P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



MC works worth Rs 10 cr under a cloud
Varinder Singh & J.S. Malhotra
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 25
Development works of more than Rs 10 crore — already executed or being executed by the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation — have come under a cloud for the alleged “dubious” legal validity of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the corporation, which had been giving its permission for carrying out these works in different parts of the city.

Interestingly, more than half the development works sanctioned by the committee have already been executed by it, which itself has been in the eye of a storm due to allegations of its being constituted of councillor members which were “nomitated” at the “political whims and fancies” and “not duly elected” on the floor of the civic body House as required under the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.

What has raised doubts is not only the “haste” shown by the committee in framing a “freak” provision for seeking to empower itself to carry out development works up to Rs 25 lakh in each of the 55 wards of the city without the approval of the House on “Ludhiana pattern”, but also the execution of development works worth about Rs 2 crore in different wards.

The execution of works was finally  stopped in view of the refusal of the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation to approve further execution of any such works, even as this issue had also allegedly turned out to be a bone of contention between the Commissioner and the Mayor. So much so, terming the F&CC as an “illegal” committee, a group of Congress councillors had opposed the way in which it had been formed.

What had raised eyebrows was the very formation of the high-powered F&CC with control over financial matters and development works. The committee, apart from having four permanent members, including the Mayor, the Commissioner, Senior Deputy Mayor and the Deputy Mayor, normally had two elected members, from among the councillors.

Those opposing it maintain that though the House had approved a proposal regarding the formation of the F&CC on the basis of a resolution in July 2002, but, technically, its two councillor members were “nominated” by the Mayor and were “never elected” on the floor of the House, which was a violation of the Act.

They allege a first-time woman councillor was appointed as one of the two members by ignoring senior Congress councillors who had won elections on the Congress ticket for twice or thrice. Besides, the other member, Mr Charan Dass, was a councillor who had won as an Independent with the help of the Bahujan Samaj Party.

“When the Chief Minister had come to the city last time, I and some other councillors had complained to him about the way the committee was formed and we had apprised him about its being illegal also,” said Mr Sardari Lal, a Congress councillor, who had won elections from Bhargo Camp three times. He alleged that despite his being a Congress councillor, development work not worth “even a single rupee” was carried out in his ward. Whereas development works of worth more than Rs 1 crore were carried out in the area of a minister.

Official sources pointed out that the F&CC and its supporters had been able to make a proposal for enhancing the powers of the committee by allowing it to sanction development works worth Rs 25 lakh in each of the wards on the lines of “Ludhiana pattern”. This even led to the execution of development works of about Rs 2 crore in different wards, but, the committee’s empowerment drive was virtually thwarted as the Commissioner imposed a ban on the execution of any further work about three months ago. The sources even claimed that it was possible that there might not be any such pattern at all.

Ms Sarojini Gautam Sharda, Commissioner, admitted that the execution and implementation of the Rs 25 lakh a ward scheme was put on hold as nobody came forward with an actual “Ludhiana pattern”, on the lines of which works were executed, nor this pattern was ever placed before her.


Jail funds unused, says Bhatnagar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 25
The DGP (Prisons), Punjab, Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, said here today that the Centre had made a plan for modernising jails in the state under which it would give Rs 15 crore every year for five years, provided the state contributed its share of 25 per cent.

The Central share had been received for two years, but it remained unused because the state could not contribute its share, the DGP (Prisons) told newspersons.

The state budget for its 26 jails was Rs 64 crore, he said. There were 14,000 prisoners in these jails while the capacity was 10,000, he added.

Two modern jails would come up in Patiala and Jalandhar ranges, he said.

To a query about psychological pressure on undertrial prisoners being behind their attempts to escape, Mr Bhatnagar mooted the idea of video-conferencing on the pattern of Hyderabad for speedy trials.

For this, Section 167 of the CrPC had to be amended, he said. Earlier, at a seminar here, it was said that the lack of education, public awareness and the right of expression was the root cause of human rights violations.

The seminar was organised by the All-India Human Rights Watch. Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh, Chairman, Punjab Public Service Commission, was the chief guest while Mr Bhatnagar presided over the function. Mr Harminder Singh Bakshi, a former District and Sessions Judge, was the guest of honour.

Mr Anil Kaushik, chairman, and Mr S.S. Sandhu, president of the Watch, and Mr Jatinder Singh Kundi, its district president, were also present. General Surjit Singh called upon the people to make a noise whenever human rights were violated. He stressed on the need to sensitise the security forces about human rights.

DGP Bhatnagar asserted that without the right of expression and the right to life with dignity, human rights were meaningless.


Ultra modern jail to be set up
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 25
The Director-General of Punjab Police (Prison), Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, yesterday said that an ultra modern jail equipped with latest security gadgets would be set up on the Kapurthala road here.

Mr Bhatnagar, who was speaking to mediapersons after conducting an inspection at the Central Jail here, said that keeping in view the Burail jailbreak incident, security measures at all jails in the state were being given a fresh look.

Commenting upon a recent case in which a jail guard was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe, allegedly on behalf of a jail doctor, he said that as jail doctors were not employees of the Jail Department, he could not say anything on the issue. Regarding the connivance of jail officials in the matter, he said the matter was being probed. 


Novel to expose nexus in jails
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 25
Mitter Sain Meet Though it is not the Burail jailbreak that prompted noted Punjabi author Mitter Sain Meet to write a novel, but it will certainly feature in his voluminous work, “Warha” (captivity). The novel is meant to expose the alleged nexus of jail officials, politicians and public prosecutors.

After novels like “Tafteesh” (investigation), “Katehra” (the dock) and “Kaurav Sabha” (assembly of Kaurvas), Meet’s forthcoming multi-layer novel, which would be the first such attempt in Punjabi literature, is expected to expose the “rotten” system in which the affluent are able to avoid going to jail.

With an experience of more than 25 years as public prosecutor, Meet has “first-hand information” on drug mafia that operates in jail complexes with the alleged connivance of jail authorities.

On the reports regarding the comforts the alleged assassins of Beant Singh enjoyed in Burail Jail, Meet said influential persons getting such facilities had shocked the common man, and it would find mention in his new novel. Meet said the jails did not help in reforming the convicts any more.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Meet said a poor man could not expect justice under the prevailing judicial system, which required an overhaul, including amendment of the obsolete Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

He said he had been witness to several cases in which rich persons had conveniently hoodwinked the entire judicial system and could not be put behind bars due to “lack of evidence”. The only glimmer of hope was that certain judges, lawyers and even public prosecutors still heard the voice of their conscience.

