P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab should play proactive role: Gill
Pak proposal for Lahore-Amritsar bus
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Former Chief Election Commissioner M.S. Gill is surprised that there has been no response from Punjab to the Pakistan offer to start Lahore-Amritsar bus service.

Dr Gill wondered why no one in Punjab had responded to Pakistan’s offer, such an arrangement would make visits across the border easy rather than SGPC seeking permission for jathas to visit historic gurdwaras in Pakistan.

Dr Gill told The Tribune today that a similar offer from Pakistan earlier to open a passage to pilgrims to pay obeisance at the gurdwara in Kartarpur opposite Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur was also not followed up at any level in Punjab.

Dr Gill recalled his meeting with Hindus and Sikhs in Nankana Sahib four years ago where it was pointed out that they were given visas to visit any other part of India but Punjab. They wanted permission to visit at least Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. ‘’I wrote to the Prime Minister on return but, there has been no reply till date’’.

Punjab, Dr Gill said, was a major stakeholder in India-Pakistan relations as the people had suffered Partition, starting their lives from a scratch. Once peace was restored between the two countries, Punjab would emerge a major beneficiary in people-to-people relations. Punjab would also benefit in trade and tourism.

If there was justification for a bus facility between Dacca and Kolkata or proposals were there for similar connections between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, or for a rail-road link between Khokrapar in Rajasthan and Munabao in Sind, why not between Amritsar-Lahore and Amritsar-Nankana Sahib with all necessary regulations and controls?

Dr Gill said once the proposal to start ferry service between Mumbai and Karachi matured, it would give a setback to Punjab. It was a border state, land-locked and miles away from the seaports. Once this sea route opened, it would also open flood gates to the economy and trade that would affect Punjab. Positive contacts between the two Punjabs were important for the state’s economy and trade just as the opening of rail, road and sea links would benefit Maharashtra, Kashmir, Rajasthan.

Dr Gill said as Punjab had strategic geo-political location, it had to play a pro-active role in the peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad.


HC wants drug seizures recorded on camera
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
Stressing upon the need for safeguards to prevent the implication of innocents in cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the heads of investigating agencies should "bestow their attention" on the feasibility of capturing the scene of drugs recovery with the "help of digital cameras or some other electronic device".

In a significant ruling, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the high court has also asked "state counsel to take instructions from Punjab's Director-General of Police, who is directed to give due consideration to the subject and file an affidavit about the action proposed to be taken in the regard".

The order is not the first of its kind, aimed at reducing the possibility of implicating innocents in NDPS cases. Earlier, Mr Justice Goel had paved the way for effective pre-trial disposal of seized contraband for reducing the possibility of the police planting it on innocents.

Mr Justice Goel, in his earlier order, had clarified that the magistrates before whom applications were made for disposal of contraband would deal with it according to the statutory provisions.

In his detailed order regarding the procurement of cameras and other safeguards, Mr Justice Goel held: "It is necessary that an innocent person is not implicated, which is possible only if there are safeguards from which the court can be objectively be satisfied about the recovery of contraband in the manner alleged (by the prosecution)".

After hearing Punjab's Deputy Advocate-General, Mr Mansoor Ali, Mr Justice Goel further held: "Counsel for the state says that he has learnt about a proposal in the Punjab Police to secure video cameras. In this regard, a direction was earlier issued on October 7, last year, requiring the state to consider capturing the scene of recovery with digital camera or some other electronic gadget and also to ensure association of a gazetted officer, if not any other independent person, irrespective of the statement of the accused".

The Judge added: "Counsel is not aware about the status of compliance of the direction or about adoption of any other adequate safeguard by the investigating agencies." He stressed, "Interest of justice does require heads of investigating agencies to bestow their attention to this important aspect without any loss of time and issue appropriate directions to all those dealing with the investigation of such cases...."

The Judge concluded: "Counsel for the state submits that there is difficulty of finances. It is not clear why a photographer, normally used by the police for taking photographs of scenes of occurrences, cannot be pressed into service. It will not require special provision of finances. Let counsel take instructions from the state...."


