to be stopped.

The two student leaders made it clear that this bus pass facility was secured by students of Punjab through a struggle in 1974 and this would not be allowed to be withdrawn. 


Science fair concludes

Bathinda, October 14
Host MSD Public School has won 12 out of the total 49 prizes, including the quiz competition, under various categories in the two-day science fair, which concluded here today. The fair was organised as per the policy and directives of NCERT and a large number of students from various schools of Bathinda tehsil participated. — TNS

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