P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



3 held for killing youth
Main suspect being shielded: widow
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, November 27
The Hoshiarpur police has arrested three of the four persons suspected of hacking Jasbir Singh to death with swords on Tuesday at Jahankhelan village bus stand for marrying a girl from another caste.

Meanwhile, business establishments in the main bazaar of Jahankhelan village were opened today.

The Hoshiarpur police today arrested the suspects — Naresh Kumar, alias Jagga, son of Sukhchain Singh, Subhash Chand Bagga and Daljit Singh Jeeta, sons of Daya Ram — from the Jamun Wala Choe here today. Parbhat Singh, Pappi, the “main accused” according to Geeta, the wife of Jasbir Singh, was however, still at large.

Mr Lok Nath, SSP, said the suspects had been absconding since Tuesday morning. During the preliminary interrogation the three persons confessed to their involvement in the crime. “The motive behind the crime was the marriage of the deceased with Geeta in a court and this love marriage was not acceptable to Geeta’s relatives”, said Mr Lok Nath. He said the complainant, Geeta, had been provided with a security cover and the SHO (Sadar) and the DSO (Rural) had been visiting the family after the crime took place in order to instill a sense of security among the family members. “Police parties are also patrolling the area,” said Mr Lok Nath, adding that all efforts would be made to nab the fourth accused.

On the other hand, while admitting that adequate security has been provided to her by the police, Geeta wife of the deceased, today alleged that some police officials and a prominent politician from the village were trying to shield the main accused, Prabhat Singh, who was still at large.

“A police official from our village and a political person, who had instigated the youth of our Rajput community against Jasbir after our marriage, are behind the surrender of the three accused as they want Parbhat Pappi to go scott free. I have come to know that they had even offered Rs 50,000 to some youth for killing Jasbir, who according to them had humiliated their whole community by marrying a Rajput girl”, alleged Geeta. She said it was Pappi, who had chopped off Jasbir’s arm before killing him in cold blood and it was he who had thrown it in front of house of Jasbir’s aunt Kapoor Kaur before fleeing from the scene of crime along with others.

The SP, Mr Opinderjit Singh Ghumman, said further investigation was on and hoped that the police would recover arms allegedly used by the suspects soon.


CBI may probe ‘misuse’ of Jallianwala Bagh funds
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 27
The Central government has decided to revamp the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Trust (JBMT) set up after the partition of the country with first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as founder chairman.

However, breaking the convention, Ms Sonia Gandhi, president Indian National Congress was made chairperson of the JBMT when Mr Deve Gowda was Prime Minister of the country. Ms Sonia Gandhi is likely to be removed as chairperson.

Mr Jagmohan, Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, in a letter to Mr M.S. Bitta, president All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) informed that the NDA government was trying to bring in a legislation on the subject for overall development of Jallianwala Bagh pilgrimage power for the citizens of Independent India. Mr Jagmohan had also given indications that a CBI inquiry might be ordered to verify allegations whether funds meant for the JBMT had misused.

The letter reads: “At present, the committee is in the hands of a separate body. We are trying to bring a legislation on the subject. The matter has already been approved by the Union Cabinet. A legislative measure was introduced in Parliament, but the case was referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament”. Mr Jagmohan also wrote to Mr Bitta that “As soon as the new legislation comes into being, the affairs of the Jallianwala Bagh Committee would be put on sound management system and effective development would be carried out”.

Regarding the impending inquiry, Mr Jagmohan wrote in his letter that “I have asked Secretary Culture to obtain necessary reports and examine the matter in depth and take appropriate action so far as demand of ordering a CBI inquiry was concerned”.

Mr Bitta had written to Mr Jagmohan that out of Rs 2.5 crore allocated for JBMT, Rs 37 lakh was allegedly misused. However, the rest of the money stands frozen in the Central Bank while memorial needed urgent repairs. Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner said that the district administration had no role to play in carrying out repair/renovation of Jallianwala Bagh as all powers were vested with Commemoration Committee of this Memorial. He said Mr S.K. Mukherji, Secretary of the Trust told him that the rest of money was still lying unutilised in the bank.

The money was sanctioned for installing a (light and sound) at Jallianwala Bagh and expansion and repairs of the memorial.


Victim of rape suffers police apathy
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The memory of September 3 evening is writ large on the face of the 12-year-old deaf and dumb minor from Hoshiarpur. She was allegedly raped on this dark evening. The scarred child, along with Janno, her maternal grandmother, is still awaiting justice. The police is yet to look into the matter.

