P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM’s homecoming turns into poll rally
Tribune News Service

Mehraj (Bathinda), December 17
The first visit of Capt Amarinder Singh to his ancestral village today after he became the Chief Minister turned out to be an election rally as he and his aides, who addressed the rally spoke of the development agenda of the government and its achievements so far.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was given a warm reception by the nine panchayats of the village, said that by June 2004, all villages of Punjab would be provided with 24-hour power supply and Rs 261 crore had been given to the PSEB by the government.

He said apart from it, the government had almost reached a tie-up with Microsoft Company of the USA to introduce computer courses from class VI onward in government schools.

He said computer courses were likely to be introduced from the next academic session.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who did not speak about his opponents, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during his 20-minute speech, said he had asked the Central Government to enable farmers to face the challenges of the WTO before implementing its policies in the country.

He alleged that the Centre had been discriminating with Punjab for providing it with BT cotton and hybrid cotton seeds, the state government had been making efforts to introduce BT cotton cultivation and Punjab Agricultural University had been asked to do the needful.

He laid the foundation stones of a hospital, a sewerage and potable water project, a milk cooling centre project, community hall and a stadium at the village. He announced that a nursing institute would also be opened here shortly.

He said he had asked the Punjab Pollution Control Board authorities to ensure that only treated affluent of industries of Ludhiana district should be released in the Sutlej.

Capt Amarinder Singh was presented with a siropa by the panchayats. He also attended the Akhand Path that was organised for his victory in the power struggle going on between him and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.


BJP keeping watch on Cong dissidents’ moves
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 17
Punjab BJP Chief Avinash Rai Khanna said today that his party was keeping watch on the political developments in the Congress Legislature Party and a decision to support the Congress dissidents would be taken at the appropriate time.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Khanna said that they were keeping watch on the Congress situation even as any move to support Congress dissidents to form government would be taken after consulting the SAD (Badal).

He reiterated the party’s demand for a special Assembly session and said that instead of parading MLAs in Delhi, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should prove his majority on the floor of the House.

“There is no governance at all in the state as all ministers, including the CM are camping in Delhi while the people of the state are suffering on account of their being unavailable”. He said, demanding a CBI probe into allegations of “corruption” made by state Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal against the CM.

On the reported spying at the residence of Rajya Sabha MP Sukhbir Singh Badal at Delhi, Mr Khanna alleged that the CM was adopting cheap tactics by ordering spying on SAD-BJP leaders. He refused to comment upon any move to impose President’s rule in Punjab.


Punjab to appoint 2010 teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Decks have been cleared for the recruitment of 2010 ETT teachers in schools with the Punjab Finance Department clearing the proposal today. The issue of filling these posts under the ambitious Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan had been hanging fire for the past two years. The Punjab Minister of School Education, Mr Khushal Behl, approved the filling of these posts on December 12.

Ms Tejinder Kaur, Principal Secretary, School Education, said these teachers would be recruited for 10 years on a contract basis in 1,005 branch schools at a monthly salary of Rs 7,000. A state-level committee would be constituted by the Education Department for the recruitment of these teachers.

According to sources, the Union Government will provide 75 per cent of the amount to be paid as salary to these teachers and the state government the remaining 25 per cent.

This would help meet the shortfall of teachers in primary schools where 11,087 posts of teacher, including 7,645 posts of JBT/ETT teacher, had been lying vacant.


Gurdwara manager missing, Cong leader booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 17
Senior Congress leader Tarlok Singh Chakowalia, along with 15 of his companions, have been named in an FIR registered at Khemkaran police station in Tarn Taran police district for allegedly kidnapping Mr Sukhdev Singh, manager of Gurdwara Baba Bir Singh at Rattoke village.

According to details, Mr Tarlok Singh was travelling with some of his companions last night. Their vehicle got stuck in a ditch that had been dug up to drain out water from the gurdwara. This infuriated the Congress leader who summoned the manager and allegedly thrashed him.

