P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC sacks suspended secretary
Indicted for getting job on ‘fake’ certificate
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 4
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) today sacked its suspended secretary, Mr Harbeant Singh, on the charges of getting the job on the basis of a fake certificate. He has become the first senior functionary of the SGPC to be axed on such serious charges.

In its order, issued by the officiating secretary, here today, the SGPC alleged that Mr Harbeant Singh had been removed from service following his indictment by the sub-committee constituted to probe the matter. Earlier, Mr Harbeant Singh had claimed that he was innocent and was being victimised by certain senior officials of the SGPC.

Though Mr Harbeant Singh had submitted a photocopy of the higher secondary exam result a day before the deadline fixed by the SGPC, yet it was again found to be ‘fake’. The order stated that Mr Harbeant Singh had tried to deceive the SGPC by furnishing the photocopy of the ‘bogus certificate’ procured from Paryag University, which is not affiliated to the UGC. Moreover, there was no mention of Punjabi subject in the photocopy of the certificate.

The official order of the SGPC stated that instead of supplying the actual certificate, Mr Harbeant Singh had started levelling charges against senior official of the SGPC.

Mr Harbeant Singh got himself admitted to hospital, but when the SGPC asked him to appear before the Medical Board, he refused to do so. The inquiry conducted by assistant secretary of the flying squad of the SGPC had also indicted Mr Harbeant Singh.

The order further stated that Mr Harbeant Singh had brought a bad name to the SGPC. Hence the Executive Committee of the SGPC held at Anandpur Sahib had directed Mr Harbeant Singh to deposit a fine of Rs 25,000.


Call to boycott Sikhs who flout edicts
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 4
Sikh intellectuals who met at the Akal Takht secretariat here today recommended ‘strict action’ as per Sikh traditions against Mr Joginder Singh, Editor Spokesman allegedly for challenging the authority of Sikh clergy and Akal Takht.

The meeting also described “Spokesman” — a monthly magazine as ‘anti-Panthic’. Earlier, the magazine was launched with the active support of the SGPC and other Sikh institutions. The meeting also gave a call to the Sikh Sangat Gurdwara committees, Singh Sabhas and other Sikh institutes to boycott the Sikhs who had been violating the edicts, issued by Sikh clergy.

The meeting was also attended by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib and senior functionaries of the SGPC.

With this the stage has been set for ‘excommunication’ of the Editor from Sikh Panth as he was given deadline of February 5 to clarify his position.

In a resolution passed on the occasion said that time had come to confront certain ‘intellectual forces’ which had launched a campaign against the age-old Sikh institutions like Akal Takht by using Mr Joginder Singh as a “tool”. Earlier, Mr Joginder Singh had challenged that Jathedars had no right to summon or excommunicate any Sikh from the Panth, Mr Joginder Singh was also accused of supporting Mr Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana, who was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth.

Mr Harsimran Singh Anandpur Sahib alleged that Mr Gurtej Singh, a former bureaucrat had become a spokesman of certain ‘so called reformists‘ who were out to damage the Sikh institutions.

Meanwhile, in a fax message, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) while criticising the writings of Mr Joginder Singh, Editor Spokesman said that the decisions like excommunication of any Sikh should not be taken in haste. He said the stand of his party on Mr Joginder Singh was clear that he (Editor Spokesman) had been using ‘most derogatory language’ against Akal Takht which was unfortunate. He, however, said certain edicts, issued by the then Jathedars in the past had created a confusion among the Sikh Panth. Quoting certain edicts, pronounced by the previous Jathedars, Mr Mann alleged that the ‘hukamnamas’ on ‘Langar’ pronounced by Bhai Ranjit Singh and another edict issued by Giani Puran Singh from Guna created unsavoury situation in the Sikh Panth, Mr Mann said that certain leaders were absolved of the serious charges in the past.

Mr Mann alleged that the SAD (Amritsar) was not being given due representation so far as various committees constituted by the SGPC were concerned.


Tohra writes to Annan on turban issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 4
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC president, today urged Secretary-General UNO Kofi Annan to issue an advisory note to all countries with special reference to France to treat Sikhs as religious and cultural minority and therefore guarantee all facilities under its (UNO) declarations to protect their religious beliefs.

The letter was part of process of series of measures, including signature campaigns to pressurise French government to withdraw the legislation to ban Sikh turbans in France at workplace and schools.

The SGPC president urged the Secretary-General to intervene in the matter and take necessary steps in this direction.

In its communication the SGPC president reminded UNO of the November 1981 UNO declaration by its General Assembly that asserts elimination of all forms of intolerance and discriminations based on religion or belief. T

he declaration held that discriminations between human beings on grounds of religion or beliefs constitute an affront to human dignity and a disapproval of principles of charter of United Nations and shall be condemned as violation of human rights and an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between nations.

Mr Tohra noted with concern that Sikhs were facing discriminations in employment, education and in places of social interaction of their turban and maintained unshorn hair which gave them their distinct identity. “It was not always that Sikhs faced active prejudices, but also due to a legislation and public policy that led to discriminatory practices against them,” he added.

Mr Tohra contended that discrimination was not seen in any Asian and African countries where no “judicial clarification” was required. However Sikhs were facing problems in western countries such as was evident in hate crimes against the community post 9/11.

Mr Tohra also quoted the international covenant on civil and political rights 1966 which allows complete freedom of thoughts conscience and religion including adoption of religion or belief with no coercion that would impair freedom, to defend his stance on intervention by UNO on the matter.


SYL canal: all-party meeting on Feb 7
State to present vote-on-account
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Punjab Council of Ministers today decided to convene an all-party meeting on the contentious SYL canal issue here on February 7 to impress upon the Centre to constitute a new commission to reassess the availability of river waters in Punjab, as the Eradi Tribunal had become outdated.

A government spokesman said the council also authorised Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to lead an all-party delegation to the Prime Minister to urge upon him to concede the genuine demand of the state.

