P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PTL disinvestment: Oppn stages walkout
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
In an anti-climax to the discussion on the question of value of shares of Punjab Tractors Ltd (PTL) at the time of its disinvestment by the Punjab State industrial development corporation (PSIDC) in July, 2003, Akali MLAs today made crisp presentations and demanded a CBI inquiry, saying that it was a major “scandal”. Both SAD-BJP members later walked out of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha without waiting for Finance Minister Lal Singh to complete his reply.

The minister rejected the demand for a CBI probe saying that the deal was transparent done to save the PSIDC from liquidation. Mr Lal Singh said PTL was not a government undertaking but a private company and the PSIDC had sold its entire share stake of 23.49 per cent.

The provocation for the walkout came when Speaker Kewal Krishan had sought the opinion of the House to extend the time for concluding the discussion. This was objected to by BJP MLA Tikshan Sud, who demanded “re-opening” of the entire issue as the allotted 30 minutes time was over and the minister had not concluded his reply. “The time has been consumed by the Minister’s colleague, Mr Surinder Singla. Why should the House sit for longer period? Our party has sacrificed speaking on the subject due to the limited time allotted’’. This was followed by a walkout and shouting of slogans against disinvestment.

The Speaker had on Thursday allowed half-an-hour today discussion on the question put by Mr Manpreet Singh Badal.

Giving an emotional tinge to his presentation, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said the loss of profit-making PTL was like “losing a child”. He disclosed there were buyers during his tenure as the Chief Minister but since the government had no intention to disinvest, all offers were rejected out of hand. “It was like selling the proverbial hen that laid the golden eggs”. Turning to the Speaker, he said: “Mamla garbar hai. Have it probed by the CBI”.

Mr Surinder Singla, who tried to rebut the allegations of the Badals point-by-point, was eventually asked by the Speaker to resume his seat as he was going off the tangent and time was running out. He tried to defend the selloff, saying that such a step was stipulated in the PSIDC Act. “We have only followed the NDA model on disinvestment”. He held the SAD-BJP Government responsible for ruining the “blue-chip” company and bringing down the its share value from Rs 1,500 to Rs 150. Even the Disinvestment Commission was set by Mr Badal.


Discussion resumes on Governor’s Address
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
There were no sparks in the resumed discussion on the Governor’s address in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today. Most members confined themselves to the problems and needs of their constituencies. While Congress MLAs praised the achievements of their government, the opposition tried to bare the faults.

The discussion was initiated by Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundar. Among others who spoke was Mr Jasbir Singh Gill, alias Dimpa, Capt. Gurdip Singh Baath, Mr Jugal Kishore, Mr Des Raj Dhugga, and Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike.

Opposition MLAs referred to certain crucial issues like the neglect of education, health delivery system, lack of infrastructure in the border areas, need for diversification of agriculture, industrialization etc. They regretted that nothing had been done to improve the condition of roads. Some members chided the government for pursuing a vacuous anti-corruption drive while corruption was rampant at the cutting-edge of the administration at present.

One speaker said the Chief Minister and other ministers should be present in the House to take cognizance of the issues raised.

The speakers also pointed out that some ministers in their replies often tended to justify their own wrong acts or decisions.

One member spoke on the need for checking proliferation of population, while another said the House must help members regain their lost respect in society. “Our respectability and acceptability is diminishing with each passing day”.

Another member said though the House was occasionally referred to as “pavittar sadan’’ (holy House) by one and all some of the utterances and acts or manner in which members called each other names and levelled allegations only showed that ‘’all 117 of us sitting here are thieves”.

During zero hour, Mr Parkash Singh Badal stood up to speak on the “bloodbath” in the Jalandhar jail, where inmates had clashed resulting in serious injuries to many. He said the media reports had pointed to the sale of intoxicants like smack, opium and “bhang” in the jail, which was a serious development.

Just then the Speaker asked him to resume his seat and raise the issue later. Mr Badal turned to the Speaker and said: “You are in the habit of snubbing members. I am the Leader of the Opposition and I have raised an important issue. Why can I not speak for even two minutes in zero hour”?

Speaker Kewal Krishan denied that he had ever snubbed any member.

Akali MLA Upinderjit Kaur submitted a calling-attention motion to draw the attention of the government towards the damage done due to a change in the Beas course in Kapurthala, resulting in the erosion of fertile agricultural land in Baghuwal.

