P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM goes all out to keep Badal away from Tohra legacy
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 2
If sworn enemies SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh were standing together yesterday to receive the mortal remains of Gurcharan Singh Tohra at Shambu, then both Badal and Amarinder were sitting cheek by jowl at his funeral in Tohra village in this district today.

The Chief Minister, who is not the one to give importance to any Akali leader, has gone out of his way to give utmost honour and regard to the SGPC chief and his family. This, according to sources, has been done to ensure that Tohra’s legacy does not rub off on to Parkash Singh Badal and the Tohra group in the SAD remains a force to reckon with. He has announced more benefits for Joginder Kaur, widow of the deceased SGPC chief, than those given to Jaswant Kaur, widow of slain Chief Minister Beant Singh by the then Congress government.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who had announced a pension of Rs 15,000 per month for Ms Joginder Kaur, besides the choice of a house in Chandigarh or Patiala, has further upped the ante today. After a Cabinet meeting held at the Mini Secretariat here solely to express “profound grief and sorrow” on the demise of Tohra, the Chief Minister announced that Ms Joginder Kaur would be provided security and transport facilities by the state government. He also announced that she would be given government accommodation and would not be charged for essential services.

The Chief Minister said he would also talk to “bibiji” (Tohra’s widow) and solicit her views on the proposed memorial to be constructed in memory of the Akali leader. He also indicated that confidants of the departed leader were in touch with him by stating that he had received a message that a book on the life of the Akali leader should be published by the government. He said he had asked the Chief Secretary to finalise the proposals and put them up to the Cabinet for clearance.

Capt Amarinder Singh is also trying to give a message to the people by his announcements that Tohra was very different from SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal. When questioned on this score by TNS, he admitted this by saying “the people must know that with the death of Tohra the Akali Dal has lost its last honest Akali leader”. When asked whether he had acted more like an Akali Chief Minister after the death of Tohra, he said he did not know about that but was determined to see that honesty was honoured. “We should recognise honesty and dedication and it is because of this that we are determined to give a grand send off to Tohra sahib”, he added.

After presiding over the Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister left for Tohra village along with his Cabinet colleagues and stood outside the gate of the cremation ground, a duty which is performed only by relatives and close associates of the deceased. Later, he even sat alongside Parkash Singh Badal in the cremation ground even though Badal seemed to be more perturbed by this move, and turned slightly towards Union Minister Arun Jaitely to avoid making an eye contact with the Chief Minister.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), however, failed to give an answer to the offensive launched by the Chief Minister regarding shifting of the SGPC President from Amritsar to Delhi even today. Mr Badal had ignored the question when it was posed to him yesterday.

The meeting of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party held at Fatehgarh Sahib today decided to appeal to the Akal Takht Jathedar to bestow the title of “Panth Rattan” on Tohra. Besides this the PAC decided to open an Institute of Advanced Sikh Studies in the memory of the late Akali leader.


I’ve lost my right hand: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
“Mr Tohra’s death has left me lonely. He was my right hand. And I have lost it today”, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, immediately after the cremation of Mr Gurcharan Singh at Tohra village in Patiala district today. “A deep void has been created in my life and no one will be able to fill it”.

He said in Mr Tohra’s death, the Panth and the SAD had suffered a big loss. “I promise that I will play custodian to the legacy of Mr Tohra and try hard to follow in his footsteps”, Mr Badal said.

Unhappy at the arrangements for the cremation of Mr Tohra by the state government, Mr Badal has instructed his party leaders to pay “historic tribute” to Mr Tohra on April 11 at his bhog ceremony.

The entire Badal family attended the cremation. Mr Tohra was the first and, perhaps the only Akali leader who forcefully defended Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal when a corruption case was registered against the family. It was Mr Tohra who mobilised public support for the Badals when they were going through a difficult period. At one meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD, he had criticised senior leaders of the party for not doing enough for the Badal family.

Mr Tohra met Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal a number of times when both Mr Badal and his son were in jail a few months ago. He made it a point to be with Mr Badal when a case was filed against him in court.

Mr Badal and other senior leaders of the party are alarmed at the statement of the Chief Minister that it was wrong to shift Mr Tohra to Delhi. “Efforts are being made to create a divide in the Panth. Politics is being played when all are in deep sorrow”, said a close aide of Mr Badal.


SAD for “Panth Rattan Award” for Tohra
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh, Sahib, April 2
The SAD will write to and appeal to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, to confer the “Panth Rattan Award” on Tohra keeping in view his religious, political, social and educational services toward the Sikh community. His death has created a void, which is hard to fill. The SAD will construct an institute of advanced Sikh studies in memory of Tohra, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, while talking to mediapersons after presiding over the joint condolence meeting of the members of the executive of the SGPC and the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD held at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib this evening. The meeting was attended by all members, which lasted for half an hour.

Appreciating the services of Tohra towards the Panth, Mr Badal said by his demise the Panth had been deprived of the services of a great follower. He termed the death as personal loss to him. He said the next meeting of the PAC would be held on April 5 at Fatehgarh Sahib in which the situation after the demise of Tohra would be discussed. He said the bhog ceremony of Tohra had been fixed for April 11 at his native village Tohra. Answering a query, he said the issue regarding the presidentship of the SGPC would be discussed after the bhog ceremony. All programmes and activities relating to the election of the SAD and the SGPC had been postponed for five days to mourn the death of Tohra, he added.

Answering a query regarding the announcement by the Chief Minister to construct a memorial in memory of Tohra and other concessions announced for his family, he said the SAD would welcome all such steps.


Overseas Sikhs condole Tohra’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh April 2
Various overseas Sikh organisations, including gurdwara committees of North America, and members of the Sikh diaspora have condoled the death of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Sikhs of America have convened a nation-wide condolence meeting at Stockton on Sunday to pay tributes to the octogenarian Panthic leader.

A large number of telephone calls, facsimile and email messages received by The Tribune from Sikh organisations of Canada and America during the past two days indicate the respect and popularity enjoyed by Mr Tohra who remained at the helm of Sikh affairs for more than three decades.

The Chicago-based Guru Nanak Mission organised a special congregation to pray for the departed soul. Baba Daljit Singh, who heads the mission, also talked to Mrs Joginder Kaur, widow of Jathedar Tohra, besides expressing solidarity with the bereaved Sikh community.