It authorised the Chief Minister to take a decision on the merger of 50 per cent DA with the basic pay, as announced for Central staff in the interim budget by the Union Finance Minister yesterday. Besides, it was also decided that the allowances and perks allowed to the employees as per the terms and conditions of their appointments would not be withdrawn under any circumstances. The changes, if any, would be made prospectively.

The council decided to present vote-on-account in a brief session of the Vidhan Sabha on February 26 and 27.

The council approved the execution of additional state government guarantees of Rs 10 crore in favour of the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCDC) and Rs 15 crore in favour of the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) on behalf of the Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation (BACKFINCO) for raising a term loan amounting to Rs 25 crore.

The council accorded ex-post facto approval for the revision of the pattern of sharing of grants-in-aid between the state and the privately managed government aided polytechnics like Thapar Polytechnic, Patiala; Guru Nanak Dev Polytechnic, Ludhiana; Ramgarhia Polytechnic, Phagwara; and Mehar Chand Polytechnic, Jalandhar; for the financial year 2002-03.

The council gave ex-post facto approval for granting a pay scale of Rs 950-1800 from January 1, 1986, to the chowkidars working as security guards in various depots of Punjab Roadways.

It also approved amendments to Section 11 and introduce a new section 11 F in the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, so as to extend the summary assessment scheme for including ‘katcha arhitias’ having a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore.


LS poll: Amarinder to meet Sonia
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will be in Delhi on Monday for three days. He is scheduled to meet the party President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to discuss the Congress prospects in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Talking to The Tribune, Capt Amarinder Singh said: “There are several aspirants for the party ticket, including sitting MPs. But the final choice will be made by Ms Gandhi. Winnability of a candidate is important”.

All political parties have another task at hand before the Lok Sabha elections: Nominations for the five Rajya Sabha seats that fall vacant on April 9 Punjab has seven Rajya Sabha seats. The other two would fall vacant in July. But the election to five Rajya Sabha seats is to be held in March.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the selection of nominees for the Rajya Sabha would be done soon after the candidates were finalised for the Lok Sabha elections.

In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had won eight seats and the SAD headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal two. The SAD of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, the BJP and the CPI won one seat each.

The Lok Sabha elections have come at a time when the most “critical factor” before the Congress high command is the continuing infighting in the Punjab Congress, notwithstanding the patch-work solution applied by the high command.

The other factor which worries the Congress is the coming together of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. The two were “poles apart” in 1999.

The Congress is also not unaware of yet another critical factor — the performance of its own government as well as the dubious role state Congress leaders played in running down their own Chief Minister these past two years.

Sources within the Congress confided that the selection of candidates would be a tough challenge, given the all-pervasive factionalism and independent feeder-lines the party men had to various groups in the high command.

A minister, requesting anonymity, said at least two agencies were engaged by the Congress to assess the political situation at the ground level. Besides the state intelligence wing, ORG too, is reported to have been hired for a pre-poll assessment.

Since their assessment is not expected till close to the election time, the party leadership is engaged in making its own political calculations.

The sources confess that unless the Congress improved its house-keeping and party workers campaigned with a missionary zeal, the party would suffer reverses.

The Lok Sabha elections have come at a time when Punjab is financially broke, politically battered with a scary future. Political populism and inner-party drift has forced the Chief Minister several times to withdraw his hands from many a reform he had aimed at to improve the state’s finances and economy.


23 jail warders suspended
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 4
Twenty-three warders of the Sangrur District Jail have been suspended by Superintendent of the Jail, L.S. Jakhar, as they allegedly refused to implement the ‘Patra’ (Disc) system while on guard duty in the jail. Twenty-one warders were suspended today and two, yesterday.

Those suspended are Mr Jora Singh, Mr Parkash Singh, Mr Dhanna Singh, Mr Resham Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Paramjit Kumar, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Bikkar Singh, Mr Lal Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Pargat Singh, Mr Bahadur Singh. Mr Adarash Kumar, Mr Lachhaman Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Harmesh Singh, Mr Rajesh Kumar, Mr Gurjant Singh, Mr Ajaib Singh, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Jiwan Singh.

Mr Joga Singh, Deputy Superintendent of District Jail, said all warders had been suspended as they refused to obey the directions of Punjab Government with regard to implement the ‘Patra’ system in the jail to strengthen security. They also allegedly stopped jail employees from performing the duty, and allegedly “misbehave” with the jail officers, he added.

Mr Joga Singh said the jail had militants from Jammu and Kashmir and ISI agents as inmates. He said there was need of eight warders and a head warder for a shift of three hours to guard the jail and implement the “Patra” system.

Under the “Patra” system, a numbered disc is circulated from one warder to other to ensure the security of the jail. The “Patra” system had been implemented in the jail, the previous day, he added.

The Deputy Superintendent stated there was shortage of warders in the jail, and the jail authorities had written to the higher authorities. He said for the time being, they would seek police force from the SSP, Sangrur for help.

A spokesman of the suspended warders, Mr Mohinder Singh, in the presence of other jail warders, claimed that they were not refusing to perform duties, but they did not want to implement the “Patra” system.

He said “Patra” system was not useful for the security of the jail as it had been proved by the recent jailbreak at Burail. He also said 10 years ago, the Punjab Government had abolished “Patra” system and had converted their posts for just patrolling in the jail.


Punjab to tie up with NTPC for 500-MW power
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today declared that for the first time in the history of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) it will be showing a profit of Rs 50 crore by the end of the financial year 2004.

Jhanjehri (Kharar), February 4
The Punjab Government has entered into a joint venture partnership with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for a share of 500 MW of power out of the total 2000 MW to be generated by the NTPC at the coal pit head in Chhattisgarh.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today stated this, adding that the electricity supply directly from the pit head through the national grid would cost the state less than producing the same amount of electricity in Punjab after importing coal from coal-rich states.

Explaining the project Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), told The Tribune that the three states, Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat had entered the joint venture with the NTPC and each state would get a share from the 2000-MW- capacity production plant based on the state’s equity in the project. ‘‘We have invested equity that will fetch us 500 MW,’’ he added.