Hope has emerged with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission taking notice of the alleged delay in the investigation of the case by the police authorities in Hoshiarpur. Taking up the petition filed under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, by Janno, who belongs to the Muslim Gujjar community, the Commission has directly marked the enquiry to ADGP (Crime), asking him to submit his report within eight weeks.

Janno alleges that no FIR was registered in this case on the day of the crime (September 3) nor was any medico-legal examination of the victim or the accused conducted. This despite the fact that Janno, the complainant, had caught the alleged accused from the fields near her house and had handed him over to officials at Garhdiwala police station in the presence of panchayat members. The SHO of the police station allegedly let off the accused after accepting illegal gratification.

Janno managed to get an FIR registered after 20 days, following the intervention of the SSP, Hoshiarpur. Janno alleges in her complaint that the FIR, hence registered at Dasuya police station, was worded so as to save the Garhdiwala police station SHO. The 21-day delay in medico-legal examination of the victim made the doctor opine that ‘no external injuries found’.

In her submission before the Commission, she has stated that the minor was abducted from her house on the evening of September 3 when all the family members were away to work. The girl was with her five-year-old brother at that time. The accused, allegedly, took the girl to the nearby fields. Janno, looking for her granddaughter, reached the spot, and caught the accused in the act. Managing her grip on the accused, Janno beckoned panchayat members. The case will come up for hearing on January 8.


CM’s gifting away state’s assets opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Movement Against State Repression (MASR) activists have suggested that when a Chief Minister “gifts” a state’s assets, say water for irrigation, the constitutional aspect of such an offer must be taken up in the court.

In the same breath, MASR has suggested that the Akali Dal and kisan unions should fight any such “gift” tooth and nail.

This suggestion has been made in a signed statement by the MASR Adviser, Lt-Gen K.S. Gill (retd), Chairman, Punjab Human Rights Organisation, Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd) and convener Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee, in a comment on Capt Amarinder Singh’s offer of water to Rajasthan. The “gift” offer was made during electioneering in that state recently. The water is to flow through the Ganga and Indira Gandhi Canals to irrigate farms in Rajasthan.

The MASR statement has questioned such offers and reminded Capt Amarinder Singh that at one stage he swore against allowing water to Haryana through the SYL and now he swears to give water to Rajasthan.

This offer has come when Punjab is locked with Haryana in the Supreme Court. Not long ago Punjab had allowed 11,700 cusecs to non-riparian Rajasthan at the cost of Ferozepore-Fazilka farmers by releasing water at Harike Headworks.


Only DGP, ADGP can grant security to VIPs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The power to grant security to VIPs or any other person who feels threatened will now be vested with the ADGP (Security) and the Director-General of the Punjab Police (DGP). This is in the wake of the Punjab Police Headquarters withdrawing the powers granted to SSPs in districts, DIGs in ranges, the IG (Zonal) and the IG (Security to sanction security to VIPs and others on their own.

A decision to this effect was taken at a security review meeting of senior police officers held recently at the headquarters here. Senior officers, above the rank of SSPs, will now have to obtain prior permission of the ADGP (Security) or the DGP before granting security to anyone. Instructions have also been issued to grant security to serving officers on the basis of their rank and status, while the retired would be given security in accordance with the threat perception they face.

The SSPs posted in various districts have been directed to get verbal orders issued by the DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, with regard to provision of security in certain cases “regularised” at the earliest. Some such orders issued by the former police chief, Mr M.S. Bhullar, have to be “regularised”.

However, officers, who are on the hit list of terrorists, have been exempted from these orders.

Sources said it had also been decided that henceforth only officers of the rank of ADGP and above will get guards at their residences. A plan was also being chalked out to ensure that officers below the rank of ADGP would not get escort vehicles for moving in and around Chandigarh. If an officer had to go out, the escort vehicle would be taken from the reserve pool.

In another significant decision, the security of 14 persons in the Z-plus category would not be touched. However, the security of a number of police officers and politicians had been reduced and in some cases withdrawn. While as many as 1,000 persons had been withdrawn from the security duty, instructions had been issued to remove some more staff, the sources added.

The new guidelines on security stipulate that MPs and MLAs will be given three gunmen each, a minister will be entitled to one guard at his Chandigarh-based residence, another at his native place, one personal security officer and one escort.


CPI workers gherao DC’s office
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 27
Hundreds of activists and workers of the Communist Party of India led by Dr Joginder Dayal Sharma state secretary CPI and other party leaders today gheraoed the Deputy Commissioner’s office protesting against anti-poor policies of the union and state government under the dictates of the WTO, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and MNU.

