P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder meets MLAs, ministers
Action plan on drug abuse to be pursued
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today had day-long meetings with ministers and MLAs for political feedback on their performance and public-related issues that emerged during the Lok Sabha elections.

According to sources, the ministers and MLAs aired their grievances, raised issues pertaining to their departments, including financial help and transfers, and also discussed growing fission in the party due to the activities of the dissidents, who are believed to have been rebuffed by the high command in New Delhi.

The discussion on administrative reshuffle was deferred as the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, was away to New Delhi. However, a memorandum submitted by employees seeking retirement age to be raised to 60 years was marked to the Chief Secretary.

It was decided that this would be taken up when the Chief Minister would review the administrative reforms with the department concerned. The final word could be expected around assembly byelections. There are indications that Haryana is also set to raise the retirement age. Punjab will emulate the Centre and Rajasthan government.

An important decision today was to pursue full steam the Action Plan on Drug Abuse. The Chief Minister said adequate money should be earmarked for this purpose. A coordination committee was constituted, headed by the Secretary, Social Security, Mr J.R. Kundal.

The other members are Secretaries health and Family Welfare, Higher and School Education and an Inspector-General of Police.

Sources said approach to the drug abuse problem in urban and rural Punjab would be different and target-oriented. If it was an organised racket in urban areas, involving chemists, in rural areas it was mainly opium, ‘’dode’’.

The Chief Minister, who has already approved of a nine-point charter for holistic development and making administrative departments at the cutting edge pro-active, responsive and accountable, is scheduled to have in-house reviews beginning tomorrow.

The Chief Minister will also take up the Plan Resource Committee report and initiate discussions with the ministers and administrative secretaries concerned on budget making and Annual Plan. Later in the evening, the council of ministers will take up the issue of merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance into the pay of the employees on the Central pattern as well as budget proposals.


Ministry pruning not to hit staff strength: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
A deputation of the Punjab Secretariat Personal Staff Association, headed by Mrs Tajinder Kaur, met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today on the issue of adjustment of the personal staff in the wake of the downsizing of the Cabinet. A memorandum was also submitted to him in this behalf.

Mrs Tajinder Kaur said the Chief Minister sympathetically heard their point of view and assured to positively watch their interests. He has forwarded the memorandum to the Chief Secretary for immediate action. He assured that downsizing of the Ministry would not have any adverse effect on the staff. If required, they would be adequately accommodated.

Incidentally, it is for the first time that a woman has been elected President of the association.


CM should quit over Cong’s poor show: Tandon
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 26
Former BJP minister Balramji Das Tandon has sought the resignation of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for the poor show by the state Congress in the parliamentary elections.

He said people of the state had given a clear mandate against the Congress government and its policies, with only two seats being won by the party out of 13. The CM, therefore, was morally bound to resign and seek a fresh mandate, he added.

Addressing a press conference here today, the former minister said by inducting chargesheeted MPs into the Cabinet, the government was sending wrong signals to the public. The image of the country was at stake, given these MPs’ criminal record, he added.

To a query about Sonia’s “supreme sacrifice”, he asked where was her “voice of conscience” when she had gone to the President claiming that 272 MPs were with her. He said it was a show of renunciation, as she had named the Prime Minister instead of him being elected by MPs.

Regarding state-level affairs, he said dissension within the Punjab Congress was a sign of deterioration. The charges levelled by the Chief Minister against his ministerial colleagues and the counter-charges against him would trigger the fall of the government sooner than expected.

He said the state BJP would put up its candidate for the Garhshankar Assembly seat, while the SAD would put up its candidate for the Ajnala seat.

PHAGWARA: Mr Tandon has predicted that the Congress-led UPA government won’t last even six months. Talking to newsmen here on Tuesday, Mr Tandon asserted that the government appeared unstable, had inner contradictions and was staggering at every step.

Various allies of the UPA government were after plum portfolios and those who had not been given desired portfolios were sulking, he remarked.

The general impression was that the partners in the government were in haste to gather the booty.

Mr Tandon alleged that the Leftists were using the Congress-led government for furthering their own agenda. Since some states were due to go to polls, the Leftists would ditch the government after serving their purpose. There was no meeting ground between them, he argued.


Talks only solution to militancy, says IB chief
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 26
Maintaining that India was at number one position in the world in information gathering, Mr. K.P. Singh, Director Intelligence Bureau, has said that specific information has led to the killing of a number of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commanders in Jammu and Kashmir where militancy-related activities were on decline.

Mr. K.P. Singh refused to admit that the recent blast which killed 18 BSF officials in the valley was an intelligence failure and asserted that the incident was the result of frustration of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen which had lost 40 of its commanders in last one year due to specific information provided by the IB.

“It is not an intelligence failure. We are number one in the world as far as information gathering is concerned and it is known. Such blasts still take place even in Israel and the USA and where not, but it does not mean that they are a failure. It is a game. They (militants) have brains and manpower and we have to counter with same elements. It is a very difficult task, said Mr K.P. Singh.

He maintained that the bomb attack on BSF officials was nothing but frustration on the part of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen which suffered heavily due to specific information of the IB. The act was done by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, which has its headquarters in Pakistan and which is most active militant outfit in J&K to which has confined its activities, while other organisations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad are operating in other parts of the country. We are keeping vigil on their activities, said Mr K.P. Singh while refusing to say anything on the militant training camps in Pakistan.

Militant activities, if you notice, have come down in the valley during three four years and the decrease is of about 15-20 per cent a year. This has become possible for specific information gathering, said Mr. K.P. Singh, who, was however of the view that the talks were the only solution for curbing militancy in the valley.

On terrorism as a global threat, he said after September 11, there had been effective information sharing between India and the USA, both of which take terrorism as a global threat.

Mr K.P. Singh, Director, Intelligence Bureau, advised police officers to act, not comment.

Addressing delegates at the valedictory function of the 35th All-India Police Science Congress, he said since policing was essentially a field activity, and police officers should act like players. Upgrade your public image get better cooperation from public. You need leadership quality,” said Mr K.P. Singh.