Mr Ratra further stated that establishing thermal plants in states which did not have coal resources was an expensive proposition and the solution was to buy the supply from coal pit end projects. ‘‘It is cheaper to get electricity through transmission lines via the national grid. The amount the state pays for the freight of bringing coal from other states is higher than even the cost of the coal. Add to this the transition shortages that take place and we end up incurring losses,’’ he said.

Earlier, while addressing a large gathering at the village after inaugurating the 220-KV sub-station, the Chief Minister had pointed out that the Akali government had not taken any step to enhance power production in the state, emphasising that his government was trying novel methods to get more power at cheaper rates.

‘‘The demand of power grows exponentially each year and to meet this demand we will have to move beyond the Bathinda, Ropar and Lehra Mohabbat Phase-I plants,’’ he said, adding that the Phase II of Lehra Mohabbat was fast coming up and will add 500 MWs to the state’s power pool.

The Chief Minister added that the Shahpur Kandi project was still pending. It is learnt that talks with private parties were going on to implement the project for Punjab.


Passengers left high and dry at Tashkent airport
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 4
In a shocking incident, 150 NRIs and passengers of Indian origin — mostly Punjabis — were allegedly denied food and lodging facility during a 20-hour unscheduled halt at the Tashkent airport on January 20. They were also allegedly maltreated by the Russian immigration authorities when some of them demanded basic facilities for fellow passengers, women and children.

The passengers who were coming from New York to Amritsar via Italy by a Russian airliner had to brave biting cold in the absence of any heating or airconditioning facility at the Tashkent airport. The airliner reached the airport at about 2.30 a.m. on January 20. It took about 16 hours more for the passengers to reach Amritsar. This not only inconvenienced the passengers but also their relatives, who kept waiting at the Amritsar airport without any proper information about the flight. Despite repeated efforts, nobody picked up the phone at the Amritsar office of the airline when this correspondent tried to get the airliner authorities’ comments.

Passengers said that the immigration authorities at Tashkent also threatened to take their passports. Dayal Singh of Sallan village is so terrified that he is contemplating to get back his money from the airline and return via another route.

Ranjit Singh from New York said that only reason all of them had preferred the particular airline was that it took them to Amritsar in place of New Delhi.

“We were kept in the dark as initially we were told that there was some delay due to fog, but the delay extended to over 20 hours. When Dyal Singh and others tried to take up the issue with the airport authorities and demanded to be accommodated in some hotel, they were threatened with dire consequences and subjected to vigil by the airport authorities. The situation was saved only when some of us, who are US citizens, informed the US embassy,” said Mr Ranjit Singh.

Mr Ranjit Singh said he would sue the airline after going back to New York.


Chautala’s kin get life term for murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 4
Om Parkash Hitler, a kin and now foe of Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister of Haryana, and his three sons and a gunman was today sentenced to life imprisonment by the District and Sessions Judge, holding them guilty of murdering Jit Ram, of Chautala village on February 26, 1995.

Hitler, his sons Manoj Sihag, Sanjay Sihag and Sandeep Sihag and gunman Darbara Singh had been facing trial under Section 302 of the IPC. The case had been transferred to the district court at Bathinda from the district court, at Sirsa on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The judge fined them Rs 1,000 each. In case of default in payment, the defaulter would have to undergo further imprisonment for three months. The victim was killed when a stray bullet hit him at a marriage function at Chautala village on February 26, 1995. A case under Section 304-A of the IPC has been registered at the Dabwali sadar police station.

The criminal case registered in this connection had been cancelled by the police with the consent of Madan Lal, father of the deceased. After the change of government in Haryana, Madan Lal had moved an application for reopening of the case. A murder case had been registered against Hitler and four others.

During trial, Madan Lal died before deposing in the court. Duli Chand, who had deposed against Hitler and the other four, had been convicted for giving false evidence in a case. Bhajan Lal, had admitted while deposing that Hitler had once appeared as witness against him in a murder case.


BJP to hold five rallies in February
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 4
The state unit of the BJP has decided to hold five political rallies in the state this month, which will be addressed by senior party leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

Addressing a press conference here today, the general secretary of the state BJP unit, Mr H.S. Grewal, said the rallies would be held from February 15 to 24. He said, “The first rally will be held at Phagwara on February 15, followed by the second at Hoshiarpur on February 19. Rallies will be held at Ferozepore and Amritsar on February 21 and 22, respectively. The first phase will be completed with a rally at Pathankot, on February 24.”

He further said senior party leaders including Mr Advani, Mr Arun Jaitely, Mr Rajnath Singh, Mr Vinod Khanna and Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu would address these rallies and the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was being consulted regarding his schedule.

He maintained that the state election committee headed by the Punjab BJP chief, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, was scheduled to meet at Jalandhar on February 10 to discuss seats to be contested and candidates. Mr Grewal was accompanied by the state general secretary, Mr Vijay Sampla.

Mr Grewal said, “We have initiated a signature campaign — Jawab do hisab do — from today till February 10. Asked whether the BJP would oppose the candidature of Mr Naresh Gujral son of former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, from Jalandhar, he said, “Though we have not been formally told about his candidature by our alliance partner, the final decision will be taken after consulting party workers of Jalandhar.”


State NCP backs Pawar
Our Correspondent

Nabha, February 4
The Punjab state unit of the National Congress will recognise Mr Sharad Pawar as its leader and all appointments made by the Sangma group in the state has nothing to do with the Pawar group. This was stated by Mr Swarn Singh, president of the state unit of the NCP while talking to mediapersons at local PWD rest house.

He said the state’s NCP president, Mr Gurcharn Singh, the Vice-President, Mr Jaswinder Grewal and the general secretaries, Mr Vinod Parmar and Mr Raj Kumar respectively, were expelled from the party for six years by the state disciplinary committee.


Mandi Board invites tenders 24-hour power scheme
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 4
The PSEB scheme to provide round the clock domestic power supply to rural areas is likely to get a fillip with the Punjab Mandi Board inviting tenders for installing infrastructure to take the scheme to 1,000 villages in the state. The PSEB, which is faced with the target of providing 24 hour supply to 6,000 villages in the state, has electrified 400 villages last month.