NRI Fraud
Father seeks justice for daughter
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Vairoke (Moga), November 15
Marriage frauds committed by NRIs across Punjab have now made forays into Himachal Pradesh also. A young Lecturer in English from Kangra has been duped by an Australia based NRI. Shocked at the cheating, the bubbly girl has gone into acute depression and is under treatment in a hospital in that state.

She has not only lost her peace of mind but her jobs as well. Confident of getting settled in Australia, she had quit her regular job. Her mother-in-law has demanded Rs 5 lakh from her parents in lieu of ‘allowing’ her to join her husband abroad.

This is the sordid tale of Ms Manju Sharma, daughter of Mr D.C. Sharma, Head, Department of English, DAV College, Kangra. While the HP police has registered a case of dowry against Manju’s in-laws, it has not taken any further action allegedly at the behest of a political leader.

As a last hope, Mr Sharma has sought the help of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President of the Lok Bhalai Party. He was in this historical village on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s birthday to meet Mr Ramoowalia so that he could take up her case. He told The Tribune that Manju could not accompany him as she was admitted to a hospital.

Parents of the groom had even made false claims about the qualification and job of the bridegroom. He is neither a computer engineer nor an Australian citizen and the girl was taken for a ride by him and her in-laws, claimed Mr Sharma.

“I brought up my daughter well, got her educated only to marry her off to dowry seekers who had been harassing her. They did not spare an educated college lecturer.’’ said Mr Sharma.

He added that for his daughter had got married in February this year through a matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper. The advertisement had claimed that the boy was a computer engineer and an Australian citizen. ‘‘But after marriage we found that he was doing odd jobs with the Australian Railways at Sydney and was not even a citizen of that country. However, it was too late as the groom’s family had forced my daughter to resign from her college and stay at home with his mother. She resigned thinking that she would be going to Australia soon. ’’

Mr Sharma alleged that the family had spent lakhs of rupees on Manju’s wedding and jewellery and her mother-in-law even took away her ornaments worth Rs 2 lakh.

‘‘I do not know how and when my daughter will recover. But I have an advice for the parents of girls that they should always check the antecedents of the NRI grooms if they decide to marry them to NRIs.’’ said Mr Sharma.


PSEB realises 19 cr as penalties
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 15
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has realised Rs 19 crore in penalties after conducting raids to check power theft during the current financial year.

Disclosing this here today, an official release said the Board’s enforcement wing had checked 33,222 connections during the current financial year and detected irregularities in 12,865 connections.

The release said special checking had been conducted on agricultural tubewells to verify unauthorised extension and theft. It said during the current financial year, 6,351 tubewells were checked out of which 3114 tubewells were detected for various violations and Rs 3.37 crore was charged from defaulters.

The Board also disclosed that the Mobile Meter Testing Squad under the enforcement organisation had checked 5,711 connections out of which 1,356 detections were made resulting in a compensation amount of Rs 4 crore. Besides, energy audit of various consumers was being carried out to know the exact power being consumed by them.


PPCC demands parliamentary probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 15
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has demanded a parliamentary inquiry into allegations that some ministers from the ruling coalition at the Centre have been demanding money from public sector undertakings (PSUs) for party funds.

In another statement issued here, the PPCC said that it would campaign for party candidates in Delhi and Rajasthan from November 19-21 and from November 24-26. 


Pension officers to face action
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 15
The Punjab Government is planning to take disciplinary action against those officers, including SDMs, who were responsible for the distribution of pensions to different categories during the SAD-BJP rule about two years back in the state. A high-powered committee will shortly be constituted to identify the erring officials in this regard. This was stated by Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Minister for Social Security, Women and child development, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Mr Mann said the action of the erring officials had caused a financial loss of over Rs 50 crore to the state exchequer as pensions were given to 1.14 lakh "fake" pensioners till the end of the last financial year. The issue was still under process to identify the fake pensioners.

He assured that over nine lakh beneficiaries (pensioners) in the state who could not get their pensions for the past seven months due to the financial crunch would get it before the end of this month. Rupees 140 crore in this connection would be released next week.

The minister who had arrived here to preside over a district-level seminar on untouchability, said under a special component plan for the upliftment of the weaker sections Rs 159.46 under 33 welfare schemes had already been released.


