P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



6 RS seats of Punjab, HP to be filled this month
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Reluctance on the part of senior leaders, including members of the outgoing Lok Sabha, from seeking re-election, may put additional pressure on the party high commands of both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal in deciding their nominees to fill five Rajya Sabha seats from Punjab falling vacant early next month.

In Himachal Pradesh, one seat — Mr Anil Sharma (Himachal Vikas Congress)- will fall vacant on April 9. This time the seat will go to the Congress on the basis of its strength in the Himachal Vidhan Sabha.

In Punjab, Mr Ashwani Kumar (Congress), Mr Lajpat Rai (Bharatiya Janata Party), Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra (all from the Shiromani Akali Dal) will be retiring from the Rajya Sabha on April 9.

Of these, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa have already been nominated as Dal candidates for the Faridkot and Sangrur parliamentary constituencies for the May 10 Lok Sabha elections, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra may be nominated again by the Dal for yet another term of the Rajya Sabha.

On the basis of its strength in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Congress is expected to get three of five seats falling vacant next month. The other two may go to the Akali Dal.

The Election Commission has already notified the election schedule for filling these six Rajya Sabha seats. As such both the Punjab and Himachal Vidhan Sabha will have to be in session on March 26, the day polling has to take place.

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha’s session has already been called from March 15.

According to the schedule, formal notification will be issued on March 9 and March 16 will be the last date for filing of nomination papers. For withdrawal of nomination papers March 19 will be the last date. Polling will be held on March 26.

In the case of Punjab, the election to fill vacancies caused by the retirement of Mr Ashwani Kumar, Mr Lajpat Rai and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal will be held separately than those of vacancies caused by the retirement of Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

While the Akalis have still to decide as to who will be their second nominee for the Rajya Sabha, several senior Punjab Congress leaders, including some of the MPs, both present and past, are in the run for nomination. In fact, every leader of some substance in the Punjab Congress is keen to grab Rajya Sabha nomination.

They include Mr Raghu Nandan Lal Bhatia, Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, Mr Ashwani Kumar, Mr Varinder Kataria, Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Mr Sant Ram Singla besides a few others, including a couple of MLAs.


RS nominations: tough task ahead for Badal
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Even as the dissent over the selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha poll continues are yet the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal is faced with the tricky task of choosing candidates for nomination to the Rajya Sabha. More so as he will have to placate those who are waiting in the wings to be sent to the Upper House after being denied the party ticket to the Lower House.

As many as five Rajya Sabha seats are to be filled by April 3 while the names of those to be nominated will have to be recommended by March 16. Out of the total seven seats of the state, six are currently being held by the Akali - BJP alliance while one, that of Mr Ashwani Kumar, is with the Congress.

Those whose term comes to end are SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, party general secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal and Lala Lajpat Rai of the BJP. The term of two other Akalis - Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra and Ms Gurcharan Kaur — comes to an end in July.

Political observers are of the view that Mr Badal has his task cut out before him when he presides over the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party, likely to be held in the next few days. While the names of the likely contenders are to be discussed at the meeting, it is being felt that the meeting will authorise Mr Badal to decide the nominees on his own as was done before announcing the candidates for the parliamentary polls.

Mr Badal’s task, however, will not be easy as he will not want to ruffle the already ruffled feathers of many party leaders who were strong aspirants for the party ticket. While some have dissented by declaring themselves against the official nominee, others are banking on being adjusted in the Rajya Sabha.

This is where the catch lies. In view of the changed political scenario, the Akalis will only have two seats while the others will now go to the Congress. It will be hard for Mr Badal to select the candidates given the claims of many senior leaders of the party. It will also be interesting to watch how Mr Badal accommodates those owing allegiance to his former bete noir-turned-friend Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala.

There are rumblings in the Tohra camp also, although both sides have denied any rift over the manner the seats traditionally reserved for Mr Tohra’s men have been given to others. Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra has already raised the banner of revolt while many others have chosen to obey the party diktat and work for the success of the official nominees.

The RS nominee list will also reflect whether Mr Tohra has been “marginalised” in the SAD. Political pundits feel that Mr Badal will be hard pressed to renominate Mr Tohra but will also keep the option of selecting one of Tohra’s confidants open if the issue of the poor health of the latter is taken into consideration. Mr Tohra is said to be not averse to the idea of a renomination.

The BJP — which has one seat — will also press for a seat but in view of the changed circumstances and the pressure of appointing partymen, the SAD chief is unlikely to oblige his alliance partner. Here too, he will have to encounter some resistance from the alliance partner.

In view of the stand of the party to select educated and young persons for the polls, it remains to be seen if Badal junior insists on his share of the pie. If he decides to get one of his men in the RS, it will throw all the permutations and combinations worked out by the Senior Badal haywire.


SAD manifesto within a fortnight
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 2
The SAD will release its manifesto within a fortnight wherein the achievements and programmes of the party will be placed before the people, this was stated by SAD general secretary Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal at the joint meeting of the alliance partners here today. The manifesto is being prepared by a committee headed by former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar.

The occasion also saw dissidents closing ranks and rallying behind Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, the Akali nominee from Ludhiana. Earlier, there was resentment over his selection as the party nominee ignoring the claims of much senior leaders.

Those present on the occasion, included former minister Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA Ranjit Singh Talwandi, H.S. Gabria, former legislator Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, district BJP chief Subash Verma, Satpal Gosain and councillors from both the parties. A large number of youth workers of both the parties were also present on the occasion.

Ruling out any dissident activity, Mr Grewal said the party was united and was fully geared to ensure the success of its candidate. The campaign will be formally kicked off from Bhagpur, the native village of Mr Dhillon on March 4.

The BJP on its part said it would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Mr Dhillon garnered the maximum votes from the urban areas. The achievements of the NDA government will be highlighted in addition to the good work done by the Akali-BJP alliance during their rule.

Reacting to a query on the disrespect shown to Guru Granth Sahib during the visit of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to Ludhiana a few days ago, Mr Grewal said they condemned the incident and would bring it to the notice of the SGPC.