The police has registered an FIR under Sections 364, 148 and 149, IPC, against Mr Chakowalia and his associates. No arrest has been made so far.

Honorary Chief Secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta has condemned the alleged incidents of firing, kidnapping of the manager and ransacking of his office by Congressmen. He said the gurdwara fell under Section 85 and its management was with the SGPC.

Mr Calcutta blamed the administration for trying to favour the culprits and alleged that the police was trying to help the Congressmen to grab gurdwara land.

He said a case of Gurdwara Lalla Kalan Bhangala, near Gurdwara Baba Bir Singh, was pending in the court of the SDM, Patti, and ban orders under Section 145, CrPC, had been enforced. He said the group of people belonging to Mr Chakowalia were trying to grab the land.

The SGPC had already sent the complaint against the culprits to the Deputy Commissioner, IG border range, and SSP, Tarn Taran, for action, he added.


NRI pop singer dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 17
Italy-based Punjabi pop singer Harvinder Singh Tandi (35) belonging to Tandi village, near Bhogpur in Jalandhar district, was killed when his car rammed into a tree near Lachowal village on the Hoshiarpur-Tanda road last night.

He is survived by wife, a daughter, a son, mother and father.

Harvinder performed in various countries and settled in Italy.


Villagers mourn NRI’s death
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Hardo Farala (Jalandhar), December 17
Even as a pall of gloom has descended on this village over the death of 34-year-old NRI Gurwinder Singh, who hailed from the village and was found dead in Surrey, Canada, on Saturday, his family members are still unsure about the circumstances surrounding his death.

The entire village was shocked over the death of Gurwinder, who migrated to Canada with his wife 12 years ago in search of greener pastures. Residents said he used to come to the village on a regular basis and offer financial contribution for social causes.

When The Tribune team reached the village, relatives and family members had assembled at victims’s ancestral house to mourn his death.

Darshan Singh, a resident of the village said Gurwinder was very kind and used to donate huge sums for the village gurdwara and primary school during his visits to his ancestral place.

Surinder Singh, an uncle of the deceased, said he received a call from England on Sunday morning that Gurwinder was found dead in his car.”Though the circumstances surrounding his death are not known yet, one of my England-based relatives told me on the phone that he had been shot in the head at point-blank range”, he said, adding that the family members were in a state of shock and would not be able to divulge details in this regard.

Gurwinder, who was a trailer driver, reportedly left his Surrey house on Saturday morning to meet a mechanic, who was repairing his trailer. When he did not return home, the police was informed and he was found dead in his car by his relatives and the police.

Gurwinder is survived by his wife and two daughters. His parents and elder brother have been living in England for the past 20 years.

His younger brother did not reveal anything about the death. 


Village gets Rs 35 lakh for development
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, December 17
In continuation of the efforts by non-resident Indians to help the state government develop villages in the state, Medical Education Minister Santokh Singh today inaugurated the Integrated Rural Development Scheme in Mansurpur village of Phillaur subdivision. He handed over a cheque for Rs 35 lakh to village sarpanch Kamlesh Kumari at a colourful function this afternoon.

A cheque for Rs 2 lakh was presented by the NRI Sabha, Mansurpur. A sum of Rs 37 lakh would be spent in the village by March 31 next. Rs 2.12 lakh on a health club, Rs 1 lakh on equipment, Rs 5.99 lakh on laying of drains, Rs 20 lakh on water supply, Rs 6.25 lakh on streetlights and Rs 71,000 on rural latrines.

A sum of Rs 1 crore would be spent on three villages from each block in the state under the scheme.

Mr Parkash Singh, Deputy Director, Rural Development and Mr Pawan Kumar Aggarwal, XEN, Panchayati Raj, also addressed the function. The minister appreciated the initiative taken by NRIs to develop the villages of the state.