Meet, who joined as Additional District Attorney in 1979, has not only watched the entire judicial system from close but also been part of it.

In his earlier novel “Tafteesh,” the author pointed out loopholes in the collection and furnishing of evidence with a view to implicate innocent persons. The novel mentioned several instances of culprits going scot free.

Though Meet is a senior official of a department that deals with law, he had the courage to write in one of his previous novels: The law favours the accused. It acquits them giving the benefit of the doubt”.


Daler puts off recording bribe charge
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 25
Pop star Daler Mehndi has decided to put off till February 15 recording his statement alleging demand of bribe of Rs 1.5 crore by a former Deputy Superintendent of the Patiala police, in which former Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal and another officer also figure.

The pop star, who made a quiet visit to the city recently, met Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota and asked him for time till February 15 to record his statement in the case. The DIG has been entrusted with the job of inquiring into the extortion allegations levelled by Daler against the Patiala police.

Confidants of the pop star disclosed that he was adamant on recording his statement against the police officers but had put off the issue till he was discharged in the case. They said Daler wanted to deal with his discharge and the issue of alleged extortion separately.

Sources said there was likelihood of the Patiala police filing an application to discharge Daler in the human trafficking case next week. If this happened, Daler would be discharged by the first week of February. It was because of this that Daler had delayed recording his statement in the complaint of extortion filed by him before the IGP, Patiala zone. Daler’s advocate Brijinder Singh Sodhi when questioned on the matter said his client wanted to have a free mind before recording his statement.

DIG Sahota said there was no pressure from the police on Daler. “I have called him earlier also to record his statement, but he has not availed of the opportunity. Even now we have allowed him to do as he chooses as far as recording of the statement is concerned”, he said, adding that the pop singer had told him that he was very busy right now.

Meanwhile, the IG is recording the statements of persons who are said to have come to Sadar police station to “protest” against Daler on October 27. Besides police station officers and those on duty, the IG has also summoned Congress leaders of the city and private citizens to record their statements. Among them is city Youth Congress leader Sanjiv Bittu. The Congress activists are being asked why they were present at the police station when they had otherwise nothing to do with Daler.


Rangers, BSF hostile gestures continue
Anirudh Gupta

Indo-Pakistan Joint Check Post, Ferozepore: Notwithstanding the ongoing peace process, the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers continue to exchange hostile gestures during the retreat ceremony at the Indo-Pakistan Joint Check Post (JCP), Husainiwala, here.

Though the retreat ceremony at Husainiwala is a treat to watch and undoubtedly turns out to be a memorable and lifetime experience for all who come to witness this rare electrifying drill, the visitors have now started raising a question mark over the way the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers barter intimidating gestures which evokes nothing but abhorrence for the man on the other side of the fence. As the smartly dressed BSF sentinels, the Seema Prahiris, and the Pakistani Rangers set the fields ablaze by the thunderous tapping of their feet and match every step, every motion just to outdo each other, emblazoned feeling of patriotism juxtaposed with the recent developments between the two nations engulfs the heart of everyone who come to witness the drill. The raised eyebrows, the stretched shoulders and the daring glances send a wave of tremor through the onlooker’s body from head to tow. Though the sanctity of the border is well preserved and exhibited, yet the contours of these dare-devil commandos, who in consonance with their moto, “Duty unto death”, always place the nation above their soul, fill the atmosphere with suspense and one keeps wondering what must be the feeling of performing for the nation.

As soon as we walk past the BSF checkpost, the point from where the vehicles are not permitted to go further without due permission, the entire atmosphere looks surcharged as the alien nation, which was once part of ours, is just a stone’s throw away with only the barbed wire separating the two.

With the last note of the buglers, the ceremony folds up amidst thunderous applause by the audience on both sides. The sentinels of both nations maintain clock-like precision while lowering their respective national flags. Amid the intense feeling of astute patriotism, spirit of sacrifice and hatred for the man on the other side of the border writ large on their faces, these guardians of the nation march back to their barracks. The enthusiastic crowds on either side slowly make their way home, but not before stealing a glance to look at their brethren hitherto separated by hatred. The sun goes down followed by a dark sheet marking the end of the day’s journey. Day after day, year after year, people keep thronging the JCP with different streaks of thoughts coming to their mind.

Though the BSF officials maintain that the aggressive postures the forces exchange are well rehearsed and part of the drill, the kind of hatred it evokes is there for everyone to see. Often the crowd on both sides is locked in a slogan war with things taking an ugly shape as it happened when India defeated Pakistan in the World Cup cricket match in Australia last year. Both sides had hurled abuses and even pelted stones at each other.

Sources in the BSF claim that the practice was initiated by the Pakistani Rangers to attract big crowds, as on any given day, people on the Indian side outnumber the Pakistanis. The aggression, which had reached a flashpoint during the Kargil war and Operation Prakaram when people on both sides had started chanting slogans like, “Bharat Mata ki jai,” and “Hindustan Jindabad”, seems will not die down soon.

In the present scenario, when not only the two governments, but also the general masses have started sharing peaceful overtures, whether or not these gestures and aggressive reactions should continue to be apart of the drill has to be corroborated.


Johar’s stock with government falls?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
The Punjab Government has asked Higher Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar to preside over the Republic Day function at the subdivision level in his own district while ministers junior to him have been asked to preside over functions at the district levels.

Mr Johar will unfurl the National Flag and preside over a function at Jagraon. Other ministers from Ludhiana district like Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, who is a Minister of State for Jail, will preside over the function at Nawanshahr. Mr Tej Parkash Singh, who is junior to Mr Johar, will unfurl the flag at Hoshiarpur. The National Flags at some other subdivisions will be unfurled by Subdivisional Magistrates (SDMs).

In response to a question, the Punjab Congress chief, Mr H.S Hanspal, said the duties were assigned to the ministers by the Punjab Government. Mr Johar, who was also present, preferred to remain elusive.

Mr Hanspal, however, demanded the suspension of the Chandigarh Home Secretary, Mr. G.S. Gujral, holding him directly responsible for the negligence that led to the jail break in which three accused for the assassination of a former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, escaped by digging a tunnel.