KHANNA: Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the SGPC held a meeting with Akali workers of the area at the local Chandan Plaza restaurant on Tuesday. While speaking on the occasion he said NDA alliance would win two third majority in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He urged the workers to start poll campaign to ensure the victory of Akali candidate Sukhdev Singh Libra from the Ropar Parliamentary seat.


Tarn Taran takes lead in campaigning
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, March 2
Once infamous as ‘mini Khalistan’ where the boycott of polling had evoked a massive response during the 1992 elections, Tarn Taran presents a different picture today. Considered as a stronghold of Akalis, this rural Lok Sabha constituency is much ahead of other parliamentary constituencies as far as campaigning activity goes.

The official nominee of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, has already taken a lead by arranging a number of election meetings, the aspirants for the Congress ticket have also launched their respective campaigns.

The front runners for the Congress ticket from the constituency are Mr Inderjit Singh Baserke, district president (rural) and Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, who had unsuccessfully contested two Assembly elections in the past. According to sources the names of Mr Baserke and Mr Sarkaria have been shortlisted. Both Congress leaders have already covered different parts of the constituency to mobilise their supporters in anticipation of getting the party ticket. Interestingly, Dr Manohar Singh Gill, a former Chief Election Commissioner, who was approached by some Congress leaders to contest from Tarn Taran had refused to contest. The party high command could also consider the names of Master Jagir Singh, a former minister, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Irrigation Minister and Rana Gurjit Singh for the seat.

Since it is for the first time that the Shiromani Akali Dal has fielded a non-Jat candidate thus the Congress is seriously contemplating countering the SAD move. The constituency has a considerable chunk of Backward and Scheduled caste votes.

The fact that Tarn Taran is an Akali’s stronghold is revealed from the fact that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann polled the second highest votes after Ram Bilas Paswan in the country by winning this seat by getting 5.29 lakh votes during Lok Sabha elections in 1989. At that time Mr Mann was in jail.

Now the sitting Akali MP, Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, who was denied party ticket, has decided to contest as a rebel candidate. Mr Tur is being supported by former Akali MLA Prem Singh Lalpura, Mr Major Singh Uboke, a former Akali MP and many other Akali leaders of the area.

The announcement of the name of Congress candidate, which is expected within a day or so, would further intensify campaigning. Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala has already held a rally in Amarkot, the hometown of the Irrigation Minister, Mr Bhullar.


News Analysis
Rift deepens in Punjab Congress
by Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Voices of dissent are becoming louder in the Punjab Congress. Certain top leaders, who are supposed to exhibit unity at this stage when the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner, are trying to demolish each other, albeit clandestinely.

Mr Balbir Singh, a Congress MP, has refused to recontest the election from Jalandhar. He has written a detailed letter to Mrs Sonia Ganhdi, President of the AICC, stating that senior Congress leaders have been leaving no stone unturned to belittle him.

Even Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar is not ready to contest from Faridkot. He is keen on shifting to Ferozepore. But Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has made it clear to Mr Brar that he would have to contest from Faridkot.

Dr Manmohan Singh, a senior leader of the Congress, has refused to contest from Jalandhar or elsewhere in Punjab, owing to infighting in the Punjab Congress.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who was deputed by Mrs Sonia Gandhi to resolve differences between the warring factions of the party in Punjab a few months ago, is well aware of the deep rift.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who is being asked to contest from Sangrur, has also refused, knowing full well the real motive behind the move.

Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, who won from Hoshiarpur last time, is reluctant to try his luck this time. Mrs Ambika Soni is tipped to be the Congress candidate from Hoshiarpur. As the CPM has put up Mr Darshan Mattu from Hoshiarpur, the Congress would have to leave this seat for this party. CPM leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet has told party leaders that he had put up Mr Darshan Mattu from Hoshiarpur only after consultation with Mrs Sonia Ganghi. So the chances of Mrs Soni getting the ticket from Hoshiarpur are remote.

The immediate reason for the latest tussle among top ruling party leaders are certain postings and transfers made in the Vigilance Bureau. Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who is known to be the chief patron of the old Beant Singh group in the ruling party, has not liked the redeployment of Mr A.P. Pandey as Chief Director of the Vigilance Bureau. Even the Beant Singh family has not liked this development. As a result Mrs Bhattal and her close associates have again started knocking at the doors of the party high command. Mrs Bhattal has complained that she was not being consulted about postings and transfers at the top level even though she is the Deputy Chief Minister.

Commenting on the ongoing tussle in the ruling party in Punjab, Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said the differences among top leaders was an internal matter of the party. “I am sure all top leaders of the Punjab Congress would campaign unitedly by and win all seats”, he added.


BSP violated poll code, say Cong leaders

Jalandhar, March 2
The Bahujan Samaj Party’s state unit is trying to ensure the presence of one lakh workers for Ms Mayawati’s rally to be held here tomorrow. Meanwhile, some local Congress leaders have decided to lodge a complaint with the Election Commission against the BSP for “violating” the poll code by allegedly “defacing” public property by pasting posters and flags.

The BSP state unit, headed by Mr Avtaar Singh Karimpuri, has made arrangements for the rally.

Local Congress leaders, some of whom even sought anonymity in view of the possibility of a poll alliance between the BSP and the Congress, alleged that no permission was sought from the Municipal Corporation for pasting posters and flags on public property.

“This is a clear violation of the poll code. We are going to fax our complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner. We have already apprised the Deputy Commissioner of the matter,” said Mr Manoj Arora, secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.


Joining new posting against EC norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
As the election code of conduct has been enforced with effect from February 29, no one can join his or her new place of posting without the permission of the Election Commission of India. This was disclosed here today by a senior officer of the Punjab Chief Electoral Officer.

“It is a violation of the code to join the new place of posting on or after February 29. It is the duty of the head of the departments to seek permission of the commission through the office of the Chief Electoral Officer before allowing anyone to join the duty at new place of posting”, said the official.