Report sought from Forest Dept
Exemption to cable companies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The Punjab Government has sought a report from the Forest Department on the exemption given to certain companies for laying optical fibre cables in forest areas without getting deposited the mandatory compensatory amount running into crores of rupees. A number of private companies were involved in laying underground cables in the state.

Mr P. Ram, Principal Secretary, Forest Department, said: “I have sought a detailed report in this connection from the authorities concerned. Since the exemption was given before my posting as Principal Secretary in the department, I am trying to find out what happened at various levels in the department”.

Sources said the Union Government had granted general permission for two years to all state governments on October 16, 2000, to clear the cases regarding the laying of cable at their own level. To facilitate the laying of cables quickly, the Punjab Government set up the Department of Communications and General Administration. This department prepared the guidelines and conditions for the cable project in the light of the directions given by the Council of Ministers.

Under the guidelines, which were later approved by the Council of Ministers, all licensed companies were allowed to lay the cables free of charge except in the forest areas for which a compensatory amount of Rs 1.60 lakh per hectare was to be paid by the company concerned before starting work. These guidelines were circulated among the departments concerned first on March 19, 2003, and then on October 25.

However, certain private companies wrote to the Forest Department in November, 2001, that these should be given exemption from depositing the compensatory amount. A senior officer of the Forest Department gave the exemption on December 28, 2001, violating the instructions approved by the Council of Ministers.


Dal (Ravi Inder) to hold convention in Feb
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 17
President of newly formed Akali Dal Ravi Inder Singh today announced that a convention of the party would be held here in February next year.

He made this announcement while addressing a press conference at the Circuit House here. He said there was a need to take concrete steps to end corruption in the state.

He said the conflict within the Congress could end if the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, changed his way of working. He also condemned the ‘corrupt activities’ of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. He added Mr Badal had brought stigma to the whole Sikh community.

President of the Punjab State Services Federation Karamjeet Singh Baddowalia urged the employees of the federation to come together and work for the betterment of mankind. He said efforts should be made to end corruption in the state.

Meanwhile, employees of various government and non-government departments and factory workers held a meeting under the presidentship of Mr Ravi Inder Singh. Mr Ravi Inder said the newly formed party would help various organisations in their efforts to end corruption in the state.

An employees advisory council was also constituted. For the inter-related working of various department, conveners of all departments were also appointed on the occasion.


Samjhauta Express may resume run from Dec 25
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, December 17
The Government of Pakistan is keen on resuming the ‘Samjhauta Express’ from Christmas to mark the birth day of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India. For this the government of Pakistan has already made the necessary arrangements.

Another auspicious day for the resumption of the train between Attari and Lahore could be January 1 — the New Year Day. The goods train service would also be resumed simultaneously for promoting commerce between the two neighboring countries. Pakistan has already given final touches to the Railways signals, track and rail communication network.

This time the look of the train would be more attractive with fresh splash of paint including two AC coaches.

This was disclosed by a four-member high-level delegation led by Mr Mohammad Iqbal Khatri, General Manager, Pakistan Railways who entered India from Wagah border to attend two-day Indo-Pak technical-level meeting being held at New Delhi from tomorrow. The up-graded service may have more frequency in wake of the great rush of Muslim population which commutes between India and Pakistan. The train was stopped from January 1, 2001 after attack on Indian Parliament by ISI backed terrorists. The other members of the four-member team are Mr Mohammad Ali Finance Adviser, Sayyed Gulrez Hashmi, Chief Commercial Engineer and Mr Arshad Sayyad, Chief Mechanical Engineer from Pakistan.

The team members indicated that there was possibility of running train between Pakistan and Ferozepur (India). Mr Khatri said that the Government of Pakistan was also extend Samjhauta Express upto Karachi and such issues could be taken up in the forthcoming two-day meeting tomorrow.

The Pakistani team, however, said that the driver and engine of the Samjhauta Express had always been from Pakistan and they would insist that they should also be on six months rotation. They said the rakes of the Samjhauta Express had been on six month rotation between India and Pakistan which was logical.