Lambasting the Union Government for the lapse Mr Hanspal also demanded the resignation of Union Home Minister L.K. Advani on moral grounds. Mr Hanspal was presiding over a function organised by the Namdhari Darbar here today.

He further said that Mr Advani should have resigned immediately after the attack on Parliament House or attack on an Army unit at the Lal Qila in New Delhi.

During Mr Advani’s visit to Ludhiana on Sunday, Mr Hanspal had praised the working of Mr Advani.

About the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Mr Hanspal said the party President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, would decide the choice of candidates. He admitted that he, too, was being considered as a candidate by the Ludhiana District Congress Committee for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat. He, however, added that he had no desire to contest the poll.


Truce on, but CLP crisis simmers
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 25
Though both loyalists and dissidents in the Punjab Congress have accepted the “truce” ordered by party President Sonia Gandhi, the crisis continues to smoulder over the issue of status quo both in the Council of Ministers and the Pradesh Congress Committee.

At the last meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the four-member committee comprising Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr Ahmed Patel and Mrs Mohsina Kidwai, dissidents owing allegiance to Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal had reportedly raised the issue of stripping Mr Mohammad Mustafa of the charge of Inspector-General, Government Railway Police, as well as the registration of a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Mr G.S. Pirzada, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre.

The dissidents argued that since Mrs Razia Sultan, a member of the CLP, was one of them, her husband, an IPS officer, was being harassed and stripped of the charge of a medium-level position “to teach her a lesson”.

They also reportedly referred to the recent searches of rice shellers undertaken by the police in Ferozepore and other areas where the sheller of Mr Harjinder Singh, a secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, was also searched.

“We have no objection to routine checks being conducted. But if the searches were intentional to mount undue pressure on us, we will not take it,” felt the dissidents threatened.

They, according to sources, were also forthright in criticising the registration of a corruption case against Mr G.S. Pirzada. They argued that since the government was of the impression that it was Mr Pirzada who was responsible for leaking out documents or other information about the Intranet transactions and correspondence, he was being victimised with a corruption case.

“We have brought to the notice of the party high command the deliberate efforts by an Adviser to the Chief Minister to paint us as a defeated or demoralised group by getting news stories planted in the media about possible change of portfolios or even dropping of some members of the present Council of Ministers.

“Even Mrs Bhattal made it clear that she would not take a minute to quit in case all of them wanted her not to accept the Deputy Chief Minister’s title. The only thing that came in the way of expansion of the ministry or reshuffling of portfolios was the new law following an amendment to the Constitution, fixing the size of the Councils of Ministers in various states,” remarked a senior leader of the Punjab CLP.

An argument was given at the last meeting that it would care unbearable humiliation in case the Governor returned the list submitted by the Chief Minister for expansion, quoting the new law.

It was only after all these discussions that a truce was ordered and it was made clear that status quo would continue till the Lok Sabha elections. 


2004 special year for Sikhs
K.S. Chawla

THE year 2004 may go down in the history of Sikhs as a very important year that might mark the onset of the much-talked about revivalism among the Sikhs. Several centennial celebrations will mark the occasion.

Quinquennial birth celebrations of the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev, the 400th year of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden Temple falling on September 1 and 300th celebrations of the martyrdom of four sons of Guru Gobind Singh at Chamkaur Sahib and Fatehgarh Sahib during the month of December.

It is interesting to note that these occasions will present a unique opportunity to the Sikh leadership to project different aspects of Sikh doctrine and history. So as to inspire the next generation of the Sikhs. The Sikh Guru’s anniversary will present the Sikh Gurus as the fountain head of Sikh inspiration. The 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib can strive to present the literary and spiritual heritage as the most secular and universal theological concept worthy of acceptance by various diverse segments of humanity.

The martyrdom days celebrations of four sons of the Tenth Guru can specially focus on the youth, their present state and provide them with definite source of inspiration and urge them to play their role in the upliftment of the Sikh community. In fact, this can inspire them to come forward to play in a positive manner and also fight against social evils like drug addiction.

Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra told this reporter in an exclusive interview that the celebrations had already started and the same would continue for the whole year.

According to Jathedar Tohra Sikhs all over the world would be involved in the celebrations.

He disclosed that the SGPC would request the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to take up with the Pakistan Government the issue of providing a corridor to the Sikhs from Kartarpur near Pakistan border in Gurdaspur district so that the Sikhs could visit the shrine without any difficulty.

Jathedar Tohra said that nagar kirtans would be taken out from Kartarpur to Khadoor Sahib—headquarters of the second guru every month till the final celebrations on September 18. The final nagar kirtan would start from Serai Naga in Faridkot district to Khadoor Sahib on September 18. Similarly, the 400th year celebrations regarding installation of Guru Granth Sahib were also taking place all over the world. Punjabi University has already celebrated it and a nagar kirtan was taken out. The SGPC was asking the universities and educational institutions to organise functions in this regard and spread the message of the gurus.

Regarding the tercentenary of the martyrdom of four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, a nagar kirtan would be taken out every month. Two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, fell fighting the enemy at Chamkaur Sahib on December 20. Celebrations in their memory would be held there on December 20.

Two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, were bricked alive at Sirhind on December 25 according to Nanakshahi Calendar. The final celebrations would be held at Fatehgarh Sahib.

According to Jathedar Tohra, a nagar kirtan would also be taken out at Anandpur Sahib on December 5.

The SGPC has also set up a three-member planning committee consisting of Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, a former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Kharak Singh of the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh and Dr Balkar Singh, a former head of the Guru Granth Sahib Studies, Punjabi University. Besides, some more committees have been set up to organise the three major celebrations.

Jathedar Tohra further said that the SGPC would honour the descendants of those muslim families who helped Guru Gobind Singh and his sons during their period of turmoil

Jathas of American Sikhs would also participate in the celebrations.

Jathedar Tohra said that the major thrust would be to spread the message of the Gurus and check a- postasy among the Sikh youth.

The three celebrations can also provide an opportunity to the Sikh leadership to introspect and look back to assess its own role and place in the Sikh history.


BJP forms coordination panel
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 25
To coordinate with the Shiromani Akali Dal and other political parties in the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president, BJP unit of Punjab, has constituted a coordination committee of the state BJP. Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, a former minister of Punjab, has been appointed its convener.