It has come to the notice of the commission that certain officers have managed their transfers in back date but have not joined their new place of posting yet. There is a case of tehsildars and others in the connection. “The commission will have to examine the justification of the transfer at this stage before allowing the joining at new place of posting”, said the official.

The commission is expected to seek a report from the Punjab Government regarding the employees, who are under transfer or who have joined new place of posting after the enforcement of code of conduct without securing the permission from the authorities concerned in commission.


Atwal supports EC’s new suggestion
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 2
Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, former Speaker of Punjab Assembly a former MP and SAD-BJP joint candidate from Phillaur Lok Sabha (reserved) constituency today agreed with the suggestion mooted by the Election Commission for voters’ right to reject a candidate through negative voting by filling the proposed column on the ballot paper about “none of the above”.

Addressing a press conference here after being nominated for the Phillaur seat, Mr Atwal said the entry of criminals to politics should be stopped and candidates with a clean image should be voted to power. Commenting upon the hither to grey area of negative voting with the introduction of ‘none of the above’ column as suggested by Chief Election Commissioner T.S. Krishna Murthy, Mr Atwal said he would even go a step further by suggesting that the voters should also have the right to recall the elected representatives.

He appreciated the EC move to make public the criminal records, financial assets, liabilities and dues to the government of all candidates. Former SGPC president Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SAD national adviser Jarnail Singh Wahid, former Punjab ministers Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Jathedar Raghbir Singh, vice-president, Punjab unit of the BJP Swarna Ram and a host of other senior SAD and BJP leaders were present on the occasion. Mr Atwal said the current Lok Sabha poll was Vajpayee vs Sonia Gandhi and said the latter paled into insignificance and was a political pygmy when compared with Mr Vajpayee’s stature.

He claimed that SAD-BJP combine would win all the 13 seats in the state as well as the lone seat of Chandigarh and ensure that Mr Vajpayee takes over as the Prime Minister. He also brushed aside the allegation that Akalis have nothing of their own to bank upon and were merely harping on the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mascot. “We stand by all demands of Punjab, including the waters issue”, he remarked.

Mr Atwal also started his election campaign by addressing a poll rally of SAD-BJP activists. Other parties, including the Congress, are yet to announce the names of their candidates.


Punjab seeks EC nod on liquor vends auction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Can Punjab go in for auction of the liquor shops scheduled to begin at Jalandhar on March 4?

With the Election Commission of India having announced the poll schedule on Sunday, the model code of conduct has become operative and this question all the more relevant. The state Chief Election Officer, Mr G.S. Cheema, said he had referred the issue to the Election Commission to seek its advice, if the auction of liquor shops under the excise policy, (2004-05) was to be treated as a normal process at this time of the year.

There are apprehensions, say sources, in liquor trade circles and licensees that auction may be delayed due to the Lok Sabha elections and the present system extended till mid-May on a pro rata basis. Liquor barons were reportedly active in New Delhi to lobby for early auctions in Punjab.

The time-table for the auctions has been drawn up in such a way so as to complete the process within seven days. The auction in Ludhiana is in the end though usually, it starts with Ludhiana.


Chief Engineer’s transfer against poll code, says Badungar
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 2
The SAD has accused the Congress government in the state of violating the directive of Chief Election Commissioner by ordering the transfer of the Chief Engineer in the Irrigation Department after ban on transfers coming into force with the announcement of the poll schedule.

In a signed press release here today, the former SGPC chief and SAD spokesman, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, alleged that though the secretary of the department concerned had signed the transfer order of the Chief Engineer on February 29, but later a junior official had allegedly put the date as February 27, which was a violation of the EC directive.

Mr Badungar urged the Chief Election Commissioner to seek a detailed report from the state government to unearth the conspiracy to shift senior civil officials in the recent past. “The recent postings and transfers of senior civil and police officials are basically ordered while aiming at the coming general election,” the statement added.

Mr Badungar revealed that a complete case regarding transfers of state officials in the recent past would be submitted to the Election Commission for necessary action.


Change in Brar’s constituency causing problems
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 2
Political activity in the Congress in Faridkot, Moga and Muktsar districts has so far not picked up for the Lok Sabha elections from the Faridkot Parliamentary constituency. The situation has become more embarrassing following the decision of the Central Election Committee (CEC) to change the constituency of Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar from Faridkot to Ferozepore.

Many of the aspirants who had applied for the ticket are waiting for the party high command to decide their fate.

It is learnt that after its decision to change the guard the party high command is trying to focus on a candidate who could cross swords with SAD MP Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The party high command is considering the names of Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, Mr Maheshinder Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Nihalsinghwala.

The name of another aspirant Mr S.K. Gupta, Chairman local Improvement Trust and close associate of former President Giani Zail Singh is also doing rounds in the central circles.

However, certain senior district Congress leaders are still in favour of nominating to Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar as the party candidate.

They have appealed the CEC to review the matter in the interests of the party.

Meanwhile the SAD has launched a vigorous campaign in the entire constituency to wrest the seat from the Congress.

All three senior party representatives, including Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, senior vice-president SAD and MLA Panjgrain. Mr Mantar Singh Brar and Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, both MLAs Faridkot and Kotkapura, respectively, have been visiting their respective constituencies to keep contact with the voters to maintain their winning strength of votes in the last Assembly poll.


Punjab Assembly session on March 15

Chandigarh, March 2
The Punjab Governor, Justice O. P. Verma, has convened a session of the Vidhan Sabha here for March 15 at 2.30 pm.

The government, say sources, will present a vote-on-account during the session, as advised by the Election Commission in view of the Lok Sabha elections. TNS


Cong men plump for Balbir Singh
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 2
Expressing shock over the unwillingness of a former MP, Mr Balbir Singh, to seek re-nomination as the Congress candidate from the Jalandhar seat, district Congress workers and block Congress candidate from the Jalandhar seat, district Congress workers and block Congress committee presidents today urged the party high command to allot the party ticket to Mr Balbir Singh.

