P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



UN takes up turban issue with French govt
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 1
In a significant development, the United Nations has taken up the issue of banning turban by the Government of France, imposed on schoolchildren by enacting the school scarf ban law.

The issue was reported to the United Nation by the Sikh Nation Organisation (SNO), led by Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa.

In a communication to the SNO, Maria Francisca lzecharrin, Chief Support Services branch of the UN, said a copy of the representation made by the Sikh organisation had been sent to the French authorities. The communication reads that the “summary of the case will be confidentially submitted to the working group on communications and the commission on human rights’.

Dr Randhawa while giving details of the case said the UN admitted the petition of the SNO under UN 1503 procedure, filed on March 17, 2004 against the French Government, for violating human rights of schoolchildren by enacting the scarf ban law through which “signs and dress, which conspicuously show religious affiliations are forbidden, in public schools of France. Under the 1503 procedure the commission has the mandate to examine a constant pattern of growth, violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any country of the world. The procedures examines pattern of violations. Pressure is exerted on the state to change laws, policies and practise that infringe international human rights, according to supplementary information, supplied by UN Secretariat to the Sikh Nation Organisation.

The complaint filed under 1503 procedure are screened by the UN Secretary General and the chairperson of the working group on communications.


Stop interfering with SGPC poll, Badal tells CM
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 1
A former Chief Minister and SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was interfering with the SGPC elections at the behest of the Congress chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi. Mr Badal said this at Badhani Kalan, 20 km from here. He said the Chief Minister was doing this despite assurance from the Prime Minister that the Congress would not interfere in the SGPC poll. He said his party would not tolerate any meddling in the religious affairs of the Sikhs by the Congress.

On the nomination row over Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, he said their nominations were “illegally” rejected and added that Capt Amarinder Singh was not even listening to the Election Commission. When asked about the allegations of ignoring the Akal Takht Jathedar’s guidelines while distributing ticket for the SGPC poll, he said there might be some exceptions, as they did not have details of families of each and every candidate. When asked about his party’s move to attack the Congress and splinter Akali groups and lack of religious issues during the SGPC poll. Mr Badal said, “Wait for our manifesto that would be released in Ludhiana tomorrow.” On Amarinder government’s future after downsizing of the Cabinet, Mr Badal said the government did not exist as it had lost public support in the recent Lok Sabha poll.

Earlier, addressing a public gathering in favour of the SAD candidate, Mr Harinder Singh Rania, he said the Chief Minister had “misused” government machinery in the Lok Sabha poll and the people had given verdict against the Congress. Comparing the Congress with the Mughals, he said the Congress was making efforts to place its stooges at key posts of Sikh religious places. He said the Congress was fully supporting the Panthic Morcha and it was a part of big conspiracy to meddle in Sikh religious affairs.

Others present on the occasion were MLAs Tota Singh and Joga Singh, SGPC candidate Harinder Singh Rania and state BKU general secretary Manjeet Singh Kadian.


Morcha promises to recognise PSGPC
Releases SGPC poll manifesto
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 1
The Panthic Morcha will recognise the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) if it comes to power in the SGPC elections. This has been stated in the election manifesto of the Panthic Morcha, which was released here today by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president, Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj, and Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former jathedar of the Akal Takht. Prof Jagmohan Singh, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, general secretaries of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Mr Jaswinder Singh Khalsa, secretary of the SAD (Amritsar), were also present on the occasion.

The Panthic Morcha also sought the removal of Justice Jai Singh Sekhon (retired) as the Chief Commissioner for gurdwara elections for his alleged bungling in the conduct of the gurdwara elections and siding with a particular group.

The morcha promised to release a whitepaper shortly in which the anti-Sikh activities of the SAD and infiltration of the RSS and the Congress in the religious affairs of the Sikhs would be exposed. It appealed to the Sikhs living all over the world to form their separate Sikh gurdwara prabhandhak committees.

Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi said that they would introduce a system under which the Sikh religious personalities would be brought at one platform to safeguard the interests of the Sikhs.