The Minister for Irrigation, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, confirmed damage in nearly 100 acres due to a change in the Beas course. It had also caused some damage to protection works like spurs and studs.


No decision yet on police dists: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, said today there was no final decision yet to retain or otherwise the six police districts in Punjab.

This was stated in reply to a question by Mr Bhag Singh in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Capt. Amarinder Singh gave this reply when he was asked if there was any proposal to shift “sadar” and “city” police stations out of the congested residential area in Jagraon, one of the six police districts. The other five police districts are Batala, Majitha, Tarn Taran, Khanna and Batala.


About time-bound promotional scales to employees of the state government, Finance Minister Mr Lal Singh told Mr Raj Kumar Gupta that this would be considered as and when the financial position of the state improved. Mr Gupta had asked if the proposal to implement the 4-9-14 years time-scale policy was under consideration.


The Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, told the House there was no proposal to privatise ITIs in the state.

The Minister for Social Security, Women and Child Development, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, said no pensions were disbursed in 2004-05 as no funds were available.


Ms Aruna Chaudhary wanted to know from Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal the criteria for distribution of funds under various schemes to the panchayati raj institutions she went on to allege that there was discrimination and ad-hocism in disbursement of funds despite the existence of district planning and development boards.

Ms Bhattal stood her ground and said members should attend meetings of the district boards and ensure that they got the requisite funds. She denied discrimination. The member, however, insisted that meetings of the district boards were seldom held and their decisions were manipulated later.


The Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Mr R.C. Dogra, said in reply to a question by Ms Aruna Chaudhary that there were 820 vacancies of doctor in the state. Sangrur headed the list with 128 vacancies, followed by Gurdaspur (106) and Ferozepore (104).


The Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, told Mr Manpreet Singh Badal that he had Mr B.I.S. Chahal as his Media Adviser, who was allowed all perks as admissible to others. He was in the rank of Minister of State and received a lumpsum salary of Rs 35,000 per month. He added that he had four Officers On Special Duty, each getting Rs 8,000 per month. There were two Political Secretaries, one of whom was a non-MLA, who too was paid Rs 8,000 per month.

The Chief Minister said that Mr Y.S. Rajan was no longer an Adviser while the one on Irrigation had resigned.


Canal water supply slashed in Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
With the canal water crisis in Punjab turning grave, the supply of water in various canals in the state has been slashed.

The water crisis has been caused by the low level of water in various reservoirs like Gobind Sagar, a major source for the canal network. This has affected the transplantation of paddy in a big way in certain parts of the state.

The Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) has called a meeting of top officers on June 21 to discuss the situation.

Besides the water crisis, power supply to the state from the Bhakra and other dams has also been affected.

The Union Power Minister has diverted to Punjab power from the Madhya Pradesh quota in the national grid to cope up with the crises. The water and power crises have hit the state when paddy transplantation is at its peak. Though the water level has marginally gone up at the Bhakra dam in the past three days, it is not enough to improve the supply of water to the canal network in the countryside.

Sources told The Tribune that about 6,200 cusecs is flowing at present in the Sirhind canal system, the lifeline for a major part of the Malwa belt, compared to 12400 cusecs during the corresponding period last year. The Sirhind canal system has its offshoots in the Abohar, Bathinda, Sidhwan and Mansa areas. This system also indirectly feeds the Jalandhar and Kapurthala areas of the Doaba region.

The situation is slightly better in the Majha region where the Upper Bari Doaba Canal system caters to the irrigation needs of Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts. During the summer days, 7150 cusecs of water is usually released from the Thein dam in this system but it is 4700 cusecs now. The border belt of Ferozepore, which has been getting water from the Harike headworks, is now receiving 5700 cusecs only compared to last year’s figure of 9,300 cusecs.

The water level at the Bhakra dam today was 1476 feet, about 108 feet less than that last year on this day. The same is the situation at the Thein and Pong dams. The level of water in Gobind Sagar had in fact come down to 1464 feet. And at 1462 feet, the generation of power at Bhakra is stopped.

The authorities concerned say that if the monsoon is delayed in the region even by a few days, the water and power crises would aggravate.


Hanspal sets up panel on SYL canal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
PPCC H.S. Hanspal set up a six-member committee to suggest legal, political and administrative measures to resolve the SYL canal tangle.