In a joint letter addressed to AICC President Sonia Gandhi, the presidents of all 10 block Congress committees of the district demanded that as Mr Balbir Singh had worked hard in nurturing the constituency well during his tenure as an MP, no other candidate, except him, would have better chances to win than him. The party leaders stated in the letter, “As there is consensus in favour of Mr Balbir Singh, we recommend his re-nomination as the Congress candidate from the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat.”

Commenting the proposal to field Olympian Pargat Singh, the DCC (Rural) president, Mr Rajinder Singh Johl, while addressing a press conference here today, said since Mr Pargat Singh had a family background of staunch Akalis and during the previous Lok Sabha elections, he had vehemently opposed the Congress candidates, it would be difficult for him face the voters on the Congress ticket. He said, however, that they would accept the verdict of the party high command in this regard.

Earlier on February 28, Mr Balbir Singh had written a letter to Mrs Gandhi stating, “As there has been a persistent and a malicious propaganda and character assassination campaign against me on the media by a section of the local party leaders, and to maintain unity in the party, I have decided not to seek re-nomination for the party ticket to contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.


Bandh against hike in steel prices
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 2
Terming the “feel good” factor of the BJP a myth, about 5000 industrial unit owners of the city today announced that they would oppose the NDA candidates all over the state in the coming general election for the failure of the NDA government to redress the issue pertaining to the unprecedented hike in steel and pig iron price ranging between 80 and 150 per cent in the past six months.

A complete industrial bandh was observed in the city on the call given by the Steel Consumers Action Committee in protest against increase in the pig iron and steel prices in the past six months.

Addressing a gathering of industrialists at Company Bagh here, Mr Sharad Aggarwal, convener of the committee said the unprecedented hike in the prices of pig iron and steel had brought the small-scale industrial units (SSI) and steel consuming industries to a standstill and around 700 units had been forced to shut down rendering thousands of workers jobless.

“As against an average international price hike of 30 per cent to 35 per cent in pig iron and steel prices in India have gone up from 80 per cent to 150 per cent, which was just because of the artificial shortages created by the five main big producers of steel,” he added.

“We have decided that about 5000 industrial unit owners and over two lakh labourers and technicians will vote against the SAD-BJP candidates in Punjab in protest against the anti-industry policies. Despite the submission of several memorandums to the authorities concerned, nothing concrete has been done to curb price hike in the past six months,” Mr Aggarwal asserted.

Regarding the recent measures taken by the Union Government to curb the price of iron and steel, Mr Aggarwal termed them as “cosmetic in nature”

Terming the increase in steel and pig iron prices as “big scam”, Mr V.P. Chopra, president, Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations demanded that a probe by a sitting judge of the apex court should be ordered to unearth the conspiracy while adding that even the export of the finished products from Punjab had declined by at least 30 per cent due to uncertainty of the steel rates.

The price of iron and steel which was available at the rate of Rs 13 per kg a few months ago was now available at the rate of Rs 26 per kg, he said quipping. “How can an exporter book the order in such an uncertain atmosphere.”

He revealed that if the Union Government failed to solve this problem, industrialists would be forced to go on an indefinite strike, which might lead to the closure of industries. After burning the effigy of the Union Steel Minister, Mr B.K. Tripathy, the agitating industrialists submitted a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta. They demanded a ban on the export of iron ore, steel and pig iron on the Chinese pattern.

Other suggestions in the charter of demand included zero per cent import duty on steel scrap and re-rollable scrap to increase the flow of basic raw material in the country and immediate import of two million tonnes of pig iron and steel by government agencies like MMTC, STC.


Punjabi varsity Pro-VC relieved of charge
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 2
Within minutes of receiving the order by which the posts of Pro-Vice-Chancellor in universities of the state were abolished, Punjabi University relieved its Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr R.N. Pal, of his charge, besides withdrawing all official facilities which had been extended to him.

Punjabi University received a copy of the notification of the order passed by its Chancellor and Punjab Governor Justice O. P. Verma (retd) late yesterday evening. Within minutes another order relieving Dr Pal of his charge was signed by University Registrar, Dr Param Bakshish Singh, and hand delivered at Dr Pal's residence on the campus.

The University also immediately got the telephones of Dr Pal disconnected, besides withdrawing his official car, security and personal staff. The move apparently rattled the Pro Vice-Chancellor who complained against this to a local police station. However, it could not be ascertained if any action had been taken in this regard with the Pro-VC not being available for comment on the issue.

Punjabi University Vice- Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, who had earlier welcomed the signing of a notification by the Chancellor to abolish the post of Pro VC's in the state, today again said the move was in the interest of smooth functionings of Universities.


Silt delta reduces Bhakra Dam’s lifespan
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, March 2
The water storage capacity of the Bhakra Dam will be nearly finished in the next 30 to 40 years, about 20 years before its expected lifespan of 100 years. The dam, which was inaugurated in 1964, will once again become part of the river basin with the river water just flowing through it.

The reason for it is the silt that has deposited in the Gobind Sagar (the biggest artificial lake formed due the Bhakra Dam) 19 km from the dam structure. Highly placed sources in the Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) told this correspondent that the silt delta, that had been formed near Ghalua and Challela villages, was slowly moving towards the dam structure.

According to the official estimates of the BBMB, the delta was moving at a speed of about 400 to 500 feet per year towards the dam structure. The height of the silt delta ranges from 100 to 150 feet. At this speed, the delta is likely to reach the dam within the next 40 years.

However, some experts feel that due to the continued deforestation in the catchment areas of the dam and increased inflows of silt, the delta was moving at a much higher speed.

The sources allege that at times, water was stored in the dam up to 1,688 feet — as against the maximum recommended level of 1,680 feet — that led to the formation of the delta near the dam structure.

Now that the delta has been formed, if the water level goes down, the delta will get dragged towards the dam structure.

The recent depositions of loose muck along the Sutlej basin by the NTPC authorities that were undertaking the construction of the Kol Dam has further raised the silt deposition.

The BBMB authorities have prepared a report regarding the impact of the recent silt deposition along the Sutlej. The sources said in the report, it was indicated that the recent silt depositions along the Sutlej would increase inflows of silt in to Gobind Sagar.