He said policemen should be articulate and have ability to communicate effectively with his men and public. They should behave like leaders.” But leaders should not be of ‘Kalyug’ who steal all credit for things done by his juniors. You should share success with your subordinates, said Mr K.P. Singh, describing the Punjab Police as high-profile police of the country.

New technology will allow the police to solve 100 per cent of crime, but at the same time, predictions say in such a situation 100 per cent people may be found to be criminals,” said Mr K.P. Singh.

He informed that the National Information Protection Centre (NIPC) was being set up at Delhi to prevent cyber crime and theft of data of important organisations.

Mr Sarbjit Singh, Director-General Bureau of Police Research and Development, said cyber crime was a problem and there were not enough police officers trained to tackle it.


Pak Army may have a Sikh regiment
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 26
A Sikh Regiment in Pakistan Army may be a reality in the near future. This assurance has been given by certain senior leaders of Pakistan to Mr Gyan Singh, a Sikh MNA (Member of National Assembly) from Pakistan.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Gyan Singh for he would raise the matter a Sikh Regiment on the floor of Pakistan’s Parliament as he was given an assurance by the Parliamentary Secretary and many MNAs to support the proposal move. He said there were more than 25,000 Sikhs in Pakistan and most of them were businessmen.

Mr Gyan Singh said his move on a Sikh Regiment was likely to be supported by other MNAs of minority community including Mr Des Raj, Mr Ramesh Lal, Mr Krishan Bir, Mr Akram Masih , Mr Arun Kesar, Mr Achhia Nasir , Parvez Masih and Mr M.P. Bhandara .

In another significant statement , Mr Gyan Singh said though it was a matter of pride that Parliament of Pakistan had given nod for the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) yet it was unlikely to run on the pattern of the SGPC . He said instead of elections, members would be nominated from different parts of the country which would run the PSGPC affairs in a democratic way. He said the new set up would definitely usher in a an era for the Sikh Community and would be instrumental in overall development of the Sikh shrines there . He said Mr Sham Singh , co –chairman of the PSGPC way unlikely to be re-elected in the new set-up as he had no direct contact with the Sikh masses in the country .

Mr Gyan Singh earlier who was clean shaven but now sported turban said that he was not aspirant for the post of the PSGPC chairman as he was not yet baptised . Replying a question , Mr Gyan Singh said he had confirmed the antecedents of Mr Sham Singh his ancestors were Sikhs . He said he recently visited Sindh and talked to many people under Bulle Khan police station and residents there told him that Mr Sham Singh belonged to ‘Nanak Panthis’ . However, he said the name and appearance of Sikandar (son of Sham Singh) who is clean-shaven, was still confusing which gives an impression of this being a Muslim .

The Sikh MNA from Pakisan’s frontier would return to his country on May 30 after meeting his relatives in New Delhi and Chandigarh.


DGP conducting probe into DIG’s case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
In less than a week after outgoing Ferozepore SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh allegedly directed the registration of a case against his immediate senior-cum-Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) Hardish Singh Randhawa on the allegations of “illegal confinement and criminal breach of trust”, Punjab’s Director General of Police (DGP) A.A. Siddiqui is conducting a probe into the matter.

Though the authorities in Punjab police headquarters refuse to comment on the issue, sources say that the DGP was asked to conduct the probe after DIG Randhawa met Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh soon after the registration of the case.

A senior Punjab Police officer, on the condition of anonymity, adds: “Nothing much is expected to come out of the inquiry as it is a clear-cut case of mix-up between two senior police officers. The DGP is likely to resolve the issue after studying the problem”.

Certain police officers, on the other hand, allege attempt to “hush up” the matter. They claim that efforts are on either to cancel the first information report (FIR) registered in the matter, or to get the DIG’s name deleted “after following the due procedure”.

A criminal case under Sections 409, 342 and 344 of the Indian Penal Code was registered against Mr Randhawa and two other junior police officers reportedly on the direction of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vijay Partap Singh.

The case, sources in the police department claimed, was registered after a preliminary inquiry was conducted into the matter by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Balwinder Singh. The report was reportedly converted into an FIR on Mr Vijay Partap Singh’s directions, they added.

Mr Randhawa and other police officials had allegedly kept an accused in illegal confinement for over a month and had also embezzled Rs 94,000 recovered from him. Vehemently denying the allegations, Mr Randhawa had added that he had explained his position to the Chief Minister.


PCCTU moots new model of aid to colleges
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The financial crunch in Punjab has led to the accumulation of salary arrears of staff in over 100 colleges that depend upon 95 per cent grant-in-aid from the state. Their arrears range from three to 10 months.

The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) has taken cognizance of the fact that against Rs 200 crore, the state had released only Rs 112 crore in the past two years under the grant-in-aid scheme. Now PCCTU General Secretary Jagwant Singh has written to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seeking a ‘’new model’’ for disbursement of salaries to the staff in the aided colleges, including those established after November 1, 1981. The model should also include liability of pension and gratuity, as per the 1996 scheme.

There are at least 36 such un-aided colleges. The total number of privately managed government-aided colleges is 139. Out of these 80 per cent are located in rural, remote, ‘kandi’ and semi-urban areas while a majority of 36 new colleges are exclusively for women.

The letter has suggested that the new model should be designed on the recommendations of the Plan Resource Committee report of Dr S S Johl. It has also demanded that adequate provisions be made in the Budget (2004-05) to ensure a regular flow of financial assistance to the aided colleges.

The Johl Committee has suggested more grants for colleges in rural and remote places. There are fewer students in such colleges where quality education is a casualty. It was time to reverse the trend of giving larger grants to bigger colleges. Such institutions were doubly blessed as these already had more financial means and also cornered a larger share of the government grants, causing wide disparity.

The recommendation is that there should be a ‘’uniform’’ fee structure for all colleges, classes and courses to be decided by the government. The Department of Education should carry out an audit of all colleges.

It should also fix a ceiling on the total charges to be collected from different categories of students. The fee structure of the government and private institutions should be uniform.

Also, the UGC should be approached to give more grants to colleges in rural, remote, ‘kandi’ and semi-urban areas. ‘’The government should give an option to the colleges to either obtain grants from the government, or sustain themselves. If an institution opts to receive grants from the government, 70 per cent of the total funds collected from the students by the institution should be credited to the government account and the government should, in turn, pay back an amount equal to all dues of the rationalised number of faculty and supporting staff’’.