Baba Daljit Singh said that the mission would go ahead with the 500th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Angad Dev from April 22 to 25. The Jathedars of all five Takhts are expected to join the celebrations. Baba Daljit Singh said that the mission was keen to invite Jathedar Tohra also but he had expressed his inability to travel because of his health.

Mr Didar Singh Bains (Yuba city), Mr Gurnam Singh Pamma, Mr Niranjan Singh Bains and Mr Harry Gill — all from California - in their separate messages described Jathedar Tohra’s death as irreparable loss to the Punjabi community in general and the Sikhs in particular. They said that Mr Tohra was a true Sant Sipahi who followed the Sikh tenets religiously. He worked selflessly for the Panth.

Mr Satnam Singh Chahal of San Francisco said that the Sikh Panth would find it difficult to fill the void caused by the death of the SGPC chief who by his sincerity, honesty and commitment led the Panth through various crises. His simple life style was not only in accordance with the Sikh Rehat Maryada but was an example for others to emulate.

Mr Nazar Singh Kooner and Mr H.S. Uppal from Bakerfield said that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was an institution in himself. Mr Surinder Singh Sidhu of Los Angeles said that Jathedar Tohra’s death has come at a time when the Sikh Panth needed him most.

Mr Beant Singh Dhaliwal, President of the Youth Akali Dal of Canada, said that untimely death of Jathedar Tohra was a big setback to the Sikh community which had been fighting a determined battle for keeping its distinct identity overseas.

Reports say that special condolence meetings were held at various gurdwaras in Canada, USA, UK, Europe and Australia where rich tributes were paid to Jathedar Tohra.


150 ‘birs’ to be flown to Canada today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
For the first time as many as 150 ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib will be taken in a chartered flight to Canada, according to Sikh maryada. The ‘birs’ will be taken in a unique ‘nagar kirtan procession’ from gurdwara Ramsar Sahib to the Rajasansi airport tomorrow after ardas starting at 8 am.

Around 200 gates will be erected enroute the procession, out of which 29 memorial gates will be after the name of 15 ‘bhagats’ , 11 ‘bhataan’ and three ‘Gursikhs’ , whose bani is included in Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, secretary, SGPC, stated that besides the officials of the district administration, health and other departments , the representatives of various other religious organisations including Baba Daya Singh Sursinghwale of nihang jathebandi, Bidhichand, Baba Balbir Singh head Baba Budha Dal, Damdami Taksal, etc will participate in large numbers.

Students of Sant Singh Sukha Singh School would pay tributes by holding naked kirpans on the route from the Hukam Singh road to Novelty crossing, while two adorned elephants would welcome the procession at the Income Tax crossing. Aerial shower of rose petals would be done for two hours on the procession during the entire journey. Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate, member, SGPC informed that five ‘nar singhey’ 11 ‘nagarey’, panj piaray , five nishanchi singh and sangat would lead the procession. The sangat would be supporting kesri bands of ‘Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib’ a specially prepared bus by the SGPC bedecked with flowers carrying the ‘birs’ would used for procession. The first of its kind holy passage for Guru Granth Sahib had been organised by the Akal Purukh Ki Fauj , the Sacha Sauda Gurmukh Parchar Society of Canada and the SGPC with support of all Sikh religious societies , associations and organisations.

Mr Kuljit Singh, coordinator of fauj, while talking to The Tribune, said the ‘birs’ would be boarded on a 160-seater ‘skylink company’ aircraft owned by Mr Surjit Singh Babrah. The Rs 80 lakh rent chartered flight had been arranged by Canada-based religious association the Sacha Sauda Gurmati Society” headed by Mr Hardayal Singh.

A consignment had already been sent to Canada of 100 ‘pidha sahib’ , 150 ‘rumalas’ , chandoas (canopy), 150 cushions, Mr Kuljit Singh added.

The Sacha Sauda Prachar Committee(SSPC) said today that more planes would reach the holy city in near future to carry ‘birs’ abroad as there was a great demand of ‘swarups’ published by the SGPC .

To meet the ever growing demand of ‘birs’ in foreign countries, especially Canada, the SSPC had urged the SGPC to make arrangements for installing ultra modern printing press in Canada to publish the ‘birs’ on the pattern of Golden Offset Press, Amritsar, which had been running round the clock in wake of the forthcoming 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. He said Mr Surjit Singh Babra, who owns a fleet of about 40 aircraft, would be sending his planes to Amritsar for carrying the ‘birs’ as per Sikh Maryada.

Meanwhile, Capt Amarinder Singh and his predecessor , Mr Parkash Singh Badal would vie for taking political mileage by ensuring their presence on the occasion. While Capt Amarinder Singh would reach Rajasansi Airport to carry the ‘bir’ on his head and placing the same on velvet cushioned seats, Mr Badal would perform the same exercise at Gurdwara Ramsar from where 150 ‘birs’ would be taken in a unique procession up to the airport. Though Mr Badal had to appear in a court in connection with certain case , yet he would endeavour to reach here to the occasion.


District Jail store sealed
Evidence of misappropriation of goods found
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 2
After finding glaring discrepancies and evidence of misappropriation of goods and articles meant for jail inmates in the stock of the District Jail here last night. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarvjit Singh, recommended to the Sangrur SSP to register a case for misappropriation of articles from the jail against the Deputy Superintendent of Jail, stating that prima-facie the case was made against the Deputy Superintendent of jail.

Sources said on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner a two-member team comprising Mr Gurtej Singh, SDM, Sangrur, and Mr Kanwaldeep Singh, DSP (Headquarters), Sangrur, conducted verification of stock of the District Jail last evening. During the inspection of the stock the team found various discrepancies and misappropriation of articles and goods. Following this, the team sealed the store of the jail and later submitted its report to the Deputy Commissioner.

As per the report of the team, it found 234 kg of tooth-paste excess in the stock as tooth-paste in the jail's stock register was only 82 kg. While the team found 316 kg of tooth-paste in the store during physical verification of the stock.

The details for other goods or articles in the stock register and store of the District Jail are given below:

The sources said Mr Jagroop Singh, District Judge, Sangrur, Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, and Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Sangrur, visited the district jail here the previous day to conduct a routine inspection of the jail. During the inspection some inmates of the jail complained against the jail authorities saying that the inmates were not being provided their due quota of food items and other articles of routine use. They also asked the visiting officers to carry out stock verification.

Following this episode, the Deputy Commissioner ordered the stock verification by a two-member team comprising the SDM and the DSP. The team inspected the stock and allegedly found glaring discrepancies in the stock register and the misappropriation of goods and articles in the jail store.