The Sikh mission would be spread through these personalities.

Baba Bedi said that the task of the SGPC was to spread the message of the Sikh gurus, whereas it had been politicised by certain Sikh leaders for their selfish interests.

Bhai Ranjit Singh observed that the jathedar of the Akal Takht, Bhai Joginder Singh Vedanti, had failed to discharge his duties as jathedar of the supreme temporal seat.

Bhai Ranjit Singh said that Jathedar Vedanti was “a puppet” in the hands of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The manifesto promised the Sikhs that the morcha would eradicate corruption from the SGPC and bring the needed reforms in the same.

The morcha promised to initiate a reform movement among the Sikhs. It would also end the “loot” of the guru golakhs. Prof Jagmohan Singh said that the morcha would endeavour to bring reforms in the Gurdwara Act of 1925 and bring radical changes in the gurdwara administration.

He said that the election of 773 notified gurdwara committees should have been held along with the elections of the SGPC managed gurdwaras. The gurdwara election commission had bungled in the same.

Mr Charan Singh Lohara alleged that a large scale bungling had taken place in the construction of Kalgidhar niwas at Chandigarh and the SGPC had paid a penalty of Rs 90 lakhs to the Chandigarh Administration because of its carelessness.

He demanded that all defaulters of the SGPC-run educational institutions should deposit the money with the respective institutions.

The morcha promised to set-up a ‘Sikh house’ in Delhi.


Badal is RSS agent, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Malout (Muktsar), July 1
The Panthic Morcha is not agent of the Congress party, on the contrary SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal is a BJP and an RSS agent. This accusation was levelled by SAD(Amritsar) chief Simranjeet Singh Mann while addressing an SGPC election rally in favour of Panthic Morcha candidate from Malout, Jaswant Singh Ramnagar here today.

Appealing to SGPC voters to support Mr Ramnagar, Mr Mann said that no Panthic Morcha leader had married either his sister or daughter to any Congressman, whereas Mr Badal had done so which indicated that Mr Badal had relations with the Congress.


Govt funding morcha candidates: Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 1
The General Secretary of the SAD, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has alleged that the state government is funding Panthic Morcha candidates in the SGPC elections to defeat SAD candidates.

Addressing a meeting, Capt Kanwaljit Singh stated that the Panthic Morcha was a creation of the Congress whose aim was to capture the control of the SGPC indirectly.

The state government was funding the Panthic Morcha candidates to ensure the defeat of SAD candidates, he added.

Among others who were present at the meeting were former Chairman of the SSS Board Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, Mr Saginderpal Singh Sunny, senior Akali leader and Balwant Singh Ramgarh and Jasmer Singh Lachru, both SAD candidates.


PSGPC election to be completed in two months
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 1
The nomination of the office-bearers of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) is likely to be completed within two months. The main contest would be between Mr Sham Singh, co–convener PSGPC and Mr Ram Singh, a Sikh leader of Pakistan.

In a press release, issued by the Vishav Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society today said that Mr Gyan Singh, a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan informed him on telephone that all formalities for the nominations had been completed.

The PSGPC was formed in April 1999 to mark tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa Panth and Mr Sham Singh had been running the show of the Committee . There has been pressure from the Sikh community to expand the PSGPC, giving proper representation to the Sikhs living in different countries.

In protest against the formation of the PSGPC, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had stopped sending jathas to Pakistan when Bibi Jagir Kaur was the president. The ban was withdrawn later.


Inside Babudom
Yet another DGP retires in Punjab
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Two of country's seniormost bureaucrats -- Mr Nripinder Nath Khanna (IAS) and Mr Jarnail Singh Chahal (IPS) -- belonging to Punjab cadre retired yesterday. Mr Chahal belonged to the 1965 batch and was the seniormost police officer in the country.

Last month, Mr Sarabjit Singh, also of Punjab, and the then seniormost police officer , retired, thus giving Punjab a rare distinction, that in two successive months, police officers who retired were seniormost in the country.