The Chief Minister has called a special meeting to discuss the Johl Committee report here tomorrow before the Council of Ministers takes it up later in the evening.


Implement Johl panel proposals, says PCCTU
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 26
Prof H.S. Walia, vice-president, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), has urged the government to implement the recommendations of Mr S.S. Johl pertaining to higher education.

He said the Johl Committee had recommended 100 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges in return for a fixed part of the income of these colleges to be transferred to the government exchequer.

He said keeping in view the financial crunch being faced by a majority of the private colleges, the government should act on this report immediately.


Pakhoke sidelines Tohra loyalists
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 26
Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, working president of the SGPC, today sidelined loyalists of the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra by transferring them and allotting them insignificant posts.

Norms were allegedly violated while issuing transfer orders, sending shock waves among those employees who owed allegiance to the late SGPC chief.

The transfers were made in violation of the executive committee’s decision, which had authorised the presidium comprising the working president, senior vice-president, general secretary and both secretaries to take important decisions by consensus.

Mr Ranbir Singh, personal assistant to the SGPC chief and additional secretary, has been transferred to the Sikh Itihas Board without giving him any designation. Mr K.S. Bawa, superintendent, has been transferred and posted at the non-starter Miri Piri Medical College at Shahbad Markanda (Haryana) as he reportedly refused to implement the decision of the working president to transfer Mr Ranbir Singh in violation of the executive body’s decision.

Mr Raghbir Singh, a confidant of former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, has been made PA to the SGPC chief in place of Mr Ranbir Singh. Mr Angrez Singh has become the new office superintendent. Mr Gurbachan Singh Mahia has been posted as establishment assistant.

The Tohra loyalists may take up the matter with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, as the commitment given to them after the death of Jathedar Tohra, that the SAD will continue to give due recognition to all Tohra loyalists, has not been honoured.


BJP activists stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 26
About 200 BJP activists led by Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, local MLA, staged a dharna in front of Khui Khera police station in the subdivision in protest against police repression and “illegal” confinement of Desa Singh, resident of Shajrana village today.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Jyani alleged that there was an atmosphere of fear in rural areas of the Fazilka Assembly segment as BJP and SAD workers were being harassed and intimidated on behest of the ruling party after the Lok Sabha poll of May 10.

Mr Sohan Lal Dangar Khera, former Chairman, Market Committee, Fazilka, Mr Balwant Malethia, mandal president, Fazilka rural, Mr Gurvinder Pratap Singh Tikka, president, Farmers’ Forum, Fazilka, Mr Billu Jhinja, sarpanch, Benganwali village, and a number of BJP leaders participated in the dharna.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Jyani said the partisan attitude of the police was evident from the fact that none of the ruling party activist had been booked or arrested in the Singhpura firing case of May 10.


Kainth is Punjab BSP chief coordinator

Phagwara, May 26
Convenor of the state unit of the BSP Satnam Singh Kainth has been appointed chief coordinator of the party.

Party national secretary Narinder Kashyap stated this at a news conference here today. — UNI


Panel to check manufacture, sale of spurious drugs
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 26
With the formation of the 15-member State Drugs Advisory Committee (SDAC) for the first time in Punjab this year, the state Health authorities seem to be serious to check the manufacture and sale of spurious drugs.

The SDAC will meet under the Chairmanship of Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, on May 28 at Chandigarh to discuss a 22-point agenda relating to spurious drugs.

Sources said the government had taken a serious view of spurious drugs.

Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, confirmed to The Tribune that the SDAC had been constituted for the first time.

Sources said the following points would be discussed at the SDAC meetings. Enhancement of penalty from imprisonment to death for the manufacturers and sellers of spurious/adulterated drugs, government’s monitoring of pharmaceuticals trade a closer cooperation between drugs companies, chemists, doctors and health authorities to check trade of spurious/adulterated drugs; ban on the sale of drugs without prescription and a ban on the use of allopathic drugs by unauthorised medical practitioners; and creation of inspection squads, involving the NGOs, members of the IMA and chemists etc for the inspection of chemists’ shops.

Dr Surinder Singla, a member of the SDAC and a former state secretary of the Indian Medical Association, Punjab, said a check on the manufacture and sale of spurious drugs was a need of the hour.

Besides, it caused loss of crores to the drug manufacturers and the government.

Terming manufacturers and sellers of spurious drugs as “merchants of death”, Dr Singla urged the Union Government to amend the law for death penalty, in place of imprisonment, to spurious/adulterated drugs makers.

Dr Singls also wanted the purview of the SDAC widened so that it could advise the government on other drugs’ related issues, like uniformity in prices of same drugs and quality of drugs.


Police congress for review of IT Act, better training
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 26
Seeking review of the Information Technology Act to curb cybercrime, the 35th All India Police Science Congress has recommended that high school pass existing qualification for a constable may not be changed.

Resolutions passed at the three-day congress, which, concluded here today suggested that to identify shortcomings and prevent cyber crime, the IT Act be reviewed and amended accordingly. It was also suggested that an apex body at the state and national level be set up under the IT Act to monitor cybercrime. The congress also felt that existing qualification for the recruitment of constables should not be changed and additional marks or increments for higher qualifications might be given in the test and subsequent promotions and that there should be psychological tests at the stage of recruitment to entry level.

The congress favoured systematic empowerment of constables by assigning them tasks involving responsibility such as investigation of cases, enquiry into complaints and community policing tasks. There was need of more posts of Sub Inspector and ASI. Outsourcing of some services should also be considered.

There was also need to have career jobs scheme for different ranks in the police and there should be more promotions to higher posts from constables. Stress should be laid on developing career development plans competencies through focused training both in basic and in service courses, rewarding of ethical behaviour, displaying best practices and above all benchmarking clear and measurable performance standards.

Interchange between various branches of the Police Department should be made frequent and there was a need to allocate specific career path to each employee and he could be allowed to spend entire career in their respective specialised branch. Skills, required for cracking economic and cyber crimes, should be developed and there should be lateral induction of specialists on contract for specific jobs and that plethora of ranks and lateral entry at senior levels should be reduced.