The Chief Engineer (Irrigation), BBMB, Nangal, admitted that a report had been prepared and would be submitted to the board authorities soon.


Punjab Govt to give Rs 6 crore for
Beant Singh’s memorial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Within days of the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, the Punjab Government today agreed to pay Rs 6 crore for the completion of Beant Singh memorial in Sector 42 in the next calendar year.

Representatives of the Punjab Government promised the sum at a meeting of the executive body of the Beant Singh Memorial Society, headed by the Punjab Governor.

The Chandigarh Administration had stopped construction saying there was a paucity of funds for the project as Punjab had been delaying payment of Rs 6 crore out of the promised Rs 10 crore for the project. The Administration on its own had pumped in a sum of 9.08 crore in the past few years.

The project has been marred by delays. The work on the project was started in December, 1998. It was to be completed in 18 months at a cost of Rs 8 crore. The building is still under construction. The delay on account of wrong planning and political differences has hit the project badly. The contractor who originally started work does not want to carry on with it now. He had some resentment regarding payments. The arrangement with contractor was scrapped in June last year. Till the arbitrator decides the matter, the society is free to invite tenders from new contractors, sources say.

Earlier, the project was delayed as the SAD-BJP government in Punjab had stalled the project saying it did not have funds for the memorial. The Chandigarh Administration, a partner to the project, just could not fund it on its own. The project work slowed down and costs escalated.


Re-construction of demolished structure
comes under a cloud

Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 2
Construction activity in the posh Basant Avenue area has once again come under a cloud with the residents of the colony complaining that owner of the building was constructing a ‘commercial establishment’, including shops and a hall. While he had got a residential plan passed from the municipal corporation.

They also alleged that by getting a residential plan passed, the owner was able to have more covered area as side and front setbacks were less in area in this category.

The said construction was demolished earlier on September 5, 2003, after a news item in this regard was published in “The Tribune” as the owner was constructing a commercial establishment and camouflaging it with old outer residential walls in blatant violation of the building bylaws. The construction was being carried out allegedly at the behest of a Cabinet Minister.

The owner was alleged to be then, converting his residence into a commercial building without obtaining permission for the change of land use. An inquiry by the Chief Vigilance Officer of MC, Mr A.K. Kansal, had led to charge-sheeting of the Municipal Town Planner (MTP), Assistant Town Planner and Building Inspector on orders of the then Principal Secretary, Local Government, Mr A.K. Dubey.

The Mayor, Mr Sunil Dutti, said the owner had obtained clearance for a residential plan and added that he was not aware that the area was to be put to commercial use. Mr B.R. Batra, Municipal Town Planner, said the owner was constructing as per the residential plant that had been submitted and approved. However, he said in case of any commercial activity in the area they would not hesitate to demolish the construction again.


3 Badal loyalists removed from Dharam
Parchar Committee

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 2
The Dharm Parchar Committee of the SGPC today replaced its three members, Sant Hardev Singh Loolon, Mr Bir Singh and Dr Darshan Singh with immediate effect. They have been replaced for absenting themselves from three consecutive meetings.

While Sant Loolon and Mr Bir Singh had reportedly supported Mr Parkash Singh Badal during his tug of war with Mr Gurcharn Singh Tohra, SGPC chief, Dr Darshan Singh is considered to be neutral.

The three members inducted today include Mr Harjinder Singh Dhami, and SGPC member, Mr Prithipal Singh Kapur, an administrator of the Chief Khalsa Diwan and Sant Teg Singh Dhanaula — all close to Mr Tohra.

Though it is a practice to elect new members of the Dharm Parchar Committee at the time of general house of the SGPC, yet it was broken by Bibi Jagir Kaur during her tenure as SGPC chief.

Meanwhile, the Dharm Parchar Committee has resolved that Sikh high priests do not come under the jurisdiction of any court of the land. The meeting urged the Akal Takht Jathedar not to respond to any legal notice as threatened by Mr Joginder Singh, Editor, Spokesman.

The committee also decided to give Rs 11,000 to Mr Roop Singh, an assistant secretary of the SGPC for writing a book on various Sikh shrines.


Training programme for field officers
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 2
A training programme for managers and field officers of cooperative organisations was organised by Kribhco at Bassi Pathana here today.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Head of the Department of Commerce, Mata Gujri College. He said, “To be successful, one should adopt a positive attitude in life. It will also help in reducing tension and frustration.”

He said everyone should become pro-active in life and should always work in synergy and develop win-win relationship.

He said one should first understand others if one wanted to be understood by them. He also asked for fixing priorities. Those in the habit of doing things at the eleventh hour always suffered from stress and stress-related diseases, he said. He also advised the participants to be honest and remain committed in their work.

Mr R.S. Brar, senior area manager, Kribhco, also addressed the participants. Mr A.S. Sandhu, DM, Markfed, thanked the main speaker. He stressed the need to organise such talks more frequently.


Protest march by SAD (A)
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 2
A march was organised here today by the members of the SAD (A) in protest against the French Government’s move to ban the wearing of turbans by school children.

The march was led by Mr Bhag Singh Surtapur, president of the Ropar unit of the party. The protest march which started from Gurdwara Ravidass, on the Landran road, ended at the SDM’s office where a memorandum was handed over to him. Slogans were raised against the French Government.


Amritsar bus stand may be shifted
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, March 2
The makeshift bus stand in Mall Mandi area is likely to be shifted to yet another place following complaints of inconvenience to public and traffic chaos on the G.T. Road. The district administration has proposed to shift the bus stand.

This would be the second shifting in less than two months as the main bus stand was closed for the construction of a new one. The bus stand will be shifted either to Pataka Market backside of Jahajgarh area or to the roadways workshop.

However, the final decision in this regard would be taken tomorrow at a meeting to be held in Chandigarh, said Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, after a meeting with the SSP and senior Punjab Roadways officers.

Due to haphazard and unauthorised parking of buses outside the bus stand, the traffic remained blocked, much to the inconvenience of people.