Addressing the workers Dr Dayal said the international bodies were out to capture the economic, political and social control of developing countries. He said the economic policies would bring ruin in the garb of liberalisation, globalisation, privatisation which were affecting all three sectors of economy including agriculture, industry and trade. He said the effects were evident in the closure of nearly 70 per cent small and medium units once flourishing in Ludhiana, Amritsar, Batala, Mandi Gobindgarh and Jalandhar. This has subsequently affected trade. The agrarian sector was showing a total debt of nearly Rs 12,000 crore. This has led to fall in the standard of living of people including high unemployment and poverty. The withdrawal of subsidies has played havoc with the agricultural sector. The disinvestments of PSUs was a “sell-off” of the state’s assets, said Dr Dayal while criticising the Congress government. A glaring example is the disinvestments of “Punjab Tractors” which was a profit generating concern.

The CPI demanded a high level inquiry into the disinvestments by the state. The party secretary criticised the government back-tracking on all its promises including free electricity, water to farmers, Rs 30 per quintal bonus to paddy growers besides delaying release of pensions for months and stopping the shagun scheme.


Board not to change exam system
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 27
Mrs Narinder Kaur, Controller, Examinations, Punjab School Education Board has ruled out any change in the present system of providing five kinds of question papers in annual examinations.

Speaking at a reception in her honour at the Tender Heart Senior Secondary School by the private schools of the town here, she claimed that the system had proved very effective in checking copying. The board was going to enforce another step i.e. henceforth the invigilators/supervisory staff will be asked to put their signature on the title of each answersheet. If copying is detected not only the student but the staff concerned would also face action.

She advised that copying would ruin the future of students and reputation of the institution involved in the malpractice. She said that we — the employees — officers of the board and teachers were indebted to the parents who spent the hard earned money on education and examinations. It is our moral and professional responsibility to teach pupils fairly and keep them off bad habit of copying.

She stated that the board was committed to ensure that students of Punjab did not miss opportunity of compete up in the entrance test for PMT and CET etc without losing time and money.

She did not agree with the suggestion that internal assessment by heads of the institutions be permitted for matriculation and plus two students.

She promised to request the members of the PSEB that remuneration for invigilators/supervisors in the examination be enhanced and payment made quickly. Ms Meenakshi Bhandari, Mr M. Rai Gupta and Mr C.P. Narang put forth examination related problems before the Controller.


SAD, Cong men join SAD(A)
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 27
A few activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress party here today reportedly joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).

Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD(A), claimed here that many activists of the Youth Congress and the SAD today joined the SAD(A), expressing confidence in the leadership of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the SAD(A). He said those who joined the SAD(A), included Mr Bhupinder Singh Behal, city propaganda secretary of the SAD, and Mr Malkiat Singh Saini, an active member of the SAD, Mr Satwinder Sharma and Mr Rakesh Kumar Pamma, both active members of the Youth Congress, Mr Inderjit Sharma and Mr Manohar Singh, both activists of the Congress party. He said these leaders joined the SAD(A) along with their supporters.

Mr Alloarkh added Mr Gurnam Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Welfare and Sports Club, Bhindra village, near Sangrur, today also joined the SAD(A) along with other office-bearers of the club and other youths.

Mr Alloarkh also said the SAD(A) was committed to give due representation to the youths in the party. He said the Congress and the SAD had failed in solving the problems of the youth.


Deprivation behind terror, says Nayar
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 27
Noted journalist Kuldip Nayar said today that deprivation was the source of terrorism in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite movement in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

Mr Nayar, who was speaking at seminar on “Fundamentalism and Terrorism—a threat to Human Rights,” organised at Doaba College here today, said deprivation of people of elections in Jammu and Kashmir in one or the other form, led to the emergence of insurgency in the valley. Similarly, in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, deprivation of employment or prevalence of unemployment, was the reason behind insurgency in the form of Naxalite movement. Same was the case with Punjab where dominating issues were river waters and transfer of Chandigarh. He said that 60 per cent of people in the country did not have even basic amenities, which could give rise to many problems.

Dr A.J. Khan, reader of the Department of Political Science, Correspondence Courses, Punjabi University, Patiala, talked of human rights violations in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, where more than 30,000 people were victims of terrorism. “Terrorism has no precise definition. For some, it is violence, and for others it is a medium of social change. Religious fundamentalism provides a base to it and on otherhand human rights are fundamental for our very existence and guaranteed by the supreme laws of land,” said Dr Khan. He said the situation of human rights could be visualised with 357 of total complaints received at national-level about bonded labour, 246 were from Punjab alone. “Similarly, up to 1992 a total of more than 25,000 people had turned victims of militancy, which also brought death for another 5256 in J&K within five years after 1988, said Dr. Khan.