The congress felt that there should be only three levels of entry in the police with first level being of constables and third of the IPS officers.


ADGP Bhatti’s ‘remarks’ kick off row
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 26
Has Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional Director-General of Police (PAP), stormed into the thick of controversy by allegedly dubbing policemen as “dealers” in his valedictory address at the 35th All-India Police Science Congress here this evening?

The answer is in the affirmative if protest lodged by a senior police official with the DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, is to be believed, but it’s a ‘no’ if the version of the DGP is to be believed. However, a senior Punjab Police official confirmed that Mr Bhatti had dubbed policemen as “dealders”. “This may have been said in some other sense, but this should not have been said,” the officer said.

The Punjab DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, has, however, strongly denied reports that Mr Bhatti had made any such utterance about police officials and that any protest regarding this has been lodged with him by any senior official.

Disturbed over alleged comments of Mr Bhatti, Mr Lalit Bhatia, ADGP, PSEB-Vigilance, has reportedly lodged a verbal protest with Mr Siddiqui, who was also present at the function.

Though Mr Bhatti was not available for comments despite repeated efforts till late in the night, Mr Bhatti, it was learnt, has raised serious objections to the alleged utterance of Mr Bhatti. Though it was not confirmed, Mr Bhattia was learnt to have told the DGP that Mr Bhatti had no right to term policemen as “dealers” and that it was a highly “derogatory” remark. The DGP, who listened to Mr Bhatia patiently, however, did not make any comment, it was learnt.

Mr Bhatti, who spoke after an address by Mr K.P. Singh, Director of the Intelligence Bureau, who suggested policemen to become leaders in a true sense, allegedly responded by saying, “Most of us are dealers and not leaders.” This irked Mr Bhatia and a few other delegates and this was followed by Mr Bhatia’s lodging of a verbal protest with the DGP. “This has hurt my sentiments and that of other police officials as well.” This is what was reportedly believed to have been conveyed by Mr Bhatia to Mr Siddiqui.


Mann for amnesty for TADA, POTA convicts
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 26
Hailing statements of Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj and Union Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil on POTA, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today said that all cases, registered under TADA and POTA, should become non-functional. Besides, amnesty should be granted to all those who had been punished under TADA and POTA. If necessary, they should be tried under ordinary law, Mr Mann added.

Mr Mann also said that his party welcomed the statement of Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee that all defence deals, by the NDA Government would be probed.

Mr Mann also urged the Union Government to order a probe in all cases of import of fertilisers and chemicals and licences to fertilisers and chemicals factories by the Union Fertilisers and Chemicals Ministry during the tenure of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa as Minister.

Mr Mann said the Kisan wing of the SAD(A) had submitted a Rs 7,000 crore fertiliser subsidy scandal, done in Punjab under the Beant Singh-led Congress Government to the NDA Government to inquire about it, but Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa did not order an inquiry into this scandal, so the SAD(A) wanted an inquiry into his role in this case.


Paying price for being fearless
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
Controversies manage to track him down.
When he was in Amritsar, the now Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh busted the great kidney conspiracy. But he then ended up moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court for protection from “kidney mafia”. even as patients and relatives alleged harassment in the matter.

In Mohali, as Superintendent of Police, he managed to annoy Deputy Speaker-cum-Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh. Alleging insubordination, the Deputy Speaker — in a letter to the Chief Minister — alleged that his orders were not being complied with by the SP. He had further alleged that the officer made it a point to be absent from functions where he was present.

After a short stint in Mohali, he reached Ferozepore just before the Lok Sabha elections. In less than a month of his arrival, he did something no officer had apparently done before.

In an unprecedented move, the officer booked his immediate superior-cum-Deputy Inspector-General of Ferozepore Range H.S. Randhawa on the allegations of “illegal confinement and criminal breach of trust”.

But officers who know him say that the SSP is “honest and professional to the core”. They add that the 1998 batch IPS officer has many distinctions to his credit starting from the high-profile kidney scam to tracing the first cyber crime in the state. Besides tightening the noose around an international hawala operator allegedly being “protected” by senior officers and politicians in Punjab, he was also involved in busting a fake certificate racket of the Punjab School Education Board. They assert that the officer managers to collect “strong foolproof” evidence in cases he investigates”.

This was not all. The SSP went up to the extent of creating an email account for the benefit of Mohali residents. Anyone feeling harassed or with vital information could simply sit in front of the computer, directly key in his complaint and simply mail it to “[email protected]” for sure shot response. He also promised “complete confidentiality” to the residents mailing him.

In an affidavit filed before the High Court, he foregrounded the plight of police officers involved in unearthing scams. He stated that proper security should be provided to police officers involved in busting of the kidney racket as they faced threats from the “kidney mafia” and “influential high-ups”.

He had added that the officers investigating the scam, including him, might face dire consequences. Taking a serious note of his affidavit, the High Court had directed Punjab’s Director General of Police (DGP) to provide “proper security” to police officers involved in the bursting of the kidney scam.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, had observed that they were astonished to find the cry of an IPS officer for proper security.


Storm causes breaches in 15 canals
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, May 26
The storm which swept the region last night left a trail of destruction in Bathinda and Mansa districts uprooting hundreds of trees, electric and telephone poles and damaged recently transplanted paddy and cotton in hundreds of acres. Freshly transplanted paddy and cotton crop in 2000 acres of areas in Bathinda and Mansa districts was damaged when water flooded fields following breaches in canals and distributaries in the region. Breaches in canals and distributaries were caused when trees uprooted by the storm, fell into these and obstructing the flow of water. Boundary walls of various houses in rural and urban areas collapsed and wineyards suffered heavy damage.

The areas which suffered considerable damage included Giana, Gatwali, Kanakwal, Phulo Khari, Malkana and Jajjal falling in Talwandi Sabo subdivision of this district. Earlier, heavy rain accompanied by hailstorm damaged cotton crop in these village yesterday.