While the present site of Mall Mandi bus stand remains unoccupied as the drivers prefer to park the buses in a small lane leading to the stand. Mr Om Parkash Sharma, Adda In charge, said the traffic remained jammed for hours in the lane, causing delays to passengers. Some drivers allege that the administration had chosen the most unsuitable place for the bus service as the exit road was narrow.


Pak Hindu jatha to arrive on March 11
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 2
A 500-strong Hindu jatha from Pakistan will visit India from March 11 on the invitation of Indian chapter of the Shradhani Darbar of Raipur whose Pakistan chapater is located in Sind.

Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, informed that the jatha would arrive by Samjhauta Express at Attari on March 11 and proceed to Raipur on March 13. Members of the jatha would also visit Mata Bandeshwari Devi, Chhatisgarh; Sant Raja Ram, Maharashtra; Varindavan, Gokul, Brij Bhoomi, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh; Chattarpur temple, New Delhi; Param Sarovar, Kurukshetra, Haryana; Rishikesh, Hardwar; Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir and Devi Talab Mandir in Jalandhar. On their return to Amritsar they would also visit Durgiana Mandir, Jallianwala Bagh, Golden Temple and return to Pakistan on April 8.


Bharat Vikas Parishad office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 2
Prof Ashok Gupta (Bathinda), Mr Rajinder Garg (Mansa) and Mr Naresh Pal Kansal (Kotkapura) were elected president, general secretary and treasurer, respectively, of the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Punjab (south) at the state council meeting last evening.

The state council of all office-bearers of the parishad reviewed the activities of the branches of the parishad and honoured them for their role in different fields of the social service.

In the urban branches category, the Kotkapura, Moga and Fazilka branches were honoured, while in the rural category the Bajakhana and Amarpura branches were honoured.


Punish SDM, says forum
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, March 2
The local unit of the Punjab Law Forum a body of law graduates and lawyers, today urged the authorities concerned not to adopt soft attitude towards the Pathankot Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Puneet Goyal.

In a press release here today, Mr Charanpal Singh Brar and M.M. Behal, president and secretary, respectively, of the forum, also expressed grief over the poaching of national bird, allegedly by the SDM. They have demanded strict punishment for the crime.


Seminar on novels of Yashpal
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 2
The Department of Hindi, Punjabi University, organised a two-day national seminar on ‘The novels of Yashpal’ to commemorate the birth centenary of Hindi novelist here today. The winner of this year’s Sahitya Academy Award, Kamleshwar, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Prof Manager Pandey, a noted Hindi critic and Professor in Hindi at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said Yashpal’s novels and stories were relevant in the past and their significance in the present time could not be ruled out. He urged the readers to go through only good literature.

Discussing the philosophy of Yashpal, Mr Kamleshwar said he was a contemporary of Bhagat Singh and the revolutionary influence could be seen in his writings. He said Yashpal worked for women’s independence, social equality, but he was a staunch opponent of feudalistic values and ritualistic ideologies.

The varsity Vice-Chancellor, Mr Sawarn Singh Boparai, said the main objective of any institution of higher learning was to strengthen the overall personality of its students and introduction of Yashpal’s philosophy was a step forward in that direction.

Mr Anand, son of Yashpal, organised an exhibition of pictures and books relating to the legendry litterateur. The Head of Hindi Department, Dr Chaman Lal, and Dean, Academic Affairs, Prof U.C. Singh, also spoke on the occasion.


Ex-IG (Prisons) Shenmar dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A former IG (Prisons), Punjab and Fellow of the Panjab University Senate, Mr K.C. Shenmar, died in Delhi today following a heart attack. He was 83 and is survived by two sons and one daughter. His body would be brought to his residence, 3226, Sector 15, Chandigarh, tomorrow and the cremation would take place on March 4.


High Court
Panchayat fund

Chandigarh, March 2
In a petition filed before a Division Bench of the High Court, a gram panchayat in Sangrur district today alleged non-payment of development fund. The petitioner added that the cheque for the fund was given to an Executive Engineer for carrying out developmental work, instead of being handed over to the panchayat as mandatory under the relevant rules.

Acting on the petition filed by the Panch Mojowal panchayat, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, restrained the Executive Engineer from dealing with the grant.

The judge observed: "Counsel for the petitioner submits that the gram panchayat was actually sanctioned Rs 10 lakh as development fund. A cheque was also issued to it. On presentation, the payment was, however, stopped."

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Nijjar observed: "Subsequently, the development fund was handed over to the Executive Engineer for the execution of development work in the village which as per the Panchayati Raj Act has to be performed by the panchayat."

The judge added: "Counsel for the petitioner submits that the Executive Engineer has already issued a tender for the allocation of development fund.... The Executive Engineer is restrained from dealing with the fund meant for the development of the gram panchayat."

DSPs' selection

Claiming that the process initiated for recruiting Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP) in Punjab was merely an eye-wash, a national-level handball player today sought directions for a probe by the CBI into the appointment of "ineligible persons".

Taking up the petition, Mr Justice S.S. Saron of the High Court directed that the petition would be taken up with related plea on March 8.

In his petition, Ravdeep Singh Atwal of Patiala district had earlier contended that some of the selected persons were not even deserving candidates. As such the CBI should find out whether money, political consideration or personal relationship was behind the selections.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner submitted that he was one of the 47 applicants who had initially applied for the posts. The other applicants included a large number of Arjuna awardees.


Clubbing of liquor circles challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a liquor contractor today alleged that the Punjab Government was encouraging monopoly in liquor trade to favour a baron.

Challenging the auction of liquor vends to be held in the state on March 4, contractor Sanjeev Bhandari contended that bare reading of an auction notice published on February 29 indicated that the state was bent upon clubbing Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr circles to create monopoly against the financial interests of the state.

Giving details, he added that liquor vends in Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr could not be auctioned after being clubbed as one group. Clubbing of groups having more than Rs 15 crore value was not allowed without passing order. On the other hand, the value of Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr group was more than Rs 100 crore.

Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, Mr Mohan Jain asserted that such an action was not desirable in view of the previous experience. He added that the act of joining the groups amounted to formation of cartels with the motive of favouring baron Ponti Chadha.