In his kenote address, former Commissioner, Linguistic Minorities in India, Allahabad, said human rights always have remained under threat in one or the other form, since their very inception. Autocratic rulers, authoritarian regimes, bureaucratic social formations, materially rich, eclesiastical orthodoxy, half-backed ultra radicals, the police and military, vested interests always posed direct threat to the doctrine of human rights.

Other who read papers included Mr. A.S. Dua, Dean College Development Council of Guru Nanak Dev University Dr. Jagroop Singh, head of Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev varsity and Dr. Rajan Sharma, Guru Nanak varsity Post Graduate Department of Political Science, Doaba College. The seminar was presided over by Chander Mohan Chief Editor, “Veer Partap” and Mr Nishi Kant Thakur, General Manager of “Dainik Jagran”.


Cancel licences of cinema houses, says rights panel
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 27
The Punjab Human Rights Committee (PHRC) today urged Home Secretary of Punjab Government, Mr S.K. Sinha and concerned authorities to cancel licences of two cinema houses and register cases against operators concerned for the allegedly forging Censor Board certificates allowing screening of x-rated films.

Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, General Secretary, PHRC, in a press note here today, said that two cinema operators of the city first forged the certificates of the Censor Board claiming that they were permitted to screen x-rated films on the basis of same and then produced the same before the Home Secretary, Mr Sinha when these operators filed an appeal before him against the order of then District Magistrate, Anurag Aggarwal, who ordered the cancellation of licences of these cinema houses in August 2003.

The cinema operators submitted certificates of the Censor Board before Mr Sinha, while he was considering the appeal filed against the order of Mr Aggarwal.

However, when the certificates were sent to the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and later to the Censor Board, these were found forged.

Mr Gupta said that the PHRC, and other social and educational organisations, opposing vulgarity in the region had expressed surprise that how the cinema operators had been manipulating things to their advantage. He said that the PHRC while demanding the cancellation of licences of these two cinema houses also urged the Punjab Government to register fresh cases against the cinema operators for forging the Censor Board’s certificates.


CPI demands Rs 3,500 as minimum wage
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 27
The Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today demanded Rs 3,500 per month as minimum wage for Daily-paid staff and class IV employees, in place of Rs 2150 per month, in the state. It also demanded monthly unemployment allowance for the unemployed youths and filling of 30,000 posts of teacher in Punjab.

Mr Bant Singh Brar, Assistant Secretary of the Punjab CPI, also urged the Punjab Government to grant sufficient subsidy on power and raw material for the industry to save the economy of Punjab and industry as a whole. He said due to wrong policies of the state and central governments, nearly 50 per cent small scale units in Punjab had been closed

Mr Brar was here in connection with a protest march which was today taken out by the district unit of the CPI against the “anti-people” economic policies of the state and central governments, adopted under World Trade Organisation (WTO). In this protest march, more than 200 CPI activities, including women, participated. The protesters also held a rally in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner here and raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the Central Government.

Mr Bant Singh Brar,Mr Achhra Singh, a former CPI MLA; Mr Sampuran Singh Chhajli, state executive member of the CPI; Mr Sarwan Singh Shafipur, a senior CPI leader, Mr Darshan Singh Upli, Secretary of Sangrur Tehsil of the party; Mr Hardev Singh Bakshiwala, district secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha and Mr Ujjagar Singh Beehla, district joint secretary of the CPI participated in the rally.


Tight security for President’s visit
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 27
Security has been tightened here in view of the visit of President of India APJ Abdul Kalam as Chief Guest of “Colour Presentation Ceremonies” of 86 Armoured Regiment, scheduled for December, 1 at Mamoon cantonment.

According to official sources, the President would arrive here at Air Force Station by a special plane on November 30.

The President would have dinner on November 30 at F.D.L. Mess and his road journey route from Gold Ground Gate to F.D.L. Mess, would have three-tier security.


Pak theatre group presents ‘qawwalis’
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, November 27
Aabshaar, a local literary and cultural society, in collaboration with the South Asian Fraternity organised “Sham-e-Qawwali” on the occasion of Id-ul-Fitr here late last night.

About 26 artistes of Ajoka Theatre in Lahore, led by Madeeha Gauhar, presented “qawwalis” on the occasion.

It was for the first time since Independence that the artistes of Pakistan performed in Malerkotla and enthralled local residents for about three hours with their “qawwalis”.

Madiha Gauhar said people of both countries want peace. She felt that theirs was a step towards restoring peace between the two countries.