However, the Pakistan delegation said that better security arrangements would be check smuggling of contrabands from both the sides. The number of coaches could also be increased.

The Samjhauta Express a bilateral agreement between the Railways of India and Pakistan came into effect in 1976 and started tri-weekly service between Lahore and Amritsar. The train was cancelled for a short while an 1992 due to Babri Masjid demolition and after a brief interruption for a fortnight the train started on bi-weekly basis. In the morning the train from Delhi with about 900 passengers arrived here for onward last journey to Pakistan.


Suicides by Pak farmers also high, says delegation
Pawan Kumar

Wagah (Amritsar), December 17
Like in Indian Punjab suicides rate among small and marginal farmers in Pakistani Punjab (western Punjab) was very high and in case the governments do not take immediate steps to save the farming community the situation may become alarming.

The leader of the 18-member farmers’ delegation under banner the “Farmers for peace” disclosed that the economic condition of small and marginal farmers in their area continues to be grim which was leading to high rate of suicides as they were unable to bear the burden of loans. He said that the situation had reached the present state due to globalisation where rich nations were subsidising their agriculture produce and had managed to capture the world markets leaving the developing countries like India and Pakistan which were unable to ensure remunerative prices to their farmers.

This is for the first time that a delegation of Pakistani farmers was visiting India after the peace initiatives taken by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

A Hindu woman Ms Navoo a crusader against bonded labour and member of the delegation revealed that there were more than 22 lakh bonded labourers in five districts of Sindh state. This statistics were given by a government study. She said her organisation, the Grain Rural Development Organisation, had been working to free bonded labourers from the feudal lords for past nine years.

The leader of delegation Ms Nusrat Sheikh, a German national and programme officer of the delegation said that the ceasefire all along the Indo-Pak border had come as a boon to the farmers on both sides as they could now cultivate their fields without any fear of bullets and produce quality grains which was not possible earlier. Both countries should sustain peace on the borders at all costs.

The leader Mr Rana Shafiq-ur-Rehman said that the visit to India would give us big opportunity to understand problems faced by their counterparts in India especially in Punjab. He said they would discuss at length the joint issues to help each other and to share their experiences to help the farming community in both countries to come out of the financial crisis. Another member of the delegation Mr Ghulam Hussain said that since the farmers in both countries constitute 70 per cent of the population they should also be involved in the peace process.

The delegation has been invited by the Action-aid India, NGO which looks after the interests of farmers and helps them to earn remunerative prices for their crops. During their tour in India the group would visit Delhi, Gorakhpur and Jodhpur etc.


Hindu jatha to visit Pak, says Billa

Amritsar, December 17
For the first time after 1997, a group of 100 Hindu pilgrims will visit Pakistan on December 21, said All-India Hindu Shiv Sena chief Surinder Kumar Billa, here.

Mr Billa said the Union Ministry of External Affairs had allowed a jatha of Hindu pilgrims to visit temples in Pakistan.

Earlier, the Pakistan Government had refused to provide security to the visiting jatha in Pakistan due to threat perceptions from the fundamentalist groups in Pakistan. — PTI


Torture of migrant: CBI team in Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 17
The CBI has initiated an inquiry into the death of a Bihari migrant allegedly due to torture in police custody. A CBI team led by Mr Ramandeep Singh, arrived here yesterday in this connection.

Sources said the police had booked Sonu (19), a migrant from Bihar under Section 109 IPC, in 2000. It was reported that he was caught in a compromising position with the wife of a shopkeeper at the latter’s Indira Nagri house. Relatives and friends of the shopkeeper had beaten up Sonu before handing him over to the police.

According to information, Sonu had been working at the shop and often visited the house of his employer. He was remanded first in police custody and later in judicial custody and kept at a sub-jail in Fazilka. As his condition started deteriorating, he was treated by the local medical officer but later shifted to Government Medical College Hospital, Faridkot where he died.