Mr Chahal was attached with the non-functional Lok Pal office as Director-General of Police. After his superannuation, the number of Directors-General of Police in Punjab, has come down from five in April to two now. As of now there is no move to promote any of the existing Additional Directors-General of Police as DGP.

Mr Chahal, who had held various non-policing positions during the last phase of his career, had to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court to get his salary released after his posting in the Lok Pal's office. Mr Chahal had been Chairman of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) and also the Chairman of the Punjab Police Housing Corporation.

The present Director-General of Police, Dr A.A. Siddiqui, has seven months to go. Dr Siddiqui may be angling for a position at the Centre immediately before or after his retirement.

zIncidentally, Mr Nripinder Nath Khanna, an IAS officer of the 1966 batch, also retired yesterday. He was with the Government of India. His wife, Mrs Jyotsna Khanna, also of the 1966 batch, had retired on September 30 last year.

After Mr Khanna's retirement, only Punjab cadre officer holding Secretary's post in Government of India is Mr Surendra Kumar Tuteja, who is of the 1968. It may be a coincidence that Mr TKA Nair, who is Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is also an ex-Punjab cadre IAS officer.

Another senior Punjab officer on deputation with the Union Government is Mr Amitabha Pande. Mr Pande belongs to the 1971 batch. As such Punjab's representation at the Centre has come down significantly during the past few months.

As of now Mrs Gurbinder Kaur Chahal, who would be superannuating on July 31, is the seniormost IAS officer in Punjab.


Bureaucracy blamed for financial losses
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
This is official. The Principal Accountant-General (Audit) records in the CAG’s revenue receipts report ending March 31, 2003, that Administrative Secretaries and heads of departments do not ensure timely action on audit inspection reports or paragraphs.

His three-point suggestion is that the government should look into this matter and ensure replies to inspection reports, take action to recover loss, under-assessment in a time-bound manner and revamp the system of proper response to audit observations in the departments. This shows the absence of complete accountability in top echelons of the bureaucracy.

The inspection reports up to December 31, 2002, pertaining to six departments — Excise and Taxation, Revenue, Forests, Power, Transport and Finance — disclosed that 7,758 objections relating to 4,253 inspection reports involving Rs 742.35 crore were outstanding at the end of June, 2003. And, out of these 3,861 inspection reports, containing 6,829 objections, involving Rs 703.39 crore were pending for settlement for more than one year.

These had remained pending due to non-receipt of replies from various departments. Blame has been put on the Administrative Secretaries and heads of departments, who had failed to reply to a large number of inspection reports, despite having been officially informed through half-yearly reports.

Explaining the purpose behind setting up departmental audit committees way back in March, 1985, the CAG report rues that despite this mechanism, there were arrears in clearing inspection reports and paragraphs simply because there were no regular meetings of these committees. Ironically, the report records that “only two of the six departments identified above have had meetings of the audit committees’’.

On the recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee in October, 1967, the Department of Finance had issued directions to all concerned to send their response to draft audit paragraphs within six weeks for their inclusion in the CAG report. Invariably, there is no response.

That the executive, Administrative Secretaries and heads of departments, violate with impunity these instructions as well as the ones issued by the Department of Finance in August, 1992, is brought out in the CAG report.

Is the CAG toothless or the bureaucracy ruthless in cocking a snookat auditors?


Gurmeet implicated under Badal’s pressure: mother
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kolianwali (Muktsar), July 1
Family members of murdered Congress worker Gurbachan Singh, alias Sharda Singh, of Kolianwali village in Muktsar district have alleged that they have not only been denied justice but Gurmeet Singh has also been falsely implicated in the case for killing his father.

“What to talk of killing his father, my son could never dream of even harming him,” said Gurbachan’s sobbing mother Sukhwinder Kaur. “We are double sufferer. I lost my husband and the police has falsely implicated my son on the charge of killing his father instead of arresting the real culprits.”