In a press release here today, Mr Khanna said Ch. Swarna Ram has been appointed vice-president, and Mr Rajinder Bhandari, S. Harjeet Grewal and Mr Vijay Sapla, all general secretaries of state BJP unit, who would be its members to assist Mr Tandon. Besides, he has also constituted an election committee headed by himself for which all the aforesaid general secretaries, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, former Punjab BJP President, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, former Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Ms Laxmikanta Chawla, Dr Balbir Kapila and Mr Narotam Dev Ratti have been appointed members to assist him in this committee.


Give LS ticket from Sangrur to Barnala, say supporters
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 25
In an important political development in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a large number of supporters of the family of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala today passed a resolution to allot the SAD Lok Sabha ticket for the Sangrur parliamentary constituency to Mr Surjit Singh Barnala or to any other candidate of Mr Barnala’s choice, and allotment of the ticket to Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, the secretary-general of the SAD, from the Patiala parliamentary constituency.

The supporters gathered at the house of Mr Barnala today to discuss the allotment of the SAD ticket for the Sangrur parliamentary constituency. At this meeting, prominent among others who participated included Mrs Surjit Kaur Barnala, wife of Mr Barnala, Governor, Andhra Pradesh; Mr Baldev Singh Mann, general secretary of the SAD; Mr Jora Singh Bhagike, MLA from Nihalsinghwala; and Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, MLA from Dhuri. supporters of Mr Barnala from Barnala, Bhadaur, Nihalsinghwala, Dhanaula and Raikot also participated.

Talking to TNS over the phone tonight, Mr Baldev Singh Mann said there was a general consensus among the SAD workers and supporters of Mr Barnala that the party ticket from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat should be given to Mr Barnala or a candidate of his choice as this seat belonged to the Barnala family. He said the workers also demanded that Mr Dhindsa should be given the party ticket from the Patiala Lok Sabha seat as his village and his Sunam Assembly constituency were part of the Patiala Lok Sabha seat. Besides, only Mr Dhindsa could defeat Mrs Preneet Kaur, MP, and a prospective Congress candidate from there, he added.

Mr Mann said a resolution passed in this regard would now be sent to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the SAD chief, to accept it in toto. He also said the workers also asked Mr Badal not to field such a candidate from Sangrur who had worked against Mr Surjit Singh Barnala for his defeat from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency in the past.

The supporters of Mr Barnala also appealed to Mr Surjit Singh Barnala to return to Punjab after resigning the Governorship of Andhra Pradesh for contesting the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat as an SAD candidate. They also asked Mrs Surjit Kaur Barnala that they would not vote for such a candidate who had opposed Mr Barnala in the past during Lok Sabha elections.


Rs 146 crore Ghaggar scheme to take off
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 25
The Congress is set to woo the people living alongside the Ghaggar river which has a 105-km-long tract in this district out of its total length of 242 km by taking credit for the passing of the Rs 146-crore project by the Central Water Commission (CWC). The project aims at strengthening the banks of the Ghaggar as well as other riverines posing threat of flood in the region during the monsoon season.

While ministers Gurchet Singh Bhullar and Jasjit Singh Randhawa will inaugurate the work on the Jharumajra drain at Ghanour on January 27, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate the work on the Tangri drain at Devigarh on January 30. The centre has approved Rs 33 crore for the first phase of the project. Work on both the projects is scheduled to be completed by the next monsoon with Rs 2.52 crore expected to be spent on the Jharumajra drain and 12 crore on the Tangri drain.

Irrigation Department sources disclosed that work would also be initiated on the Bhagwa drain which ran for a total length of 9 km. They said Rs 1.31 crore would be spent on digging up this drain and that flood waters from this drain affected an area of 6,500 acres. The project also envisaged construction of 19 bridges over various drains in the district, including the Sirhind choe, Patiala Nadi, Jhambhowali choe, Miranpur choe and the Pachisdara.

State Finance Minister Lal Singh, while presiding over a meeting of the party’s district and block-level officials and members of the Zila Parishad and the Block Samiti, said directions had been given to ensure timely repair of all studs at sensitive points in the Ghaggar and other drains. He thanked the Patiala MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur, for getting the no-objection certificate from the Central Government for implementation of the Ghaggar scheme.

Mr Lal Singh disclosed that the state government was committed to ensuring round-the-clock power to all villages at a cost of Rs 261 crore. The others present at the meeting included the president of the District Congress, Mr Hardyal Singh Kamboj.


Scam in purchase of chlorination plants
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, January 25
The initial inquiry into the purchase of chlorination plants at exorbitant prices by various municipal council and corporation of the state has established a scam involving higher officials of the Sewerage Board and councils.

The inquiry conducted by officials deputed for the purpose by the Secretary, Local Government, has established that the equipment used in the chlorination plants were purchased at exorbitant prices.

Highly placed sources said quotations procured from the Ajmer-based Toshcon company by the investigating officers deputed to probe into the scandal indicated that the price of the gauges (the main equipment) used in the chlorination plants was Rs 65,000.

However, similar gauges were procured by some officers of the Sewerage Board municipal councils and corporation from a Chandigarh-based contractor for Rs 1.5 lakh.

Besides the gauges the inquiry has also indicated that other equipment of plants as pulleys, stands, valves and protection material as gas masks were purchased at exorbitant prices.

The material was supplied to the municipal councils at a price of about Rs 1.5 lakh whereas its market price was below Rs 50,000.

Similarly the price of toners used to store chlorine gas ranged between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000 where as they were purchased for Rs 80,000.

The sources said the scam started during the rule of the SAD-BJP government and continued the during the rule of the present Congress government.

The scam began with a contractor allegedly arranging a foreign trip for a former Chairman of the Sewerage Board. In return the Chairman got the higher rates of the chlorination plants approved from the then Managing Director of the board.

Though the Managing Director later, realising the mistake, issued direction to the technical officers against approving the increased rates, one Superintendent Engineer of the Sewerage Board now retired) approved the rates, the sources told.

The contractor supplied the chlorination plants at exorbitant rates to the Bathinda and Fazilka municipal councils.

An inquiry was ordered into the purchases and now a show cause notice has been issued to the officers who purchased the plant as whey the extra cost of plant should not be recovered from them.

After the inquiry, the officers of the Sewerage Board issued directions to the municipal councils and corporations across the state against buying chlorination plants at higher costs.

However, officials of some of the municipal councils and corporations in connivance with the Chandigarh-based contractor purchased the plants at exorbitant prices ignoring the new directions and using the old order to their advantage.