Scam: govt fails to verify 150 degrees
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 2
The inquiry into the fake degree scam, in which hundreds of teachers recruited during the SAD/BJP government were found to be recruited on the basis of fake degrees acquired from the universities of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh has not reached logical conclusion. As per the documents available with this correspondent, the government failed to constitute committees to verify degrees of 159 candidates suspected to be fake.

Action was also not being taken against the candidates whose degrees had already been found to be fake. Degree of Joginder Singh, a principal of a government school, currently serving in Bathinda district was found to be fake by the Department of Education. However, the principal is still serving and no action has been taken against him, sources told this correspondent.

The inquiry into the fake degree scam was ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court after a public interest writ was filed on the basis of a story published in The Tribune regarding the recruitment of teachers against the fake degree. On courts orders the Department of Education constituted three-member committees that were directed to go to university to verify the degrees of the 7230 teachers recruited by the SAD/BJP Government against the posts of the ETT teacher in government schools.

In the subsequent inquiries the degrees of over 100 teachers were found to be fake. All degrees verified from the Maghad and Bundelkand universities were found to be fake. In some of the cases candidates possessing just VIII as base qualification were found to be recruited against fake degrees acquired from outside state universities.

Due to it the Secretary, Education on August 13, 2003 directed the Department of Education to verify the degrees of all recently recruited candidates who acquired their degrees from Maghad and Bundelkand universities.

On the orders of the Secretary, Education the list of 170 candidates recruited in the recent past in the Education Department against the degrees acquired from Maghad and Bundlekand universities was prepared. These include 15 candidates from Amritsar district nine from Bathinda, seven from Ferozepore, 31 from Gurdaspur, 10 from Hoshiarpur, two from Jalandhar, 20 from Ludhiana, six from Mansa 12 from Moga, 36 from Muktsar, two from Nawanshahr, 15 from Patiala, one from Ropar and four from Sangrur.

However, after receiving the list the government has not moved to get the degrees verified. The sources said that if the degrees were verified most of them are likely to be found fake.

The sources also said that if an inquiry was conducted into all recruitments made in all government against the degrees acquired from the said university it could turn out to be biggest scam in the state in which the influential were getting the government jobs by fake degree at the cost of the deserving candidates.


SDM’s gun used to kill birds, says forensic report
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Bullets that killed six birds, two peacocks and four grey partridges, in a Hoshiarpur forest on February 29, were fired from the double barrel gun of the Subdivisional Magistrate of Pathankot, Mr Puneet Goel, report of the forensic experts said. The report, according to sources, was given to the Hoshiarpur police some days ago.

The Subdivisional Magistrate has been charged with poaching after two honorary Wildlife Wardens - Mr Gunraj Singh and Mr Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa - had caught him with the “kill” in the forest. The gun and vehicle used by the Subdivisional Magistrate were impounded on the spot by the Forest Department officials

Earlier, the post-mortem on the six birds conducted by the Dehra Dun-based Wildlife Institute, a national-level body, on March 2 had confirmed that they were killed by bullets.

The double-barrel gun was examined at the Forensic Science Laboratory of Punjab Police here which reportedly observed that pellets found in the birds were fired from the gun of the Subdivisional Magistrate.

Peacock, the national bird, figures in Schedule I of the Wildlife Conservation Act and killing it is a non-bailable offence. However, in this case, the Subdivisional Magistrate was released on bail on February 29 (Sunday) night- less than 12 hours after his arrest - after the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Hoshiarpur held a court at his residence at 9.30 p.m.

The Subdivisional Magistrate had contested the version of the honorary Wildlife Wardens, saying that the dead birds were put in his jeep by a villager. He had also maintained that he had fired no shot from his gun on the day of the incident.

Interestingly, the bail was granted on the basis of submission made by a villager, Gholu of Kloa village, that he had caught the birds — peacocks and grey partridges - and put them in the black Mahindra jeep of the Subdivisional Magistrate. The jeep was subsequently intercepted by the Wildlife Wardens. The Wardens were, however, not made witnesses in the case .

Intriguingly, the Hoshiarpur Veterinary Hospital, where the killed birds were initially taken on March 1 for a post-mortem examination had opined that the birds died of suffocation and a detailed examination was not possible as they - the birds - were “rotten”. The veterinary doctors also held that post-mortem was not possible after 24 hours of the kill.

Two Forest Range officers — Mr Kulraj Singh and Mr Paramjit Singh — and Wildlife Inspector Tarsem Lal then took the “killed birds” to the Dehra Dun-based Wildlife Institute on March 1 where a detailed post-mortem examination was conducted on all six carcasses.

The institute experts also made video clips of the entire postmortem examination and established that the birds had died of gun shot wounds. The Wildlife Institute officials further held that post-mortem examination can be conducted within 72 hours of the death of a bird or an animal.


New Tribune office opened
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 2
The new office of the Tribune Group of Newspapers was inaugurated by Mr R.N. Gupta, General Manager, near the District Administrative complex at the Ladowali road here today.

Mr Gupta, who was accompanied by Mr O.P. Arora, Deputy General Manager, and was welcomed by The Tribune staff, interacted with The Tribune staff members, owners of advertising agencies and sales agents on the occasion.

He listened to their problems and suggestions for the growth of the paper.

Mr Gupta assured the gathering that The Tribune Group of Newspapers was always open to new suggestions and ideas.

“It is a peoples’ paper. Don’t hesitate to contact us in case of any problem,” said Mr Gupta, who inspected the new building.

While outlining the future plans of the newspaper, Mr Arora also elaborated on changing trends and techniques in the newspaper industry of the country, particularly in terms of products and machinery.


CSD canteen liquor rates cut in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Serving military personnel as well as ex-servicemen in Punjab now have a cause to cheer. The rates of liquor sold through CSD canteens in the state have been reduced.

While the rates of rum and popular brands of whisky have been cut by up to Rs 10 per bottle, the rates of premium brands of whisky have been increased by Rs 2 per bottle.

The state government’s excise policy applicable from April 1 has reduced the excise duty applicable on all brands of rum and regular brands of whisky. There have been no changes in the prices of other categories of liquor such as beer or wine. The new liquor rates were released yesterday.

“The excise on rum, for example, stands reduced from Rs 23.50 per bottle to Rs 13.50,” a CSD source told The Tribune. A bottle of rum would now be available in CSD canteens in Punjab for Rs 71.