Sukhwinder’s daughter Balbir Kaur also agreed with her mother. They alleged that the police had falsely implicated Gurmeet under pressure from SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal as sitting SGPC member Dayal Singh Kolianwali is a confidant of Mr Badal.

Balbir and Sukhwinder also alleged that the police might also have been bribed to book Gurmeet instead of Kolianwali. Kolianwali is again contesting the SGPC poll from the Malout seat. This is why the police claimed to have solved the case within 34 days, they added.

Narrating the incident, Sukhwinder Kaur said that Gurdeep Singh and other family members were sleeping inside the house, whereas Gurbachan Singh was sleeping in the backyard of the house, which is outside the walled house.

Sukhwinder said they heard gun shots around 2.15 am on May 11. On hearing the gun shots, they rushed inside little realising that the bullets had been fired at her husband.

They came to know about the murder only at five in the morning when she went in the backyard to serve tea to her husband, she said. People gathered there and Gurdeep informed the police, she added.

It is worth-mentioning here that Gurbachan was found murdered in the weehours on May 11 within a day of a clash between SAD and Congress workers on the Lok Sabha polling day on May 10. Three bullets were extricated from Gurbachan’s body.

The Muktsar police had booked Kolianwali and his son Parminder Singh on murder charge on Gurdeep’s statement. However, later the police exonerated Mr Kolianwali and his son and arrested the complainant and two others for the murder.

Kolianwali and his son was also booked for attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC in connection with the clash between SAD and Congress workers on May 10 where, according to eyewitnesses, several bullets were fired. That was why the family of the deceased suspected Kolianwali’s hand in the murder.

Balbir and Sukhwinder further alleged that Gurmeet along with five other persons, including Block Samiti member and sarpanch Phoola Ram, Jarnail Singh, Kulwant Singh (both brothers) and Surjeet Singh and Lakhwinder Singh (both brothers), were picked up by the Muktsar police on May 13 from their houses.

They were tortured and pressured by CIA staff, Muktsar, and Malout Sadar police, they alleged, adding that while the others were released after a couple of days of illegal captivity, Gurdeep, Surjit and Kulwant were falsely implicated in the murder case.

Phoola Ram’s brother Om Parkash told TNS team that Phoola was picked up by the police and beaten up mercilessly in illegal captivity. Similarly, Jarnail Singh said that he was kept at different places by the police during his illegal captivity for four days.

Meanwhile, Sukhwinder, Balbir Kaur and Jarnail Singh demanded an independent inquiry by the CBI into the case. They said though the DIG had started probing the case, they had lost faith in Punjab Police.



Villagers rejoice at Malhi’s win in Canada
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 1
Residents of Chuga Kalan village, 15 km from here, are jubilant as a son of the soil (village) Mr Gurbax Malhi has become an MP in Canada for the fourth time, a rare distinction. In the recently held elections, the first turbaned MP of Canada, Mr Malhi defeated Mr Raminder Gill, a minister in Ontario province’s government.

When The Tribune team visited the village on Wednesday villagers were celebrating and everybody, especially his friends and elderly, were talking about his achievement. Mr Malhi’s friend Mr Darshan Singh, a Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employee and a former athlete, said, “I still cherish those days when I and Gurbax used to race from Chuga Kalan to Chuga Khurd, a 2.5 km track.” He said that whenever Gurbax was in India he made it a point to visit the village and meet all villagers. Another friend of Mr Malhi, Mr Shamsher Singh said, “We were close mates, especially on the playground, where he showed great stamina and determination. And today the same grit and hardworking nature took him to great heights of success.” He told that Mr Malhi’s brother, Mr Buta Singh, was the village sarpanch for 10 years, but Mr Gurbax made his entry into politics in Canada only.

Mr Gurbachan Singh, a panchayat member, said, “Malhi’s father was a small farmer and his family believed in simple living. He has reached the pinnacle of success with his efforts and has brought laurels to this small village of ours”.


Police creates legal awareness park
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 1
The Punjab police may be known for its roughshod ways, but the Patiala police is trying to make amends, with the creation of a legal awareness park in its police complex in the Baradari Gardens in the city.