Various municipal councils and corporations in the state over the last two years purchased chlorination plants at different prices up to Rs 10 lakh.

However, the initial inquiries by the investigating officer deployed by the Secretary, Local Government, have revealed that the original cost of the plants might range from Rs 1 to Rs 2 lakh.

The inquiry into the purchase of chlorination plants by the Nangal Municipal Council was marked by the Secretary Local Government, on the basis of a report published in The Tribune regarding the scam.

The Nangal Municipal Council had purchased a chlorination plant for its sewerage plant for Rs 10 lakh.

The sources said council officials installed the chlorination plant on the sewerage treatment plant whereas the opinion of the experts on the issue was still divided.

As some of the experts feel that the excess chlorine in the sewerage water that flows into a river could have an adverse impact on the aquatic life.

The chlorination of sewerage water has not been approved anywhere in the country as yet.


SSP justifies suspension of SDM’s gunman
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 25
Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Sangrur, in a press note here today, said that Constable Major Singh, gunman of the Malerkotla SDM, had been suspended on the recommendation of the Moonak DSP for breaking the security cordon of the Punjab Chief Minister on January 17 last at Kuka Memorial Guest House in Malerkotla.

The SSP said in his report the DSP stated that the constable had been driving the Gypsy of the Malerkotla SDM though he was a gunman and had forcibly entered the guest house breaking the security cordon, therefore the constable be suspended for indiscipline and departmental action be initiated against him. Accordingly, he approved the suspension of the constable and ordered departmental inquiry against him.

The SSP also stated that he had no differences with the District Magistrate, Mr Sarvjit Singh, and had nothing against any PCS officer of the Sangrur district. Also there was no bone of contention between the civil administration and him. Similarly, the District Magistrate has also stated that there are no differences between him and the SSP.

The SSP also said he had come to know from the District Magistrate that the Sangrur ADC and the Malerkotla SDM along with few other SDMs came to him (DM) and wanted the constable to be reinstated and action be taken against the Sub-Inspector, posted on security duty at Kuka Memorial Guest House, as the driver (gunman) went in on SDM Indu Malhotra’s instructions, who was the Duty Magistrate. She also told the District Magistrate that it happened due to some communication gap with the Sub-Inspector on duty who was rude and who did not explain why her vehicle was being stopped there, while it was allowed at other places.

The SSP also stated that the vehicle of the Malerkotla SDM had been driven by her gunman though he was not entitled to drive the official vehicle as he was not a driver and the said constable without paying heed to the advice of the Sub-Inspector, drove the vehicle into the guest house near the Chief Minister’s cavalcade. He said nobody could be allowed to breach the CM’s security. If the ADC and the SDM wanted to defend the suspended constable, he had no objections. On his part, he had taken the right decision to suspend the delinquent constable and initiate departmental inquiry against him, the SSP said.

However, after hearing the version of the Malerkotla SDM, the Deputy Commissioner wrote to the SSP that in these circumstances, he felt that the constable might not be penalised as he obeyed the directions of the Duty Magistrate and the SI also be asked to be polite in his dealings without compromising with his duty. He also told the Malerkotla SDM that security instructions might be respected.


Thermal plant dykes causing waterlogging in fields
Lalit Mohan

Ropar January 25
Residents of Ranjitpura village, about 10 km from here are facing an acute problem of waterlogging in their field. Norms were reportedly violated during the construction of the stage two fly ash dykes of Ropar Thermal Plant.

About 200 acre of fertile land of the village is under two-to-three feet deep water due to seepage of water from dykes of the thermal plant.

Besides, Ranjitpura, the fertile land of Aspur, Kotbala and Tiba Taprian villages along dykes of thermal plant was also facing the waterlogging problem. When this correspondent visited Ranjitpura village more than two feet water had accumulated in the fields adjoining the dykes.

The sarpanch of the village, Ms Charanjit Kaur, said due to waterlogging their fertile land had become marshy. Now it was not even fit for growing paddy. The water standing in the fields was also damaging the houses. Almost all houses in the village have become damp, she told. The villagers said the problem of waterlogging started after the fly ash dykes were constructed by the thermal plant authorities.

According to sources, waterlogging was being caused by dykes as their depth was much more than the prescribed norms. During the construction of the stage two dykes, the contractor employed for the purpose dug most of the earth from within the dykes to construct the bundhs. Due to this the depth of the dykes has gone down upto 10 feet.

When the fly ash mixed with water is released into the dykes the water percolates down upto 10 feet and seeps into adjoining areas causing waterlogging. Recently, a contractor employed to construct the escape canal to carry the water from dykes to the adjoining Sirsa river gave up the work saying that work could not be carried out due to waterlogging.

Besides the flaws in the construction, the poor maintenance of the dykes was also one of the major reason for waterlogging. A drain had been constructed along the dykes by the thermal authorities to absorb the water seeping out. However, since long the drain has not been maintained and it has been clogged by vegetation and rendered ineffective.

Waterlogging was not the only problem being faced by the villagers residing along the dykes. They have alleged that due to the lack of maintenance, walls of the dykes were sinking and damaging the only road leading to their village. They have to pass over the bundhs of the dykes to go to adjoining areas. Since the bundhs were kutcha travelling over them becomes very difficult after rain. It is more dangerous in night.

However, if the dykes are kept dry, fly ash flows with air into their houses. The problem have affected their life to such an extent that they even have to plan their marriages, according to the seasons when there is not much water in dykes.

The thermal plant authorities, when contacted, said the maintenance of the dykes was being carried out to reduce the waterlogging problems in the area. The work for the cleaning of the drain along the stage two dykes and maintenance of the bundhs was being carried out, they told.


SGPC warns Ropar admn on boundary wall
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 25
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee yesterday warned the Ropar district administration that interference in the construction of the boundary wall of Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib, would not be tolerated.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Secretary, SGPC, said in a press release that some ‘miscreants’ had been opposing the construction of the wall which was being raised on SGPC land.

He said the wall was being constructed as per the decision of the SGPC Executive. He alleged that certain miscreants want to create hurdles in the way of smooth administration of the SGPC. Mr Calcutta alleged that some persons had attacked SGPC employees who had miraculous escape.

Mr Calcutta also said that the SGPC won’t allow erection of unauthorised ‘pandals’ or remporary shops at the time of religious festivals like Hola Mohalla, Shaheedi Jor Mela which amount to violation of the ‘maryada’ (Sikh traditions). He alleged that such shopkeepers fleece devotees and sell audio cassettes of ‘vulgar songs’.