While the Mandi Board is not likely to face problems in implementing the scheme in 1,000 villages with tenders already having been invited, the PSEB has decided to seek public participation to ensure it can meet the target of covering all remaining villages by June 31.

The board, which has received Rs 160 crore for this purpose through NABARD, has also diluted the preconditions which were in force for villages wanting to apply for the scheme. Earlier, the board had made four categories and had put a fee according to the population of the village. This fee could go up to Rs 40,000. Now, however, keeping in mind the decision to extend the scheme to all remaining villages in the state, the board has retained only two categories. Villages having a population of less than 1,000 will have to pay Rs 10,000 while those with a population of more than this will have to pay Rs 20,000.

When questioned on the issue, PSEB Chief Engineer (Commercial) H.C. Sood said the board was likely to witness an increase in the number of villages being covered under the scheme, with village panchayats taking active part in it. He said this was a purely voluntary effort as the board had allocated money as well as manpower for the scheme. He said erection of poles was the main job and the process of ensuring distribution of poles to the grass root level where they were needed was already in place.

The Chief Engineer said speedy completion of the scheme was also in the Board’s interest as farmers often disrupted power supply by using shunt capacitors to run their tubewell motors wherever exclusive domestic feeder lines had not been provided in the state. He said motors could not be run on the 24 hour lines. He said last year 1,300 villages had been given 24 hour supply in the north zone, 850 in the central zone, 1,650 in the south zone, 1643 in the border zone and 1,100 in the west zone.


Pak juveniles shifted to Tihar jail
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 4
Keeping in view the escape of three hardcore undertrials from the Burail jail at Chandigarh last month, who were allegedly involved in the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, all the seven Pakistani boys lodged in the local observation home were shifted to Tihar Jail, New Delhi, yesterday. A police party led by the DSP, Mr Des Raj, escorted them to the destination.

According to reports the district administration received an urgent message from the Central Government through the Punjab Government to transfer the juveniles immediately. The Central Government feels that the working conditions in the jail here were not up to the mark and any type of laxity on the part of jail authorities will create problems for the country. Moreover a senior judicial officer found the conditions of the juvenile jail undependable and later apprised the situation to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The boys, including Sagar Ali, Sabar Ali, Altaf Shah, Asif Ali, Naseer Ali, Amjad Khan and a Hindu boy, Dinesh Kumar were languishing at the local jail for over an year. However, on compassionate grounds the Central Government issued their release orders on September 25, 2003, and asked the Government of Pakistan for their repatriation. Even the High Commission of Pakistan based at New Delhi interviewed them on October 3 for their proper identification. Later only the Hindu boy was repatriated on November 14 but no decision was taken about the fate of other boys by the Government of Pakistan.


Defence personnel exempted from toll
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Taking cognizance of numerous complaints of military personnel being charged tax at toll plazas in contravention of law, the Central Government has instructed the Punjab Government to ensure that toll operators adhere to the prescribed norms.

A communique received by the state government from the special secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways states that vehicles of military personnel are exempted from paying toll irrespective of whether they are on duty or not. The communique adds that the Indian Tolls (Army and Air Force) Act, is a special Act which over-rides general Acts such as the National Highways Act and in no circumstances should toll be taken from the defence personnel.

A large number of defence personnel moving in the state had complained that they were forced by toll operators to pay tax. Several private toll operators in Punjab operating under the authority of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were disregarding the provisions of the Tolls Act. There have also been instances when operators have clashed with defence personnel over the issue.

A petition was also filed by in the Human Rights commission, seeking directions to the state government to ensure that defence personnel are not harassed or forced to pay toll tax. The Punjab Government had submitted before the Commission that the issue involved the state as well as the Central Government and it could not resolve the matter by itself.

Following this, the commission had directed the Chief Engineer (PDW) to personally take up the matter with the ministry concerned at the Centre. The matter was subsequently referred by the Centre to the Ministry of Law and Justice, which indicated that defence personnel and private or government vehicles accompanying the defence personnel are exempted from paying toll while passing through any road or bridge. Provisions of the Act also stipulate that it will over-ride any other Act, direction or order of any legislature or public authority. Violators of the provisions can be fined.

The Transport Ministry has also sent out clear-cut instructions to toll plazas being operated by the NHAI all over the country, outlining the provisions of the Act and prohibiting them from charging tax from defence personnel. This will benefit a large number of defence personnel, who, otherwise have been forced to pay toll tax.


BHEL set to get Lehra Mohabbat project
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 4
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is set to entrust Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) with the responsibility of the proposed Rs 1700 crore Lehra Mohabbat (Stage II) project on a turnkey basis.

BHEL has been asked to submit its proposal by February 10 following which negotiations will start and the project will be sent for government approval. Sources said the board management had in a recent decision decided to give the project to BHEL on a turnkey basis due to shortage of engineers needed in case it was to be executed itself.

Board Member (Generation) H.S. Sahai when contacted on the issue, said earlier there was a proposal to get only the boilers, turbines and generators from BHEL but subsequently it was felt that a few hundred engineers would be needed to coordinate the rest of the machinery as well as setting up of the plant.

The board has also approved two micro hydel projects recently. Two 850 KW micro-hydel projects are being set up at the Ropar thermal plant where waste water from the thermal plant will be utilised for generating power. This water which will now flow into the Sutlej through a special channel, will be utilised at two falls on the way to the river. The board has placed the order for machinery for the projects with H.P. Energy Limited, Delhi, on a turnkey basis and the projects are likely to be commissioned in one year.

The board scheme to establish a 500 MW project at Chhattisgarh has been dropped with the change of government in the state and the inability of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to become a partner in the project. The board has decided not to pursue the case.

Mr Sahai said though in the present comparison, establishment of thermal plants outside the state was a costly proposition, the board was still thinking on this line in case the NTPC agreed to the project in future.