Though the prices of CSD liquor in Punjab have been reduced, these are still higher than those in canteens located in Chandigarh because of differences in excise duty being levied by respective governments. Even the prices of liqour in canteens located in Haryana are higher than those in Chandigarh.

“Earlier, the prices of liquor in CSD canteens in Punjab were almost at par with rates being charged by liquor vends,” an Air Force officer residing in Mohali remarked.

“For this reason, we preferred to buy liquor from canteens in Chandigarh,” he added. Besides being the home of thousands of ex-servicemen, Punjab also has about a dozen major military stations in addition to numerous units and establishments being located all over the state.

Relatively higher rates of CSD liquor in Punjab on account of higher excise levy was a sore point with the service community, especially ex-servicemen who had made numerous representations to the state government in this regard.

In fact, the Punjab excise policy for the year 2004 — 05, made public in February, had raised the excise duty on rum from Rs 25 to Rs 39 per litre, resulting in large scale protests from ex-servicemen in the state.

The government had subsequently issued a statement that the increase in excise would not be applicable on liquor being sold through CSD canteens in the state.


Govt ignoring workers: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
The CPI charged the Congress government with following in the footsteps of the Akali-BJP regime in wasteful expenditure and lopsided policies to benefit politicians.

In a communication to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, CPI leader Satya Pal Dang, a former MLA, described ground realities and alleged that employees were being ignored. He said perks for politicians and bureaucrats given by the present government was a dangerous trend.

Mr Dang said even though the government was increasing salary, pension, allowances, perks and other facilities allowed to ministers, MLAs and former MLAs, employees were being denied justice.

He said medical allowance of Rs 250 per month had been restored as a fixed allowance, but only for VIPs. It should have been extended to all government servants, he added.

Mr Dang said on one hand the recommendations of the pay commission to refund or reimburse income tax paid by government pensioners had not been accepted. While on the other hand, the Vidhan Sabha passed a Bill last month making it the responsibility of the state government to pay income tax on the salaries of the MLAs.


Three poll observers for Ropar
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 2
The Election Commission has appointed three observers for the Ropar reserved constituency in Forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, gave this information in a press note issued here today.

She said senior IAS officers, including Mr B.E. Mohanti and Mr E.V. Ramareddy, had been appointed as general observers while Mr Rajat Bansal from the Indian Revenue Services had been appointed as the Observer (Expenditure).

The Deputy Commissioner said the Ropar district had five Assembly segments out of which two — Nangal and Anandpur Sahib — fall in the Hoshiarpur constituency.

The SDM, Anandpur Sahib, has been appointed as the Assistant Returning Officer for the Nangal Assembly constituency, DTO, Ropar, for the Anandpur Sahib, SDM, Ropar, for the Chamkaur Sahib, SDM, Kharar, for Morinda and SDM, Mohali for Kharar, she said.


Construction of wall by Army opposed
Tribune News Service

Khusropur (Jalandhar), April 2
Hundreds of residents, including women and children, on Tuesday opposed the Army authorities’ bid to construct a wall after taking a piece of land and the major approach road to this village by laying in a trench dug up by Army officials along with the road.

The disputed piece of land and the approach road had become a bone of contention between the Army authorities and the residents.

While residents, led by sarpanch Vijay Kumar, objected to the Army construction bid on the ground that it would result in closure of the approach road and would pose difficulties to residents of about 15 villages, the Army authorities at the Jalandhar Cantonment maintained that the work was being undertaken at the military land and its objective was to construct a security wall-cum-fence for safety of families of soldiers.

“Some people with vested interests and living in village outside the defence land, instigated by the local land mafia, have started obstructing soldiers from doing their work in the defence land. The soldiers are maintaining a positive and respectful attitude towards these people,” maintained an Army press note issued late in the evening.

On the other hand, residents alleged that the land was disputed and the Army authorities were going ahead with construction despite its having been stayed by a local court. While some Army officials on duty tried to assure agitated residents that a path would be left out for their movement, residents, who jumped into the trench dug up by Army officials turned adamant, saying that they would move only when the assurance was given in writing. They also threatened to sit on a protest dharna in case their problem was not sorted out by the Army authorities.


Blast victims await compensation 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
Even though more than a month has passed since a blast rocked the local court complex on February 19, yet the victims have not been paid the compensation amount as announced by the government. As many as 30 persons were injured in the blast and property worth lakhs had been damaged.

Mr Darbari Lal, Minister of State for Education, had announced financial help of Rs 2,000 to the victims along with free treatment by Red Cross society in the government hospital and Kakkar Hospital here. However, the injured had been paying medical expenses from their own pockets.

Rajesh (28), a resident of Islamabad who had a photostat and lamination shop in the complex, was injured seriously in the blast and his shop was totally damaged and machines were destroyed. The fragments of shattered glass had pierced his face, head and hands and he had a suspected skill fracture. He was admitted to Kakkar Hospital where he had to undergo MRI scan for his head injury. This test alone cost him Rs 5,100. He said he can’t move a finger of his left hand due to a serious injury in a vein. The doctors have now asked him to go for an operation which would cost Rs 15,000 to 16,000. He said he had approached the Deputy Commissioner and the SDM but in vain. The officials said the required compensation would be given only after receiving the grant announced by the government. Rajesh, meanwhile, is also out of job because of this handicap.

In another case, Rishu Soni (25), a resident of Chheharta, also suffered a serious head injury in the blast. Ms Santosh Rani, his widowed mother, alleged that she had to get her son discharged due to callousness in the government hospital and she had no money for the treatment of her son.

Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said the District Administration had not got the grant announced by the government as yet. “As soon as the grant would reach us, we would disburse it to the victims”, he added. He, however, said the medical expenses had been issued to hospitals. The District Administration has identified 22 victims to whom the compensation was to be given.


Chahal, journalist hurt in car, scooter collision
Tribune reporters

Fatehgarh Sahib/Mohali, April 2
Five persons, including Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, Adviser to Chief Minister, and senior journalist Sarbjit Pandher, were injured in an accident near Chunni Kalan here today.

Mr Pandher was said to be driving the car that hit a scooter coming from the opposite side while they were on their way from Fatehgarh Sahib to Chandigarh. Mr Pandher sustained head injuries and Mr Chahal, who was sitting in the front, escaped with minor injuries. The three persons on the scooter were seriously injured.