The guest of honour, Dr Naresh, and chairman of the Bhai Vir Singh Chair of Panjab University, stressed on the need for maintaining peace and harmony, forgetting the gory past.

The Principal, Dr Shashi Kant Uppal, said that Ajoka Theater had been part of the struggle for a secular, democratic, human and egalitarian society. It also actively supported Indo-Pak forum for peace, democracy and friendship. All members of Ajoka Theater were honoured by Aabshaar on the occasion.


Fraud charge against finance company
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 27
A delegation of depositors in Jan Raksha Green Forest Company today met DSP S.S. Cheema and alleged that it had been defrauded of over Rs 50 lakh by the company with a promise of doubling their amount. The members of the delegation said that their basic money had not been returned to them and they were being threatened with dire consequences by the company.

They demanded that Mr Prem Raj Dhand, a director of the company, should be arrested. They said that a case of abetment to suicide was already registered against him for allegedly driving a 60-year-old man Gurbhajan Singh to commit suicide a few days ago. Gurbhajan Singh, who collected money for the company, reportedly felt so upset over the fraud that he poisoned himself to death here.

The depositors told the DSP that Ms Kamlesh Kumari Sharma of Dhani Pind had been cheated of Rs 27 lakh, Tarlochan Singh of Phagwara of Rs 12.5 lakh, Hardial Singh of Gujaratan village of 3 lakh, Mohinderpal of Dhani Pind of Rs 3 lakh, Sucha Singh of Akalgarh of Rs 5 lakh, Sohan Singh of Dadduwal of Rs 1 lakh, Harjinder Singh of Phagwara of Rs 1.10 lakh, Rampal Gupta of Phagwara of Rs 55,000 and Bhajan Lal of Dadduwal of Rs 50,000.

The DSP assured the depositors that the matter would be probed.


Kidnap attempts alarm residents
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 27
Panic prevails among parents over the reported attempts to kidnap school- children during the past 48 hours here. The Principal of the oldest model school here has brought the matter to the notice of the DSP, who has promised to look into the matter.

According to information, such an attempt was made by a muffled motorcyclist yesterday on the College Road to abduct daughter of a government employee near the oldest public school.

Another attempt was reported from Seeto road on which a convent school is located. The target was son of a businessman. People said some motorcyclists could be seen roaming in the streets of New Suraj Nagri and Old Suraj Nagri adjoining the college road.


Marriage palaces nuisance for students, residents
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 27
This may be the time for many to wear their dancing shoes with marriages being held all over the city keeping with the “favourable time” prescribed by astrologers, but schoolchildren and residents living close to three marriage palaces on the Bhupindra Road are having a difficult time to cope with noise emanating from these places.

While revelers may be having a field day, students of DAV Public School situated next to the Sham Bagh Palace and residents of the Punjabi Bagh area and other areas, which are situated next to the two other marriage palaces — Raj Kamal and Khoobsoorat — are having a difficult time due to constant noise pollution caused by loudspeakers blaring during night as well as day.

This is happening despite a recent order passed by the district administration banning the use of loudspeakers and sound systems at marriage palaces. Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh had used his powers under Section 144 to ban loudspeakers at public places, including marriage palaces and religious places.

DAV Public School Principal S.M. Devgun seems to have finally decided to bell the cat after five years of constant complaints. In a communication to the Deputy Commissioner he has pointed out that despite orders the marriage palace owners are continuing to use loudspeakers and creating noise pollution. He said the only solution was to shift the marriage palaces outside the city. If the law failed to give relief to the school, it would, in coordiantion with the parents of students, launch an agitation on the issue, he added.

Mr Devgun said he had been protesting since 1998 against the noise pollution at the marriage palaces. He said temporary actions had been taken a few times on his pleas with noise stopping for a few days. However, no permanent solution had been found out to tackle noise pollution at the marriage palaces. The studies of students were disturbed during school hours as DJs were played in the afternoon. He said besides loading and unloading of materials for marriage continuing during the day, temporary employees hired by the marriage palaces often created “nuisance” near the school. The school Principal said the marriage palace owners should either make their premises sound proof or shift the palaces out of the city.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi Bagh Welfare Association General Secretary, Prof Tarlok Singh, said the association had tried all options to ensure that music was played at the palaces within prescribed limits and time in night. However, he said no restriction could be enforced on the marriage palaces. The Association had even requested the Punjab Pollution Control Board to measure the noise level in the area adjoining the palaces but even this request had not been heard, he added.