Sikh jatha returns from Pakistan

Wagah, November 15
A jatha of Sikh pilgrims returned from Pakistan here today after observing the 534th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib.

During their stay in Pakistan, they visited many gurdwaras.

The group of Sikh devotees had left India for Pakistan on November 5. — PTI


Bhattal to campaign in Delhi, Rajasthan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
Punjab Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has been chosen by the Congress high command to assist in the first round of the campaign in Delhi and Rajasthan. Mr Bhattal would campaign in Delhi and Rajasthan from November 18 to 22. The pressnote said the senior leader would reach Delhi on November 18 following which she would go to Rajasthan.


Sufi play from Pak
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, November 15
Artistes from Pakistan staged “Bullha”, a play here today. The play, written by Shaid Nadeem , is based on the life and teachings of the 16th century poet saint, Baba Bulle Shah.

The promoter of Ajoka-theatre group for social change of Lahore and the director of the play Gauhar and the cast got a standing ovation by 1000-odd spectators. Gauhar said though Baba Bulle Shah belonged to the 16th century, his sayings on love and tolerance were still relevant.

She saidhe represented the composite Punjabi culture of tolerance ,brotherhood and peace. Incidentally, there were 16 qawwalis in the play.


‘Dulari Bai’, a delectable comedy
Gurvinder kaur

Patiala, November 15
There is something endearing about plays based on old themes involving human weaknesses and foibles. However, such plays run the risk of being relegated to a cliched slot if the director fails to infuse a fresh lease of life into the production by constant adaptation and innovation. “Dulari Bai”, staged on Thursday by the Theatre and Television Department of Punjabi University has , however, nothing to be anxious on this score.

The play has been directed by Dr Kamlesh Uppal of the department. Dr Uppal had earlier adapted the play in Punjabi . Written in the seventies by a famous playwright, Mani Madhukar, the play, originally in Hindi, had earned several accolades during its performances. Essentially a comedy, the play uses plenty of musical interludes to enliven the proceedings.

The central character of the play, Dulari Bai, is greed incarnate and the dilemma she faces during the course of the play is indicative of the ultimate dead end faced by men consumed by the greed for the acquisition of material possessions.

The plot is woven around the miserly Dulari’s decades old worn-out shoes which she initially refuses to part with and later is at pains to discard, following the prediction of great wealth and grandeur once she gets rid of her shoes. Satire, romance, poetry and comedy, all combine to lend an extraordinary an ordinary theme.

A high point of the play remains the musical rendition of the narrative which communicates the dominant mood of the play at various stages.

The director has cleverly used only folk music besides the tunes of marriage songs to harmoniously connect dramatic links in the play.

Various characters in the play have been slightly modified to make them gel with the peculiar immediacy of the region.

It is for the same reason that one of the characters, who originally uses a Rajasthani dialect , here uses the ‘Puadhi’ dialect in its place . The dialect, which is a mixture of Hindi and Punjabi, is spoken in and around the district extending till the Jind area of Haryana.

Dr Uppal, while talking to this correspondent about the innovations introduced by her into the play, said ever since she adapted the play in the local language, the musical narrative denoting Dulari’s condition became the most exciting part of the play for her to display her directorial abilities.

A song in the play ‘Krishna , Krishna, ki bannu Dulari bai da’ is based on the notes of the folk song ‘Dhol jaani, meri gali aiyeen teri meharbani’.She adds that the theme of the play is also best rendered through the lines, Sona Chandi ki karu, deyu dukh vadah, jinna mil jaye sabar kar, lalach buri balah.`

The Head of the Theatre Department, Dr Yogesh Gambhir, who has designed the set for the play, said the play which had been put up by the students of the first semester of MA , (Theatre and Television) had had four runs and had received praise for the uninhibited performance put in by all the actors . Dulari Bai, played by Suman and the character of Fajja Mirasi played by Sarabjeet Singh, along with the performance of Sukhvir Dhillon and Manish Bassi, who play Chajju Ram and Chaudhary, respectively, deserve a pat on their back for their theatrical skill. The singers included noted singer Shamin Iqbal.


Waste treatment facility for Dera Bassi on cards
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 15
An attempt to safeguard the state from the ill effects of hazardous waste, generated by its industrial units, will soon result in the setting up of a central waste treatment and disposal facility by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) at Dera Bassi in the district.