He added that apparently a deal had been finalised between the Congress and Mr Chadha in Delhi. Mr Jain asserted that Excise Department officials were not interested in the creation of monopoly, but were going against the rules under government pressure. A report published in The Tribune on February 27 was also enclosed.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Narang and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, fixed March 8 as the next date of hearing.


Dera head gets life term for couple’s murder

Faridkot, March 2
The fast-track court here has convicted and sentenced a dera head and his three accomplices to life imprisonment for murdering a couple at Khokhar village in Muktsar district on May 22, 1996.

According to the prosecution, the victim Iqbal Singh and his wife, Harinder Kaur, residents of Muktsar, were devotees of Chandermuni, head of the dera at Khokhar village.

On the day of the incident, Iqbal Singh and his wife reached the dera to pay their obeisance. They had a fight with Chandermuni for his illicit relations with another woman, a friend of Iqbal Singh’s wife, Harinder Kaur.

Both Iqbal Singh and his wife Harinder Kaur asked the dera chief to desist from such illicit relations, failing which they would expose him.

The dera chief conspired with his three followers to eliminate the couple. They gave a sedative to the couple and strangled them.

Later, they dumped their bodies along the Rajasthan Canal.

On a complaint of Iqbal Singh’s father, the police launched a hunt and recovered the two bodies. — PTI


Sukhbir directed to produce second passport in court
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 2
The Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, today directed Mr Sukhbir Badal to produce his second allegedly expired passport in the court. Earlier, the prosecution, in an application moved in the court, had alleged that Mr Badal had two passports in his name. He, had however, deposited just one passport in the court while the second was still in his possession, in violation of the court orders in the disproportionate assets case, the prosecution alleged.

In response to the application, the counsel of Mr Badal today maintained in the court that his so-called second passport has expired. It was attached with the application for a new passport by Mr Badal.


Police remand for PA in bribery case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 2
The personal assistant (PA) of the Chairperson of the Punjab State Women Commission, who was arrested yesterday by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on a charge of accepting a bribe, was remanded to one-day police custody by a Kharar court here today.

It is alleged that the PA, Vijay Kumar, was caught redhanded accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from Mr Sushil Kumar, a resident of Ludhiana.

Mr Zora Singh Brar, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, said that a daughter-in-law of Mr Sushil Kumar had filed a complaint with the Punjab State Women Commission against her father-in-law in which she had made some allegations against him regarding dowry. A case had then been registered against Mr Sushil Kumar.

Mr Sushil Kumar, too, had made a representation at the commission, in which he said that a false case had been registered against him. He requested the commission to investigate the matter and recommend the quashing of the FIR against him.

It is learnt that Mr Sushil Kumar had approached the PA of the Chairperson to help him in the case.

It is alleged that Vijay Kumar asked for a bribe of Rs 5,000 for getting the case settled in favour of Mr Sushil Kumar. The deal, however, was finally settled for Rs 2,000.

Mr Sushil Kumar brought the matter to the notice of the Vigilance Bureau. So when he allegedly handed over Rs 2,000 to the PA yesterday, officials of the Vigilance Bureau caught him redhanded.

A case under Sections 7, 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against Vijay Kumar.


Court summons doctors
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 2
A local court today ordered three doctors of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi to be summoned for prosecution on the charges of causing the death of a patient from the city.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa has ordered the summoning of doctors — Y.P. Bhatia, who is the Director Administration of the cancer institute, and Dr A.K. Vaid and Dr T. Kataria — following a case filed by one H.S. Nanda. The complainant had alleged that his wife Maninder Kaur had died due to ‘’wrong handling” and “negligence” of the said doctors.

The complainant alleged that his wife was given 15 unwanted doses of radiotherapy, with the disease of the patient not being properly diagnosed. It said the patient was sent back to Patiala with the reassurance that her disease would be intimated to her. This did not happen and the patient, whose treatment began on August, 2000, breathed her last in Patiala on June, 2001.


A clarification
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
Mr Inderjit Kaushik, Additional Sessions Judge here, had sentenced Special Police Officer (SPO) Sarbjit Singh of Bhaini Arora village to six years imprisonment in the kidnapping and murder case of a youth, Tarwinder Singh involving DSP Darshan Singh. It was erroneously reported that Sarbjit Singh was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The other accused in the case, Mehar Singh of Manvi village was sentenced to life imprisonment and not six years’ imprisonment as published in these columns.


Farmers asked to cut input costs
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 2
The survival of marginal farmers in the era of globalisation and high costs can be made possible by adopting a scientific approach in agriculture. Also, family members, including women, should use their spare time for extra income, for which the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, has been organising awareness workshops in villages.

This was stated today by Dr Amrik Singh Sandhu, Director, Extension Education services, PAU. The experiment of sowing wheat after paddy harvest through zero tillage had been successful, he said. It saved Rs 1,000-1,200 per acre in input costs.

Dr Sandhu was talking to mediapersons at Dharamgarh village, 3 km from here, after his visit along with a team of experts to the farm of a progressive farmer, Mr Balbir Singh Jaria.

Mr Jaria had demonstrated to farmers how to prepare fodder from paddy straw with urea treatment in 1987.


Man booked on charge of cheating
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 2
The Phul police has registered a case against Satguru Singh, a resident of Nainewal village under Bhadaur police station, under Section 420 of the IPC.

Mr Baldev Singh of Mahraj village had complained that the suspect, Satguru Singh, took Rs 6,70,000 from him to send his brothers Sukhmander Singh and Harjewan Singh to Greece. The latter could not reach Greece and were caught by the Turkey police.

The Talwandi Sabo police has seized 10 kg of poppy husk in the Koreana area from Bhola Sharma. The police registered a case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act yesterday.


Mischief at shrine
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, March 2
A holy book was burnt by miscreants at a place of worship here today. The police has registered a case under Section 295 A of the IPC on the complaint of the president of the management committee of the shrine.