This sparked off a protest by hundreds of migrants led by a councillor. However, a compromise was struck between the shopkeeper and the affected family and the matter was closed.

Later a Chandigarh-based NGO took up the case placing media reports before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a public interest litigation petition. The court ordered the CBI to probe into the case.

The CBI team reportedly visited the locality here and questioned residents and the family of the shopkeeper. The ASI who dealt with the case is likely to join investigations by tomorrow.


Beware of private  companies, says SSP
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 17
Senior Superintendent of Police A.S Rai today appealed to people of the district to be beware of a large number of private limited companies registered under the Companies Act 1956.

Mr Rai said many such companies indulge in collecting of funds through fraudulent means.

These private companies are running business in the name of multi-level marketing with the sole objective of cheating the gullible.

He said these companies had collected crores of rupees in a short span by floating catchy schemes.

A huge amount of money is collected in the name of membership fee, registration fee and related expenses giving inducing to members to earn incentives and commissions by further enrolling more members.

A major scandal of this kind was unearthed recently in Chandigarh, he added.


Case property gets damaged in police station
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
It is confirmed. Even as a Ludhiana district resident is languishing behind bars in an alleged drug trafficking case, the police is claiming that the case property was damaged in the rains.

Appearing before Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the officers claimed that the “malkhana” in Jagraon police station was damaged in the rains in 1991 and the case properties, too, were damaged. The defence counsel, on the other hand, contended that the rights of accused had been prejudiced due to the prosecution's claim.

Taking serious view of the matter, Mr Justice Kumar, after turning down their oral plea for exemption from personal appearance, today asked the police officers concerned to remain present in the court on the next date of hearing. The judge also directed filing of a fresh affidavit in the matter before fixing January 7 as the next date of hearing. The one filed in the court this afternoon was returned to counsel appearing for the police officers.

The accused, Ranjit, alias Kaka, of Jagraon tehsil, was earlier convicted and sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 1 lakh after being held guilty under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

According to the prosecution, as many as 20 bags of poppy husk, each weighing 35 kg, were seized from the accused after the police acted on the basis of secret information.

The accused, when confronted with the incriminating evidence against him before the trial court, denied the allegations. He claimed that a false case had been registered against him. The court, not agreeing with his contention, had held him guilty of the offence.

Challenging the trial court's order convicting and sentencing him, the defence counsel submitted that the mandatory provisions had not been complied with by the police.

Giving details, counsel had asserted that the secret information received by the police had not been “reduced in writing” before being sent to the superiors. He had added that the bags of poppy husk produced before the court did not bear the numbers. Counsel further claimed that the necessary guidelines for the destruction of contraband had not been followed.

The officers, including a Superintendent of Police, present in the court today took the plea that they were posted after the incident. The judge, they added, should direct the summoning of the officer posted there at that time.


Pensioners celebrate senior citizens’ day
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 17
The Government Pensioners Association celebrated senior citizens' day at the Teachers Home here today. Mr Jaskiran Singh, SDM, inaugurated newly built reading room on this occasion. The room’s construction was sponsored by a retired teacher, Mr B.S. Piasa. Some pensioners also offered to sponsor daily newspapers for the reading room for rest of their life.

Mr R.S. Behal, president and Mr Amrik Singh, secretary of the association, regretted that the state government had adopted unrealistic attitude towards the pensioners.

Those who spoke including Mr S.K. Dutta, president, Teachers Club, Mr B.L. Sikka, former SDM and Mr Mathra Dass Hiteshi, Chairman, Improvement Trust.

Mr Satnam Rai Arora, a retired headmaster, sponsored prizes for four pensioners on this occasion for their meritorious services. Two more were honoured by the association. A special prize was awarded to Dr R.K. Arora of the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital.