Cancer patient runs from pillar to post
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 4
A government letter has put patients suffering from chronic diseases in an unenviable position.

A government teacher suffering from cancer for the past 11 years has been running from pillar to post to get her medical bills reimbursed. Ms Urmil of Amritsar teaches Punjabi at Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School in Jalandhar. She was admitted to Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital in Ludhiana, an approved institute for treatment of cancer patients for government employees. Her accumulated bills of Rs 2.5 lakh on outdoor treatment have not been reimbursed.

The reason cited was a government letter issued in October 2001. The letter from Director, Health Services, says outdoor treatment of these patients must be from the same authority that issued the chronic disease certificate. In Ms Urmil’s case, it is the Principal of Government Medical College in Amritsar.

The notification has put cancer patients and patients of other chronic diseases in a precarious position. The implementation of the notification will mean getting treatment from two teams of doctors as such patients require both indoor and outdoor treatment.

Ms Urmil was suffering from breast cancer, which ended in the removal of her breast, and her hip bone was damaged by cancer, which had to be replaced by an artificial bone. She had received painful chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Three years back, cancer spread in her vertebrae and ribs, requiring chemotherapy. Whenever she is back from hospital, she joins duty.

Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader, had written about her case to the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Education Minister, but there was no positive response. In a letter today, Mr Dang described her condition and other such patients who had become victims of government highhandedness.


Anti-corruption activist alleges police inaction

Amritsar, February 4
Mr Ashwani Kumar, an activist of the All India Anti-Corruption Morcha yesterday alleged that he and his family were being threatened by two policemen suspended on his complaint in June last year.

In a letter to Mr Kultar Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Ashwani Kumar said the police did not arrest the accused even after his complaints.

He alleged the accused were threatening him and his family with dire consequences if the case registered against them was not withdrawn. He further alleged he was provided with two security guards in June last year. However, in November one of the security persons was withdrawn.

Two policemen of CIA staff were booked under Section 7/13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 342 of the IPC allegedly for keeping Ashwani Kumar and his brother Anil Kumar in illegal custody.

Mr Kultar Singh said an inquiry has been marked to Mr Pawan Rai, SP city-I in this regard and action would taken against them if found guilty. — OC


DC’s volte-face on 125 acres

Amritsar, February 4
Deputy Commissioner Raminder Singh did a volte face on his taking up with his Lahore counterpart regarding 125 acres of Indian land occupied by Pakistan falling in Daoke village, by issuing a clarification in this regard here yesterday. Before leaving for Pakistan on January 29 for the World Punjabi Conference in Lahore the DC had said that he would take up the issue of land occupied by Pakistan at the administrative level with his Pakistani officials.

However in a press release yesterday the DC denied the reports attributed to him about discussing the issue with Pakistan on his recent visit to that country. The DC clarified that he participated in the World Punjabi Conference held in Lahore in his personal capacity on the invitation of organisers and not as an official. He said only the Government of India was authorised to take up this issue with Pakistan. The DC after returning from Pakistan on February 1, had given details of his discussion on this issue with the nazim of western Punjab. — OC


Bank employees stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 4
Members of the Bathinda Central Co-operative Bank Employees Union today held a rally in protest against the move of the state government to bring salary and other allowances of the employees of boards and corporations on a par with the salary and allowances of the state government employees.

Mr Dharampal Singh, president of the union, while addressing the rally, alleged that the state government was deliberately reducing the salary of the employees of the bank despite the fact that it did not fall within the definition of a corporation or a board.

He said not only the salary, the state government had also been deliberately delaying the payment of bonus to the bank employees. On the other hand the state government had also reduced the number of leaves available to the bank employees in one calendar year.

Mr Dharampal Singh said if the state government did not withdraw its anti-bank employees orders, the members of the union would intensify their agitation and stage a dharna in Chandigarh on February 11.


Bank staff protests against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 4
The Punjab Bank Employees Federation organised a rally in front of State Bank of Patiala to protest against the ‘anti people’ policies of the state government.

While addressing the gathering, secretary of the federation G.S. Dhillon alleged that the state government’s decision to allow foreign investors to invest to the extent of 74 per cent in private banks was against the interest of the country.

He added that the foreign banks or wholly subsidiary regulated by a host country can increase up to 100 per cent in the equity in a private bank which means that they can fully own private banks.

Besides this, the government has also liberalised norms of investment in the petroleum and allowed 100 per cent foreign investment in scientific and technical journals.

General secretary, AIOBEF, Yog Raj Gupta, joint secretary N.K. Gaur and general secretary SBOP Employees Union S.K Gautam also addressed the rally.


Scheme to check maternal mortality
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 4
To reduce maternal mortality in the district Vande Mataram, the government will launch a scheme on February 9 by Mr Darbara Singh Guru, Secretary, Health.

A free check-up camp for pregnant women will also be organised at Baba Nurshing Home, Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, Civil Surgeon, said this while addressing a meeting of all government and private female doctors, heads of nurshing homes and senior medical officers here today. She said on the ninth of every month such camps would be organised for examining pregnant women, providing post-natal care and vaccinating babies.

She said under the scheme OPD services would be provided free of cost, which will include ante-natal check up and family planning counselling regularly by doctors on fixed date.

She said all social organisations of the district would be involved in this.

Dr K.C. Goyal, DHO, Dr Jaspal Singh, Family Welfare Officer, also spoke on the occasion.


Health mela concludes
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 4
A three-day health mela jointly organised by the district administration, the management of the Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital and the Health Department and sponsored by the Centre concluded here today.

A large number of patients who visited the mela underlined the need for provision of medicines in sufficient quantity in the melas. At least 14,000 persons from Moga, Muktsar, Ferozepore and Faridkot districts visited the mela.


Mobile phone for Lalru police station
Our Correspondent

Lalru, February 4
The Lalru police has acquired a mobile phone connection (98720-26100) for the convenience of people. The number became functional from today.

Mr Karan Sher Singh, Station House Officer, Lalru, revealed that the landline phone had developed certain technical fault, following which people were facing a great inconvenience.