Mr Pandher was rushed to the Sri Gurukrishan Sahib Eye Hospital while Mr Chahal was discharged after first- aid. The scooter being driven by Amandeep Singh(19), along with the two pillion riders Harkirat Singh (11) and Gurdial Kaur (60), all residents of Khuni Majra village, were taken to a hospital in Fatehgarh Sahib in Mr Chahal’s Gypsy that was following the car.

According to eye witnesses, the accident took place when the scooterist suddenly came in front of Mr Chahal’s car (Skoda PJS 1). The car hit the scooter and overturned, falling into a roadside ditch. People gathered there pulled out the occupants. Mr Pandher is admitted to the ICU and is under observation. Ms Gurdial Kaur is said to be in a serious condition and was taken to the PGI. 


Probe into bungling in temple offerings
Tribune News Service

Maiser Khana (Bathinda), April 2
An inquiry has been initiated into the alleged bungling by the management of a local historical temple in cash offerings at the temple during religious melas held here twice a year.

Official sources said the inquiry was started by the SDM, Talwandi Sabo, Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, on a complaint by Mr Sant Kumar, a former member of Shri Sanatan Dharam Mahavir Dal (Punjab), head of Maiser Khana, which had been managing the affairs of the temple for the past many years. Mr Sant Kumar’s membership of the temple was cancelled by the management about two years ago.

In his complaint to the SDM, Mr Sant Kumar alleged that an office-bearer of the management had been indulging in embezzlement of cash offerings at the temple being collected during the mela days.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that during the inquiry, it had come to light that the amount of cash offerings at the temple on March 26 this year was significantly higher than the cash offerings collected during the earlier mela days. The SDM had also taken the official record of the management into possession.

Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh said as the inquiry report was confidential, he could not divulge its details. He said the inquiry report would be submitted to the Deputy Commissioner on Monday.

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, said action against the management of the temple would be taken as per the inquiry report.

Meanwhile, Mr Jawahar Lal, cashier of the management, while dubbing all allegations levelled by Mr Sant Kumar as false, claimed that the amount of cash offerings at the temple in the last mela had increased due to increase in the number of visiting devotees. He said earlier the cash offerings used to be around Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, but this year it had crossed Rs 6 lakh.


Call for promotion of rational temper
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 2
Rationalists and humanists from all over the country today stressed the need to develop rational and scientific thinking.

At a national conference on rationalism being held here the participants were of the opinion that the education system needed to be changed to inculcate free thinking and scientific spirit among the students.

The Tarksheel Society, Punjab, which is hosting the conference, said India was lagging in development due to the interference of religion in state policy.

Mr Sachdev Virdi, president of the Asian Rationalists Association, Birmingham (UK), said the lack of rationalism was the main cause of “backwardness” of the Indian society. He called on the delegates to fight against fundamentalism.

Prof B.D. Desai from Surat said rationalism was not like other “isms,” but a way of life.

Mr B. Premananad, president of the Federation of Indian Rationalists Association (FIRA), said political parties were exploiting the term “secularism” for their vested interests.

Mr R. K. Kanaujia, a representative of the Arjak Sangh, Jharkhand, said there were two ways of meeting reality — one of knowledge and the other of blind faith. He favoured the path of knowledge.

Mr E. Ramaswamy, Tamil Nadu; Mr Subba Rao, Hyderabad; Mr U. Kalanathan, general secretary, FIRA; and representatives of the Tarksheel Society, Punjab, also addressed the delegates.


IMA hails DGP’s order on medical negligence
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 2
The Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, has prohibited the immediate arrest of doctors in cases of alleged negligence. This was claimed by Dr Kuldip Singh, and Dr Raman Aggarwal, president and press secretary of the Indian Medical Association, Punjab, while talking to newspersons here today.

They claimed that all SSPs had been directed that civil surgeons, specialists and lawyers should be associated in the process of investigation before effecting the arrest of a doctor, according to executive orders issued by the DGP.

Both Dr Kuldip Singh and Dr Raman Aggarwal, while welcoming the decision, said the decision had given much relief to the medical fraternity feeling harried because of recent spurt in projecting incidence of medical complication as medical negligence.

Both IMA leaders urged the state government to issue the promised notification on the same lines changing the criminal procedure to be adopted in investigating cases of alleged medical negligence as the Kerala Government had already issued such a notification.


IMA for supporting health-friendly candidates
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 2
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), a joint body of government and private allopathic doctors of the country, has urged the doctors throughout the country to identify and support the candidates who gave importance to the health sector in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In a letter, written to the office-bearers of the state and local branches of the IMA by Dr Sanjiv Malik, secretary-general, IMA (Headquarters), New Delhi, it has also been stated that the IMA wanted that national healthcare agenda, prepared by the IMA, should be included by all political parties in their respective election manifestos.

Giving this information here today, Dr Surinder Singla, a Central Committee member of the IMA, said the IMA was of the view that due to “less importance” given to this most important sector by various successive governments, the state of this Sector was worsening. Besides, lakhs of people died every year in the country due to easily preventable and curable diseases, like TB, AIDS and Hepatits etc.

Dr Singla said the salient features of the national healthcare agenda, included the declaration of primary and preventive healthcare as citizens’ right with an increase in health budget from two to six per cent of the GDP, improvement in patient-doctor relationship with modifications in the Consumer Protection Act and the availability of life-saving drugs at affordable rates.


Amritsar hospital training Afghan doctors
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
Afghan surgeons have tied up with the local Dr Prem Rai Hospital for learning to operate with new technologies.

Under the arrangement, 20 doctors are to be trained in the next two years. According to Senior Surgeon Samir Rai of the hospital, surgeons in Afghanistan have been performing a large number of surgeries with “primitive methods”.

The hospital has already trained eurology surgeon Manawi and Dr Zaman. At present, Dr Ghullam Rabbani and Dr Mohammad Arif are under training for two months.

The trained Afghan doctors will work for the Department of Urology in Ali Abad Hospital in Kabul.


Actress Kimmi for no tax on Punjabi films
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
Punjabi film star Kimmi Verma yesterday sought tax exemption on Punjabi Films to promote culture of this region. She was addressing a Press Conference on the completion of her movie “Assa Nu Maan Wattana Da” in which she played lead role opposite Punjabi Folk Singer Harbhajan Maan.

Kimmi, presently based in Hollywood City of Los Angles said that Punjabi Film makers needed Government support to popularise Punjabi Language and culture in the world. She said Punjabi films had own audience the world over with Punjabis settled in the UK, the USA and Canada.

Jagraon-born tall and winsome Ms Verma said “Assa Nu Maan Vattana Da” would be released through worldwide premier on May 7, 2004. She said that its English version will also be released simultaneously in Canada on that day.