The members of the committee are Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Irrigation Minister; Rana K.P. Singh, Chairman, Pollution Control Board; Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA; Mr R.R. Bhardwaj, Deputy Chairman, State Planning Board; Mr Braham Mohindra, a former minister, and Mr S.P.S. Bedi, a former Chief Engineer.


DC stays execution of eight trust resolutions
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 18
The passing of eight resolutions by the local Improvement Trust authorities at its meeting held on May 28 in connection with acquiring land in and around the town for developing it into commercial and residential areas has sparked off a controversy.

The controversy regarding the passing of resolutions numbered 12 to 19 started after four members of the trust lodged a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner, alleging that these resolutions were not passed by them and the trust Chairman himself had recorded the proceedings in this regard.

However, the Chairman, Mr Jagroop Singh Gill, claimed that the resolutions were passed by all trust members at the meeting after following the procedure laid down.

Taking action on the complaint of the four trust members, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, has stayed the execution of these eight resolutions.

He has also summoned the records pertaining to the schedule of boundaries of the sites for which the resolutions had been passed.

Mr Gill alleged that vested interests were trying to present the functioning of the trust in poor light.

He said all members had seen site plans and other related documents before passing resolutions in connection with the development of some areas of the town into residential and commercial pockets.

Four trust members, Mr Sudershan Goyal, Mr Mansa Ram, Mr Chotte Lal and Mr Sham Lal, had lodged a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner, alleging that eight resolutions had been passed by Mr Gill on his own.


PCS officer moves court for bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
In less than a fortnight after a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered by the Vigilance Bureau against PCS officer Kiran Rosy, the officer has moved a court in Ropar for grant of anticipatory bail.

Taking up the petition, the court has issued notice to the state of Punjab and other respondents. The plea will now come up for further hearing before the court on Monday.

Though the contents of the bail application were not known, the officer — previously working as Deputy Director with Punjab New Mandi Township — has reportedly claimed implication in the case.

She has claimed that the authorities concerned had already conducted an inquiry into the matter and had found the allegations false. In fact, the proceedings had been twice dropped against her. The inquiry officers had found that the properties in question did not belong to her.

According to the first information report registered by Bureau's flying squad police station in Mohali, the officer had allegedly amassed assets disproportionate to her known sources of income.

A senior officer in the Vigilance Bureau, when contacted, said investigation in the matter was on, adding that the future course of action would depend on the court's decision on her pre-arrest bail plea.

It may be recalled that a petition seeking probe by an independent agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the cases against the officer is pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In his petition, city Industrialist Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal had asserted that there was "political pressure on the police as well as Vigilance authorities. One politician from a border district was exerting pressure on the previous Akali government to get the investigations hushed up".

His counsel had added that the petitioner was "fully convinced that nothing would come out in the investigation by the state police and the matter would be hushed up in due course. Hence, the petition was being filed in the Court with a prayer to order investigation of cases by the CBI".

He had further added that the officer "by using her official position and links was manipulating and interfering with the records.... Although the investigation was initiated against her, the respondents under political pressure were not taking any action".


Plea against Jagir Kaur dismissed
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, June 18
The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, Mr Rakesh Kumar, today dismissed a petition seeking the cancellation of nomination papers of former SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur, who is contesting the SGPC elections from Bholath.

Mr Verma said the allegations levelled by the petitioner were not substantiated by reliable evidence.

The Panthic Morcha candidate from Bholath, Mr Mohan Singh Bal, had filed the petition before the Deputy Commissioner, seeking the cancellation of Bibi Jagir Kaur’s candidature on the charge of committing financial irregularities during her tenure as SGPC President.


Directive to SSP against forcible marriage
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 18
In a unique case, a 22-year-old girl has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking directions to her parents not to marry her off without letting her finish her studies.

Ms Shallu Walia, a graduate from Ludhiana, has sought directions to the police to ensure her safety and not to forcibly hand her over to her parents for the purpose of marriage.

In her petition, Ms Walia has claimed that she has been a good student throughout her life and apart from a Bachelor in Arts degree is a post-graduate diploma holder in computer applications from Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Saying that while she wanted to study further, Ms Walia has claimed that her parents on the advice of her sister-in-law (bhabhi) started harassing her to force her to get married. She has stated that she was informed on June 15 that her marriage had been fixed to a man from Amritsar. The marriage was scheduled for the next day.