Jalandhar to have gas through pipes
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 25
Jalandhar is all set to become the first city of Punjab to introduce the gas-on-tap system through underground pipelines for residents for which a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and senior officials of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) here on January 31.

According to the chairman of the local Improvement Trust, Mr Tajinder Singh Bittu, discussions were held with HPCL officials here on Thursday to provide LPG through underground pipelines to residents of Surya Enclave developed by the trust.

“In fact, the project is aimed at ensuring round-the-clock LPG supply to the residents of the colony and avoiding frequent refilling to LPG cylinders. This will benefit around 4,000 families and commercial establishments in the locality. Besides, after its successful implementation, all colonies developed by the trust will be given the same facility in the second phase,” Bittu said.

The Chief Manager of the HPCL, Mr K.V. Apte, said they would set up a computerised centre in the locality with a huge underground tank to store the cooking gas. “Each consumer will be provided with a gas meter while monthly bills will be issued accordingly. The system also incorporates various safety devices for protection in the kitchen and around the installation,” said Mr Apte.


Water wastage through tap-less outlets

Amritsar, January 25
According to a survey by an non-government organisation 44 water points in the walled city in ward 11, 12 and 13 were allegedly tap-less.

Water flowed onto roads and gutters from water power. All these taps get supply from corporation, water flows from early morning to late at night. Thousands of litres of precious commodity thus gets wasted the maximum of such tap-less points numbering 10 were, found at Dhab Wasti Ram area. Free flowing water was seen at five points from Tunda Talab to Shakti Nagar. Areas like Namak Mandi, Katra Sher Singh, Katra Ahluwalia reported four points each of flowing water. Four water tanks constructed for public welfare overflow in the area of court complex and the district revenue office close to the Deputy Commissioner’s office. However scant attention was paid to water wastage despite letters addressed to the corporation. The survey took into account that wastage was going for months, and situation remained unattended. — OC


Unemployed youth protest against freeze on jobs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 25
Activists of the Berojgar Aadhyapak Front, Punjab, today burnt copies of the memorandum in protest, after some Congress leaders refused to receive the same when they had gone to the residence of local Congress MLA Surinder Singla.

Mr Sukhdarshan Singh, president of the union, said the activists had taken out a rally to lodge their protest over the freeze on the appointments of teachers in government schools. He said they had gone to the residence of Mr Singla to submit a memorandum listing their demands, but the persons at his house refused to accept the same. He termed the incident as an insult to all unemployed youth of Punjab, who had been demanding jobs.

He alleged that the Punjab Government had been shying away from its responsibility of educating the masses and a large number of vacancies of teachers had been lying vacant.

Mr Yadwinder Singh, another leader of the front, said the B.Ed course should be banned for at least three years to reduce the number of B.Ed unemployed. He said the government had been inviting applications from private parties interested in opening more B.Ed colleges in the state.

The activists of the front raised slogans against the Punjab Government and Mr Surinder Singla. They added that a massive rally would be held next Sunday and their families would also participate in the protest.


Memorial park in bad shape
Pawan Kumar

AMRITSAR: M.L. Dhingra Park developed by the Amritsar Improvement Trust presents a picture of neglect. The poor condition of the park speaks volumes for the callous attitude of the Improvement Trust and the Municipal Corporation towards its maintenance.

This park was developed in memory of national hero M.L. Dhingra, who was hanged by the British on August 17, 1909. Born in February, 1887, in Amritsar, he shot dead Sir Curzon in London on July 1, 1909.

A statue of this national hero was unveiled in the park by former Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 9, 1992.

Situated on the G.T. Road adjacent to the M.L. Dhingra housing complex, the park is in a pitiable condition. The boundary wall and the entry and exit points are in bad shape. Most floodlights around its boundary are not functional as a result of which the park remains enveloped in darkness, making it a safe haven for bad elements and drug addicts. A corner of the garden is being used as a garbage dump.

The main entrance to the park remained blocked by trolleys of building material parked there. Animals have become regular visitors to the memorial park as most outer grills are broken. Coarse grass, weeds and empty flower beds greet the visitors as there is no gardner to look after the garden.

Mr Narinder Lamba, President of the M.L. Dhingra Colony Society, says the society had taken up the issue with the Improvement Trust and the Municipal Corporation a number of times but to no avail. While the Improvement Trust claimed that the park had been handed over to the MC, the MC said otherwise. He said if the administration could not take care of this park, it should be handed over to the society for its proper maintenance.

Mr S.S. Narula, a member of the society, demanded that adequate lights should be installed around the statue of the great martyr. A signboard depicting the life and sacrifice of M.L. Dhingra should also be installed.


Hazardous passage in road divider
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 25
A traffic hazard has been created by the municipal authorities by allowing a part of the road divider at the Majitha road to be broken to allegedly facilitate vehicles’ entry to a newly constructed petrol station owned by a kin of the district president of the ruling party.

MC officials broke a large portion of the road divider today and made the ‘passage’ operational. Two crossings exist at either end of the road which is less than 500m long. The road connects Majitha and other villages and generally witnesses heavy rush of vehicles.

Mr Yoginder Pal Dhingra, district Congress president, denied using his political influence to get the “hazardous” opening made in the road divider. He, however, admitted that the petrol station was owned by his relative. He said the divider was broken to facilitiate passage to the eye hospital.

However, in the three years since the construction of the divider, no such demands were reportedly made or were ever considered by the corporation, say corporation insiders.

Incidentally the petrol station was built on a residential plot merely a month ago. The MC Commissioner, Mr K.S. Kang, admitted having received some complaints in that regard. He said he would look into the case and take suitable action. 


Nitish to lay Fazilka-Abohar rail link stone
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 25
Mr Nitish Kumar, Minister for Railways, has fixed February 1 for laying the foundation stone of 42-km-long rail link between Fazilka and Abohar. Earlier, the function had been postponed thrice for different reasons. Sources close to Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP from Ferozepur constituency, said the function would be held at Fazilka. 


65 organisations honour Sunil Jakhar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 25
Representatives of 65 social, religious, educational and traders’ organisations honoured Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, for getting the cremation ground for animals shifted from Shivpuri to Killianwali.