Pensioners’ Day

Patiala, December 17
The Punjab Pensioners Welfare Association today celebrated Pensioners' Day with pomp and show at PSEB Engineers' Home here today. Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh was the chief guest. Vice-President of the association Sat Paul Rahi addressed a gathering.

Senior citizens above 70 and officials of the association were honoured on the occasion. — OC


Three hurt as  trucks collide
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 17
Three persons were injured when two trucks collided near the bus stand here late last night. They were admitted to the Civil Hospital here.

While two of them received injuries on the forehead, the third had multiple abrasions on the face. The front sides of both vehicles were damaged badly.

One of the trucks was going to Ludhiana from Chandigarh while the other one was coming from Ludhiana. The vehicles collided head-on.

Rajesh, driver of the Ludhiana-bound truck told Chandigarh Tribune at the hospital, that he had stopped his vehicle to get an octroi receipt when the other vehicle collided into his vehicle.

He alleged that the driver of the other truck was under the influence of liquor when the accident took place.

Rohit Kumar, cleaner, said the accident had taken place after 11 pm and his truck was loaded with some parts that had to be delivered at Ludhiana.

Dilbagh Singh, driver of the other truck, said the accident took place when he tried to save his vehicle from hitting the bus that was coming from the opposite side.


Army sponsors kids’ exchange programme with NE
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 17
In a unique exercise to strengthen national integration, the Army authorities here have formally launched ‘Operation Samparak’ to enable the children from this part of the region to interact with that of the North-Eastern states.

An Army spokesman said that the exercise was aimed to involve children of the North-Eastern states and to open a window for the visiting children from this region. A contingent of 15 students, including 10 boys and five girls from Army Public School, Beas and Army Public School, Jalandhar Cantonment, were today formally flagged off from 11 Corps headquarters here.

These students would be visiting and interacting with children at Guwahati, Imphal, Kohima, Mokokchung, Mariani and Dimapur. It was hoped that these students would build a bond of friendship and promote national integration through a series of interactions, lectures, adventure activities, competitions and workshops, proposed to be organised by the Army authorities concerned.


High Court
College affiliation case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Taking up a petition filed by Punjabi University's former Vice-Chancellor (VC) Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia in a case pertaining to the affiliation of a Mansa-based dental college, the High Court today directed that if the investigating agency went in for framing up charges, then the order would remain stayed.

In his petition, Mr Ahluwalia had earlier contended that the alleged fake affiliation was granted to the college from 1996 to 1998 while he took over as the Vice-Chancellor in 1999.


Councillors fail to  pursue complaints
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 17
How serious are councillors of the Opposition group about complaints made by them was evident when not a single person appeared when the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, Mr S.R. Kler, came to the municipal council office here today to listen to the complaints.

Sources say six municipal councillors had complained to the Deputy Director more than two months ago that substandard material was being used in the development works carried out in the town. Some complaints were also made against the president.

Though councillors were informed about the visit of the Deputy Director, not a single councillor appeared to give a statement. Sources say earlier when the Deputy Director had visited the council office about a week ago, only one municipal councillor had met him. It is learnt that the Opposition councillors had made similar complaint to the vigilance bureau and an inquiry in the matter was going on.

The Deputy Director heard the complaint of an octroi clerk, who had been suspended and issued a charge sheet for allegedly indulging in financial irregularities.

Mr Kler, who listened to the complaint of Mr Pardeep Kumar asked the Executive officer of the civic body, Mr Jagjit Singh Sahi, to put up the case at the civic body meeting so that the House can take the final decision. The statements of Mr Pardeep Kumar were recorded who told the Deputy Director that he was innocent and the allegations levelled against him were baseless. Mr Kler also listened to the complaints of residents of the town.


Council caught on wrong foot
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 17
To avoid Punjab Pollution Control Board action which had taken serious notice of garbage dumping near Phagwara byepass, the council today started digging a ditch in the middle of the dump. Nearly 30 feet long ditch was dug which was objected to by owners.