However, she fled her house and came to Chandigarh. At present she is staying with a woman at Mohali.

Ms Walia has also claimed that her father and sister-in-law along with some police personnel visited Mohali and asked the woman to hand over the petitioner. The woman was threatened that she would be implicated in false cases if she refused to do the same.

After hearing Charanjit Singh Bakhshi, counsel for the petitioners, the Vacation Judge, Mr Justice V.K. Bali, directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, to ensure that the girl is not married forcibly.

The Judge also directed that no case would be registered against the petitioners at the behest of the family of the girl. He also issued notice to the respondents for July 16.


Amarinder to fund US visit of space city designers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Earlier story: Chosen to design space city, students await funds for travel to USA

Patiala, June 18
The Punjab Chief Minister is finally coming to the rescue of “Team Force”, an 18-member team, including 11 students who have been selected to take part in a competition involving designing of a space city on the Moon at the Kennedy Space Centre in the United States.

The student team, which includes students from the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology and Budha Dal School, has been the only team selected from India by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics following an open competition. The team will be competing with seven other teams, all from the United States, to design a multi-trillion human settlement project on the Moon for the NASA space agency.

The team, which needed around Rs 15 lakh for the visit, including the air fare, had been running from pillar to post to get sponsors as many of the students are not in a position to pay their bills. The team had recently got an assurance from the Union Ministry’s Department of Science and Technology that 50 per cent of their air fare would be sponsored by the department.

However, as the team needs money for other incidental expenditure also it had approached multinational companies, but to no avail.

Now, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has asked Patiala Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh to prepare a report in this context so that financial assistance could be extended to the students.

Mr Tejveer Singh said following a news item in The Tribune, the Chief Minister had asked him to prepare a report in the matter. He said he had asked the Thapar Institute Registrar, Brig Paramjit Singh (retd), to submit details of the funds needed. The money was expected to be given to the students from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund or any such agency as the government did not want the students to miss a unique opportunity to represent the state and the country at such a prestigious forum, he added.

Meanwhile, “Team Force” is all agog following the new development. Dr Maneek Kumar, who is an Assistant Professor at the Thapar institute and main guide of the team, said he would be submitting his proposal to the Deputy Commissioner tomorrow. He said following the intervention of the Chief Minister, the team members had had informal discussions with Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Administrative Member Raman Bhalla so that the latter could explain their case to the government.

Dr Maneek Kumar said the Punjab Government was expected to sponsor the remaining 50 per cent of the air fare. He said the team would, however, need more money for other incidental expenditure. It would request the state government to sponsor the remaining expenditure on the visit.


BJP men stage dharna against DC
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 18
Office-bearers of various units of the BJP in the district today staged a dharna in front of the residence and office of the Deputy Commissioner and raised slogans against him in protest against his refusal to accept their memorandum, to be submitted to the President, pertaining to the removal of “tainted” ministers from the Union Cabinet.

The BJP activists lifted the dharna only after their memorandum was accepted by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. A. P. Sinha.

In the memorandum, the BJP activists urged the president to take up the matter of the removal of ministers facing criminal cases with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.


Jail to seek shifting of inmates

Jalandhar, June 18
After the bloody clash which took place in the Central Jail here on Wednesday night, the jail authorities a considering to shift the notorious inmates to some other jails in the state.

“To avoid any further disturbance on the jail premises, we would seek sanction from the authorities concerned to shift some of the notorious inmates to some other jail of the state,” Nirmal Chand, Jail Superintendent told PTI here today.

Ruling out the cause of the clash to be the supply of low-quality smack, as published in a section of media, Mr Chand maintained that the clash was started by inmate Malkiat Singh Titoo, who was denied to be shifted to the Civil Hospital by the jail doctor. Getting irritated at this, he threatened the jail inmates with dire consequences if they accepted food.

Ignoring Titoo’s threat, some inmates took their dinner, and in frustration, the former attacked them along with his accomplices, he revealed.

Expressing his inability to control such kinds of brawl, Mr Chand said overcrowding of the jail premises was a major reason for brawls among inmates. as against the capacity of 525 inmates, 1,211 undertrials and convicts are lodged in the Central Jail. We have a staff strength of only 147, which performs duties by rotation, he said.