The awareness park is the first attempt by the police to give people information about police functioning and make them more aware of their rights. The park has been created in an open space in front of the Cyber Suvidha facility started by the police in the complex. People coming to check out the status of their complaints in the Cyber Suvidha cell can take advantage of the time at their disposal to make themselves aware about various fine points of the Indian Penal Code and other police issues.

Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) L.K. Yadav, who has been the pointman behind this project, says the park was established in response to feedback from the people that they knew little about the law. “Ignorance of the law means the people may not be able to get justice,” said the police officer while talking to TNS. This ignorance, he says, also means that some people are denied justice while some others fall prey to touts and middlemen.

The district police has installed metal boards all along the boundary of the open space in front of its Cyber Suvidha facility to create the park.

It has also used the walls of the complex to educate people about various facets of the law.

Amarjit Singh of Sheikhupura village, while talking to TNS, said the park had helped him know more about the law. “Now, I know which Section would be imposed with regard to a complaint submitted by me to the police,” he added. Others, including Harinder Singh and Babu Ram, said the park had given them enough confidence to approach the police station themselves to file their complaint instead of looking for a middleman to do the job.

The park deals with issues like what is an FIR, what is a DDR, what are cognisable offences, what are non-cognisable offences, what is a bailable offence, whether a police officer can conduct a search of a premises without a search warrant, what is police remand, what is judicial remand and what is free legal aid, besides a host of other issues.

The park also deals with issues relating to society and gives advise to people on important issues which can reduce the crime rate in their locality.

For example, on the issue of personal security for cars, a board advises people to doublelock the car while leaving it.

On personal security during vacations, a board advises people to cancel all home deliveries like mail, newspaper and milk, arrange to have the lawns cut and the garden watered during absence, notify a trusted neighbour of your plans, leave your drapes open, besides even packing the car quickly so that strangers in the neighbourhood may not come to know about your plans.


Opium shortage hits patients
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 1
The number of registered persons who receive opium has reduced to 17 from 39 due to the death of the patients or other reasons during the past 10 years in Sangrur district. Out of these 17 licence-holders five could not get their quota of opium for June due to its shortage.

Out of these 17 patients, Dalip Singh of Gujran village gets 35 grams of opium per month, Harchand Singh of Kanoi village gets 20 grams. Remaining 15 patients get nearly 45 grams of opium as the Civil Surgeon office here receive only 100 grams of opium a month for these 17 addicts.

Dr J.R. Bansal, Civil Surgeon here said the number of registered persons dependent on opium had been reducing because as per the government instructions, no new licence to such patients had been issued after.

Opium was being supplied to the registered persons at a rate of Re 1.40 per gram.

Dr Bansal said his office had sent fresh demand to the excise authorities to send 1200 grams of opium for a year.

Sources in the Health Department said one, two, three or five grams of opium was not sufficient for a month for a person dependent on. So there were a possibility that they procure opium from other sources.


Pingalwara’s land grabbed by woman
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
The All-India Pingalwara Memorial Society — a home for the destitutes – has allegedly been deprived of the property worth lakhs of rupees, bequeathed to it by heirless couple .

The Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Memorial Society’s Punjab senior vice-president, Mr Jagjit Singh Ahluwalia, has raised the issue of the alleged ‘fraud’ with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in a written communication here today .

Randhir Singh and his wife had willed their property in December 1976 to pingalwara. They died in May, 1977. However, a woman, who was reportedly serving the couple during their illness “falsely” claimed the property. She obtained a succession certificate and got the property transferred in her name. Mr Randhir alleged that for almost 15 years the Estate Office ignored the letter from the pingalwara society and showed much hurry in transferring the property in the name of the woman.