Under the project, industrial waste, generated by large units in every district of the state, will reach the common disposal site for processing. The site, which covers around 22 acres, will prove to be a boon, especially to the large-scale industries centred around Ludhiana which do not have adequate waste-storage facilities on their premises.

The PPCB has forwarded the documents pertaining to the project to the authorities concerned and the process for acquiring land for the site is currently underway.

The facility, which is being established at Nimbua village near Dera Bassi in the district, is being funded by Nimbua Green Fields, a body comprising the maximum industrial waste producing units of the state. An Environmental Engineer, PPCB, Mr Karunesh Garg, while talking to this correspondent stated that the board would function as a regulatory body for the waste-disposal facility.

Following directions by the Supreme Court, the board has already issued notices to scores of industrial units in the state to either acquire authorisation certificates within three weeks or face closure.

Nearly 1,600 units of the state which have not complied with regulations pertaining to waste management have been asked to apply to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for authorisation.

As many as 145 industrial units based in Patiala district have been identified as having inadequate waste disposal facilities, though a majority of the offending units are situated in and around Ludhiana.

The units, which have been granted three weeks to comply with the directives, face immediate closure in the event of conditions remaining unfulfilled.

Under the directives issued by the Supreme Court, following fresh amendments to rules pertaining to hazardous waste management, all units are now liable to display at their entrance information regarding the quantity and the nature of the waste being generated by them.

According to sources, industries dealing in pharmaceuticals, waste oils, pesticides, insectides, electroplating and pickles are the main offenders under the Waste Management Act.

Most of these units do not have the mandatory concrete floor required for the dumping room to ascertain that the affluents do not seep down and contaminate the ground water.

Under the new guidelines, a unit has to ensure the provision of an alternate storage facility in the event of the original being exhausted.

The board, on its part, is also planning to hold month-long rallies beginning November 19 to create awareness among the populace regarding the need to preserve and safeguard the environment.


Arhtiya panel asks CM to get their payments released
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
The Federation of Arhtiya Associations of Punjab today appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to intervene and ensure that payments due to them were released immediately.

The association president, Mr Bal Krishna Singla, and the general secretary, Mr Swarn Singh, said the government had assured that payments would be made within 72 hours but the payment of the procurement done a month ago was still to be made. They said Pungrain and Punjab Agro were the worst paymasters and added that other procurement agencies were also defaulting on payments.

Mr Singla said commission agents were finding it difficult to meet the demands of farmers who were also under stress because they needed money to sow the Rabi crop. He said the euphoria created due to the record procurement of 136 lakh metric tonnes of paddy had been lost due to the delay in making of payments by the procurement agencies. He requested the Chief Minister to come to the rescue to commission agents and farmers.


Centre to train youth for Army opened
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 15
The Punjab Government has started a permanent C-PYTE centre in the Khizrabad village of the district to train the youth of the Kandi area for recruitment in armed forces.

The camp was inaugurated yesterday by the Minister for Youth Services, Sports, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang.

Mr Kang said the centre was a long-standing demand of the people of the area. Since the land holding was reducing and the number of unemployed youth growing the state government had written to the Defence Ministry to divert the unutilised quota of other states in services recruitment to Punjab.

This would help tackle the problem of growing unemployment in Punjab.

In view of the changing market scenario, besides preparing the youth for services tests, the C-CYTE camps were also training them for jobs in private sector. In the newly set up camp at Khizrabad, the girls would also be given technical training free of cost.

Dir-Gen C-PYTE, Mr J.S. Randhawa, said the camp at Khizrabad was the eighth of its type of the state.

The C-PYTE had trained 87,145 youth out of which 53,596 had been serving in services, public and private sectors.


2nd battalion is guard mounting champ
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 15
The 2nd India Reserve Battalion (IRB) today won the Running Trophy of the Second Inter-Battalion Guard Mounting competition here today.

The competition, which was organised on the premises of the office of the IRB Inspector-General of Police, saw six battalions vying for the top honour.

The contestants were tested in drill besides seeing their smartness, alertness and preparedness for operational duties.