In barrack no. three, where the clashes began, 186 inmates were lodged against the capacity of less than 100, he revealed, claiming that same kind of situation was existing in all jails of the state. — PTI


Nation forgets its martyrs sooner than expected
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
A few months ago, the Punjab Government had spent about Rs 80,000 on a campaign to attract donations for the depleted Punjab War Heroes Family Relief Fund, out of which grants are paid to the next of kin of the soldiers killed in action. But the campaign could generate as meagre an amount as Rs 8,000.

It has taken less than five years for the patriotic fervour generated during the 1999 Kargil conflict to fizzle out and the nation to forget its war dead. So much so, that the funds set up from donations that poured in at that time from the public, have exhausted, with the list of martyrs' dependents awaiting relief, growing by the day.

It was exactly during these months five years ago that Indian soldiers fought pitched battles in inhospitable terrain at dizzy heights to evict the Pakistan-backed intruders in the Kargil Sector. Now nobody seems to be interested in the gallantry and sacrifices of the soldiers. Over 200 cases are reportedly pending in Punjab alone.

For months the Punjab Government has been struggling to find money not only to dole out the promised monetary relief, but also to execute some other welfare schemes for ex-servicemen.

"The fund was set up from donations received during the Kargil conflict and its immediate aftermath, when emotions were running high," a state government officer said.

"Now everything seems to have been forgotten and just no help is coming forth from the public," he added.

During the Kargil conflict and the subsequent counter-insurgency operations, about 450 soldiers hailing from the state had lost their lives. Sources confirm that in about 50 per cent of the cases, the grant of Rs 5 lakh in lieu of land to the next of kin is pending. This grant was being paid out of the war heroes fund. According to sources, over Rs 15 crore is required to clear the backlog.

Punjab pays an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of a soldier belonging to the state killed in action. In addition, it pays Rs 5 lakh as compensation in lieu of land, and in some cases, another Rs 2 lakh where the economic condition of the affected family is not good.

Officials said that the state government was paying Rs 2 lakh ex gratia, but not the other grants. Only the payment for ex gratia is met from the state government budget and here a couple of "recent" cases are reported to be pending.

Punjab, considered to be the sword arm of the nation, had the highest number of casualties during Operation Vijay and even the number of post-Kargil casualties has been quite high. It has always been in the forefront of giving relief to families of martyrs as well as giving recognition to gallantry award winners.

The neighbouring state of Haryana too had substantially hiked grants to the next of kin of 1999 martyrs, but later citing poor fiscal condition of the state had reversed the hike.

"The Chief Minister has been appraised of the situation and the Punjab Government has assured us that some money would be given," Director Sainik Welfare Punjab, Brig J S Jaswal (Retd), said.

"The sacrifices being made by jawans now are in no way less that those made during Kargil. So why people are no longer coming forward," he questioned?


Pak boys in jail seek freedom

Faridkot, June 18
Lamenting that their government is “not taking them back”, three teenaged Pakistani boys, languishing in a juvenile jail here for the past about two years, have urged the Union Government to free them so that they can earn their livelihood in India till the time their government is prepared to take them back.

While five of their friends, along with whom they claim to have accidentally crossed the border, have been freed and have gone back to Pakistan, the trio — Altaf Shah, Naseer Ali and Asif Ali — are hoping they will also be able to meet their family.

Narrating their tale of woes today, the three boys said they had written several letters to their families, but had not received any reply.

“We want to go back home at the earliest. If that is not possible, then the Indian Government should release us and give us some work,” they said.

Meanwhile, Faridkot Deputy Commissioner Hussan Lal said all relevant documents regarding the repatriation of the trio had been forwarded to the Pakistani High Commission several months ago. “The ball is lying in their court now and they are to decide,” he said. — PTI


Youth Congress vents ire on ‘Girlfriend’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 18
After radical organisations,, it is the turn of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress to come down on the film “Girlfriend”. In a press note issued here today, the senior secretary of the party, Mr Narinder Teenu, along with other members, criticised the film for portraying lesbianism.