Official sources said that 15 breaches had occurred in various canals and distributaries passing from Bathinda and Mansa districts. The breaches were 50 feet to 100 feet wide and each breach had flooded 50 acres to 200 acres. Reports of more breaches had been reaching Bathinda and Mansa-based offices of the Department of Irrigation.

Sources added that hundreds of labourers, residents of affected villages and officials of the Department of Irrigation had reached the breach sites and undertaken plugging in a big way. Flow in the affected canals and distributaries had been reduced from the Ropar headworks, escape channels were also being used to divert overflowing water from the breaches.

Official sources said that the canals and distributaries in which the breaches had occurred, included Kot Bhai distributary, Deon minor, Mehma Mada minor, Teona distributary, Rai Ka feeder, Doomwali minor, Jhangirana minor and Peori (Bathinda district), Talwandi Sabo distributary, Jodhpur distributary, Pakka distributary, Bangi distributary, Raghu distributary and Singo branch (Mansa) district. Breach had also occurred in one of the escape channels in Mansa district.

Breaches in Teona and Kot Bhai distributaries has become a routine. Breaches had been taking place where bricklining of the distributaries had caved in.

Apart from it, a number of trees, along the main and link roads of these two districts, which were uprooted last night by storm, obstructed vehicular traffic.

Officials of state Agriculture Department have sent teams to various pockets to assess loss to crops.

ABOHAR: Rain and wind lashed the region last night resulting in the disruption of electricity supply in all of the localities and adjoining villages by 9 pm. Power supply was restored in Nai Abadi and nearby localities at 7.30 am today but 75 per cent of the areas under first subdivision of the PSEB were without electricity till this afternoon. The authorities hoped to restore it before sunset. Intermittent rain continued till 4 am in urban areas. Nearly 25 mm rain was recorded in rural areas bordering Rajasthan bringing cheer to farmers.

Essential services, including the supply of drinking water, were affected everywhere. The power complaint offices confirmed that over 12 poles had been uprooted around the town because of storm. Rain uprooted trees on the Sahitya Sadan road, Malout road and Sunder Nagri etc. The Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital was also without electricity this morning as the hot line was also damaged.

A taxi-carrying newspapers met an accident but none of the occupants was injured. Other such vehicles had to change route. Some newspapers, including The Tribune publications could not be distributed today. Over 12 link roads in rural belt remained blocked by uprooted trees, reports said.

FAZILKA: Storm for 15 minutes followed by rain at 10 pm on yesterday night resulted in major power breakdown in the town and surrounding areas. About 75 per cent of the town plunged into darkness. The electric supply was not restored till today afternoon. Water supply to different areas was disrupted due to power breakdown. Junior officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board did not offer satisfactory answers to complaints. Many electric poles were tilted in different areas of town.


State of Rivers - I
Ravi’s changing course poses threat
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Makaura Pattan (Indo-Pak Border), May 26
The Ravi, which flows along the Indo-Pak border in Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts, has become a source of misery for many residents of the border belt.

It has been posing a constant threat to human life due to its ever-changing course, especially during the rains. The river’s changing course has already eroded thousands of acres of fertile land in the past few years. The left bank of the Ravi, downstream of Madhopur Headworks, is in India (about 140 km) while most of its right bank falls in Pakistan. Floods in this river have remained a major challenge and have devastated large parts of fertile lands in its basin, besides causing loss of human life and livestock.

Though Pakistan has been waging a “proxy river war” with India by constructing spurs, studs and bandhs in a bid to divert the natural flow of the Ravi towards the Indian side, the Indian Government has failed to take proper counter-measures.

Mr Bakshish Singh, Sarpanch of Makaura Pattan, said the river had changed its course towards the village by cutting hundreds of acres in the past few years.

He said if the government failed to come to their rescue, villagers would have to shift to safer places. Villagers say though the completion of the multi-purpose Ranjit Sagar Dam has controlled floods in most parts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts, it has had no impact in this particular area. They say the Ujh river, which flows into the Ravi at this point, plays havoc during the monsoon. The Ujh has been eroding the right bank, threatening Tash Pattan.

The state government had been getting occasional Central assistance till 1986 to execute flood works. In December, 1989, the Central Government had constituted a committee on “Special remedial works for flood-protection embankments of the Sutlej and Ravi rivers”, with the Central Water Commission as Chairman.

It being a sensitive defence line, the Army has taken up the matter with the state and Central governments a number of times, but no action has been taken so far.


Union gives govt 15 days to shift canal division offices
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 26
The Class IV Government Employees Union has given a 15-day ultimatum to the state government for shifting the canal lining division offices from Batala to Abohar, failing which an agitation will be launched at Batala on June 7.

According to the ultimatum the division offices were shifted from Abohar to Batala on February 26, 2001 but the Principal Secretary, Irrigation, Punjab, amended the order in a letter dated November 7, 2003, directing that the clerical staff of the canal lining circles of Bathinda and Ferozepore, posted at Amritsar, be sent back to the parent circles.

The order is yet to be implemented.

Alleging that a senior officer was creating hurdles in shifting back the division offices from Batala because he had a farm there, the union said two junior employees had died allegedly due to mental stress and agony over non-implementation of the order.

The union said the department had rented a building at Batala even though there was not much field work at present, whereas the office and residential accommodation at Abohar was lying unused.

A total of 36 employees were affected due to the deliberate delay in shifting back the office, the union said.

Meanwhile, the Tubewell Employees Welfare Union today threatened to sit in dharna and launch an agitation against the “indifferent” attitude of the Divisional Engineer of the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation here on Thursday.

An emergency meeting of the union noted that their demands had not been accepted despite repeated assurances.


Colony residents forced to drink unfit water
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 26
Ms Ravneet Kaur (name changed) has been suffering from typhoid since she shifted to Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar locality of the town after her marriage two and half months ago allegedly due to the consumption of underground water which has been declared unfit.

Her mother-in-law, Chinnder Kaur (name changed) has been having pain in bones and joints for the past eight years due to consumption of unfit water. Though she has been getting treatment, she is yet to see a painless day.

Mandeep Kaur, a resident of Hans Nagar, a trans-railway colony, has also been suffering from hypertension and rheumatism due to the consumption of underground water having high fluoride content.