The IG Dr P. M. Das, gave away the trophy to 2nd Battalion Commandant Surinderpal Singh and team in charge ASI Darshan Lal. The 3rd and Ist battalions of the IRB were declared second and third, respectively.



Mediapersons abused
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 15
Rajinder Kumar ‘Toka’, a suspended court nazir, today misbehaved with some mediapersons in the court complex.

He indulged in verbal abuse and threatened to kill a reporter. ‘Toka’ was here along with a former Sessions Judge, Mr V.B. Handa, in connection with a case regarding corruption charges against them.

When the former judge was approached by the mediapersons, he refused to comment. However, without any provocation, ‘Toka’ started abusing them and created a scene. Some persons along with him tried to snatch the camera of a photographer who was clicking a photograph of the judge.


Bimal Khalsa’s guard acquitted in TADA case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
The designated TADA court at the Nabha Jail today acquitted Balwinder Singh, who was the Special Police Officer associated with former leader Bimal Khalsa during the militancy period in the state.

Special Judge S.P. Bangarh today acquitted Balwinder Singh in the case, which was registered against him in May, 1991. Balwinder was booked under TADA when he was nabbed in Patiala and one .32 pistol, a grenade and nine live cartridges were allegedly recovered from him.

Balwinder's lawyer Brijinder Singh Sodhi had argued that the police had concocted a false case against his client, saying the government wanted to discredit Ms Bimal Khalsa, as she was standing for election from the Ropar parliamentary seat. The lawyer said the police had neither seized grenade nor the pistol allegedly recovered from his client. He also claimed that Balwinder had been presented to the Ropar police on May 10, three days before he was allegedly nabbed in Patiala with weapons. 



Anuradha Paudwal summoned for copyright violation

Amritsar, November 15
A local court today provided one more opportunity to singer Anuradha Paudwal, Tips Music Company owner Ramesh Torani and Super Cassettes’ Bhushan Kumar for personal appearance on December 17 in a copyrights violation case.

Plaintiff Brij Mohan Bhardwaj complained before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in November 1996 that the defendants had stolen bhajans written by his father Chaman Lal Bhardwaj without permission.

They were sung by singers Anuradha Paudwal and Narender Chanchal, he alleged.

CJM Harpreet Kaur Randhawa had issued subsequently summons to the respondents for personal appearance before the court, but barring Narender Chanchal, none of the others appeared in the court so far. 



SI’s bail plea rejected
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 15
The bail application of a Sub-Inspector in the Chandigarh police, Naravjit Singh, accused of investing Rs 50 lakh in a Punjabi film, “Hawayen”, was rejected today by the special judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel Naravjit is a co-accused in a corruption case against a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and is currently in police custody.


21 lakh collected as ST during raids
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
The Excise and Taxation Department has detected unaccounted sales worth Rs 6 crore during raids conducted in Faridkot, Moga and Muktsar districts.

Four teams of officers of Ferozepur and Faridkot divisions conducted the raids under the supervision of Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner Kuldeep Singh, according to a press note issued here today. It said the trades under scrutiny were cotton, ghee, paper and marble. It said the defaulting firms paid sales tax of Rs 19 lakh on the spot on the unaccounted sales.

In another case of scrutiny, the department found that a rice sheller of Dhuri in Sangrur district did not pay tax on the purchases of paddy and rice worth Rs 5 crore. On inquiry, the mill owner claimed that he was a holder of exemption certificate from the Khadi Gram Udyog Board, but could not produce the certificate.


Notices to councillors on hired sweepers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 15
The Vigilance Bureau here today issued notices to all councillors of the local Municipal Corporation, including Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor. They were asked to submit relevant records regarding the disbursement of salaries to sweepers hired on monthly basis by mohalla sanitation committees.

Highly placed sources revealed that 10 of the 55 councillors had already submitted the records in this regard.

The Vigilance authorities today visited four wards to inquire from the residents whether the sanitation committees concerned had collected Rs 50 per month from them for paying the hired sweepers.

Five members of the Vigilance team headed by the DSP (Vigilance), Mr Pushkar Sandal, were scrutinising the official record handed over by the local Municipal Corporation.