Mr Jakhar said the town needed two overbridges to link the old town with Nai Abadi and localities around Maharshi Dayanand Marg here. It needed funds from local bodies, the state and central governments. Expressing concern over power cuts in the region, he said last week he had taken up the matter with the Minister for Railways and the Minister of State for Coal at New Delhi. He requested them to give priority to save the thermal plants from shutting down.


Coal waste claims life

Bathinda, January 25
Swarna, a resident of Gopal Nagar, died after she was buried under coal waste while trying to extract coal from a mound on the railway station premises here yesterday. Another woman, Pammi, also a resident of Gopal Nagar, was also injured in the incident. She was taken to the local Civil Hospital. Her condition is stated to be serious. TNS


Patwari gets 18-month RI
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 25
The Special Judge here, Mr S.K. Goel, in an order passed last evening sentenced Kuldeep Singh, a patwari, to 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed on him a fine of Rs 1,000 under the Prevention of Corruption Act. In case of non-payment of fine, his sentence would be increased by two months.

Kuldeep Singh was caught by the Vigilance in 1998 while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,500 from Surjit Singh, the complainant, for effecting mutation of his land. A case under Sections 7 and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against him.


2 held for betting on cricket matches
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 25
With the arrest of two persons, the district police busted a gang involved in betting on cricket matches today. The police has seized Rs 84,000, two mobile phones and documents related to the crime.

However, the main accused are yet to be arrested. Two sub-agents Sandip Kumar of Gali Jail Wali and Rishi of Gali Jora Pipal Wali area have been arrested. A case under Section 13(a)/3/67 of Gambling Act has been registered against them.

Acting on a tip off, the police caught the accused red-handed while a policeman posing as a client handed over the money to them. The police got the mobile numbers of the accused and asked them for betting on India-Zimbabwe match. The two called the policemen back.

The accused revealed that they had been working as sub-agents for Anil and Ashwani Kumar, both residents of Amritsar and leaders of the gang, who had connections and clients all over the country. They said they used to give details of various deals to both over mobile phones.


Cop, 2 others held for snatching
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 25
The local police has arrested three persons — an excise staff policeman and two men of a local contractor — for allegedly snatching a camera and wristwatches from Kaka, a resident of Gurbaksh Nagar here.

The three, Savinder Singh (excise staff), Gurbhej Singh and Kewal Singh, were booked under Section 385, IPC, today.

In the complaint, Mr Tara Singh, father of Kaka, had alleged that on January 24 his son, who was returning home, was accosted by the accused, who snatched the camera and watches and also threatened to register false cases against him if he approached the police.


One held near Indo-Pak border

Amritsar, January 25
The Ramdass police under Majitha police district arrested Daljit Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, for allegedly strolling near the Indo-Pak border. A case under Section 188, IPC, was registered against Daljit Singh today. — OC


Change in course name hits students
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 25
The change in nomenclature of the MD radiology course of Government Medical College here to MD radio diagnosis in 1983 has proved costly for a number of students who have acquired their post-graduate degrees in the course after 1983. The students are now being told that their degree is not recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI) when they apply for Senior Residency or other jobs in government departments in other states of the country.

This piquant situation has arisen because the MCI still recognises the MD radiology course of the college which is no longer being run by it and does not recognise the radio diagnosis course being run by it.

Says Dr Jasjit Singh, who has done his MD in radio diagnosis - “I joined the MD radio diagnosis course of Government Medical College, Patiala, in September, 2000. It was clearly mentioned in the prospectus of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, that the radio diagnosis course of the Patiala college was recognised. I was shocked when I was told after I passed out of the course in September, 2003, and applied for a Senior Residency at the PGI, Chandigarh, that the course was not recognised by the MCI”.

Dr Jasjit, while talking to The Tribune, said he was shocked to know when he scanned the MCI website that the radio diagnosis course was not recognised by the MCI. He said following this he approached the MCI which told him that the college authorities might have been hiding some facts from him due to which the course was not recognised. The doctor said when he approached the college authorities, he came to know that the college had changed the nomenclature of the course at the request of the MCI and even informed the MCI about this. He said despite reminders, the MCI had not recognised the course.

Inquiries by the Tribune revealed that in 1981 the MCI had requested Punjabi University, which was then conducting the radiology course, to bifurcate the Department of Radiology at the Patiala Government Medical College into the Department of Radio Diagnosis and the Department of Radio Therapy. Following this, the first admissions to the new courses were done.

However, in a complete turnaround, the MCI after its inspection of the Patiala Medical College in 1985 conveyed to the institute that the MD radiology course was recognised by it.

By not changing the nomenclature in the recognition, the MCI ensured that the new course remained unrecognised. The MCI strangely woke up to this issue in 1993 when it asked the college to bifurcate the Radiology Department.

The college, on its part, informed the MCI that this had been done in 1981 and that the MCI had also inspected the new departments.

The MCI again sought information regarding the bifurcation and dates from which the nomenclature of the courses had been revised. The college replied to this letter informing the MCI that it had not given any degree in the old course of MD radiology since 1982.

Now the students who have acquired degrees in the new courses have requested the MCI to give them interim relief by changing the nomenclature of the course in its record immediately so that the students can apply for Senior Residency.

These students include Dr Jagmohan Singh who is working as a Radiologist at the Civil Hospital in Hoshiarpur who has applied for a job in Rajasthan, besides Dr Jasbir Kaur who is working at Sangrur, Dr Rakesh Sohal who is working at Phagwara and Dr Deepti who is at Delhi besides others.


Where students long for benches, water
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, January 25
“My school should have big playgrounds, marble chip floors, flowers and green plants all over, benches and a water cooler. But we are made to sit on jute mats. I don’t like it,” says 11-year-old Shanker, a student of Class V at Government Elementary School-3 at Kharar. His father is a government employee and mother a maid.

Deepak Kumar, a 12-year-old studying in Class V at Government Elementary School-2, echoes similar feelings. “Neighbours don’t let us even play in the small courtyard of our school. I wish our school also had a computer so that we could learn more things.”

The Punjab Government’s apathy to its three primary schools here has ensured that these institutions were meant only for the children of slum-dwellers and others from the economically weaker sections. Funds are hard to secure from the government. Two of the schools are being run in one room each while the third is lucky to have two-room accommodation. Proper furniture, playgrounds and other facilities are a distant dream for the children.

One can hardly call these schools where young minds are supposed to be moulded. Staff shortage is another problem plaguing these schools.