Contests help develop child’s personality
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 27
Educational, sports and cultural competitions develop the spirit of competition among children, which prepares them to face challenges as well as help in the overall development of the personality of a child. This was stated by Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a function today organised by the District Red Cross Society and the Hospital Welfare Section to give prizes to the winners of various competitions organised during the Bal Mela.

Mr Ahluwalia said the children performed well during the competitions and if they were given proper training and guidance they would achieve success in their lives. He said the spirit of competition created self-confidence and the children from rural schools were full of confidence. There was no shortage of talent among rural students, but they must be given a chance to perform. He directed the District Education Officer to ensure that cultural and educational competitions among the rural schools were held regularly.

The Deputy Commissioner said the children were the future of the nation. He said it was our moral responsibility to contribute to the overall development of children. During the forthcoming Saheedi Jor Mela competitions in shabad gayan bhajans and in other religious activities would be organised for children.

In her address, Dr Daisy Walia, Chairperson, Hospital Welfare Section, assured the district administration that the Hospital Welfare Section would continue to work for the uplift of children particularly rural children.

Mr Daya Singh, DEO(S), and Mr Dev Singh, DEO(E), in their address highlighted various activities being initiated in rural schools for the overall development of children and assured to start cultural competitions in the rural areas.

PSEB clears backlog of applications
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 27
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has directed the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to clear the backlog of pending applications for power connections in various categories.

Disclosing this here today, the PSEB Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, informed that during 2002-2003 and up to the end of September 2003, the PSEB has released 2,62,185 general connections and has energised 27,648 agriculture tubewells in addition to 4426 industrial connections . The Chairman further said that the board had so far covered 7,528 villages under the 24-hour Urban Pattern Power Supply Scheme.

Mr Ratra further informed that the board had set a target to additionally provide 1,10,850 general connections, 16,700 tubewell connections, 3,710 industrial connections before the end of the current financial year.

He said the board was laying special emphasis to cover the remaining villages under the 24-hour Urban Pattern Power Supply Scheme in a time-bound and phased manner.


Sacrilege in shrine noticed
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 27
An incident of sacrilege by fire came to notice of Chiheru police post on the Jalandhar-Phagwara GT road sometimes last night.

Inquiries from the police, revealed that though no one has been arrested in the case, the matter was being investigated. They further said Sant Ram Singh, main “sewadar” of the shrine was away to Singapore, other “Sewadars” were not present in the shrine in his absence.


Bank employees stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 27
Hundreds of bank employees, belonging to different employees association, here today staged a dharna in front of the office of the Union Bank of India. They also held a rally under the banner of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation (PBEF) to lodge their protest against “anti-people policies” of the government.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Pawan Jindal, secretary, PBEF, alleged that the Central Government had been extending favours to those big business tycoons and industrial houses who had defaulted in repaying loans by not taking stern action against them. The government had launched a scheme called “buy back on high yielding government securities at market rate”, he said.

He added that under this scheme, the high interest bearing government bonds purchased by banks earlier were being repurchased by the government at the present market prices.

The government had been incurring huge losses and enabling the banks to earn profits, which could be used by the latter to reduce the amount of non-performing assets (NPAs).

Mr Ashok Sharma, zonal secretary, PBEF, alleged that the Central Government had been facilitating foreign investors to take over the Indian banks by allowing 74 per cent foreign investment in their capital.

Mr M.M. Behal, another leader, alleged that by reducing the rate of interest from 13 per cent to 5.5. per cent on the deposits, the government had deprived a large section of society of earning its livelihood.

The federation also condemned the government’s decision to proceed with the Bank Privatisation Bill and reduction in the interest rates for corporate borrowers but not for agriculturists and rural credit.


Bank employees hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 27
On a call given by All India Bank Employees Association, the Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation organised a dharna in front of the State Bank of Patiala in protest against the various ‘retrograde policies’ affecting the banking industry here today.

Addressing the gathering general secretary Punjab Bank Employees Federation N.K Gaur criticised the policy of the ‘financial sector reforms’. He said the reforms were affecting peoples adversely while benefiting the corporate sector.

Members of the association further added that 75 per cent of the deposits in the banking industry belonged to the general public and rates on deposits during the past few years have been reduced from 13 per cent to 5.5 per cent. On the other hand credit rate to corporate had been reduced from 16 per cent to 19 per cent.


Bankers protest against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 27
On a call given by the All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), employees of various banks staged a dharna here on Thursday in protest against the move to privatise public-sector banks and other policies favouring the corporate sector.