According to the terms of the agreement signed with the MC, the mohalla sanitation committees were to provide Rs 1,200 per month per sweeper as grant while a matching amount was to be collected from the residents to pay the sweepers.

The sweepers were reportedly paid only Rs 1,200 per month, forcing them to move the PSHRC. The petitioners alleged that the councillors concerned had embezzled around Rs 2 lakh each per month by doing so.

The sources, however, maintain that during investigation it could not be proved that the councillors in some wards had collected money from residents, but there was substantial evidence that the committees concerned were non-existent sweepers. “The ward-wise lists of sweepers were being scrutinised and their statements recorded,” a senior vigilance official said.

“Another factor which came to light during investigation was that certain sweepers were working at residences of senior officials. We are collecting evidence in this regard,” he said.


Singla made Observer
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
Former MP and Punjab Mandi Board President Sant Ram Singla has been nominated observer for the Rajasthan Assembly elections by the Congress high command.

According to information, he would be leaving for Rajasthan shortly. He would help coordinate the election campaign in Rajasthan during his stay in the State. 


SSP plans to cut supply line of narcotics
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 15
Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, said here yesterday that the police was formulating a strategy to cut the supply line of narcotics from other states to the region.

Mr Chahal, talking to mediapersons on his first visit to the subdivision after taking over charge of Ferozepore district, said as the first step to check smuggling of opium and puppy husk and other contraband goods from neighbouring Rajasthan, the police had decided to deploy sniffer dogs and specially trained cops on each road linking Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts.

Mr Chahal said the effort would be to create an atmosphere which would scare criminals in this districts. Those present at the meeting were SP Munish Chawla, DSP Narenderpal Singh and all SHOs of Abohar and Fazilka subdivisions. Interestingly, all lottery ticket sellers in Rani Jhansi Market put their shutters down as they learnt that the SSP had arrived there.


Chowkidar, 2 others held for robbery

Moga, November 15
The police has solved a robbery committed in the Village Cooperative Society of Madheke, under Nihalsingh Wala police station about a year back, by arresting two robbers and chowkidar of the society, besides recovering Rs 79,000 of total robbed money of Rs 90,000.

Police sources said two scooter-borne youths committed the robbery on November 25, 2000, and snatched the money at pistol point from salesman Kuldeep Singh. — UNI


Vehicle thieves’ gang busted, 9 held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 15
The district police has busted a nine-member inter-district gang of vehicle thieves and recovered eight vehicles from their possession.

Addressing a press conference here today, district police chief Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said acting on a tip-off, a special police party laid a naka near local Sports college on the Kapurthala road on Friday afternoon. A Maruti Zen car (PB 08AJ 5482) was intercepted and the occupants of the vehicle failed to produce documents of the vehicle. They were identified as Rakesh Bansal, Parmod Jain, Amrit Lal Jindal and Lucky Sharma, all residents of Ludhiana. They were later found to be travelling in a stolen car.

During preliminary interrogation, they revealed that they were part of a nine-member gang and remaining five members of the gang were planning to snatch a vehicle from the Model Town area. Subsequently, nakas were laid in the Model Town and soon after midnight, an Opel Astra car was sighted by the police party at a naka near the Sewerage chowk.

The police signalled the car to stop even as the driver of the vehicle fired a shot at the police party and tried to flee from the spot, but of no avail. The occupants of the car were arrested and were identified as Jaswant Singh of Shahkot, Sachin Kumar of Uttar Pradesh, Davinder Singh, Jasbir Singh and Ashok Kumar, all residents of Moga.

The police recovered two countrymade pistols from their possession. Later, the disclosure made by the arrested persons led to recovery of seven vehicles including one Opel Astra car, two Maruti Zen cars, two Maruti Wagon R, one Mohindra Scorpio and a motor cycle.

During investigation they revealed that the first module of the gang was headed by Rakesh Bansal and the other by Jaswant Baba. 


ITI-trained to be employed as tubewell operators
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
The tussle between city Mayor Vishnu Sharma and Municipal Corporation Commissioner Sanjay Kumar has worsened with the Commissioner today passing a direction that the institution should recruit only ITI trained candidates as tubewell operators.