According to information, the holy book was found burnt by an employee in the bathroom of the shrine. After a meeting of the management committee, a complaint was lodged with the police.


Mobile phones, cash stolen from shop
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 2
Mobile phone sets and spare parts of mobile phones and computers worth about Rs 5 lakh were stolen from a shop opposite MSD Senior Secondary School here last night.

Talking to TNS here this afternoon, Mr Swadesh Goyal, owner of the shop, said the thieves had committed the theft by breaking open the locks of the shop. He said the thieves had also taken away Rs 45,000 in cash from the shop with them.

A case has been registered.


2 held on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 2
The police today arrested two persons, Joga Singh of Baba Gadhia locality and Gopi of Dhak Pandori village, under Sections 376, 506 and 34 of the IPC for raping a local girl, a press note said tonight. The 20-year-old girl came from Jalandhar late last night and got down from the bus near Hoshiarpur Chowk. The aforesaid persons allegedly pushed her into their vehicle and raped her in fields on the outskirts of Phagwara.


Man consumes poison, dies
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, March 2
Raman Preet Singh (21), a resident of Meerpur village, near Mubarikpur, who was admitted to the PGI on Monday afternoon after he allegedly attempted to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance, died this afternoon.

According to family friends of the deceased, Raman Preet was working with an industrial unit at Dera Bassi and had been under depression after being discharged from service a couple of months ago. He was married two years ago, but had no issue.

After he consumed poison, he was taken to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi. Later, he was shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he breathed his last.


Mutilated body of sadhu found
Our Correspondent

Lalru, March 2
The mutilated body of a sadhu was found on the Kalka-Ambala railway line, near Sarseeni village, today.

Mr Rampal Singh, in charge, Railway police post, Lalru, said following a call from some passerby, a team of police personnel recovered the body from the track. A train had run over the sadhu late last night, he said.

The body was sent to the Civil Hospital in Rajpura for a post-mortem examination and proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr PC have been initiated.


Arrange funds for farm varsities, VCs urge ICAR
K.S. Chawla

LUDHIANA: The Vice-Chancellors of state agricultural universities have urged the ICAR to take up with the state governments the need for granting more funds to the varsities to meet their research and educational needs.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, who participated in a two-day conference of the Vice-Chancellors of farm universities at Delhi, told The Tribune the Vice-Chancellors expressed apprehension that research projects would not be taken up in the absence of adequate funds.

The ICAR was requested to arrange competitive grants for research projects and strengthening of the existing infrastructure. The state governments were also urged to set up a corpus of Rs 200 crore for each farm university to promote research and usher in the second green revolution.

ICAR officials, according to Dr Aulakh, maintained that the allocation of funds for the agricultural universities was a State Subject and the Vice-Chancellors should take up the same with their respective state government.

The Vice-Chancellor disclosed that Punjab Agricultural University had sought the establishment of two centres of excellence in the Departments of Plant Breeding and Genetics and Biotechnology and Soil and Water Management.

According to Dr Aulakh, the PAU was likely to get one centre of excellence — Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics and Biotechnology. The PAU was also seeking financial assistance of nearly Rs 10 crore from the ICAR for strengthening the existing infrastructure.

The Vice-Chancellors’ conference also reviewed the poor response to the home science course in the agricultural university. It was decided to organise a meeting at the PAU, Ludhiana, next month on the issue of admission to the home science course. It was felt that the duration of the home science course should be reduced from four to three years after the 10 plus two examinations.


PTU students flay lathicharge
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 2
The PTU Engineering Colleges Vidyarthi Sangarsh Committee has flayed the police for allegedly cane-charging students, who were sitting on fast last evening.

Addressing a press conference here today, the state vice-president of Students Federation of India (SFI), Mr Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal, alleged that the PTU authorities and the police were hand in glove to sabotage the relay fast with regard to the implementation of the 24-credit rule system in examination.

He said the students had decided to hold a protest rally tomorrow to highlight the plight of the students.

Meanwhile, the district police chief, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, refuted that the students were cane-charged. “Only one of the striking students, whose condition turned serious due to fast, was shifted to the local Civil Hospital for medical aid. Besides, the students will not be allowed to disturb law and order,” he said, urging the students not to politicise the issue.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, however, maintained that the Board of Governors of the University was the only competent authority to decide about the implementation of the 24-credit rule system. He appealed to the parents of the agitating students to meet the university authorities to ensure the redress of their grievances.


Old Students Association of Akal College formed
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 2
Akal Degree College, Mastuana, about 30 km from here, has formed its Old Students Association. Prof Jeet Pal Singh Sandhu, Head of the Department of Mathematics of the college, has been appointed the coordinator of the association and Mr Gurdev Singh Gill, former manager Punjab and Sind Bank, is the co-coordinator.

Stating this here today, Professor Sandhu, co-ordinator of the association, said the association was formed on February 28 following a get-together of old students of the college.

Professor Sandhu said the association would meet on the college campus for its first meeting to finalise the constitution of the association and elect its office- bearers on March 27.


Teachers threaten to hold protest
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 2
The All-India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations today threatened to hold protest in the constituencies of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Human Resource Development against the malgovernance, misleading statements in Parliament regarding issues of teachers and dishonouring of the legitimate commitments made to the AIFUCTO by the ministry on September 5, 1998.

In a statement here, Dr V.K. Tewari, National Secretary, AIFUCTO, rued that all pleas to the Prime Minister, Minister for Human Resource Development, for Personnel and Public Grievances for the redress of teachers’ issues had fallen on deaf ears.


Property dealers seek ID cards
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 2
Members of the local Property Dealers Welfare Association today demanded that identity cards should be issued to all members of the association so that they could conduct them work in a better way.

Speaking on the occasion the chairman of the Association, Mr R.D Jindal said there was a need to make amendments in the PUDA Act. The members have also appealed to the Deputy Commissioner to cut down the registration rate of some of the colonies of the city.

The members also demanded that as agriculture land could be transferred in the name of a blood relation by depositing 1 per cent stamp fee, similar procedure should be there for the transfer of other land holdings.

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 |