These are not isolated cases as almost one or two members of every family living in thickly populated area of trans-railway colonies have been suffering from one or other ailment due to the consumption of underground water. Jaundice, typhoid, rheumatism, dental problems hypertension, diarrhoea, acidity and malaria are common in these areas.

Though the trans-railway colonies are the oldest and thickly populated areas of the city, residents have failed to get piped water supply and sewerage system so far. They have been fighting for these facilities for the past many decades. Residents of these localities seem to be doubly cursed as they have to spend major part of their earning on medical treatment for ailments suffered by them or their family members. For them, education of wards is not a priority. They have been shelling out good sums to “survive” on medical treatment.

“ Governments came and governments went but no elected representative so far bothered to take care of our problems despite the fact that authorities concerned have laid down roads, underground sewerage and piped water supply in fields where people have started developing unauthorised colonies,” alleged Mr Mohinder Singh Phulo Mithi, President, Nagar Sudhar Sabha (Railway cross colonies). He added that he had written 108 letters to different government agencies and its officials for arrangements for piped water supply and underground sewerage in the trans-railway colonies that housed 70,000 people.

The authorities concerned have failed to supply potable water to residents of trans-railway colonies despite the fact the water samples drawn from these pockets by state government agencies, have failed repeatedly.

Residents demanded that the Punjab government should take steps to provide them potable water and give adequate compensation to them for getting medical treatment. They added that supply of water by the Municipal Corporation authorities through tankers was erratic.


Call to fix qualification for legislators
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 26
Prof Abhiraj Rajendra Mishra, Vice-Chancellor of Sampurna Nand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Varanasi, asserted here today that education should be made mandatory for legislators and a law should be passed to fix the minimum educational qualification for them.

Talking to this correspondent in the presence of Mr Pawan Goyal, Chairman, Mata Kailashwati Sanskrit Mahanvidyalya Trust, Dosanjh Kalan, here, he said illiterate leaders were pushing the country downhill. The myopic vision of our leaders and slavery to foreign culture were the rootcause of the present problems in the country, he added.

Prof Mishra said Sanskrit was a great language, the knowledge of which was a pre-requisite to understanding the Indian culture. Its greatness was now being recognised abroad also and it was being studied in many countries, he said.

The Vice-Chancellor handed over a certificate of recognition from the Varanasi university for the Dosanjh Kalan institute to its Chairman, Mr Goyal.


Motor bank set up for tubewell repair
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 26
The problems of sewerage and water were highlighted in the municipal house meeting held here today. A number of complaints relating to the twin problems were aired that dealt with falling water table, making many tubewells redundant. The Commissioner Mr K.S. Kang said he had set up a motor bank to deal with increasing faults and repairs in tubewells that affected water supply.

The Commissioner admitted to insufficient disinfectant in drinking water, accounting for a number of cases of diarrohea reported from some areas . He said disinfectant worth Rs 2.5 lakh was procured for the purpose, besides a demand has been placed for two fogging machines .

The meeting condemned the construction of a shop in a park located at the Muslim Ganj area. It also took serious note of the coming up of a three storey building at posh M M Malviya road in an area demarcated for a park. The meeting passed a sum of Rs 3 lakh for a civic dinner to be hosted for the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, on his visit to the city.


Hutch tower poses threat to houses
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 26
Cracks have appeared in the houses at Kot Atma Ram in the Sultanwind area on which Hutch is installing its tower. The installation was stopped midway after complaints were lodged by residents of the area with the Deputy Commissioner.

An inquiry conducted by the Subdivisional Magistrate-I had revealed that the installation of the tower on the roofs of the houses could prove to be dangerous to life and property. The SDM said company officials could not produce a no-objection certificate, which was necessary.

Now, even though more than two months have passed, the authorities concerned have failed to get the tower removed.


Heroin worth Rs 6.5 cr burnt
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 26
Narcotic drugs, including 14.4 kg of heroin worth more than Rs 6.5 crore in the international market, was burnt by the Customs authorities here today.

The Commissioner, Customs, Mr M.S. Negi, in a press note issued here said the drugs had been seized during various anti-smuggling operations along the Indo-Pak border and from the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir during the past few years.

Mr Negi said the heroin was destroyed under his supervision in the furnace of Surya Industries here.

The Commissioner said the department was alarmed at the large-scale consumption of these drugs in the region which was causing immense concern to the law enforcing agencies.

He said a major drive had been launched by the department to eradicate this menace from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.


5 die in truck-jeep collision
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 26
Five persons, including two jeep drivers and a newspaper contractor, were killed when a truck collided head-on with a jeep near Dasuya on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road early this morning. The deceased have been identified as Gurmit Pal, contractor of a Hindi daily, Rajinder of Dhuda village in Jalandhar district, Jagdev Singh of Bhatian Rajputan, both drivers of the jeep, and two other jeep passengers, Raj Pal of Kaithal (Haryana) and Tarsem Lal of Chhamb Jorian. The jeep was carrying newspaper bundles and going from Jalandhar to Jammu.


Man run over by train
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 26
Milkha Singh (55) of Fatehgarh Tarobri village was run over and killed by train at Ladhuka Railway Station, 14 km from here on Tuesday.

The man was reported to be mentally unsound.


Child burnt alive
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 26
A six-year-old child was burnt alive in a fire in a jhuggi at Narur village, near here.

The child was sleeping when the fire engulfed the jhuggi.

In another incident, drums of coal tar caught fire near Behram railway station today. Fire engines later controlled the fire.


Pandove appointed HPERC secy
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 26
Mr R.P. Pandove, Director (Industrial Relations), Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been appointed Secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (HPERC).

Mr Pandove joined the PSEB in 1987 after serving the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) as General Manager

He is also the Secretary of the Patiala Cricket Association.


PWD officials asked to prepare estimate for nullah

Kharar, May 26
The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, directed officials of the PWD concerned to prepare an estimate to provide a nullah along the Jhandpur-Jhungian road here today.