Tubewell operators are generally recruited on a temporary basis by the Mayor in consultation with councillors. At present the corporation has 150 tubewell operators on its rolls and none of them are ITI trained. With the passing of this order, which has been issued to the Joint Commissioner, a hornets nest seems to have been stirred with the councillors likely to resist the move. The order besides calling for the recruitment of ITI trained personnel has also set the period of employment for such persons at 60 days.

The Mayor when contacted admitted that such an order had been passed. He however said it was impractical to follow it. Mr Sharma said people were appointed as tubewell operators for a period of three to four months keeping in mind the government’s regulation that no employee should be hired for a period of more than 240 days. He said it was difficult to keep ITI-trained personnel on temporary basis.

Sources disclosed that according to the present system prevalent in the Corporation, youngsters were hired as tubewell operators on the recommendation of various councillors because the temporary nature of the job did not entail any selection procedure for the same. The sources said Congress councillors were taking the order as an attempt to snub them and were likely to resist it.

Meanwhile the Mayor, who had earlier complained to the Chief Secretary and the Secretary, Local Bodies that the Commissioner was not competent to transfer officials working in the corporation without consulting him, has now sent a letter to the Commissioner. The latest missive claims that the revenue of the corporation has been affected ever since Sanjay Kumar took/ over as the Commissioner. The letter sites the specific reduction in revenue by 11 per cent during the month of October this year. It also claims that if this trend continues the corporation will not be able to meet the targets fixed in the current Budget. The Commissioner when contacted on the issue, said he did not want to make a comment.

Meanwhile, even though the Commissioner had recently ordered the suspension of a Sanitary Inspector, the order has not been carried out. The Sanitary Inspector was suspended on charges of being negligent in carrying out his duties which fact was revealed during a surprise checking of his area. The Employees Union of the corporation had claimed that the employee had been on leave during the time of checking and that the suspension should be revoked. Subsequently the Mayor spoke with Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh on this issue. The employee is presently doing duty even though he is technically under suspension.

The row between the Mayor and the Commissioner seems to have seeped down to the level of the Councillors. Though a large number of councillors are aligned with Vishnu Sharma, councillors loyal to the Improvement Trust Chairman K K Sharma are supporting the Commissioner. 


Punjabi University Round-up
Bonhomie on campus despite impasse
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA: This is the silly season on the Punjabi University campus if one could use a P G Wodehouse phrase. Though the varsity Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice-Chancellor continue to slug it out with no end to the impasse in sight, the weather has definitely created a spirit on bonhomie on the campus.

The faculty and students seem to be set to enjoy the events lined up traditionally for this time of the year when the pressure of studies is low and the weather calls for enjoyment, fun and frolic. The Department of Theatre and the Television Department have come up with a production called “Dulari Bai”, which was showcased four times last week. The play written by Mani Madhukar was staged for the audience in Punjabi, which witnessed a laugh riot for students of the varsity.

The department resorted to informal screenings of the play after a screening with VIPs. Students of the varsity seem to be great fans of their theatre and television brethren, if the response to the screening was any indication. Use of “Puadhi”, a dialect spoken in the Patiala-Jind area provided a refreshing change as did the singing of Shameem Iqbal, a talented youngster.

Another play “Aag de Kalire”, which has been adapted from Spanish dramatist Frederico Lorca’s “Blood Wedding”, is slated to be staged in the last week of this month. This is being staged by the final-year students of the Theatre Department. Noted singer Uttam Singh is also slated to be in the university along with the Singh Bandhus this week.

On the serious side, last week saw varsity Pro Vice-Chancellor R.N. Pal being virtually booted out of a meeting of the varsity Syndicate by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai.

The Vice-Chancellor had earlier withdrawn all work from Mr Pal and ordering his ouster from the Syndicate meeting means Dr Pal was effectively out of all decision-making bodies on the campus. The Vice-Chancellor has justified his action saying that Dr Pal tried to obstruct the conduct of the meeting due to which he had to take the decision.

Meanwhile, varsity circles are abuzz with speculation as to whether Mr Pal will be out of his job with the Vice-Chancellor and the government recommending his removal to the varsity Chancellor. However, sources said Dr Pal’s BJP links were keeping him in office and he may yet complete his remaining eight months of term in office.