Earlier, several organisations threatened to resort to violent agitations if the film was screened in any of the cinema halls of the city. Representatives of the organisation, including the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, Hindu Suraksha Samiti, Shiv Sena, Arya Samaj Sangh, Giri Raj Seva Sangh, Laxmi Narayan Yuvak Seva Dal and the Ramayana Parchar Parishad, jointly met the district administration to demand a ban on the film. They also demanded the removal of all posters of the film.


Arrest accused, demand Tapriwas
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 18
A delegation of 80 senior members of the All-India Tapriwas and Vimukti Jatis led by Mr Nacchhatar Singh Mahala, senior vice-president, Punjab unit, met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in Chandigarh yesterday and demanded arrest of Ravinder Singh Bedi, an employee of the District Public Health Department, Faridkot. Bedi had allegedly raped a woman on April 18.

The delegation alleged that in spite of registering a case under Sections 376, 452 and 506 of the IPC against the accused on April 28, the police failed to arrest the accused.

It also highlighted three intrusion incidents in the Postgraduate interns girls hostel, nursing hostel and girls hostel in the local Government Medical College during the past three months.

The delegation also brought the matter to the notice of Mr Naranjan Singh, Chairman, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes Welfare Commission cell, and Mr Satish Chandra, Secretary, Medical Education and Research.


Three calves electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 18
Three stray male calves were electrocuted early this morning on the Police Colony premises, adjoining the police division Number 2.

The three calves were electrocuted at around 6 am as they reportedly touched the joint box, holding power meters of different houses in the colony. The PSEB authorities have, however, ruled out the possibility of electrocution of the animals, saying the low voltage current could not have led to the death of the animals.

Meanwhile, residents of the colony raised slogans against the PSEB authorities and alleged that their repeated warnings about the possibility of any mishap due to the position of the joint box were ignored. They maintained that they had cautioned the PSEB authorities against clubbing so many power meters in a single box, but no heed was paid to their suggestion.

Dr Ravi, a social worker and head of the Helpline, a city-based NGO, alleged that no animal rights activist or representative of any organisation reached the place even hours after the incident. He questioned the role of such organisations if they could not provide relief to such animals in time. For what purpose they use government grants if they cannot help in such situation? questioned Dr Ravi.


BJP protest on ‘tainted’ ministers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 18
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Mr Satwant Singh Punia, district president of the party, today held a protest march from the local BJP office to the office of the Deputy Commissioner here, demanding the removal of six “tainted” ministers in the government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh.

The protesters raised slogans against the “tainted” ministers. They also held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

A deputation of BJP leaders submitted a memorandum to Additional Deputy Commissioner N.S. Walia to be forwarded to the President seeking the removal of the “tainted” ministers.


14 fresh cases of gastroenteritis
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 18
Fourteen fresh gastroenteritis cases have been reported in the local Civil Hospital during the past 24 hours.

According to hospital sources, of the 24 gastroenteritis patients, who were already under treatment in the hospital, 13 were discharged today.

Meanwhile, the district health authorities today held a meeting of senior medical officers of the local civil and ESI hospitals, programme officers and medical officers of all urban dispensaries in the district. Eight teams comprising medical officers have been constituted, which will go from door to door to detect gastroenteritis cases. The teams will distribute chlorine tablets and educate people regarding preventive measures.


Convict dies in hospital

Jalandhar, June 18
Gurmit Singh Mita (47), who was serving a life term in Central Jail here, today died in the Civil Hospital, where he was admitted on the complaint of dysentery recently.

Mita, who was booked in several cases related with acts of terrorism and convicted in a murder case, was not keeping well and complained of severe dysentery. He was admitted to the hospital on June 15. Jail Superintendent Nirmal Chand said that Mita’s condition deteriorated late last night and he expired early in the morning.

Mita was an activist of the Bhindranwale Tiger Force Khalistan and was also involved in several other cases.

Relatives of the deceased have been informed, so that body could be handed over for cremation, Mr Chand added. — PTI


Factory worker found dead
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 18
Dilbahadur, an employee of Nirmal Rubber factory at Badh Majra, was found dead in his room today.

Dilbahadur (30) lived alone in the room within the factory premises. According to the police, those in the factory said Dilbahadur was a Nepali and was suffering from asthma. He had complained of breathlessness this morning and had gone to his room to take medicines. After which he was found dead by other employees.