He said the phone would be with the police station round-the-clock and promised to provide better services to the residents of the area.


Ten injured in bus-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 4
Over 10 persons, including a woman, sustained serious injuries in a head-on collision between a truck and a Punjab Roadways bus on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Patiala highway at Nabha village, near here, today.

According to eyewitnesses, the bus (PB-11F-9723) was on its way to Patiala when it rammed into the truck (NHQ-2781). The truck driver Balwant Singh of Mubarikpur village and his assistant Bhupinder Singh, a resident of Meerpur village, sustained severe injuries on their legs after the collision. The driver of the bus Balwinder Singh, of Gurdaspur and a passenger Ms Promila Devi, a resident of Rajjo Majra, also sustained injuries.

The seriously injured were rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, while others with minor injuries were given treatment at the local private nursing homes and clinics.

After impounding both the vehicles, a case under Sections 279 and 338 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered with Lohgarh police post against the bus driver.


Incentive for planting saplings

Tarn Taran, February 4
The local committee of the Chief Khalsa Diwan has announced a novel scheme to give school fee concessions to those students whose parents will plant at-least five saplings. Mr Harbans Singh Kairon, honorary secretary of the diwan, told this correspondent here yesterday that the committee decided to do so to promote sapling plantation drive. Mr Kairon said the organisation was also running Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School at Chabal, Piddi, Naushehra dhala, Assal Uttar, Sursing and Burj Maharana villages. — OC


No civic amenities

Zirakpur, February 4
Life of residents of M.S. Enclave and Gurjiwan Vihar of Dhakoli in NAC, Zirakpur, is miserable as there is no water supply, proper sewerage and sanitation. No steps in this regard have been taken by the administration despite repeated requests. TNS


Two dead in accident
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 4
Two persons were killed in an accident when a PRTC bus (PB-11-C-9388) coming from Patiala collided head on with a tanker (PB-13-J-7679) on Nabha Road here today.

The driver and cleaner of the tanker, Surjit Singh, a resident of Chaura village, and Babu Ram, a resident of Meemsa village near Sangrur, died on the spot.


High Court
Decision to advance LS poll date challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Challenging the decision to advance the date of the Lok Sabha polls, an Amritsar resident today claimed that the “ruling party was taking advantage of the feel-good factor without keeping larger public interest in view”.

In his petition against the Prime Minister, the Chief Election Commissioner and the Union of India, petitioner Parveen Kumar Mody added that the decision to dissolve the House and hold fresh elections “was not a matter of sweet will of the ruling party or parties. Furthermore, the election process should not be used as a tool for personal or party advantage”.

He further claimed that early elections would place a heavy burden on the public exchequer. Moreover, the student community would suffer a “heavy loss” as the examinations were just round the corner. The petition is likely to be taken up for hearing by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday.

Proceedings dropped

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed dropping of proceedings against Ropar’s former District Education Officer (DEC) Malti Batra. Criminal contempt proceedings were initiated against her on August 18 last year.

Expressing doubts about her mental state, a Division Bench had also directed that she should be examined by the Psychiatry Department of Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital.

In their detailed order, the Bench, comprising the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, and Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, had observed that the directions for check-up were being issued as an insane could not be proceeded against or sentenced. As such, in the interest of justice she was being sent for the medical examination.

The Judges had asserted that they had taken note of an information given by Ms Batra that her officers had described her as a mental case, when criminal contempt proceedings were initiated against her.

Punjab farmers ‘being harassed’

If allegations in a writ petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court are to be believed, then farmers in the state of Punjab are being harassed by a powerful lobby of commission agents.

In his petition, Phuman Singh of Ferozepore district claimed that a close friend of a former Senior Superintendent of Police, working as a commission agent, thrashed the driver of a tractor trolley carrying paddy in September last year before taking away the produce along with his brother-in-law.

His counsel argued that the petitioner was forced to file a habeas corpus petition for his relative’s release. He even approached the police for getting a first information report registered and for the return of the produce. But the police, at the instance of the agent, implicated the petitioner and pressurised him to withdraw the complaints. These were the reasons resulting in suicides by farmers in the state, the counsel added.

Taking up the petition-seeking directions for handing over the inquiry to some other branch of the police, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the High Court issued a notice of motion for February 26.


Custodial death accused denied anticipatory bail
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 4
The local Sessions Judge, today dismissed the anticipatory bail application of Kulwinder Singh, SHO of the Sherpur police station, in a custodial death case. The case was registered against him and other policemen on January 19 last following the death of Ravinder Singh (25), of Kala Bula village, near Sherpur, on January 18 in police custody.

The SHO had claimed that a false case had been registered against him. The case had been registered against him under political pressure and due to party factionalism in the police, he had added.


District admn complex to be inaugurated today
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 4
The modern district administrative complex, which has been constructed after demolishing the old Deputy Commissioner’s office complex in the heart of the city, will formally be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh tomorrow. The foundation stone for this aesthetically designed complex was laid down by the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in 2001.

Interestingly, Capt Amarinder Singh will formally inaugurate the complex despite the fact that various offices of the state government, including the office of Deputy Commissioner and the district police chief have been functioning from this complex for the past six months. Official sources said the complex had been housing 43 offices of the state Government.

The project was conceived in 2000. The design and site plans were prepared in February 2001. The work was to be completed within one year from its formal start from March 15, 2001.

However, a considerable delay was caused due to the reasons best known to authorities concerned. The project’s cost went up to more than Rs 25 crores due to the delay caused in its completion.

Mr Sanjay Kumar, Chief Administrator, PUDA, who inspected the complex today evening said the delay in the construction of the complex was caused due to some peripheral problems. He added that the escalation in the cost of project was not much.


Homoeo council Registrar suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Punjab Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine has suspended its officiating Registrar, Mr Sunil Gautam, and demoted him as Superintendent Grade-I.

Dr A.S. Thind, Joint Director, Medical Education and Research, is the new officiating Registrar.

Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, officiating Chairman of the council, suspended Mr Gautam at the first meeting of the council for various irregularities, including harassment of doctors, students, embezzlement of government funds and misuse of power.

Mr Gautam was earlier involved in a case of forgery and embezzlement of the council funds and was dismissed after an inquiry indicted him in 1997.

The government, however, reinstated him, directing the council to decide the quantum of punishment as the punishment granted was heavy.

Mr Satish Chandra Secretary of Medical Education and Research, said Mr Gautam’s promotion and confirmation as Registrar was dropped on legal grounds as he was facing trial in a criminal case.

Meanwhile, the council also reviewed its decision of cancelling the registration of 5,000 homoeopaths by extending the period of appeal by one month.


EO, 2 octroi inspectors suspended
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 4
The Punjab Government has suspended the Executive Officer and two octroi inspectors of the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib with immediate effect . A single-line fax message mentioning that the EO and the octroi inspectors have been put under suspension was received at the council office from the directorate office today.

Sources said the suspensions followed a raid by a Vigilance team of the Local Self Government at the council office as well as at octroi posts.

The raid was conducted on the complaint of Mr Amarjit Singh Dhingra, a Congress leader, who alleged that contractors were not only harassing traders but were also fleecing vehicle owners, especially during the night by issuing unauthorised transit passes and pocketing lakhs of rupees daily causing a substantial revenue loss to the council, the government and also to the Income Tax Department.

Meanwhile, Mr Varinder Rattan, president of the District Beopar Mandal, has urged the government to order a probe into the working of the octroi contractors of Sirhind and council officials. In a letter to the Chief Minister, he has alleged that Kirpal Singh and Co has taken the work of octroi collection on contract.

He alleged that during the night, workers of contractors charge Rs. 70 per vehicle and give receipts from duplicate transit pass books printed by the contractor and pocket the entire collection in connivance with council officials.

He said the contractors were authorised to charge only Rs 50 and give a transit pass from the pass book issued by the council and the amount had to be deposited with the council.

The contractors got only 10 per cent of that collection as labour charges. He alleged that by pocketing the entire amount, they had collected lakhs of rupees causing loss of revenue to the council. He demanded that criminal cases should be registered against all those found guilty.

Mr R.L. Kalsia, Director-Cum-Secretary, Local Government Punjab, said all the three officials had been suspended and criminal cases would also be got registered against those found involved in the alleged scam.


Woman found brutally murdered
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 4
In a bizarre incident, a young woman was brutally murdered in her house in the thickly populated Basant Bahar area of this town by an unknown assailant late this evening. It is suspected that she was raped before being murdered.

It is learnt that 36-year-old Neetu was found lying in a pool of blood on the bed in her room by her husband, Mr Mohan Lal, a bank employee. From the condition of her clothes it was suspected that she was raped before being murdered. The body had several injury marks on the neck, abdomen and other parts. She had apparently also been given electric shocks.

The murder in the thickly populated area, which sent shock waves in the city, came to light when Mr Mohan Lal came home and found the bedroom locked. When he broke open the lock, he found his wife lying dead on the bed.

The household goods lying in the store adjacent to the bedroom were also found scattered. However, no item of jewellery worn by the victim was found missing.

It was also learnt that Babbu, a seven-year-old daughter of Neetu, found the door of the bedroom locked when she returned from school. She sat in the courtyard believing that her mother was away and would return soon. Pinky, a neighbour, saw Babbu and asked her why she was sitting in the courtyard. When told of the locked room, Pinky asked Babbu to give her father a call in the bank, which is in the local grain market.

Mr Mohan Lal came and broke open the lock, only to find his wife murdered. Immediately, the matter was reported to the police.

The SP, City, and the SP (D), along with other police officials, reached at the spot and started investigation.

It is suspected that after committing the crime, the attacker, whose identity could not be ascertained yet, went to the roof of house and then climbed down a ladder into a vacant plot adjacent to the house.

Mr Nilabh Kishore, SP, City, said that a case under Section 460 of the IPC would be registered in this connection, as it appeared to be a case of looting. He, however, added that the possibility of sexual assault before the murder could not be ruled out.

The dead body was sent to the local Civil Hospital for post-mortem. Fingerprint experts had also been called in, he added. 


Woman killed, husband injured
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, February 4
Four persons allegedly murdered a pregnant woman with hockey sticks and iron rods and injured her husband near Kabulshah Khubban village, near here, last night.

According to the FIR lodged by Ashok Kumar (25), a veterinary practitioner, of Jandwala Marasangla village in the subdivision, he along with his wife Krishna Rani (28), were returning from Kabulshah Khubban village around 11 p.m. on a motorcycle. He reported that four motorcyclists attacked them with iron rods and hockey sticks. Two of them were identified as Balwinder Singh, former sarpanch, and Jasmer Singh. His wife was hit on the head, as a result of which she died on the spot.

The complainant alleged that his wife and he were attacked as he had demanded Rs 50,000 from Balwinder Singh, which he had lent to him. This had led to strained relations and a compromise between the parties was arrived at three days back.


Couples being duped, courtesy male child urge

Ropar, February 4
The advertising board in front of the post office of ‘Panditji’ displays the message in Hindi ‘yahan beta ke liye shartiya dawa di jati hai’ (guaranteed medicine for male child is given here). The medicine is given to women after conception.

Though the government has been taking action against doctors aborting female foetuses, such ‘pandits’ have been duping people, exploiting their urge for male child. Many such quacks and ‘pandits’ have mushroomed in various parts of the district.

They charge hefty amounts for their services. In some cases, couples are advised to come in the first month after conception. In the first month, they are given some ‘medicine’ wrapped in paper.

Doctors say the sex of the child cannot be changed after conception by any medicine. The health authorities should take action against such quacks, they say. OC


2 kg of opium, 18 bottles of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Barnala, February 4
In raids conducted in Barnala, Tapa and Bhadaur police station areas, the police has  seized 2 kg of opium, 18 bottles of illicit liquor and Rs 1,200 and has registered cases under the NDPS Act, the Excise Act and the Gambling Act. Two kg of opium was recovered from Narinder Kumar of  Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. Nine bottles each of illicit liquor were recovered from  Balbir Singh and Junta Singh.