Last week also saw Dr K S Sidhu, who was earlier the Registrar and is at present a Professor in the Defence Studies Department, requesting the Chancellor to inquire into the alleged “vindictive” treatment being meted out to him by Mr Boparai.

The teacher said the varsity had deliberately not granted him a no objection certificate to visit Sri Lanka to attend a seminar. Dr Sidhu is presently in the Pro Vice-Chancellor camp and this could be one reason why the NOC was denied to him, even though the university had claimed that Dr Sidhu’s image was under a cloud and that he could not be allowed to represent the institution in such circumstances.

Meanwhile, the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication welcomed a Fulbright scholar, Prof Richard Buttny, from Syracuse University in New York. Prof Buttny is scheduled to stay in the city for a period of 42 days during the course of which he will deliver lectures in the Journalism Department as well as other departments on “Inter Cultural Communications”.

Other activities included the delivery of the first Dr Ganda Singh Memorial Lecture on the topic of “Making of Sri Guru Granth Sahib” by noted historian Dr J.S. Grewal, which was well appreciated for the insight provided by Dr Grewal on the issue.


Ex-Registrar’s plea to Chancellor
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 15
Senior Punjabi University teacher and former Registrar K.S. Sidhu today requested the University Chancellor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), to order an inquiry into the “anti-academic and vindictive” attitude of Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai for not issuing him a no-objection certificate (NOC) to attend a seminar in Sri Lanka.

The former Registrar has in a letter to the Chancellor, which has also been submitted to the Vice-Chancellor, claimed that Mr Beaparai has not taken any action on his application seeking grant of NOC to complete visa formalities besides granting of financial assistance to him to undertake the trip. He claimed the application had been submitted to the Vice-Chancellor more than one and a half months ago.

Dr Sidhu said his paper on “Maritime Security of India and Sri Lanka” had been accepted to be presented at the Ninth International Conference on Sri Lankan Studies to be held at the University of Ruhuna from November 28 to 30. He claimed that he had submitted two letters requesting for the issuance of the NOC and 50 per cent financial assistance.

He claimed that Mr Boparai was trying to make his application infructuous through delaying tactics.

Dr Sidhu has accused the Vice-Chancellor of trying to harass him earlier also. He alleged that he was unceremoniously removed from the post of Registrar without assigning any reason even though he had been appointed for one year by the Syndicate. He also accused Mr Boparai of obstructing his academic pursuits.

Dr Sidhu claimed that the Vice-Chancellor was still to reply to his earlier request for the issuance of an NOC and financial help to attend an international seminar to be held in Austria next month.

The teacher also claimed that the Vice-Chancellor was seeking explanations from him on flimsy grounds and that he had been forced to resign from the position of Head of the Department, Defence Studies, due to this attitude. He also requested the Chancellor to call for the entire record relating to “his harassment” so that the same could not be tampered with by the university authorities.

Meanwhile, the university spokesman, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, said the Vice-Chancellor had not been able to clear the case of Dr Sidhu because of the latter’s questionable record. The Vice-Chancellor was of the opinion that anyone representing the university abroad should be of unquestionable integrity and character. He said in Dr Sidhu’s case, the university was forced to think twice because of allegations which had been levelled against him.



Dr Ganda Singh memorial lecture organised
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 15
The Department of Punjab Historical Studies of Punjabi University, Patiala, organised the first Ganda Singh Memorial Lecture on the topic — Making of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, here yesterday.

An eminent historian and former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Dr J.S. Grewal, delivered this lecturer. Dr J.S. Grewal highlighted the contributions made by Dr Ganda Singh in the field of Punjab history in general and Sikh history in particular.

Dr Grewal said Dr Ganda Singh and Teja Singh underscored the intrinsic need and fundamental significance of Guru Granth Sahib.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor Sawarn Singh Boparai gave a brief outline of different university programmes concerning the celebrations of the 400th year of Parkash Divas.

Earlier, Prof Sukhdial Singh, Head of Punjab Historical Studies Department, while introducing the theme of the lecture, said the initiative of Punjabi University to institute Dr Ganda Singh Memorial Lecture is indeed a matter of great satisfaction.

The Registrar of Punjabi University, Mr Param Bakshish Singh, also spoke on the occasion.


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