Farmers bribing PSEB staff for more power
Tribune News Service

Malout (Muktsar), June 18
With no irrigation water being released in the rajbahas (mini-canals) of the sub division for the past over one month and electricity being supplied only for about two hours a day, employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board posted at the Aulakh sub station have allegedly started taking bribe from farmers on the promise of providing them electricity for about 10 hours a day.

The PSEB Executive Engineer, Malout, Mr Massa Singh, said it had also come to his notice that some board employees were taking bribe from farmers.

He stated that he had asked The Junior Engineer concerned to probe the matter and verify the involvement of employees. He also appealed to the farmers not to give money as bribe to any board employee and assured them that electricity would be provided to all villages.

Most of the farmers of the areas falling under the ambit of the Aulakh sub station have already given some PSEB employees Rs 250 to Rs 400 per motor for the purpose. Some farmers admitted that they had given money for adequate power supply to a prominent villager, who further gave it to PSEB employees.

Sources said the bribe money had reportedly been collected from most of the farmers of the villages of Tamkot, Ramnagar Sokian, Jhurar, Khane Ki Dhab, Aulakh, Wadian, Bhunder and Karniwal.

The sources said instead of taking bribe directly, PSEB employees took the help of one or two prominent residents of each village, who gave them money after collecting it from the farmers. About Rs 1 lakh have been collected and given to the employees so far.

Meanwhile, Mr Massa Singh appealed to the farmers to identify the PSEB employees who had asked them to give bribe. He said stern action would be taken against the guilty employees.


Transport workers resent delay in supply of buses
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 18
Protesting against the delay in the launching of a fleet of 400 buses and “ignoring” of their “genuine” demands, the Punjab Government Transport Workers Union has decided to burn the effigy of the Director, State Transport, in all 18 depots of Punjab Roadways on June 30. The union will also hold gate rallies in all depots on June 25.

Addressing a meeting of the union here today the general secretary of the union, Mr Gurmail Singh, said that a majority of the Punjab Roadways buses were in a poor condition due to which drivers and passengers had to face a lot of inconvenience. He said the Punjab Government had, on February 27, announced that a fleet of 400 new buses would replace old buses, but till date nothing had been done.

A resolution was also passed at the meeting in which the union members demanded immediate action against the buses plying without route permits in the state.


Trader arrested for evading sales tax
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 18
A local iron trader, Mr Bhagwan Dass Singla, was arrested yesterday by the Sales Tax Department authorities after he failed to fulfill his sales tax liabilities.

Official sources said that Mr Singla, who was running firm M/s Singla Enterprises, was arrested under the Land Revenue Act for not paying sales tax due against him in the shape of arrears of land revenue.

Mr Singla was sent to the local Central Jail for 10 days.

Mr Sikri, Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO), who acted as Assistant Collector in this case, when contacted, said that Mr Singla was to pay Rs 1.49 crore as sales tax and penalty to the department from 1999 to 2002.

According to information, the registration certificate issued to M/s Singla Enterprises by the Sales Tax Department was cancelled in 2002 when he repeatedly failed to meet his tax liabilities.

Meanwhile, Mr Sikri has moved an application to extend the period of the custody of Mr Singla from 10 days to 30 in the local Central Jail to Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner.


Editor held for threatening trader
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 18
Mohan Krishan Nagpal, Editor, Dainik Pilot, a Hindi daily being published from this city, was arrested today for his alleged involvement threatening a trader.

In a press note here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said Nagpal along with his associate allegedly demanded Rs 15,000 from Mr Mahinder Kumar, president, Arhtiya Association, Vegetable Market, Bathinda. When Mr Kumar refused to give him the money Nagpal threatened him.

The SSP said on the complaint of Mr Kumar, a case was registered against Nagpal and his associates under Sections 384 and 34 of the IPC.

In another case, Ramesh Kumar was arrested for selling diesel without permit. He was booked under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act.


Robbers’ gang busted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 18
The district police today claimed to have busted a nine-member gang of robbers with the arrest of four members.

Those arrested are Gopal Singh and Rajan Singh of Kushinagar district in UP, Ramesh Kumar of Allahabad and Jaspal Singh of Sidham Jamita village in Gurdaspur. Five members of the gang, according to the SSP, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, however, managed to escape. They have been identified as Rakesh Kumar, Dinesh Bihari, Deepak, Braham Dev and Rajesh.