The council wanted to throw the garbage in the pit and cover it with mud to show to the Board that it had removed the dump as per its directive or even deny its existence at all.

However, two NRI’s threw spanner in the council’s plan by claiming that the land was agriculture land owned by them.

This made the council officials to stop digging and filled up it. Mr Satish Sharma, council EO, said that they had stopped the digging on knowing that the land was private.


Fund shortage hits work on dist admn complex
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 17
The second phase of construction of the district administrative complex (DAC) here is still incomplete, even though it was to be completed in February, 2002, at a cost of more than Rs 4 crore. The delay in the completion of the second phase is being attributed to a shortage of funds, which are yet to be released by PUDA to the PWD (B&R), the executing agency for the project.

Sources said PUDA had released Rs 2.50 crore for the second phase so far. The last instalment of Rs 25 lakh was released in July this year by PUDA to the PWD (B&R). For the completion of this project an amount of Rs 1.60 crore is yet to be released by PUDA. The local PWD (B&R) authorities wrote letters on October 14, October 30, November 11 and December 9 to the Chief Administrator, PUDA, seeking funds to the tune of Rs 200 lakh for the completion of the second phase of the DAC, but to no avail.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the then Punjab Chief Minister, had laid the foundation stone for the project on December 19, 2000, and the contractor began work in the same month. Though the structural construction of the four-storeyed DAC is almost complete, a lot of work remains to be done to make ‘it functional, which includes fitting doors and windowpanes, building roads and parking lots, and electricity and painting work. In the auditorium-cum-seminar hall, false ceiling and wall panelling work is yet to be done.

In the DAC, the ground floor and the first floor will be occupied by the office of the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), while the second floor will have the offices of the Home Guards and the CID. The third floor will be occupied by the office of the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC).

Mr K.S. Sohal, Executive Engineer, Provincial Division, PWD (B&R), Sangrur, said there was no delay either on the part of the PWD or the contractor in the completion of the second phase of the DAC. He said if the PWD (B&R) got funds to the tune of Rs 200 lakh in one go, the DAC could be completed in three months.

Mr Rakesh Bansal, contractor, claimed that he would hand over the complex to the authorities concerned in three months after completing all works if he got funds regularly during this period. He also claimed that due to unavailability of funds, he had spent several lakhs from his own pocket so far.


Drive against chemist: drugs seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
A huge stock of drugs was seized by the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare during raids in Moga district. The raids were carried out as part of a drive against chemists operating without valid licences.

In a press note issued here today, Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director Health and Family Welfare, stated a large quantity of drugs were seized from various chemist shops in Moga district during the past two days. Six drug samples were also taken for examination. Strict action will be taken against the defaulters.


Two killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 17
Ram Bahadur Singh, an employee of the state electricity board, was killed on the spot late last night in an accident involving a tractor-trailer and a truck.

The accident took place near Gurusar Sainewalla village, about 12 km from here. A chowkidar of the Public Health Department, Rajpal Singh, who was injured in the accident succumbed to his injuries at the local Civil Hospital. The police has registered a case under Sections 304-A and 497 IPC against the truck driver.

Meanwhile, volunteers of an NGO cremated two unidentified bodies. One body was found at the railway station while another was recovered from the local canal. 


Five arrested for murder
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 17
Claiming to have solved a case of blind murder, the police arrested five persons in this regard here today.

According to a press note released here by the Ropar SSP, the police arrested Ram Rattan, Gurpreet Singh and Harpal Singh, residents of Badali village, Rajinder Singh, a resident of Chuni Kalan, and Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Kahlewal village on a charge of murdering Deputy, alias Dhaku, on November 29.

The police said Deputy had allegedly developed illicit relations with Harjit Kaur much to the annoyance of her husband Ram Rattan, brother, Rajinder Singh, brother-in-law Kuldeep Singh and other relatives.

The deceased used to often come to the house of Kuldeep Kaur. When he visited her house on November 29, he was taken to the fields near Madenheri village on some pretext and murdered.