“All though 75 per cent of the deposits in the banking industry belong to the public and the rates of interest during the past 10 years have been reduced from 13 to 5.5 per cent, the credit rate to corporate sector has been reduced to 6 per cent, benefiting the sector,” Mr Amrit Lal, secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation alleged while addressing the gathering. — PTI


Commendation card for NCC group
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 27
Four members of the Patiala NCC group have recently been conferred upon Director-General’s NCC Commendation Card on the occasion of its 55th NCC Day here.

Disclosing this here today in a press note the Training Officer, Lt-Col Mandhir Singh, said Ms Pritpal Kaur and Ms Manpreet Attri from NCC personnel group and Mr Varinder Singh Bindra and Mr Gurdial Chand from the civilian staff group, respectively, had been awarded Director-General’s NCC Commendation Card.


Modification order

Chandigarh, November 27
In a modification order issued here today, the Punjab Government has asked Mr Ranjit Singh to continue as Executive Director, Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation, and Mr Karam Singh will remain Director, Hospitality, till further orders. — TNS


Power failure delays train
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 27
The 3 Jajjon-Jalandhar train arrived at Phagwara four hours late today as its power failed near Satnaur near Nawanshahr, Railway sources said here this evening. The train arrives at Phagwara at 12.40 pm, came here at 4.35 pm, informed the sources.


62 panchayats seek relocation of judicial work
Ashok Grover

Jalalabad, November 27
In a letter written to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court the 62 panchayats of Guruharsahai block, that have been attached with Ferozepore judicial courts, have sought the relocation of the judicial work to the newly set up judicial courts at Jalalabad.

According to the letter the revenue work of these villages had been attached with sub-division Jalalabad and their police stations were also under the jurisdiction of DSP, Jalalabad. As a result they had to go to Ferozepore for judicial work and to Jalalabad for revenue work.

The panchayats have also pleaded that while Ferozepore was 40 to 50 KM from these villages Jalalabad was only 10 to 15 km away. People had to face difficulty as sometimes dates of hearing in revenue and judicial courts also clashed.

Moreover, the rush of work at Ferozepore judicial courts was much more than that at Jalalabad courts. In Jalalabad only 40 to 50 hearings were held daily as compared to 200 to 250 at Ferozepore.

The panchayats also pleaded that as most of the villages were located along the Indo-Pak border and residents belonged to weaker section of society, a decision in this regard would benefit them financially as well as save time.

The Chairman of the Block Samiti, Guruharsahai, Mr Ved Parkash, and the president of the Municipal Council, Mr Awla, among others were also signatories to the letter.


Morinda mills start crushing operations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Following requests of cane growers in the region, sugar mills in Morinda have started crushing operations from today, a statement issued by the Morinda Cooperative Sugar Mills here today said.

The Additional Managing Director of Sugarfed, Mr S.R.S. Gill, also addressed cane growers on the occasion and expressed thanks to the district administration for the efforts and cooperation extended by them for the start of the crushing operations.


Cong worker expelled on charge of involvement in flesh trade
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 27
Ms Gursharan Kaur, president of the District Mahila Congress (I) Urban, Amritsar, today dissolved the District Mahila Committee of the party and expelled its district senior vice-president Neelam Kumari.

The action was taken following Neelam’s alleged involvement in a flesh trade racket, busted by the police last night. Neelam was arrested along with three other women and two men from a house located in the Chheharta area.

Ms Gursharan Kaur said the new committee would be formed at the earliest in consultation with the District Congress President (Urban), Mr Yoginderpal Dhingra. Interestingly, Neelam created a scene when the police tried to arrest her by showing her party ID card to the raiding police party and tried to scare it away. However, the police seized her party ID card, her photographs with some senior Congress leaders, a mobile phone and a personal phone directory.

When contacted, the police officer concerned said that a plan was made to nab the accused by sending Head Constable as decoy customers, following by a police raiding party.


Dalit-landlord clash: 1 more held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, november 27
The Dhuri police today arrested, Avtar Singh, another accused in the alleged clash between Dalits and landlords of Hasanpur village, near Dhuri, which took place on November 11 over a piece of “shamlat” (land) in the village. In this case 16 persons were arrested earlier, of which six, including sarpanch of Hasanpur village, Kesar Singh, were granted bail by a court, while 10 were remanded in judicial custody on November 25 till December 9.

A police official said this evening that Avtar Singh was arrested today and produced in a court were remanded in judicial custody till December 10.

Meanwhile, on the bail application of 10 accused, who were arrested on November 25 and were in judicial custody in this case, the court today issued notice to the state for December 4. The bail application was filed by Gurmeet Singh, Jagpal Singh, Achhra Singh, Mela Singh, Chhota Singh, Balraj Singh, Jagjit Singh, Jagtar Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, alias Maddi, and Nirmal Singh — all accused.


Poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 27
The police has arrested two members of an inter-state gang of smugglers while they were bringing poppy husk to this region in a truck.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said two persons, identified as Balwant Singh, alias Banta and Balor Singh, were arrested at a naka set up at a bridge over a canal on the Mehraj-Sidana road by the SHO of Phul police station, Mr Jagnandan Singh.

Three bags containing 32 kg poppy husk each were seized. A case was registered under the NDPS Act.


Lack of ‘scaling’ favours sciences
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 27
The lack of any scaling under which the choice of subjects may be considered to ensure that candidates picking more scoring subjects did not get an undue advantage resulted in an inordinately large number of candidates with science subjects getting through the reconducted Punjab Civil and Allied Services Examination, the results of which were declared two days back.

No scaling procedure was not used because the Punjab and Haryana High Court had stayed the use of any such procedure. This order was, however, set aside after the Supreme Court decided to the contrary more than a fortnight ago.

The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman, Lieut-Gen (retd) Surjit Singh, when contacted on the issue, said the examination had been conducted keeping in view the old order staying the use of scaling. He said as the Supreme Court had passed the order justifying scaling only recently, the commission would adopt this procedure in future.

General Sanghara said the commission was of the view that scaling was required to ensure that candidates with different options had an equal chance of qualifying. He said scaling, along with ‘’moderation” under which each paper was checked for quality, would help in providing a fair chance to all candidates.

While the PPSC seems set to adopt scaling in future, candidates who competed in the PCS examination this time by taking up subjects of the humanities stream found it difficult to qualify in the main examination.

Mr Vinod Sharma, who runs an IAS training academy and had a large number of PCS aspirants preparing with him in the city, when contacted claimed that nearly 200 of the 271 candidates who had cleared the main examination had science subjects.

General Sangra, when queried on the number issue, said the commission was yet to do an analysis on that. Though a large number of science students had cleared the examination, the number could not be so high, he added.

Candidates who cleared the examination also feel that those with science subjects had an edge. The topper, Amit Talwar, had mathematics, statistics and physics. Uma Shankar and Sandeep Rishi, who stood second and third, also had science subjects. Notable exceptions in the list included Rajesh Tripathi, who came fourth and had management economics and defence studies, Rahul Gupta, who came seventh with history, sociology and defence studies, and Hargunjit Kaur, who made it from the humanities stream into the PCS (Executive). Many other old candidates who had arts subjects were relegated to the Allied Services.


Lecturers’ interviews rescheduled
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 27
The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) has decided to reschedule the interviews for the recruitment of lecturers in various colleges of the state. The interview for the subject of English which was earlier scheduled for December 8 to 12 would now be held from January 12 to 16 next year.

For subjects of English, Punjabi, economics, physics, chemistry and political science, the test will be conducted in the first week of January. The test will be of two-and-a-half hour duration containing 135 multiple choice and short answer type questions.

The shortlisting of the candidates would be done, taking into account the academic record as well as the marks obtained by the candidates in the test. Other details would be available on www.ppscpatiala.org. shortly.


Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan fortnight begins
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Garibdass (Kharar), November 27
To create awareness among the villagers to enrol their children in schools, students of all three government schools in the village took part in a rally on the first day of the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ fortnight here today.

The Punjab Government is observing the fortnight in all 17 districts of the state.

The rally was flagged off from M.L.P. Government Senior Secondary School in the village by chief guest, Mr Baldev Raj, Deputy Director, SCERT. Mr Raj, stressed the strategies needed to be adopted to ensure 100 per cent enrolment in schools of the area.

He also promised all help to the school authorities and the community.

Ms Anurag Sidhu, Assistant State Project Director, explained various aspects of the abhiyan and invited applications from the community, including the Parent Teachers Association and the Mother Teacher Associations to open EGS centres. EGS centres are part of the abhiyan and would be opened at 10,586 locations in the state, which have pockets of out of schoolchildren.

Among others present included Mr Ramesh Sharma, Principal of the school, Mrs Kuljinder Kaur Randhawa, Programme Officer and Mrs Bhupinder Kaur, in charge, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan unit. A seminar was also held on the occasion.


GND varsity to remain closed today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 27
Guru Nanak Dev University has declared a holiday on November 28 for the non-teaching and administrative staff in lieu of the working day on November 24 when a holiday was declared on the occasion of the Martyrdom Day of Guru Teg Bahadur. The university had celebrated its Foundation Day on November 24.

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