The police  seized 4 kg of poppy husk from Veda Devi of Burj Hari in Mansa. Five persons — Mukhtiar Singh, Suba Singh, Inderjit Singh,  Baljinder Singh and Reetu — found gambling on Jandanwala Road were arrested and Rs 1,200/- and playing cards were seized.


Two held for boy’s murder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 4
The murder case of James John, a 14- year-old boy of Sukh Ram Colony in the city, has been solved with the arrest of two of James’ friends, who have confessed to the crime.

According to police sources, James was murdered by Pankaj Chopra, who runs an STD booth in the colony, and Manjit Bajwa of Rasulpur Saidan village.

According to the police, Pankaj had enquired from James why his mother did not wear ornaments. James reportedly stated that in their community these were not worn profusely. On coming to know from James that they had put their ornaments and cash in an almirah they told James that they wanted to bring a girl to his house as his family had gone to Ludhiana.

They said the duo made an excuse that they were not able to get a girl and waited for James to go to sleep. But when this did not happen they murdered the boy.

The police is yet to recover the weapons used in the crime.


Engineering college at Talwandi Sabo okayed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 4
The Punjabi University Planning and Monitoring Board passed the proposal for establishing the Yadvindra College of Engineering at Talwandi Sabo here yesterday. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would inaugurate the college tomorrow.

The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Mr Sawarn Singh Boparai, said students from rural areas, after passing Class X, would be selected on the basis of objective criteria and would be imparted quality training of Class XII level. It would be upgraded to a four-year degree-level course in engineering. This engineering college would have specialities in electronics and communication engineering, Biotech engineering, mechanical engineering and computer engineering. Each branch would have 60 students.

He added that the nature and structure of each course would be kept flexible to meet the changing requirements of industry at local as well as global levels.

Student loans would be sanctioned from banks on easy conditions, which will be returnable on a long-term basis by students after getting employment.

Another proposal cleared was the establishment of the Advanced Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture at Punjabi University.

A yoga centre in the Department of Physical Education and Sports to run certificate and diploma courses in yoga and to start a postgraduate diploma course in sociology of mass communication by the Department of Sociology was also cleared.


‘Nanotechnology to bring changes’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 4
The Department of Botany of Punjabi University organised a two-day national symposium on “Recent Trends in Algal Biology and Biotechnology” here from today. The Dean, Academic Affairs, Prof U.C. Singh, was the chief guest.

Prof U.C Singh discussed the latest developments in micro and macro algae biotechnology. He said that there was a need to re-examine every aspect of algal in human affairs in the context of genetic engineering and biotechnology.

A collaborative approach in conducting research was required and a synergy among universities and industry was the need of the hour. He further said that a new technology known as nanotechnology was going to change human life more profoundly than any other technological advances.

The Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, N.E. Hill University, Shillong, stressed the role of algal biology in micro and microalgal biotechnology. He said the current commercial uses of algae comprising vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants such as B- carotene, dyemakers such as phycobilins and biofertilisers were successfully adopted by the industry.

The Chairman, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, BHU, Varanasi, Prof D.N. Tiwari, discussed various problems of topical interest pertaining to algae in relation to human welfare with emphasis on a biotechnological approach.

Prof T.A. Sarma, organising secretary, and Prof M.K Sidhu, convener of the symposium, were also present.


Increase retiring age of varsity teachers: front
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 4
The Teachers’ United Front (TUF) group of Punjabi University has today appealed to the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, to increase the age of retirement of university teachers from 60 to 62-years as mentioned in the notification of UGC, Human Resource Development Ministry and state government during 1998 and 1999.

Speaking on the occasion the Convener of the front Prof B.S. Khaira, said as per the UGC notification whenever the age of superannuation of government employees will be increased, the age of retirement in case of university teachers too will be increased from 60 to 62 years. He added that the Central Government had already increased the age of superannuation from 58 to 60 years for its employees and from 60 to 62 years in case of teachers in the central universities.

Besides this, some of the states, including Gujarat and UP, had already raised the retiring age of university teachers from 60 to 62 years. The co- convener of the front, Dr Balwinder Singh, said the state government should take necessary steps in this direction immediately.

In addition to this, TUF has urged the state government to clear the letter regarding the relaxation in the date of completion of the required number of refresher courses for promotion of Senior Scale Lecturer, selection grade and Reader under CAS up to December 31 this year.


Students hold protest, allege lack of facilities
Our Correspondent

Lalru, February 4
Students of Punjab College of Engineering and Technology, Malkipur, about 5 km from here, today held a protest outside the college premises for not providing them with facilities which the college authorities had promised prior to the admissions.

Besides boycotting classes, the students raised slogans against the college management. The protesters alleged that the college lacked in almost every facility like adequate infrastructure, equipped laboratories, sufficient books in the library and proper playground.

Moreover, the authorities had charged a sum of Rs 2,500 per student for the internet facility per semester, but the facility had not been provided to them. They alleged that the college authorities had been imposing a fine from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000 per student for missing a day.

When contacted, Mr A.K. Goel, Principal, denied the allegations, saying that the students were not following college guidelines. He, however, claimed that maintaining discipline on the campus was the top priority of the college authorities, which students did not want.

Mr Goel admitted that due to technical snags, the Internet was not functioning. This facility to the students would soon be restored, he added.


Online lottery dealers to pay tax
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 4
The State Excise and Taxation Department has decided to impose a lumpsum tax on dealers of online or electric lottery in Punjab .

This option of lumpsum tax would be at a rate of Rs 15000 per draw. It has to be deposited within three days at the end of the fortnight. Further the state government has decided to change the stage of taxation of diesel engine, generator sets and glass sheets which would be taxed at the first stage of sale instead of past stage earlier.

In addition to this, the state government has also added an item namely glass sheets in schedule-A and it would be liable for taxation at a rate of 12 per cent, an official release said here today.

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