The body was buried in the fields which was recovered on December 4.

On questioning, Harjit Kaur admitted that she had illicit relations with Deputy who was then murdered by her husband and other relatives.


Bir Devinder, Randip appointed Syndics
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 17
The Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, an MLA, Mr Randip Singh, and Prof Narinder Singh Kapoor, have been elected as members of Punjabi University Syndicate for one year. In addition to this Mr Bir Devinder Singh and Mr SPS Virdi have also been appointed as members of the Finance Committee of the varsity for a period of one year.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the Senate and Finance Committee of Punjabi University held at the campus here today.

On the occasion the Senate also approved awarding of Ph.D degrees to students of various faculties whose results had been declared so far. Besides this, the Senate also approved the already audited financial statements of the university for 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.

The Finance committee approved the proposed budget estimates for the year 2003-2004 for the University College of Engineering which included permanent faculty positions, teaching, non-teaching staff and required infrastructure amounting to Rs 1.70 crore.


College teachers hold rallies
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, December 17
Member of the district unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) today staged a dharna and held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in support of their demands. They raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

The protesters demanded continuation of 95 per cent grant-in-aid for aided private colleges, implementation of pension-gratuity scheme and grant of parity in pay scales of DPEs and librarians with lecturers.

A deputation of the district unit of the PCCTU submitted a memorandum, enlisting their demands, to the ADC, Mr N.S.Walia, to forward it to the Punjab Chief Minister.

BATALA: College teachers of Gurdaspur and Amritsar held a rally at R.R. Bawa DAV College for Girls, Batala, on Wednesday and marched to the residence of the State Minister of Health, Mr Ashwani Sikhri, in support of their demands.

Union leaders urged the Punjab Government to accept their demands and implement poll promises regarding the withdrawal of cut in the grant-in-aid scheme and implementation of the executive order regarding pension and gratuity to college employees.

PHAGWARA: Teachers of non-government colleges, including ‘Guru Nanak College, held a stay-in-strike and stayed away from the ongoing house examinations in protest against the failure of the government to implement its poll promises.

Most colleges made alternative arrangements for the conduct of house tests by deploying ad hoc/temporary staff on examination duty.

The protesters held a rally and dharna and flayed the government for downsizing the grant, resulting in the non-payment of salary in 120 colleges. They sought the intervention of the Punjab Social Welfare Minister in resolving the issues.


Appoint DEO, urges teachers’ front
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 17
Major Basant Kumar, district secretary, Democratic Teachers’ Front, in a written statement issued here today, has expressed resentment over the non-appointment of the District Education Officer (Secondary).

He alleged that many important decisions which were to be taken by the DEO had been pending since the retirement of the previous incumbent. He said the December examinations of the schools were in progress and no senior official of the department was taking care of these.

He alleged that the pace of work in the office of the DEO (Elementary) was very slow.

He said records of General Provident Fund (GPF) had not been sent to Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) for nearly a year. The reports of GPF for 2001-2002 have not been completed and the appointment of head teachers and centre head teachers has been hanging fire since the past six months, he said.

He alleged that the process of appointment of these teachers was not transparent and the delay was being caused as some officials wanted to “accommodate” their candidates.

He said no instructions had been given about earned leave for election duty on holidays, besides seminars, camps, workshops, allotment of new GPF numbers, final payments of GPF and loan against GPF. He alleged that due to the laxity of the DEO’s office the Sangat Block Education Officer had not made entries of Rs 2 lakh in the account books of the teachers concerned.

He said the front would hold a meeting with the district education authorities on December 22.


Toppers in surgery honoured
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 17
Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, presented medals to the toppers in surgery of local Government Medical College here today. Gurjit Singh Uppal and Abhimanyu Kapoor were presented gold and silver medals, respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, the Principal of the college, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, highlighted the contributions made by Dr Saronwala to the medical fraternity and society. 

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