He said a double barrelled gun, a country-made pistol, a Tata 407, two bicycles and two colour TVs were recovered from their possession. The police claimed to have solved four cases of robberies with their arrest.


Arts students' pass percentage goes up
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 18
Showing improvement in the performance of Class XII examinations, 68.02 per cent of the Arts students of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) here who appeared for the Board's Senior Secondary Examination this year have passed. Last year, the Board had registered a pass percentage of 60.50 per cent.

According to the Board's secretary, the Class XII Humanities and Vocational streams merit list will be released tomorrow. But the complete result gazettes will be available for the public at the Board's text book sales depots in district headquarters from 5pm onwards on June 20. The school Principals or their authorised representatives can collect the result cuttings of their respective institutions from these depots.

A total of 191566 candidates had appeared in the examination this year out of which 130306 have passed. While 78.88 per cent of the regular candidates passed the exam, only 41.33 per cent of those who appeared as private candidates have passed.

Last year, 68.81 per cent of the regular candidates had passed the examination and 44.39 per cent of the private candidates had passed. The number of students who took the examination this year is almost 20000 more than last year.

The results will be available on the internet at midnight between June 20 and June 21 at websites www.indiaresult.com, www.schoolnetindia.com and www.ilfsets.com. In case a candidate's roll number is not known, the name can be entered with the name of the parents on the result web page to access the result. Individual schools can also view the complete result of their school by entering the school code on the websites.

Besides these, the result will be available on R-world of Reliance India Mobile and SMS of Spice, Airtel and BSNL. Mobile users, to view the result, will have to type SH for humanities and SV for vocational stream and type their roll number after a space. The SMS will be send at 1012 for Spice, 234 for Airtel and 333 for BSNL.

The results will also be available through automated result enquiry system on telephone number 1250112, dialed locally from Ludhiana and from all other places in Punjab, dialled after prefixing the Ludhiana code 0161. The results will be available on the system for a week after the declaration of the result.


MoU with US varsity on Punjabi course
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 18
Guru Nanak Dev University has signed an MoU with Berkeley University, USA, to start a graduate-level integrated Punjabi course for students of the US university.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said that initially the course would enroll 15 students of Berkeley University. He said the university would arrange the faculty and research exchange programme.

In the first semester of four weeks of this course, the GND varsity faculty besides teaching would impart training in Punjabi language, culture, history, religion and folklore etc. The first batch of the course would commence in October. The fee structure of the course would be five times the normal fee.

Dr Singh said the university would promote Punjabi language, literature and culture at global level.

The Vice-Chancellor said the university had also signed MoUs with various national and international universities on various academic exchange programme.

The varsity would introduce evening courses like bio-informatics under the Biotechnology Department, Cyber Ethics under the Law Department, ‘Gurmat Sangeet’ under the Music Department, Folklore Studies under the Punjabi Department, short-time computer courses under the Computer Science Department, the Vice-Chancellor added.


Patiala lad gets 37th rank in IIT-JEE
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 18
Local boy Sanjam Garg made the city proud by achieving 37th rank in IIT- Joint Entrance Examination held earlier this year.

His parents are doctors and her sister Neetika Garg is doing MBBS at AIIMS, Delhi. Giving credit of his success to his parents and teachers, Sanjam says that faith in God and focused approach and concentrated efforts is the key to success. He is looking forward to be a software engineer and contribute in the development of the nation.


Pallavi tops among girls in JET
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 18
Pallavi Gupta has made the city proud by achieving first rank in Punjab among girls in JET held earlier this year.

Her father Bagwan Das Gupta is a TV anchor. Giving credit of her success to her parents and teachers Pallavi says that hard work is the only key to success.


Plea to fill posts
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 18
The Democratic Teachers Front has taken a serious note of vacant posts of Block Elementary Education Officer in the district and has demanded that these posts be filled.

Mr Amarjit Singh Bhalla and Mr Inder Singh Mann, leaders of the front, said yesterday that all 27 posts were lying vacant.

Mr Yash Pal Mehra, District Education Officer (DEO), Amritsar, confirmed that all 27 posts were lying vacant. Besides, the DEO said 1,350 posts of JBT/ETT, 386 posts of Head Teacher and 93 posts of Centre Head Teacher were lying vacant in the district.

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