Residents whose houses and shops fell along the road had been facing problems due to lack of proper drainage in the area. They had been bringing the problem to the notice of the authorities concerned but to no avail. OC


Consumer cases pending due to dept apathy: Brar
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 26
Thousands of cases are pending in the state consumer forums due to the apathy of the department of Food and Civil Supplies of the state. The Department of Food and Civil Supplies is dithering on issuing notifications of the selection of five district presidents and many members of the consumer forums. This is defeating the very purpose of providing speedy justice to people through consumer forums.

Justice H. S. Brar president of the state Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, stated this while talking to this correspondent here today. He was here to inaugurate the new building of the District Consumer Forum, Ropar.

The posts of the president of district consumer forums in Gurdaspur, Fatehgarh, Jalandhar, Mansa and Bathinda had been lying vacant since long. The selection committee comprising of the President of the state consumer commission, Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies, and Secretary Law, had recommended the names of selected members and presidents to the Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies Punjab. However, the ministry had not issued the notification of their selection, due to which they had not to resumed duties, Mr Brar alleged.

Presently due to the shortage of staff, about 8000 cases were pending in the district consumer forums and 3,400 in the state consumer commission, he said.

The Union Government had recently directed the state government to form three more Benches in the state Consumer disputed redressal commission. In view of the increase in the number of cases coming to the forums in big districts the state commission had recommended to the Punjab government to set up two consumer forums in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana districts. However, no action had been initiated by the Department of Food and Civil Supplies in this direction. If the state government abided by the direction at the earliest the cases could be cleared, he said.

As per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act recommendations had also been made by the state to form state and district consumer councils. The state consumer council was to be headed by the Minister of Food and Civil Supplies and the district councils were to be headed by Deputy Commissioners. However, in this case also no action had been taken to implement the recommendations provided in the Act, he said.

Responding to a query, Justice Brar said all cases of disputes in Employees Provident Fund (EPF) of the private and cooperative sector employees had been included within the jurisdiction of consumer forums. The consumers were getting aware about their rights and frequently approaching the forums now, he said.

Earlier after inaugurating the building of the Ropar forum, Justice Brar appreciated the efforts of the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, for providing the infrastructure to the district forum.

The Deputy Commissioner, SSP S.P. Singh, president of the District Consumer Forum, Ropar, J.P. Gupta and member S.K. Bhatia were among others present on the occasion.


High Court
Corpn asked to re-auction damaged wheat
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered the Punjab Warehousing Corporation to re-auction damaged wheat within a week's time.

It also asked the corporation to take an undertaking from the parties registered with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) that the damaged wheat so bought by them would not be recycled for human consumption.

Resuming the hearing in the writ filed by Mr Shiv Nath Rai Harnarain of New Delhi, who has alleged that interested bidders like him were not allowed to participate in the bidding due to short notice given by the corporation, the Bench also vacated the status quo ordered by it in the matter.

In his petition, Mr Harnarain has alleged that in a bid to sell the wheat to some influential parties of Punjab, the corporation gave such a short notice that it was not possible for persons like him to participate in the same.

Meanwhile, in another writ filed by Mr Rajan Bir Singh, seeking directions to the various government agencies to re-auction the wheat stocks on proper rates and after giving adequate notice, the Bench directed that the auction be re-advertised.

Both the cases will now come up on July 15.

Order set aside

The High Court has set aside the order of the Income Tax Tribunal, exempting Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh from paying gift tax on two trusts and the land given to him and his family by his father about three decades back.

In its order, given on an appeal filed by the Commissioner of Gift Tax Appeal, Patiala, the Bench has said that it was wrong for the Tribunal to hold that a cash gift of Rs 10 lakh to two trusts and land given to the family members of Capt Amarinder did not come under the purview of the Gift Tax Act.

The Bench also noted that the Tribunal should not have held that the privy purse of the father of Capt Amarinder, late Yadavindra Singh, formed a part of his ancestral estate and thus was a property of the Hindu undivided family (HUF).


Court grills govt on DSPs’ selections
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the state government as to what were the reasons that made the selection committee, which selected the candidates for the posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) recently, grant different marks to candidates having same qualification and merit.

During the resumed hearing the bunch of petitions, including a public interest litigation, in the alleged irregularities in the selection of DSPs by the Punjab Government, a Special Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice BK Roy, wondered why one candidate had been given 29 marks in the interview while another got just five, even though both had the same qualification as well as merit.

The Bench also asked what was the emergency for holding interviews for the posts in less than a week's time. The advertisement for the posts appeared in newspapers on February 7 while the interviews were held on February 13.

He had also claimed that selections were made even though there was a complete ban on recruitment in the state.

Hearing in the matter will resume tomorrow.


Three held for liquor smuggling
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 26
Tightening its noose around necks of liquor smugglers, active in this part of the state, the police arrested three persons from different places and seized 144 bottles of country-made liquor in the past 24 hours.

On a tip-off, the police laid traps on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Lohgarh and Dera Bassi and nabbed three persons for smuggling liquor from Chandigarh to Haryana. The police has also seized an Indica car being used in transporting the stock.

Two persons, Sandeep Kumar and Shamsher Singh of Panipat, were arrested at the naka while they were carrying 108 bottles of liquor in the car (DL-3CW-4124) in Dera Bassi.

In another incident, Tilak Raj of Karnal was arrested with 36 bottles of liquor at a naka near Zirakpur. Carrying the liquor in a gunny bag, Tilak Raj was traveling in a bus when the police nabbed him.

The police claims that the trio were active in the liquor trafficking for the past couple of months and were selling it on a retail basis in parts of Haryana after purchasing it from Chandigarh on much lesser prices.

Meanwhile, cases under the Excise Act have been registered against them at the Dera Bassi police station.


Girl refuses to marry, murdered
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 26
A youth allegedly murdered a girl at Sakrullapur village, near here, today.

It is reported that the girl, Lakhbir Kaur (21), a resident of the village, had gone to the home of the youth, Jaswinder Singh, in the afternoon. The were close friends and there was reportedly a tiff over the refusal of the girl to marry the youth.

Jaswinder then allegedly murdered her and later surrendered to the police.

The police found the victim’s body in the house of the youth. It was taken to local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.


ISI agent arrested
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 26
The Gurdaspur police yesterday arrested an ISI agent, Amrik Singh, alias Meeka, of Dadwan village, who had been declared a proclaimed offender.

In a press note issued by the police yesterday, the district police chief, Dr Narinder Bhargav, said the accused, an ex-serviceman, was arrested during a joint operation by the Army and the district police on a tip-off provided by the Western Command.

The SSP said Amrik Singh had confessed that he had been providing information about key Army installations in the region to Pakistan for money.

He said the accused had been absconding in a case registered in 2002 under Sections 411 and 414of the IPC, Section 20 of the Indian Passport Act, Sections 18, 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act and Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act.


Naib Tehsildar caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 26
Mr Hukam Chand, Naib Tehsildar, Sardulgarh, was today allegedly caught red-handed by a team of the Vigilance Bureau led by Mr Vinod Chaudhary while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from Mr Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Sardulgarh town in this district.

Mr Hukam Chand had allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 5,000 from Mr Gurcharan Singh for registering his will. He was caught accepting Rs 1,000 from Mr Gurcharan Singh. The Vigilance team was accompanied by two government witnesses and one shadow witness.

Mr Hukam Chand had handed over the money to a petition writer, Mr Sarup Chand, after accepting it from Mr Gurcharan Singh.

Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, when contacted, said the money was recovered from Mr Sarup Chand.

A case has been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Man held with looted money
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 26
The Sunam police today arrested Rishu Madan, a Sunam resident, and recovered Rs 8,000 of a total of Rs 41,000 looted by him and his accomplices from a grocer at Sunam last night.

Mr Sunil Kumar, DSP, Sunam, said today that Mr Amarnath, a grocer, was going back home after closing his shop in Sarafa Bazar last night when five youths looted Rs 41,000 from him and fled.

The DSP said Rishu Madan had told the names of his four accomplices — Rinku, Raju, Vikas and Nikka. He said Rishu had also confessed that after looting Mr Amarnath, they divided the amount.


Held for not depositing PF
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 26
Mr Subhash Chander a partner in M/s Kundan Lal Subhash Chander Rice Mills was arrested by the SDM Gurdaspur on the charge of not depositing provident fund (PF) dues. The Department of Provident Fund submitted a report in this regard.

In a press note here today Mr Ajay Mehra Regional Provident Fund Commissioner stated that the rice millers had not depositing the PF dues of employees for a number of years.

A case under section 7-A of the EPF and MP act was registered against the firm; and owner of firm arrested.


Copying goes hi-tech
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 26
With revolution in the information technology and means of communication, copying in examinations has become hi-tech.

It came to the light when three students of local BBSB Engineering College were caught cheating on mobile phone by an invigilator during the semester examinations of the college.

The modus operandi of the students was that they managed to smuggle the question paper out of the examination hall, where their accomplices were stationed with their cell phones put on the vibration and auto mode hidden in their turbans.

The invigilator got suspicious when he noticed that a student was writing slowly and twisting his head as if answering to some one. The invigilator asked him to stand up but failed to recover anything.

To his surprise the invigilator heard some sound coming out of student’s turban. He searched the student’s turban and recovered a cell phone from it.

He also caught two other students who were making identical expressions.

Three cell phones were recovered from their possession. The sources said all three students were booked and their cell phones confiscated.


Budha Dal school team invited to NASA
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 26
A team of Budha Dal Public School has been invited to take part in the prestigious NASA Space Settlement Design Competition slated to be held at the visitors complex of the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, USA, from July17 to 19.

The school was one of the eight to have been selected from preliminary rounds. The local team is the only foreign team to have qualified for this year’s competition as the other seven teams are from the USA. Budha Dal students will be proposing a design of a city to be built on the surface of the Moon.

The squad, comprising mainly of students of the school and some first year students of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, has been working under the guidance of Dr Maneek Kumar, Assistant Professor, TIET and Mr Abhishek Aggarwal, a first year BE student of the TIET.

Those in the team are Aaina Jain, Aayush Rai, Abhishek Bareja, Aditi Kaushik, Ikhwinder Singh Chadha, Jyotika Singh, Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Billing, Navninder Singh Saini, Sahil Arora and Simranjeet Singh Bedi.

Teachers/advisors are Abhishek Aggarwal, Dr Maneek Kumar, Ankur Makkar, Ankit Aggarwal, Varun Arora, Parikshat Sharma and Rahul Kumar.

The competition is being sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.


Docs’ body flays admn inaction

Patiala, May 26
The local Medical Students Association held a meeting to protest against the rape attempt in the girls’ hostel premises of Faridkot Medical College here today.

The association president, Dr Tarundeep Singh, said that even after fours days, the police had failed to nab the culprit. He added that this incident had put a question mark on the security of girl students studying in various educational institutes of the state.

Dr Manjit Singh, press secretary alleged that all medical colleges were prone to such incidents due to lack of proper security staff whose posts were lying vacant for past many years. He also appealed to the regional medical colleges to come forward to render their support. OC


Varsity’s move to restrict sale of forms flayed

Patiala, May 26
The Punjab Booksellers Association has condemned Punjabi University’s decision to stop the sale of its forms and prospectuses to registered booksellers of the city here today.

A deputation led by the president of the association Mr J.N Andlay alleged that the university had taken this step to increase its revenue without considering the cost which each student would incur in getting a form. He added that every student would have to visit university and waste a lot of time to purchase a single form instead of getting the same from the booksellers at varsity rates.

The association has appealed to the varsity to review its decision as the sale agents of other cities of the state were free to sell its forms. OC


DC changes school hours
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 26
District Magistrate here (DM) Raminder Singh has changed school time in the district. In a press note here today the DM said the orders would be applicable to private schools also.

According to new time schools will start at 7 a.m. and closed at 11.30 a.m. The orders would be in force for one month.


Study Point holds seminar

Patiala, May 26
‘Study Point’, an institute in the city that guides students on how to get admission in foreign universities, held at seminar here today.

The key note address at the seminar was delivered by Mr Tony Leach, a Director of the Melbourne-based Brighton Institute of Technology (BIT). Students were enlightened about various courses in the Australian universities by Ms Timple Jain, a functionary of Study Point. OC

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