On offers to act in Hollywood Films the Punjabi heroine said that she had received couple of offers from top movie makers of the USA. She added her focus was more on Punjabi Films.

Earlier Ms Verma launched her Website: www.heersaleti.com created by Navtej Singh Sandhu.


Admn blamed for rising noise pollution
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
Charging the administration with apathy over increasing noise pollution in the city, the BJP vice-president, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, said those who organised religious functions at night should also consider inconvenience caused to general public by use of loudspeakers throughout night.

In a press note here on Wednesday, Ms Chawla said people indulging in such an activity must realise that residents also included students, aged persons and patients. She blamed the administration for turning a blind eye to the issue.


PRTC starts customer helpline
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 2
Mr R.S. Aulakh, General Manager, Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) said here yesterday that the corporation had launched customer helpline telephone number from which passengers could get information about all bus times and routes operating from the bus depot here.

Mr Aulakh said that to facilitate inquiries about times and routes of the various buses the PRTC had decided to launch a telephone helpline (0164-2215143) in the city. He said that the telephone help would be available from 4.30 am to 8.30 pm.


6 hurt in clash at cricket match
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 2
Six persons were injured, two of them seriously, in a clash at a cricket match venue here on Wednesday night.

The clash took place at the Dasehra Ground when a dispute arose over a decision of the umpire.

The two seriously injured persons, Jaswinder Singh and Gurinder Singh, were taken to the local Civil Hospital from where they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. The others were reported to have suffered minor injuries.

An organiser of the matches met the SDM, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, and demanded that police security should be provided at the venue while the matches were being held.


Police reforms case: SP wants to be impleaded as party
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Superintendent of Police Nilabh Kishore, who is posted as SP (CM Security), today moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court requesting that he be impleaded as party in an ongoing case Resurgence India versus State of Punjab and others. The case relates to the reforms in the police force. The contentious issue of posting of non-cadre officers on cadre posts by the Punjab Government is also part of the case.

In his application, Mr Kishore has stated that the post of SP (CM Security) is a non-cadre post and he shouldn’t have been posted on it. Saying that the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954 have been violated by the government by posting him and other such officers to non-cadre posts, Mr Kishore has requested that he be allowed to be party to the ongoing case. It may be recalled that the issue of posting of non-cadre (Punjab Police Service) officers to cadre posts such as SSPs of districts has snowballed into a major controversy, with the IPS Association, Punjab, in its general body meeting on March 27, debating the issue and also demanding that such postings should be immediately taken back. It has demanded that the no cadre post be given to non-cadre officers. The minutes of the meeting were also sent to the Principal Secretary, Home Affairs, Punjab, for appropriate action.

In earlier hearings, the high court has been informed that as on March 14, 2004, as many as 20 non-cadre officers are holding posts meant for cadre officers. These include SSPs of at least 10 districts.

The court has also be informed that over 50 IPS officers (cadre) are currently holding posts meant for non-cadre officers. Among the officers mentioned in this regard are DGPs JS Chahal (Lokpal), AP Bhatnagar (Prisons) and SK Verma (Punjab State Human Rights Commission) as also ADGPs AP Pandey, Shashikant and Lalit Bhatia.

Directive on Home Guards

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Justice HS Bedi and Justice AK Goel today directed the Punjab Government to pass a speaking order within three months on a representation made by Home Guards working in Gurdaspur district.

In their petition, the Home Guards had prayed that a directive be issued to the Punjab Government to regularise their services as they had been employed for the past over 10 years. The petitioners alleged that the government was not taking any step to regularise their services.

After listening to the arguments, the Bench ordered the Punjab Government to decide the representations within three months in the light of the judgment of the Supreme Court in a case State of West Bengal versus Pantha Chatterjee and others.


Wheat procurement begins
Tribune Reporters

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 2
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, yesterday inaugurated the wheat procurement process at the Sirhind grain market. He was accompanied by officers of procurement agencies. The Deputy Commissioner assured farmers that the wheat procurement process would be smooth and they would not face any difficulty.

Capt Parveen Vij, District Food and Civil Supplies Controller, said 32 procurement centres had been set up in the district for wheat procurement. He said six agencies would procure wheat — FCI 33 per cent, Markfed 20 per cent, Punsup 18 per cent, Pungrain 10 per cent, PSWC 10 per cent and Punjab Agro 9 per cent.

The Deputy Commissioner directed the procurement agencies to start the purchase of wheat and to arrange sufficient gunny bags.

He took stock of the arrangements made by the procurement agencies. He directed the officials to ensure that all commission agents use only power cleaners for cleaning the wheat.

The Deputy Commissioner told the farmers that a Dispute Settlement Committee had been formed to sort out their problems.

He directed all SDMs, tehsildars and official of the procurement agencies to tour the mandis for ensuring smooth procurement of wheat.

Ropar: Procurement of wheat started in various mandis of the district on Thursday. In a press note issued here, the Deputy Commissioner said 331 metric tonnes of wheat were procured on the first day.

Of this, about 50 metric tonnes were procured by traders at Rs 665 per quintal against the government support price of Rs 630 per quintal.


DC orders criminal case against Dist Revenue Officer
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 2
Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, District Magistrate today ordered the registration of case under Sections 465, 466, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code against Mr Madan Lal Bhalapind, Daljit Singh Kanungo, and three other persons on the charge of tampering with the revenue record pertaining to 25 acres of land belonging to Gaushala. The Rulers of Erstwhile Kapurthala State allotted 661 kanals land including the disputed land to Gaushala for infirm and old cows more than a century ago. In revenue record the land is recorded as grazing land.

A few days back the Gaushala Committee here came to know about the tampering of the record and forcible occupation of the Gaushala land and change of Khasra Girdawari from the name of Gaushala to three persons of Kanjali village near the town. The representatives of the Congress, the BJP and Shiv Sena (Bal Thakeray) and the Bajrang Dal formed a 31-member panel which gave a memorandum to district administration to get back the Gaushala land. Mr Jagdish Kataria District Chief Shiv Sena was appointed Chairman of the panel.

The Deputy Commissioner entrusted the inquiry to Mr D.S. Sandhewalia SDM and directed him to submit a report till March 31.

The inquiry has held the DRO, Kanungo and three other persons responsible for tampering with the record. The inquiry revealed that the DRO allegedly took the revenue record from patwari on February 5, 2004 and after changing the enteries from the name of the Gaushala to three persons in connivance with Kanungo, returned the same to Patwari Parveen Kumar.

The Deputy Commissioner ordered the correction of record in the name of Gaushala.

The District Magistrate has written to the SSP to register a case against DRO Madal Lal Bhalapind, Daljit Singh Kanungo and three other persons. More than 300 infirm and old cows are maintained on the Gaushala land. The Deputy Commissioner placed Daljit Singh Kanungo under the suspension while Parveen Kumar has been issued a chargesheet. He has also written to the Punjab Government for action against Madal Lal DRO.


Punjab Home Guards for poll duty in UP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
For first time in the history of Punjab Home Guards, (PHG), the Home Guards will be deployed on election duty for ensuring free and fair elections and that too in other states.

Punjab Home Guard jawans will go to Eastern Uttar Pradesh for the fourth coming Lok Sabha elections. This was revealed by Mr P. Lal, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP)-cum-Commandant General, PHG and Director, Civil Defence, who was here for a meeting with Home Guard officials regarding the election duty in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

While talking to ‘The Tribune’ the Commandant General said 25 companies of PHG, including one DIG, three commandants, six Deputy Commandants, 31 Company Commandants, 75 Platoon Commandants and more than 2000 jawans would depart for 19 districts of Eastern UP on April 14 from Ferozepore and Amritsar. While 10 companies would go from Ferozepore, 15 would go from Amritsar, he said.

He said UP Government would specially insure each personnel for Rs one lakh. Besides every jawan would be given Rs 40 on daily basis. He said the Home Secretary of the UP government had assured to issue the required fund with immediate effect.

Replying to queries about the regularisation of home guards who have been working for the department and government for the past several years, Mr Lal said the Department of Punjab Home Guards (PHG) has sent recommendation to the state government for the regularisation of voluntary home guards. However, he said a final decision would be taken by the state government.

Mr P. Lal said the Supreme Court had ordered to give the same pay scale to voluntary Home Guards as was being given to regular employees in West Bengal after petitions were filed there by them. On the basis of this decision, Home Guard jawans in Punjab, who had been working for last many years, had also filed petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The ADGP-cum-commandant General said the pending salaries of the Home Guard jawans had been disbursed.


Infant recovered, nurse booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
The police yesterday recovered a child and arrested Ramesh Rani, a nurse, on March 30. The nurse had allegedly cheated a childless couple, Daljit Singh and his wife Parkinder Kaur, of Patti under the Tarn Taran police district assuring them of conception if they took her medicines.

The nurse in connivance with an unidentified woman tried to supply a stolen baby to the couple. However, the unidentified woman, who was identified as Krishna of Aman Avenue here, escaped with the child when Parkinder Kaur raised the alarm.

The SHO Kotwali police station said the police raided the house of Ramesh Rani and arrested Krishna and recovered the child. He said the child had been handed over to his mother in the presence of Fatahpur panchayat, where she lives. The SHO said Krishna lured Baljit Kaur, a poor woman whose husband had died recently, by giving Rs 35,000 to 40,000.

The nurse had assured the childless couple, Daljit Singh and Parkinder Kaur, of conception and she gave her some medicines and took huge amount from them. A case has been registered against the nurse, her daughter and Krishna.


Malooka’s wife, son booked for assault
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 2
In a development that could have political implications, a criminal case has been registered against Ms Surjeet Kaur and Mr Gurpreet Singh, wife and son of a former minister and SAD district president, Mr Sikander Singh Malooka, for their alleged involvement in an attack on Mr Jagsir Singh, a resident of Malooka village, on March 31.

Mr Jagsir Singh, who is being treated at Civil Hospital, Bajakhana, suffered three injuries from a sharp-edged weapon and one from a blunt weapon. While a case was registered in this connection, the accused have not been arrested so far. Another person suspected to be involved in the attack has been identified as Sewa Singh.

According to the FIR, Mr Jagsir Singh was attacked by the three persons near Ghania village when he along with his relatives, was going to Malooka village from Bathinda.

After the attack, the assailants went towards their village. He was taken to the hospital by a relative.

Mr Jagsir Singh said that a few days ago a news item had appeared in a daily against Mr Malooka, who was suspecting that the item had been published at his instance. Mr Malooka had also threatened him over the issue, Mr Jagsir Singh added.

He has appealed to Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh for strict action against the accused.

Police sources said a case under Sections 341, 324, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC had been registered against the accused at Jaitu police station.

Mr Malooka, when contacted, said he had no knowledge of the involvement of his wife and son in the attack. Mr Gurpreet Singh and his mother could not be contacted.


2 Punjab traders looted in Delhi
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 2
Two tyre dealers from Abohar and Ludhiana were looted in New Delhi yesterday by six persons impersonating as members of the crime branch of the CBI.

Mr Sanjeev Nagpal, owner of a shop near Naamdev Chowk here, said he and a Ludhiana trader were in Bara Hindurao Market, New Delhi, yesterday, where all shops were closed. A well-dressed person approached them and asked them to show identity cards. As the two did not have any identity card, the stranger asked them to accompany him to the police station. They were joined by five more persons who came in a Tata Sumo van and introduced themselves as members of the crime branch of the CBI. The two traders were asked to sit in the van.

The impersonators then looted more than Rs 40,000 from the trader from Ludhiana and Rs 30,000 from Mr Nagpal at gunpoint.


Pak national held for smuggling
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
A Pakistan national, Bashir Ahmad, resident of Lahore was arrested from the Samjhauta Express on the charge of smuggling stag horn (cheetle’s horn) which is banned under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The seizure was made by Mr G.S. Gurm, Assistant Director Wildlife Preservation, Ministry of Environment and Forests. Total four kg pieces of animal’s horn, was recovered from the possession of accused. He was produced in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.


Fake currency seized, 3 held
Our correspondent

Batala, April 2
Fifteen fake currency notes were recovered from three youths here yesterday. The trio — Gursharan Singh, alias Raj, Shahbaz Singh and Hardev Singh — was arrested and a case registered.


Industrialist defrauded by finance company
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, April 2
A Delhi-based finance company committed a fraud with a local industrialist by advancing him loan against his property by issuing him bogus bank drafts worth Rs 60 lakh.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the Delhi-based company took Rs 2.40 lakh from a local industrialist, Mr Tarsem Thakur, as commission for advancing him loan worth Rs 60 lakh against his property.

Police sources said fact that the drafts issued by the Delhi-based finance company were bogus came to light when Mr Thakur presented the same in the local branch of the Bank of Punjab on March 28, where he was holding his account and the bank further submitted the same drafts to a local branch of the Union Bank of India as the bogus drafts were shown to be issued by Mathura branch of the Union Bank of India which was non-existent.

The local branch of Union Bank was told by the common clearance section of all banks that there was no branch of Union Bank of India in Mathura and hence the drafts issued by that branch could not be cleared for payment to Mr Thakur.

On coming to know about this fact, Mr Thakur approached the police and lodged a complaint against the district police authorities. The police sources said the matter was being investigated and legal action would be taken on the complaint of Mr Thakur after the investigations.


One held, Rs 2.50 lakh hawala money seized
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 2
Mukesh Sharma of Jalandhar was arrested yesterday with rupees 2.5 lakh hawala money near Mehtan village on GT road. It was learnt that he was going on his motor cycle from Jalandhar to Nawanshahr for delivering the money.


Defence accounts officer held for bribery
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
Paramjit Singh, accounts officer of Defence Pension Disbursing office, Gurdaspur has been nabbed by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) allegedly for taking a bribe of Rs 2000 from Gurdip Singh of Gurdaspur.

Informing this here yesterday, Mr Dilbagh Singh Gill, SSP Vigilance said the accused was demanding bribe to restart his pension which was stopped earlier.


College teachers not granted grades
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union has complained to the DPI (Colleges), the Vice-Chancellor of GND University, Amritsar, and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission that teachers in SMDRSD College, Pathankot, have been facing lot of problems with regard to senior and selection grades.

The Pathankot unit to the union in a statement said here today that 14 teachers, who have duly qualified for the senior and selection grade, have not been given the same. Their names were not being forwarded to the authorities concerned for approval. A number of teachers have not been given arrears of additional dearness allowance. The college authorities have refused to deduct the provident fund of certain teachers, who have been since confirmed.

Payment of salaries to teachers is also delayed for unknown reasons.


College panel to ensure transfer of power
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
The Khalsa College Society (KCS) has formed a five-member fact-finding committee, headed by its president and Rajya Sabha member, Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majithia, to identify forces which were trying to create unsavoury situation by spreading rumours.

Mr Charanjit Singh Chadha, honorary secretary of the KCS, said the college management had to take this step as some influential persons wanted to create hurdles in smooth transfer of the management of the college to the group led by Mr Satyajit Singh Majithia, father-in-law of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, as per word given earlier. He said Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majithia had already tendered his resignation as the president of the KCS to pave the way for the transfer of power.

The KCS runs four colleges, including Khalsa College, Khalsa College for Women, B.Ed. College and IT College, two public schools and two government-aided schools with an annual Budget of Rs 12 crore.

The election of the office-bearers of the KCS would be held after the Lok Sabha elections and the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer had already been informed in this regard.

Mr Chadha clarified that he had never written to the Deputy Commissioner for the postponement of the election of the KCS.

The District Election Officer himself had stated that he had directed to postpone the election of the KCS on the basis of a complaint received from a resident of Batala, who had apprehended that the proposed change-over of the management would be used to woo voters in the Lok Sabha election.

Meanwhile, Mr Chadha said today that the Khalsa College Governing Council had unanimously passed an annual Budget of more than Rs 12.4 crore for 2004-05. Out of this Rs 1.30 crore had been earmarked for the construction of various projects.

Mr Chadha said Rs 70 lakh had been provided for the construction of an auditorium, Guru Hargobind Sahib Bhavan at an estimated cost of Rs 3 crore. While Rs 20 lakh had been allocated for the construction of Ranjit Avenue building, Rs 10 lakh for physiotherapy department, Rs 9 lakh for Khalsa College Centenary Bhavan Trust at Mohali, Rs 5 lakh for Khalsa Public School, here, and Rs 18 lakh for the maintenance of quarters, roads and any other additional work of the society of Khalsa College, added Mr Chadha.


DEO to investigate impersonation charges
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 2
Dr Harbans Singh Chahal, District Education Officer, Ferozepore, who arrived here late last night, said he was investigating the case of impersonation in mathematics paper in the rescheduled Matriculation examination.

He confirmed that there was a mandatory provision in the examination rules of the Punjab School Education Board that anyone caught red handed while impersonating would be handed over to the local police after filing an FIR. He said he would check what went wrong.

According to information Mr Jagtar Singh, a lecturer at Government Senior Secondary School, Khuyiansarwer, was deployed as Superintendent for school board exams being conducted at the examination centre located at a privately owned model school in Patel Nagar locality here.

Mr Sant Ram was posted as an observer at the centre. When a student appearing as Devender Kumar was asked to sign the attendance sheet, he reportedly signed as Baldev Singh. Upon interrogation he confessed that he was an matriculate and had been assigned the “job” of impersonating as Devender Kumar today.

The Superintendent reportedly recorded his statement and a photographer was called to take his pictures on the spot. The case was referred to the school board but not to the police immediately.

Sources said the manager of another private model school located in a slum area, who had been honoured last year for being an “ideal teacher” though he had no degree in education, was trying his best to stall the publication of the news till late night.

Interestingly, local mediapersons had received an unsigned press note a few days back alleging that liberal copying was ‘allowed’ in this subdivision. The press note even referred to a woman Principal of a private school stating that she had been leaving the centre before the conclusion of the paper leaving it to her teachers to “help” the students.

A senior female member of a flying squad of the school education board told this correspondent that certain private model schools had established examination centre on the first floor of their buildings though they had sufficient accommodation on the ground floor also. This, she doubted, had been done to facilitate copying to claim cent per cent results.

She even said a private school was not fulfilling conditions for affiliation at the secondary level when an on-the-spot screening had been done in December last but the proprietor of the school had managed to get another screening committee appointed within a quarter and had got recognition/ affiliation recently.

The PSEB had sanctioned an examination centre in the same school also. This spoke volumes of how serious the board was in checking malpractices. Meanwhile, two other cases of copying had been detected yesterday, official sources said.


IGNOU to open centre at Preet Nagar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 2
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will open a special study centre at Preet Nagar village here and offer academic programmes on general degree programmes. Food and Nutrition. HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Creative Writing, Translation, Teaching of English, Mathematics and Disaster Management. This was disclosed by Dr Umesh Chandra Pandey, Regional Director, IGNOU, for Punjab and Chandigarh here yesterday.

Dr Pandey said these programmes would be offered through distance mode of education.

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