A visit by a Tribune team to Elementary School-2 in Chhoti Majri on January 24 proved to be an upsetting experience. Run in a dharamshala building since 1975, the school has only one room in which two teachers are managing five classes comprising a total of 27 pupils. In the winter, the children are taken to the rooftop. A flight of brick stairs is rickety and the structure vibrates when the children rush down together. Evidently, the safety of the young children has been given the go-by.

The classroom, too, had cracks in the walls which were earlier repaired with a small government grant. However, this was objected to by the management of the dharamshala which felt that the Education Department may now never vacate the premises. The protest by the dharamshala led to the student strength dropping from 40 to 27. Interestingly, the school has to be closed for the day whenever a social function is to be held in the dharamshala.

Water and power arrangements are lacking in the school. Children use a private handpump installed in the colony. Power supply drawn against the rules of the electricity board from a neighbour’s house had to be discontinued as the house owner demanded that 50 per cent of his power bill should be borne by the school.

Government Elementary School-3, which is located near the police station, was earlier housed in a dharamshala. It is now functioning from one room in which three cupboards, three metal racks loaded with old records, broken chairs and other items are also lying. The second room has been occupied by the Block Education Office. The school has only one teacher for all five classes. As it becomes difficult to handle all classes at one time, some students are made to sit in the room while others are shifted to the corridor. There are 29 students, almost all of them belonging to economically weaker sections. Two rooms of the building are under construction.

When this correspondent visited the school the children were sitting on pieces of bricks in the open because the ground was wet after the rain and sitting on jute mats was uncomfortable for them.

Government Elementary School-1 was set up in May, 1928, and has been shifted here its third location. Shockingly, even after 75 years it remains an apology for a primary school.

Its condition is comparatively “better” as it has two rooms, though boxes containing old records are also lying in the rooms. Windowpanes are broken and the cold air tortures the students in winter. The school has 16 three-seater benches. Most of the students are made to sit on jute mats in the verandah. In the summer some students are taught under the shade of a tree.

Heaps of cowdung are lying in a part of the school area as the boundary wall has not been completed. The open area of the school, which has a student strength of 114, is not cleaned regularly. A small temple also falls in the school area. Three teachers are looking after the school.


Diploma nursing students to have separate mess
Tribune News Service

Amritsar January 25
Simmering differences between the degree and diploma nursing student in to the fore on Friday when nearly 40 BSc nursing students protested against the poor quality and of food served on the hostel premises.

Some 15 students alleged that they were not served food despite being on time for dinner. Later they were served substandard food. The students pay Rs 400 a month for a cooperative mess in the hostel jointly controlled by the two students batches.

However, frequent shortcomings in quantity and quality of food had created differences between nursing students of which 40 were in the BSc nursing and 125 in the general nursing. The students complained of poor water quality., adulterated food, poor facilities, including broken windows, unsafe doors and locks and unhygienic toilets.

Dr Geeta Sharma, medical superintendent, when contacted, said a meeting with students was held and it was decided to “split” the hostel mess, The degree students have been given permission to open their separate cooperative mess. She said she had written to authorities concerned. about the facilities in the hostel and has also sent water samples for culture test to check contamination as alleged by students.


300 students awarded degrees
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, January 25
As many as 300 students of the local Mata Sahib Kaur Girls College, who passed their bachelor courses in Arts, Commerce and Computer Application streams in the academic year of 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 were awarded degrees in the first ever convocation of the college here yesterday.

Dr Barinder Kaur, Principal of the college, in a press note issued here yesterday, said the convocation was attended by Mr Manjeet Singh Calcutta secretary, SGPC, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

She said a website of the college was launched on the occasion. Apart from this the college souvenir was also released.

She added that a cheque for Rs 50 lakh was given to the college by the SGPC for construction of administrative block and canteen-cum-common room was also given to her by Mr Calcutta. 


Consultants named for gas plants
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 25
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has appointed Tata Consultancy as consultants to evaluate its proposal to set up two gas-based power plants at Bathinda and Doraha in Punjab.

According to sources, Tata Consultancy has been asked to calculate data of the per unit cost of power which would be produced if the board goes in for the gas-based plants. Besides, the consultancy company has been asked to calculate the cost of setting up of the plants as well as establishing the feasibility of the project.

The board had earlier moved a proposal to establish two gas-based power plants in the state at Bathinda and Doraha of 500 mega watts each. The proposal had been moving became the gas pipeline has already reached Panipat. While the board would have to put in money to extend the pipeline to Doraha in case of Bathinda it would be easier to link its pipeline to that of the proposed pipeline of the Bathinda Refinery.

Board sources said a virtual crisis being faced by it in getting coal from the mines in Bihar and Jharkhand was also responsible for the new proposal. The sources said all the three thermal power plants in the state were facing an acute shortage of coal with the Railways being unable to transport the required coal to it. The thermal plants are presently functioning with the bare minimum of coal and the board has been forced to go in for cuts in both the rural as well as urban areas in the State.

The PSEB is also facing a problem of increase in its power requirements. The increase has been around 15 per cent every year with there being no similar increase in production through laying of new thermal plants. The board has calculated that it may be faced with a 20 to 25 per cent increase in the current year.


Rice millers urge govt to buy levy rice
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, January 25
There is widespread resentment among about 40 rice millers here and of the nearby Ladhuka areas whose levy rice is not being purchased by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) due to some alleged discrepancies in the purchase records of rice millers of Ferozepore district detected about a fortnight ago. The FCI had summoned the purchase records pertaining to market receipts and entry registers of paddy.

Mr Surinder Thakral and Mr Pawan Kamra, senior vice-president and spokesperson for the Rice Millers Association of Ferozepore district, respectively, said all rice millers of the Fazilka and Ladhuka areas submitted their purchase records immediately to the FCI and the Food and Supply Department, Punjab, along with affidavits certifying the facts. According to Mr Thakral and Mr Kamra, although the entire record of these two areas was found to be correct on scrutiny, the FCI stopped purchase of levy rice due to some apparent apprehension from January 14.

They said there were no errors in the purchase records of rice millers of the Fazilka and Ladhuka areas. There were no fake entries and nor were the fee receipts bogus. They urged the government keeping this in view, it should immediately purchase their levy rice. Due to non-purchase of the levy rice, the rice millers were facing a financial crunch. In turn, they were unable to make payment of their dues. 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |