P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SYL canal: PPCC general house meeting on June 14
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
To express solidarity with the Punjab Government on the SYL canal issue, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has convened a virtual general house meeting of the party here for June 14, the opening day of the Budget session.

The faction-ridden party wants to put up a united face on the issue before it is taken up on the floor of the Assembly.

Members of the Council of Ministers, all legislators, MPs, both present and past, besides vice-presidents, general secretaries, treasurer, members of the executive committee and presidents of the district Congress committees have been summoned to attend the meeting to be held at Punjab Congress Bhavan here. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC President H.S. Hanspal will address the meeting.

Though the Chief Minister and the PPCC chief have already met the Prime Minister and the government deciding to file a review petition in the apex court, no immediate relief appears to be in sight.

The newly elected Haryana Congress MPs have been a step ahead of their Punjab counterparts as they met not only the Prime Minister but also the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

The severe indictment of the Chief Minister by the apex court has added to the anxiety of the party which is gradually getting alienated from the farmers of the state. The power and water supplies to the farm sector are the yardstick to measure the popularity of an elected government. Unfortunately, the Congress cannot claim itself to be anywhere near the expectations of the farmers on either of the two crucial input areas.

Neighbouring Haryana, which is elated at the Supreme Court verdict, is also trying to win the support of not only the party high command but also the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on this sensitive subject.

The stakes of Haryana Congressmen in the SYL canal are high as the state is due for the Assembly elections in less than 10 months from now.

The stand of both AICC and the UPA Government on this vexed problem will determine the future of politics in the state.

Mr Partap Singh Chautala, a former MLA and a son of Ch Devi Lal, wants Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh to act firmly and get the work on the completion of the canal started.

“Mrs Sonia Gandhi must carry forward the agreement her late husband signed with the then Akali Dal chief, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

In fact, this agreement was tilted in favour of Punjab and now it is the duty of the Congress President and the UPA Government to get the canal completed,” says Mr Partap Singh Chautala, holding that his brother, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, and the Akali Dal chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, do not want this canal to be completed.


SAD not to allow SYL construction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
The SAD will not allow the construction of the SYL canal come what may. A resolution to this effect was passed by the Political Affairs Committee ( PAC) of the party, which met here today under the chairmanship of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

“The SAD will make whatever sacrifice is required not to allow the construction of the canal”, says the resolution.

After the meeting Mr Badal, said his party would fight politically but peacefully against the construction of the canal. “We have neither done injustice with anyone nor we will tolerate it against Punjab”, he said.

He made it clear that his party had nothing against Haryana but it was a principled stand against the construction of the canal.

“Our party is ready to cooperate with the Amarinder Singh Government in case it has any concrete programme to stop the construction of the canal. Otherwise, there is no use holding all-party or other meetings to pass formal resolutions or sending deputations to Delhi”, said Mr Badal.

About the political fight he has planned on the issue, Mr Badal said this would be finalised on the basis of emerging situation in the days to come”. Neither the Prime Minister nor any tribunal had any right to decide on the Punjab river waters. He made it clear that as per the Constitution, Haryana and Rajasthan had no right over the river waters flowing in Punjab.

“The river waters have been allocated to both these states by twisting the arms of a former Chief Minister of Punjab by Indira Gandhi and Gulzari Lal Nanda”, alleged Mr Badal adding that Punjab had no water to spare for any other state. “Most Congress Chief Ministers had been betraying Punjab on the river waters issue,” he asserted.

Having a dig at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal said holding meetings with the Prime Minister would not resolve the problem. If Mr Darbara Singh had not signed the agreement on December 13, 1981, at the behest of Indira Gandhi to give water to Haryana, Punjab would have not landed in the present situation. Punjab was the only state the river waters of which had been allocated to neighbouring states violating all national and international rules and laws, the SAD leader claimed.

All-party meeting on June 12: Mr Parkash Singh Badal said his personal staff had got a message on the telephone from a government officer that an all-party meeting had been convened by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on the SYL canal issue for June 12. Asked whether he would attend the meeting, Mr Badal said he would not mind doing so but there should be something solid on its agenda.


All-party meet sought on river waters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Mr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab CPI, said today that an all-party meeting should be called immediately to discuss the river waters and SYL canal issues.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said before the construction of the SYL canal, it should be decided whether Punjab had water to spare for Haryana. A new tribunal should be set up to take up the issue.

Mr Dayal is for the implementation of the Rajiv-Longowal accord after making certain amendments.

He said pro-WTO policies of the Amarinder Government were responsible for the Cong-Left alliance’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.


AISSF’s warning on SYL canal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 10
The All-India Sikh Student’s Federation led by Dr Manjit Singh Bhoma yesterday warned the Central Government against the construction of controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL).

Dr Bhoma, along with other leaders of federation, in a press note issued here yesterday threatened that if the construction of SYL was restarted they would resort to a strong agitation.


PSU condemns SC order on SYL
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 10
The Punjab Student Union has today condemned the Supreme Court order on the SYL canal alleging it to be against the interests of the farming community.

The district president of the union, Mr Parminder Singh, alleged that the decision was ‘anti-farmer’, ‘anti-people’ and ‘anti-Punjab’. He added if Punjab water were directed to other states, it would affect the agriculture land in the state.

He said even farm experts were of the view that farming community in Punjab was suffering as the level of ground water was decreasing day by day. Members of the union threatened to intensify their struggle if the government failed to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, the union also condemned that the Punjabi University proposal to reduce marks of Punjabi compulsory while introducing a new subject of Computer Applications in all affiliated colleges of the state. ‘It would defeat the very purpose of existence of the varsity”, said Parminder Singh.


Security cover to cops may be reduced
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
The Punjab Police is setting its own house in order before proceeding against others. Always blamed for cutting security cover provided to VIPs who have lost favours with the government, the police is now breaking free from its old image. It has launched an operation to prune cover provided to its own personnel.

Though the authorities are tight-lipped about the operation, sources at the Punjab Police Headquarters reveal that, along with others, security cover provided to its senior officers is also being reduced "steadily" in accordance with a policy framed for the purpose.

As of now 3500 personnel are busy providing round-the-clock security to VIPs and others facing threats. Even though the exact number of cops deployed with senior police officers is not readily available, sources assert that a substantial number are providing protection to them.

The total number of personnel providing security was as high as 10,000 when the present government took over. The authorities, sources claim, want to bring down the number to the "bare minimum".

Punjab's Additional Director-General of Police R.K. Gupta — in charge of security — also officiating as Director-General of Police in Mr A.A. Siddiqui's absence, was not available for comments. Other senior police officers, affected by the order, refuse to comment because of obvious reasons.

The sources, however, add that security requirement is now being assessed after taking into consideration the officer's rank, threat perception and his work during the dark days of terrorism.

Or else, the cover is being provided on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Political compulsion is another reason, they claim.

The development regarding curtailment of security cover is significant as security personnel provided to police officers were not only posing burden on the public exchequer, but were also "causing harassment" to the public at large by "throwing their weight around and encroaching upon parks and other places around the residences of senior officers".

The sources add that in so many cases security guards brandishing automatics after standing attention in front of the residences were not a requirement, but a status symbol.

Giving details of the operation, a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity asserts that the pruning exercise is a part of a larger campaign launched by the Punjab Police to drastically reduce the burden of VIP security.

He adds that the government has also taken a policy decision to provide three Personal Security Officers (PSO) to each MP and MLA in the state. Denying the rumours that the newly elected MPs in Punjab were getting half the security enjoyed by their predecessors, he asserts that the rules regarding the provision of security cover are applicable to all.


2002 SGPC polls saw bitter legal battles
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has been fighting protracted legal battles to counter government interference in its functioning.

The year 2002, when the election of executive body of the SGPC witnessed a frenzied activity in the judicial circles, was no different.

One of the main cases related to the decision of the Punjab Government to remove Members of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission and replace them by a team of earlier Members.

However, this time, while voting for the election of the 170 members of the SGPC is to take place on July 11, so far only the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation has taken recourse to legal action.

One of the major reasons for the bitter legal struggle between the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the Congress government in Punjab was the alleged interference of the government in the elections.

Many cases were filed by SGPC members, including former Punjab Minister Sucha Singh Langah, against illegal action of the state government and the government-backed Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission. The Commission had restrained Mr Langah and some other SGPC members from participating in the polls on "flimsy" grounds.

In an interim order, the Commission had restrained Mr Langah from participating as member of the SGPC in the November 12, 2002 election. Mr Langah's crime: he had participated in Hanuman pooja and recited the Ramayan path 105 times.

Mr Langah had also challenged the notification dated July 5, 2002, by which the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission comprising Mr Dara Singh, Mr Kashmir Singh and Mr Raghbir Singh had been reinstated by the Congress government.

Another writ was filed by Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, the then President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Mr Badungar had also challenged the removal of the Commission Members Manmohan Singh Brar, Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa and Mr Ajwant Singh Mann.

The petitioners had contended that the Punjab Government had no power under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, to remove a Commission and restore an earlier team.

The team of Mr Brar and others had been appointed on January 12, 1999.

After hearing the team of lawyers led by former Punjab Advocate-General HS Mattewal, representing the petitioners, including the SGPC, the High Court had remarked that though the government's power to issue the notification replacing the Commission Members by a previous team could not be questioned in light of settled law, the government should use such powers fairly, judiciously and in conformity with the spirit of the Constitution.

The Bench of Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal through the order dated August 14, 2003, held that the Punjab Government had failed to adhere to the spirit of the Constitution. It, therefore, quashed the notification dated July 5, 2002.


Nangal MC to lay claim to NFL, BBMB land
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 10
The Nangal Municipal Council will lay claim to the 2000 acres of vacant land of the National Fertilizers Ltd (NFL) and the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), on the basis of a 1961 document dug out by the officials which declares that the said land belonged to the council.

Sources revealed that the Punjab Government in the late fifties had acquired about 3600 acres for the NFL plant and thousands of acres for the Bhakra project in the area that was now the Nangal town. After construction of the infrastructure of both the said projects about 2000 acres of acquired land was found to be lying unutilised. According to the revenue document recovered recently, the Punjab Government transferred the vacant land to the local municipal council for the development of the town.

The claim of the council over the 2000 acres is likely to result in a legal battle with the NFL and BBMB.

About 90 per cent area of Nangal town is under the control of the NFL or the BBMB. The local council has to seek permission from either of the organisations to carry out development work.

In addition, hundreds of acres of BBMB land has already been encroached upon. The encroachers took advantage of the lacunae in the revenue law to encroach upon the land. Though the land was acquired by the BBMB, the organisation never got the mutation registered in its name. Due to this , the names of original owners still figure in the revenue records. Certain persons got the land registered in their name by paying nominal sums.

The BBMB has filed hundreds of cases against them in the estate office. Similarly, cases of people who were originally given land and shops on lease by the BBMB are also pending in the estate office.

The claim of the council will also affect the NFL. The NFL has also worked out the cost of its vacant land as the assets of the company. The cost of land was included in working out the worth of the company for raising loans and during the period when it was being offered for disinvestment. However, now the council claims would affect those calculations.

The Executive Officer of the Nangal Municipal Council, when asked to comment on the matter, admitted that the council would now lay claim to over the 2000 acres of vacant land of the NFL and BBMB.

Authorities in the estate office of the NFL and BBMB, however, do not agree with the claims of the council.


Kewal Krishan cremated, curfew reimposed
Tribune News Service

The family of Kewal Krishan, the 42-year-old painter who allegedly died on Tuesday in police firing, has lost its lone bread earner. He had ventured out to the local market to fetch some medicines when he was shot. Kewal Krishan, has left behind his wife, Ms Mohinder Kaur, his seven-year-old polio stricken son Manpreet Mannaan, Kiran (5), Harpreet (4), Naresh Rani, a married daughter, an aged and ailing father, and a younger brother. Ironically, he had lost two of his brothers during past two years.

Balachaur, June 10
The body of Kewal Krishan, a 42-year-old painter, was cremated peacefully here today, even as the curfew, which was imposed on Wednesday, was relaxed from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Kewal was alleged to have been killed in police firing.

Curfew was likely to be lifted at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

The cremation took place at around 10.30 a.m. amid presence of relatives, family and local residents. Residents of nearby villages who had come to attend the funeral alleged that they were not allowed to attend the cremation by the police authorities on the pretext of curfew.

There was also no report of any untoward incident from the nearby Rakkran Dhahan village, where tension was prevailing after the alleged custodial death of 22-year-old Rakesh Kumar, whose body was cremated at the village yesterday, following an agreement between the 31-member joint action committee of villagers and the police and administration officials.

The pyre of Kewal Krishan was lit by his seven-year-old son Mannan. According to Ram Parkash, father of the deceased, the in-laws of Kewal Krishan could not attend the cremation as the police did not allow them to enter the city.

“We accept whatever has been finalised by the committee,” said Mr Ram Parkash, father of Kewal Krishan. Similarly, Karam Chand, a brother of Rakesh Kumar, who had come to attend the cremation of Kewal Krishan, said his family had also accepted the agreement.

Though no police official attended the cremation, those who were present included Baldev Singh Bedi, an uncle of Kewal Krishan and a leader of the BSP, senior BSP leader Satnam Singh Kainth, former Garshankar MLA Shingara Ram Sahoongra, Avtaar Singh Karimpuri, state BSP president, Leftist leader Darshan Singh Mattu, Mr Vikas Garg, ADC, Nawanshahr, Mr A.S. Sahi, SDM, Balachaur, Mr Nand Lal, Balachaur, MLA, and Mr Hargopal, former MLA.

“Though no untoward incident has taken place so far, we have reimposed the curfew as per the orders of the Deputy Commissioner,” said Mr M.F. Farooqui, Nawanshahr SSP.

Meanwhile, ASI Kulwant Singh and Constable Mohan Singh, who were arrested in the alleged Rakesh Kumar custodial death case, were remanded in police custody till June 15 by a Nawanshahr court, while head constable Ram Krishan and constable Jatinder Singh are still on the run.


Negligence led to the epidemic
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 10
Even as the authorities are working round the clock to contain the outbreak of gastroenteritis, negligence in maintaining hygiene suggests that such incidents were just waiting to happen in this border district of Punjab.

Percolation of dairy waste and sewer into drinking water pipes, non-removal of cow dung heap for the past 20 years at Basti Shekhan and indifferent attitude of authorities concerned towards maintaining hygiene are being viewed as the major factors leading to the outbreak.

Officials have woken up too late and were getting streets cleaned, sewers desilted, besides sending mobile medical teams to various colonies and slums. But the people were terming it as a mere stop-gap arrangement.

“The officials have come only after so many people had fallen ill. There would have been no such outbreak if they had performed their duty properly,” said Satnam Singh of Basti Shekhan, one of the worst-affected areas, summing up the people’s sentiments against the authorities.

The number of patients at the Civil Hospital here as well as private clinics have come down to 100. Of these 60 were at the Civil Hospital.

People at Basti Shekhan, Basti Bhattian, Basti Aawa and Zira Gate areas reported maximum number of patients as the water pipes had not been replaced for years. The subsequent corrosion had led to leakages, contaminating the drinking water supply.

Cow dung was being dumped in open spaces and even on streets. This had choked sewerage.

The authorities blame the people for dumping the waste, while the residents want the authorities to provide them proper space in this regard. An official stated that it would take months to remove cow dung heaps.

The Municipal Committee here is ill-equipped to maintain proper hygiene. It has no equipment or machinery of its own. The MC has hired a JCB machine and desilting equipment in this regard.

Mr S.L. Kaler, Deputy Director, Local Bodies Department, who is heading the crisis management team, said the local MC had no funds for the upkeep. Only 5 per cent of the budget is allocated for development and maintenance while the remaining goes in disbursement of salaries and sundry expenses. He added that all government machinery and manpower was engaged in cleaning up the city and all development works had been stopped. He said the cleaning and replacing of water supply and sewers was being taken up on a war footing.

The MC officials said Rs 2 crore was yet to be recovered from residents in form of taxes. Due to political pressure the MC had not been able to ask the people to pay the taxes.


33 fresh cases of gastroenteritis reported
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 10
Thirtythree fresh cases of gastroenteritis have been reported —27 from various mohallas of the city and six from the surrounding villages— at the local Civil Hospital in the past 24 hours.

Dr Y.C. Markan, Civil Surgeon, here told the correspondent that 268 patients come to the local Civil Hospital since May 23. As many as 35 patients were under treatment at the hospital.

Dr Ajay Bagga, an activist of the PCMS Association, criticised the municipal authorities for not taking any effective step to improve sanitation in the city. He said the nullah which crosses the city from Bazar Vakilan to Khanpuri gate had not been cleaned. For quite some time. He urged the municipal authorities to launch cleanliness drive in and around the city immediately.

Mr Pawan Kumar Sharma, Municipal Engineer, told the correspondent that chlorine was being mixed into the water twice a day at all water supply sources. Moreover, chlorine tablets were being given to all those who were coming to the municipal office.

He said there were 43 tubewell operators as against the requirement of 106 to operate 53 tubewells. Keeping in view the shortage of staff the operation of 15 tubewells had been given on contract. Sanction for the installation of chlorinators on all tubewells had been sought from the council.

To remove garbage from the city two tractor-trailers had been engaged on rental basis. There was a shortage of safai karamcharis, he added.

Mr Romesh Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, said special funds were being given to all districts for free treatment of gastroenteritis patients.


Govt for fast-track courts for NRIs
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 10
Hailing the central government’s decision to have a separate ministry for NRI affairs redress to problems of the NRIs, vice-patron of the NRI Sabha, Punjab Avtar Henry today announced that the state government would again approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for setting up fast-track courts for NRIs at Jalandhar and Patiala. Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Henry was addressing a press conference here after taking over as vice-patron of the sabha along with his Cabinet colleague Amarjit Singh Samra. Both were recently appointed Vice-Patrons of the sabha.

Mr Henry said that the state Cabinet earlier recommended two fast-track courts for speedy justice to NRIs. The government had sent a proposal in this regard to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, but it was turned down by the latter. We will again approach the court for this purpose pleading that most of the NRIs cannot stay in the country for long to pursue cases in courts due to job commitments overseas, He said, adding that the government was ready to provide infrastructure for the purpose.

Regarding property and land disputes of NRIs, the minister said that it was decided to amend the Rent Control Act to ensure time-bound redressal of the property disputes.

“It is come to our notice that the NRIs are facing harassment at the hands of junior civil officials including Tehsildars and SDMs, in property case, causing inordinate delays. We will ensure that officials should dispose of cases in a framework, by suitable amendment in the Act, he said, adding that a draft in this regard would be presented before the Cabinet for approval.

Regarding matrimonial disputes, wherein, some NRI husbands had cheated brides by giving false information about their marital and income status and later refused to arrange their immigration abroad, Mr Henry said that parents and family members of the girl should mention the social security number of the boy during registration of marriage here. “The officials concerned here can easily access the detailed information about the boy from their adopted countries, which will save the girls,” He said, adding that instructions would be issued to officials to impress upon families to quote social security numbers to avoid harassment.


PAU alumnus is Lord Mayor of Leicester
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
An alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has become the Lord Mayor of Leicester in England. He is not only the first Sikh to get the prestigious political post, but is also the first Indian to achieve it.

It is a rags-to-riches story of the new Lord Mayor, Piara Singh Clair, who belongs to Noorpur village, near Phillaur, but had most of his education at the university here. An M.Sc in agronomy, he was the university’s best athlete in 1976-77, as per a brief sketch of his life provided to Ludhiana Tribune by his friend Ajit Singh Mann, working with a bank here.

The Leicester media had gone ga-ga over his elevation and some prestigious newspapers carried his photo side by side with that of Dr Manmohan Singh, the first Sikh Prime Minister of India. The story centered around the indomitable spirit of Sikhs and Punjabis who were achieving milestones in both native and foreign lands.

Mr Mann said the newly appointed Lord Mayor had not lost touch with his roots. He was building a palatial house in Noorpur and visited the village twice an year. He had been taking up the problems of the villagers as well as of scores of NRIs settled in England having problems in Punjab.

As per reports in British newspapers, Mr Clair was sworn in last week after a councillor, Ms Jean Middleton, set to be the Lord Mayor, withdrew due to health reasons. Mr Clair was the Deputy Mayor and was elevated, much to the delight of the Sikh community.

“I want to reach out to every community”, he is being quoted as saying in news reports. Mr Mann remembers his friend as a social, helpful and outgoing person. He went to England in 1977 after getting married to an NRI, Jusbinder Kaur. He continued his social work and won the hearts of the Indian and the British population.

Mr Mann said Mr Clair would come to India with his wife, two daughters and son on August 15. Mr Clair had written to Mr Mann that he wanted to take the blessings of his native land to do justice
to his new post.


Cops force Dalit family out of house
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, June 10
The belongings of a Dalit family, residing in a colony set up under the landless labour scheme by the government at Lehri village in the district, were allegedly thrown out of the house by the police late last evening.

Besides, the police facilitated the illegal possession of that house by some residents of the village.

Talking to TNS, a member of the family, Sarbjit Kaur, alleged that last evening, when no male member was in the house, some policemen came and threw all their belongings out of the house and then helped some residents, reportedly close to Akali leaders of the area, in taking illegal possession of the house. She said the family had to spend the night in the open.

She added that under the landless labour scheme, they were allotted plot numbers 18 and 30 in 1974, but some other family was staying in houses on these plots. Due to this reason, they started living in plot numbers 1 and 2 and had been staying there for the past two decades. She said no plot had been allotted to the persons who took illegal possession of her house.

She alleged that the police beat up two of her kin and later picked them up. She added that the whereabouts of her kin were not known so far.

The police also raided the house of a landlord at Manua Ke village, where Buta Singh, her husband, was working as a farm assistant. She said her husband and her father-in-law Roop Singh had been hiding, fearing action by the police. She added the police was acting under pressure from the Akali leaders.

Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, Talwandi Sabo, said he had visited the spot and asked both parties to establish the fact that they were the real allottees of the two houses. He denied that the police had played any partisan role. He added that some goods, which were placed by the other section of residents of the village in those houses, had also been removed.


Dalit paraded after blackening his face
Tribune News Service

Lambi (Muktsar), June 10
In a bizarre incident, a Dalit of Kuttianwali village falling in this police station was allegedly paraded in the village after blackening his face and putting shoes around his neck by some three persons, including the husband of the Sarpanch of the village.

Following a complaint by the victim, Jagir Singh, the police arrested two of the three persons allegedly involved in this inhuman act. Those arrested are Gurcharan Singh, whose wife is the Sarpanch of this village and Jagtar Singh. The third suspect, Chinder Singh, son of the Sarpanch, is at large.

Mr Hargobind Singh, DSP, Malout, said a case under Sections 341,504 and 34 of the IPC had been registered against the suspects. He said it had been confirmed that Jagir Singh’s face was blackened, but whether he was paraded in the village with shoes around his neck or not, was not known as yet.

Narrating his tale of woe, Jagir Singh said that three suspects came to his house yesterday and asked him to come out. They tied his arms, beat him up mercilessly and dragged him to the market of the village.

He said his face was blackened, shoes put around his neck and he was paraded in the village. Parkash Kaur, sister of the victim, who was with him, could not utter a word as she was inconsolable.

Jagir Singh alleged that he was meted out this inhuman treatment because he refused to work in the farms of the suspects without wages.

Jagir Singh has also approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for justice.


Unannounced power cuts cripple life in Kharar
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, June 10
Unannounced power cuts have hit life of residents here. Though business has been adversely affected, residents in general too have to sweat it out in the humid weather.

Even employees in various government offices feel harassed due to power cuts in the absence of any alternative arrangement. The staff at the Civil Hospital also has to spend hours waiting for the power supply to be restored. Students, who have prepare themselves for various competitive examinations feel handicapped in the absence of uninterrupted power supply.

Sources say that power supply to the town got disrupted on the night of June 8 for almost seven hours. There was a power breakdown around 7.25 p.m. and power supply could be restored only at about 2.20 a.m. It is learnt that the 132 kv line from Ropar to Kharar broke due to excess load and there was a complete blackout in the area.

At about 11.30 a.m. today the SDM office was without power. Members of the staff said the office was not getting regular power supply for the past many days. There was one generator in the office which was used to run computers where registration work was carried out. The SDM’s court and office had only been connected with the generator. Rest of the staff had no other choice except to bear the heat.

The Civil Hospital, too, is facing power cuts. Though the provision of a big generator is there, it is usually run at night due to high consumption of diesel. During the day hospital staff prefers to wait for the power supply to be restored rather than running the generator. The hospital has not been put on the hot line.

Mr Surinder Singh, a resident of Ranjit Colony, told The Tribune that though there power cuts in the morning, they were more frequent in the evening and at night. He said his daughter was preparing for the PMT examination and her studies got adversely affected due to power breakdowns at night. He said she asked him to make some alternative arrangement but he was helpless in this regard.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, who manufactures iron grills, said his work was suffering due to power shutdowns and he had to put in extra hours at night to complete the work for which he had orders in hand. He said today the supply got disrupted at about 10 a.m. and was restored around 12.30 p.m. He said this had become a routine feature these days, though the duration of disruption varied each time.

Complaints of power failure had also been received from Didar Nagar. Residents said during power breakdowns they could not even contact board employees as there was no complaint office in the area.

Mr Swaran Singh Heera, a municipal councillor from ward number 6, said the problem of power failure was quite acute in the town. There was no power supply for hours together. Even inverters installed by residents in their houses, failed in the absence of proper charging due to power failure.

Mr N.S. Rangi, SDO, said power supply to the town got disrupted due to shutdowns. He said that local board officials were helpless in this regard as the directions for shutdowns came from higher levels and direct to the power grids. He said that power was now being given to the agricultural sector for eight hours, instead of three hours, as was being done earlier. Moreover, there was some power generation problems as well. 


SGPC constitutes editorial board
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 10
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has constituted a four-member editorial board to compile ‘Panth Rattan Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra Simriti Granth’.

The board will meet for the first time on June 12 at Fatehgarh Sahib. The board will comprise Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor GND University Principal Surjit Singh Gandhi, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Bahia and Mr Harbir Singh Bhanwar.


Takht chief releases Bhai Talwara’s book
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 10
‘Gurbani Da Saral Viakaran-Bodh’ a book by late Bhai Joginder Singh Talwara, who was a member of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and noted Sikh scholar, was released at Akal Takht by Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, here today.

The Jathedar praised the effort of late Bhai Talwara and stressed on correct knowledge of rules of grammar of Gurbani. He said that the Sangat should keep in mind right pronunciation of words while reciting Gurbani.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, was present of the occasion and praised the book.


Shopkeepers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 10
Shopkeepers of Tibba Sahib locality of the city blocked traffic for more than an hour to protest against an attempt to stop repair of a road today morning. The blockage was lifted when an Executive Engineer visited the spot and assured shopkeepers that repair work would not be stopped. Trouble started when labourers of the contractor started loading road building material into trucks for taking it to some other site. At this, shopkeepers started opposing it but to no avail.

Following this they blocked traffic at 9 a.m. and continued till 10.15 a.m. Protest ended only after an assurance by the executive officer.

The contractor had threatened to stop work a couple of days ago when he had been issued notice by the Municipal Council either to produce debris of Rs 2.50 lakh secretly lifted or to let its price be deducted from the payment, said Satpal Pathela, local MC and leader of the Opposition in the council.


Ropar thermal plant achieves new milestone
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 10
The Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar, has achieved a new record by continuously running a single unit for 126 days.

The Chief Engineer, Mr R.S. Sohal, in a press note issued yesterday said the unit number 5 of the plant had been running continuously since February 1. The earlier 75-day record of running a single unit continuously was also achieved by the same unit in 2001.

The Ropar thermal plant has also bagged the award of Rs 12.5 lakh from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for low fuel oil consumption for the financial year 2003-2004.

The oil consumption in the plant was .91 ml per unit against the previous best record of 1.22 ml per unit.

Another prize of Rs 21 lakh was awarded to the plant for generating maximum power during the peak load hours. During the year 2003-2004 the plant also created a new record of unloading 595 wagons in a single day, Mr Sohal added.


PSEB to replace 3 towers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 10
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) yesterday claimed that it had decided to replace three towers which had been severely damaged following a storm on June 6.

In a press note here, the board member, distribution, Mr H.C. Sood, said two towers feeding the 220 KV substation, butari, had been uprooted while another had been severely damaged disrupting power supply in the region. He said it had been decided to replace the towers after laying new foundations.

Mr Sood said excavation work had already started and the work was expected to be completed shortly. He said work on dismantling the damaged towers and erection of new ones was in progress.

The board has meanwhile, restored supply to Butari. Power has been restored on a six-hour basis in four groups in Butari, Nagoke, Rayya, Sathiala, Khadoor Sahib, Saidpur and Ekalgadha areas. It claimed that work on restoring power supply would be completed by June 20. Consumers of the area could approach the nearest control room in case of any complaint in this regard. 


Power supply to 100 villages restored
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 10
Power supply to more than 100 villages which was disrupted due to a storm on June 6 when two 220 KV towers had breakdown near Sakkianwala village, has been restored.

Mr R.K. Salwan, Deputy Chief Engineer of the local PSEB circle has said today officers of border zone and P&M Circle joined hands to restore power supply.

The power supply to villages under sub-station Saidpur, Sathiala, Beas, Nagoke, Khadoor Sahib and Butari was affected due to storm hitting life in 100 villages.


Contract workers oppose retrenchment move
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 10
Contract labourers of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) yesterday staged a protest by removing their shirts. They were protesting against the recent retrenchment notices served by the PSEB on 162 labourers working in the coal handling plant of the GGSSTP.

About 150 labourers gathered at the main gate of the thermal plant at 9.30 am. They removed their shirts and moved in a procession towards the office of the Chief Engineer, raising slogans against the PSEB authorities. They later sat in dharna in front of the office of the Chief Engineer for about an hour.

The president of the Contract Labour Union, Mr Tiwari, alleged that instead of implementing the decision of the Punjab Government, the PSEB was retrenching contract labourers.

He said the PSEB should withdraw the retrenchment notices given to contract labourers. Besides, there should be pay parity for contract labourers working in various units of the plant as per orders of the Supreme Court.


Punjabi Congress chief bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
The Indian Chapter of the World Punjabi Congress at a meeting held here today passed a resolution expressing grief over the death of Ms Sheasta Habib, wife of Mr Fakhar Zaman, Chairman of the World Punjabi Congress.

Ms Habib, who was suffering from cancer, passed away this morning at a hospital in Lahore after a prolonged illness. She was an eminent Punjabi poetess and prose writer. Her book entitled “Main, Kapah te Chanani” in Gurmukhi script was released at a World Punjabi Conference held here in Hotel Mountview, last week.

Mr Deepak Manmohan Singh, Mr Avtar Singh Paul and Prof Swairaj Sandhu, all office-bearers of the Indian Chapter of the Congress, said Ms Habib was one of the pioneer to take a stand on strong friendship between India and Pakistan. She had the great desire to attend the Punjabi conference here but she could not make to it because of illness.


Court’s nod to Sukhbir’s US visit
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 10
The special court, Ropar, today granted Mr Sukhbir Badal conditional permission to visit the USA. The conditions are that he will have to furnish a personal surety bond of Rs 10 lakh and another bond of same amount in the court. He has also been directed to return within one month or before the next date of hearing in the case, which ever was earlier.

The other conditions are that he would have to surrender his passport in court on return, would not indulge in activity that was detrimental to the investigation of the case against him and would fulfil all conditions laid for the purpose by the state and the Centre.

Mr Sukhbir Badal in an application had pleaded that he had an appointment with a doctor in the USA on June 13 with regard to certain tests. 


High Court
Rape case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 10
The High Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to a resident of Payal in Ludhiana.

In his petition, Mr Satwinder Singh, who has been booked for alleged involvement in a rape case, has sought anticipatory bail on the ground that the case is false.

After hearing his counsel, Mr Justice VK Bali granted anticipatory bail to him and also issued notice of motion for July 9.


Phones of police stations disconnected
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 10
While the Punjab government has approved computerisation of all police stations of the state Muktsar is perhaps is the only district of the state where even phones in all police stations are in working condition for several weeks. Reason: the phones were disconnected by BSNL as the police has not deposited bills for several years.

Acting General Manager BSNL Ferozepore R.K. Dabra, under whose jurisdiction Muktsar district falls was not available department sources confirmed that BSNL was to get more than Rs 4 lakh from the Muktsar police.

The sources added that several reminders had been sent to officials of the Muktsar district police before disconnecting telephones. At last, harsh decision of disconnecting phones had to be taken they said.

Telephones of the office and the residence of Deputy Superintendent of Police Malout Hargobind Singh have also been disconnected for a failure to pay the bills.

There are seven permanent police stations and one temporary police station in Muktsar district. All of them have been working without telephones a minimum requirement nowadays. They include Muktsar City, Muktsar Sadar, Malout City, Malout Sadar, Lambi, Gidderbaha and Kot Bhai police station (all permanent) and temporary police station at Bariwal.

There are five police posts in the district. No telephone was installed at three of these situated at Kabarwali and Panniwala (under the jurisdiction of Malout Sadar police station) and Bhaigira (under Lambi police station) police posts, whereas BSNL disconnected the telephones installed at Kilianwali police post under the jurisdiction of Lambi police station.

According to the data with The Tribune the payment of Rs 49470 and Rs 45548 was due from Muktsar Sadar and City police stations since October 18, 2001 and April 8, 2003 respectively.

Due to the disconnection of telephones, it is very difficult for general public to contact police officials in case of a crime, said Muktsar MLA Gurdarshan Singh Marar. Police officials should deposit the bills at the earliest so that they could be reconnected, he added.


Memo submitted to Commissioner
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 10
More than 15 councillors of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation have decried the move of the civic body to takeover the land worth crores of a local power substation at the Lawrence road.

The councillors, including the district Congress president, Mr Yoginder Dhingra, the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Sawinder Chhinna, Mr Kewal Nain Singh, Mr Ranjan Aggarwal, and Mr Avtar Singh Truckwaley, met the Municipal Commissioner, Mr K.S. Kang, today and presented a memorandum signed by 15 councillors.

The corporation would incur an expense of more than Rs 1 crore for alternate land, shifting and installation of the power station. It is alleged that the substation was deliberately being kept in poor condition to make its shifting a “necessity”, leading to easy takeover of the prime land by the corporation which could then be bought by an MLA and a coloniser.

The issue of 452 ad hoc employees was also taken up. The Commissioner recommended to set up a four-member councillors committee to make a report on the utility of these employees. The councillors also decried the grant of lease to five petrol pumps passed in the recent House agenda.


Public Health Dept posts lying vacant
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 10
Several top posts in the Public Health Department are lying vacant here.

An officer of the rank of Sub-Divisional Officer is in charge of Pathankot and Dunera water supply systems. Various panchayats have been complaining of broken pipes and have demanded streamlining of the drinking water supply system.

The SDO of Batala Subdivision, has been entrusted with additional responsibility of looking after Pathankot Sub-Division (II) while the post of his senior officiating officer has been lying vacant for some time. Given the work load, the official is not able to do justice in either case.

The Pathankot Block Samiti president, Mr Jasbir Singh, and the Land Mortagage Bank chairman, Mr Kuldip Singh said the government should immediately fill the vacant posts to revamp drinking water supply.


Housing society suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 10
Mr Kulwant Singh Dhillon, Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, has suspended the Bathinda Housing Complex Cooperative Federation Society after its members were found indulging in making financial and other bunglings. The society was managing the affairs of the housing board colony located at the Dabwali road.

Official sources said Mr Dhillon had appointed an administrator to run the affairs of the society. A committee, comprising nine members, was set up to look after sanitation, maintenance of water works and parks and security of the colony. While executing these projects, the committee could hire daily wage earners.


SDO booked for embezzling 96 lakh
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 10
The Vigilance Bureau here registered a case against Sat Pal Jindal, an SDO the Irrigation Department, posted at Ladda village near here, yesterday allegedly for embezzling Rs 96 lakh of the Department. Mr Jaspal Grewal, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Sangrur, said the SDO had been absconding since May 31 last along with the embezzled Rs 96 lakh. He further said the SDO received this amount in two to three instalments from the department for various works, including cleaning of drains.

Mr Grewal said on the complaint of Mr Sohan Lal, Executive Engineer, Irrigation Department, the Bureau had registered a case Under Section 409, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC, and 13(1) of the Revenue Act and 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Sat Pal Jindal, SDO.


Attempt to rape in Muktsar village
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 10
Two influential youths of Shirwali village under Muktsar Sadar police station allegedly made an attempt to rape an under-privileged girl of the same village on Tuesday night.

The parents of the girl, Mr Arjun Singh and Mrs Dhan Kaur, were reportedly injured by the accused with sharp-edged weapons when they tried to save their daughter. Mr Arjun Singh told TNS here yesterday that they were sitting in their house yesterday when some stray animals entered their fields. His daughter went to the fields to chase away the animals but the two youths, who were hiding there, caught her, he added.

Mr Arjun Singh said that both accused started tearing his daughter’s clothes and she started crying for help. Hearing the noise, he along with his wife came out of their house but both the accused attacked them with sharp-edged weapons and fled after injuring them. Later, some neighbours gathered there and took them to the Muktsar Civil Hospital. The parents of the girl received serious injuries on their heads, arms and other parts of the body.

The victims alleged that an influential person of the village panchayat reached the hospital yesterday and put pressure on them, asking them not to register any case in this regard. Till yesterday afternoon, no police personnel came to the hospital to get their statements recorded following which, they, along with some other villagers, met the ADC (General), Mr A.S. Bhatti, in his office who assured them of justice in the case.


Son kills father for money
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 10
A son killed his father with a rod following an altercation over money in Margralla village falling under Dinanagar police yesterday. The accused is absconding.

According to Dinanagar SHO Tilak Raj, Gurdev Singh (22) killed his father, Mr Beant Singh (55) in a quarrel when he refused to give him money. Mr Beant Singh had reportedly sold his land and his son wanted money out of sale proceeds.


Patwari held for graft
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 10
Mr Jagdish Singh, a patwari posted in Bariwala area of this district, was caught the Vigilance Bureau today while he was allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 1500 from Mr Jand Singh, of Ferozepore district, for supplying him a copy of record of his piece of land in this district.

Mr Raminder Singh, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, told The Tribune out that the accused had been demanding bribe from Mr Jand Singh for supplying him copy of “Jama Bandi”. The deal was struck for Rs 1500.

Today, the accused gave a copy of “Jama Bandi” to the complainant after accepting a bribe of Rs 1500 from him. Two employees of the government accompanied the Vigilance Bureau as witnesses.


Gang of thieves busted

Kapurthala, June 10
The Punjab police yesterday busted an inter-district gang of thieves involved in more than two dozen cases of burglaries in Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts with the arrest of its four members, including a woman.

The police recovered a motor cycle, a spring knife, an iron rod, five television sets, five CD players, four ceiling fans, some gold ornaments and a cooler fan.

In a press note here, SSP S.K. Asthana identified the arrested accused as Paramjit Singh Pamma of village Khojewal in Kapurthala, Nandi of village Sheikhupur, Yashpal of Basti Bawa Khel in Jalandhar and Shallu Sharma of village Sheikhupur.

The SSP said that on getting secret information, a police party raided the old bridge near Dhilwan on Tuesday and arrested them as they were planning to commit a burglary in the area.

On the preliminary interrogation, they confessed to have stolen cash of Rs 15000, a lap-top computer and three motor cycles. — PTI


3 more held in fake dollar racket
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 10
The Dehlon police has arrested three more members of a gang involved in printing of fake US dollars, that was busted on Sunday with the arrest of a farmer of nearby Nangal village. The police is yet to establish links between gangsters and some bank officials or some NRIs who might have promised circulation of foreign currency to persons preparing to go abroad.

Meanwhile, the granthi of local gurdwara, who had disappeared immediately after the arrest of Ranjit Singh, alias Sethi, is still untraceable.


Man ends life
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 10
Owner of a handtools manufacturing unit today committed suicide by consuming pesticide at his Focal Point factory here. According to police, the deceased identified as Surinder Singh (46) of Model Town in Phagwara was suffering tension due to recession in business. Mr Surinder Singh, owner of ABS Tools, reportedly consumed pesticide at 12.30 pm on the premises of his factory.


Poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 10
The police has found a bunker in the house of Darshan Singh, a resident of Burj Raj Garh village in this district, being used by him to store poppy husk.

Police sources said five bags containing more than 170 kg of poppy husk was seized from the bunker, which was located under the kitchen.

Though the accused managed to escape, the police impounded a truck and a scooter being used for transporting narcotics. The sources said Rs 44,500 was also recovered from the bunker. A case has been registered at the Dyalpura police station.


7 booked in land dispute cases
Our Correspondent

Lalru, June 10
Seven persons were booked for rioting in two criminal cases of land dispute in the past 24 hours.

Over a land dispute, six persons - Balkar Singh, Jagat Singh, Darbara Singh, Jawal Singh, Dyal Singh and Faquir Singh - belonging two groups of Kheri Jattan village were booked.

In a similar case, Ranvir Singh of Malikpur village was booked. He has been booked on a complaint of Mr Amar Nath of the same village.

In his complaint to the police, Mr Amar Nath has alleged that brandishing a sharp edged-weapon Ranvir Singh chased him for a long distance to assault him.


School principal held by Vigilance Bureau
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 10
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has arrested Ms Raj Kumari Mohi, Principal, Government Model Co-educational Senior Secondary School, Ladowali Road here and a former Chairman of the selection Committee (Gurdaspur) for selecting two candidates as primary teachers in alleged violation of norms.

Mr Dilbagh Singh Gill, SSP, Vigilance Bureau (Amritsar Range), said here today, that Ms Mohi allegedly misused her official position to favour two candidates, not eligible for selection.

Mr Gill added that Kuldeep Singh, who was a former Border Security Force (BSF) sepoy, had applied under Ex-Servicemen’s category, a contention which was rejected by one of the selection committee members and a representative of the Sainik Welfare Board, Gurdaspur, Mr Des Raj Sharma, on the pretext that the BSF did not fall under Ex-Servicemen category. But Ms Mohi overruled the comments of Mr Sharma to select Kuldeep Singh as primary teacher. Subsequently, Kuldeep Singh joined the service.

He further said that in another case, one serving Army personnel naib subedar Subash Chander, who did not applied under Ex-Servicemen’s category, was appointed to the post in violation of norms by misusing her official position. But, Subash Chander did not join the service since he was not relieved from his posting by the authorities, he said.

The Vigilance Bureau, probed the matter and found irregularities in the selection.

A case under Sections 420, 120 B of the IPC and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered while Ms Mohi along with Kuldeep Singh were arrested.


Chosen to design space city, students await funds for travel to USA
Jangveer Singh

Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 10
Building a colony on the moon may be the task of “Team Force”, but getting to the USA and the US space agency NASA to do so is becoming the biggest hurdle for students of this city who lack the requisite funds to travel to the USA.

Time seems to be ticking away for students with just one month left to acquire the Rs 13 lakh required for travel to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida to do research on establishment of a human settlement project on the Moon. The 18-member team includes 11 students who are below 8 years with one of them being 14, two teacher advisers and five associates.

The students have only Rs 50,000 in their kitty is being sponsored by the Budha Dal School whose students are members of the team along with students of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET). The Union Science and Technology Ministry has assured to sponsor 50 per cent of their expenditure after a meeting with minister Kapil Sibal. However, the students are still to receive this money.

The private technology players have virtually ignored the group which is the only one of its kind from India which has been selected by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics as one of the eight teams which will compete with each other to develop a multi trillion dollar human settlement project in space and the Moon. The students will be competing with seven other US-based teams for the mega space settlement design project which is proposed to be stationed in space by 2024. They bagged this honour after participating in an open competition.

Abhishek Aggarwal, a 20-year-old electronics and instrumentation engineering student at TIET who is the teacher adviser and brain behind the project along with the main guide Dr Maneek Kumar who is an Assistant Professor at Thapar, said the team had not been able to get any sponsorship from any of the technology giants or corporate houses in the country. “We approached Microsoft, Infosys and Sahara India but were not offered any help. The authorities at Reliance India did not even pay any attention to our proposal”, he added.

The group has not been able to secure funding from either the Punjab Government or private institutions in the state. Abhishek says the group tried to contact the Punjab Chief Minister but could not get across to him. “Now we are looking for outside sponsors so that we can participate in the unique programme”. Budha Dal Principal Dr Amrit Aujla said the school management had opened a special account in the school to raise money for the team which had been name “Team Force” as everyone wanted the children to avail of the unique opportunity.

The students themselves, many of who come from middle class backgrounds, say it would be difficult for their parents to cough up the Rs 80,000 needed per team member. A student-Abhishek Bareja said: “We have been working on this project for more than three months now and want to experience working with real time engineers in the USA. I find it disheartening that companies who have a multi crore advertisement budge are not willing to give us Rs 13 lakh to represent the country”.


PAU signs MoU with Russian varsities
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 10
Punjab Agricultural University has signed a memorandum of understanding with two Russian universities for exchange of students, faculty and technology in the field of agro-engineering and environmental engineering based in Moscow. The Russian universities are Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering and Moscow State Agro-Engineering University.

The MoU was signed by the Vice-Chancellor of PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, who led a three-member delegation to Moscow in connection with the sixth international congress on water and soil management which was held from June 1 to 6.

According to Dr Aulakh, under the MoU with the Moscow State Agro-Engineering University, both the universities had agreed to cooperate in the areas of curricula development and improvement, distance education and agri-business.

Dr Aulakh told this reporter yesterday that they would have research on farm power, machinery and implements, alternative sources of energy and information technology. Besides, there would be an exchange programme for faculty students, academic information and development of joint training and research projects.

As regards the MoU with Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering, the Vice-Chancellor said they would have research on natural resource management, water resources and hydraulic engineering and ecology and environmental protection.

The cooperation between the three universities will be for five years. The first batch of 10 students will arrive at Punjab Agricultural University in January for a months practical training. A batch of five students from PAU will then visit Russia.

Besides, Dr Aulakh, the two scientists of the PAU namely Dr S.K. Sondhi and Dr K.S. Dhillon participated in the international congress on soil, water management and environment and presented their papers.

Dr Aulakh said they also met the Indian Ambassador to Russia who told them that Russia had vast land which could be purchased or given on lease for development of agriculture and dairying. He was of the view that Punjab farmers could make use of this facility and get some land on lease for dairy farming and agriculture.


DEO to function on Saturday, Sunday
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 10
The Education Department has announced a simplified policy of transfers to avoid unnecessary harassment to teachers. The department has authorised the respective District Education Officers (DEOs) to order all transfers in their districts.

Talking to The Tribune Mr Daya Singh DEO (S) said applications for transfers would be accepted up to June 14 and for the convenience of the aspirant teachers the DEO office would also function on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., only applications for transfers would be accepted on both these days and no other work would be done.

He said only those transfer applications recommended by the head of the institution concerned would be accepted. He said all transfers would be effected as per rule and of genuine cases.

According to sources DEOs have been directed to complete the transfer process up to June 22, the DPI would finalise the transfers by July 2.


PTU likely to hike BBA fees
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 10
Punjab Technical University is likely to enhance its fee for students taking admission to BBA and BCA courses in all its affiliated colleges from this session.

A four-member subcommittee formed by the university during the academic council meeting held last week has taken a decision in this regard. Keeping in view the economic viability of the course, the members of the subcommittee have proposed that the fee be increased by nearly 18 per cent.

The panel included Dr K.N.S. Kang of the Punjab College of Technical Education at Baddowal; Dr A.S. Bansal of the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology, Ludhiana; Dr M.S. Sikri of the Khalsa Institute of Management and Technology, Ludhiana; and Mr A.S. Grewal of Guru Teg Bahadur Institute, Dakha. The members have decided that the existing fee structure of Rs 17,700 per annum be increased by Rs 3,250.

The members said the fee increase was minimal and justifiable as it was in accordance with the increasing cost of maintenance. They said the idea should not face much opposition from the newcomers, as any student who was ready to pay Rs 17,700 should also be able to pay Rs 20,900.

Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, confirmed that the subcommittee had proposed the idea. He, however, added that the proposal would be put forth by members in the next academic council meeting to be held on July 23. He said the recommendations made by the council would then be placed before the Board of Governors who would meet two weeks after the council meeting.

Directors of the colleges said that ever since the year 1997 when the university had started BBA and BCA, there had been no fee hike. Instead, the fee had been slashed twice, they said. In the first year, the annual fee was Rs 27,000 for paid seats and Rs 17,000 for free seats.

Two years later, when the university abolished the system of paid seats, the fee of all its undergraduate students was put at Rs 23,000. Later when Dr H.S. Gurm became the Vice-Chancellor, the authorities felt that they could get a better response in their affiliated colleges if the fee structure of the university was reduced to Rs 17,700. Dr Gurm passed a notification in this regard and since then the fee structure had remained the same.


Khalsa College fine case: notice to trust
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 10
The Divisional Commissioner, Jalandhar issued notice to the Improvement Trust here, in a case of Rs 10 crore fine imposed on the Khalsa College Governing Council for delaying the completion of College of Information Technology and Engineering.

The college council had petitioned to the Divisional Commissioner after the Local Bodies Department rejected its plea for the remission of fine.

The notice calls for records and the representation of the case by the Trust authorities on July 6 .

Mr Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhinna, honorary secretary, Khalsa College Governing Council, said the trust had not acquired the land when it was sold to them. So the construction that was agreed to be completed by 1991 was delayed.

Ms Ratna, chairperson of the Improvement Trust, admitted that the Trust had received the notice.

The fine became four times the amount for which the land was purchased.

The trust refused to issue no-objection certificate to the incomplete structure leading to two year’s delay to start the courses here. The Local Bodies Department rejected the plea of the college council in March this year.


5 teachers shifted from Lattour school
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 10
The Education Department has ordered the transfer of five teachers of Elementary School Lattour after getting the inquiry report of DEO (S). Three of the teachers Jagdev Kaur DPI, Mohinder Kaur Hindi teacher and Mohan Singh SS teacher have been transferred to Mansa district, whereas the Headmistress, Ms Arvinder Kaur has been sent to Ajner a remote areas of the district and clerk Amarjeet Singh to Sangatpur Sodian. The DPI (S) issued orders in this regard today, which were implemented.

The village panchayat of Lattour has locked the school gate and students have also joined hands with the panchayat and started agitation against the staff and head of the school because of groupism between the head of the school and the science teacher, fighting, manhandling and scuffling among the staff had become a daily affair. All efforts by the police, village panchayat and officials of the Education Department failed to sort out the difference.

Mr Daya Singh DEO(S) said the department had taken this incident seriously and after conducting a thorough probe action was recommended to the department and the department had ordered the transfers.


College principal transferred
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 10
The DAV College Management , Delhi, today transferred Mr M.L. Aeri, Principal of the local DAV College, to take charge of the Jalandhar college with immediate effect.

According to a press release issued here today, Mr Aeri, with 19 years of teaching experience, joined the college here in 1997 and was instrumental in adding modern infrastructure.


BA, B.Sc (I) results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 10
The results of the BA/B.Sc (I) and BCA (I) examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April will be declared tomorrow.

Stating this, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said that the results would also be available on the university website (www.gnduonline.org) after 5 p.m. on the same day.


Expansion of mobile network on the anvil
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 10
The local BSNL authorities will make operational 10 new base trans-received stations by June-end to expand the capacity of the mobile network from 23,000 mobile phone connections to 34,000 connections in Sangrur district.

This was stated by Mr Labh Singh, General Manager, BSNL, Sangrur, while addressing an open house session organised by the BSNL, at the local Ranbir Club yesterday.

Mr Labh Singh further told the house that these 10 new stations would be set up at Barnala, Mehal Kalan, Bhadaur, Dhanaula, Tapa, Bhawanigarh, Longowal, Malerkotla, Amargarh and Shergarh Cheema.

The GM also informed the gathering that BSNL had fixed a target of 9600 WLL connections in this district by the end of current financial year. He also stated that BSNL had also made arrangements to print the telephone directory of Sangrur district for the next five years and the next supplementary directory of Sangrur district was likely to be made available by the end this year.

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