PCMS panel demands release of seniority list
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 1
A deputation of the senior Punjab Medical Services (PCMS) Association called upon the Secretary Health-cum-Managing Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) in Chandigarh under the Chairmanship of its president, Dr Hardev Singh, Civil Surgeon Patiala.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Y. C. Markan, Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur, and the Press Secretary of the Senior PCMS Association, stated that the deputation demanded an immediate release of the seniority list as per the instructions contained in the notification issued on January 1, 1996. He further said the association urged the Secretary, Health, to convene the meeting of the departmental promotion committee at the earliest to fill the vacant posts of additional, joint and deputy directors and till then the seniormost doctors be posted against the vacant posts.

Dr Markan further said the association expressed its resentment against the posting of senior medical officers and assistant directors against the posts of chemical examiner in the Punjab AIDS Control Society as these posts were of the rank of deputy directors.

The Secretary, Health, assured the deputation that demands of the Senior PCMS Association would be sympathetically considered and resolved as per the law. To apprise the Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, about the grievances of the Senior PCMS Association had sought an appointment with him.

Dr Nirpal Singh, Civil Surgeon Mansa, Dr. Prabhjot Singh Brar, Assistant Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, Dr S.N. Sood and Dr Jatinder Kumar Bajaj, Deputy Medical Commissioners, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, respectively, were among those who called upon the Secretary Health.


Closure of passport office draws flak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
The closure of the passport office here has come in for flak from various quarters. The flow of international tourists to the city is likely to be affected, say the critics of the decision. They have decried the silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose hometown is Amritsar, on the issue.

Mayor Sunil Datti, talking to The Tribune, asserted he would get the passport office re-opened here. “This office catered to the Majha belt. It was a profitable enterprise with an annual earning of Rs 2 crore for government,” he added.

Ms Kiranjot Kaur, former SGPC Secretary, said the decision was shocking as no reason had been assigned for the closure. The city was all set to have an international airport at Rajasansi, an international Railway station at Attari and the status of World Heritage Site. In this backdrop the closure of the passport office came as a shock, she added.

Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP State Vice-President, said the decision was “a bolt from the blue”. Mr Surinder Arjun, General Secretary of the District Congress Committee, said the government should have upgraded the current passport office in view of the initiatives on the opening of borders with the neighbouring country.


Engineers plan mass casual leave today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 1
Government engineers have decided to proceed on mass casual leave tomorrow to protest against the Vigilance Bureau’s alleged highhandedness in dealing with the engineers arrested in the bitumen scam. This was decided by members of the Joint Action Committee, Punjab PWD (B&R) following an urgent meeting held in Chandigarh today. The engineers have decided to sit in dharna at district headquarter at circle officers.

According to a press note issued by the convener of the JAC, a joint delegation of Senior Engineers Forum, Sub-Divisional Engineer’s Association, Diploma Engineers Association, Ministerial Service Association and Class IV Government Employees Union, Punjab met the Chief Secretary, Punjab and Secretary, PWD, today.

Members of the delegation alleged that the Vigilance Bureau was relying on documents prepared by a disgruntled employee of a carriage contractor and had not verified the facts from departmental records. The members also alleged that the police was using uncivilised methods to doctor evidence and dealing with the engineers like hardened criminals.

The members also tried to meet the Chief Minister but could not.

Meanwhile, members of the Punjab Service Engineers Class-I Association, Irrigation Wing, Chandigarh, today condemned the manner in which the Punjab Vigilance Department had proceeded against the Punjab PWD engineers.


Power cuts: BJP wants PSEB chief to quit
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 1
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sangrur district unit (BJP) today demanded the resignation of the Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for announced power cuts for the past several days by the PSEB. This has led to major power crisis in rural and urban areas of the state,

Mr K.K. Maudgil, senior vice-president of the Sangrur district unit of the BJP, and Mr Lalit Kumar Garg, president of the Legal Cell of the unit said here today that the PSEB had “failed” to provide uninterrupted power to the people. They said the BJP was of the view that Punjab faced power crisis due to “poor” power generation management by the PSEB authorities.

They also urged Punjab Chief Engineer Capt Amarinder Singh to ensure uninterrupted power supply to people this summer as unannounced power cuts had made life of miserable. They also urged the PSEB to give advance information on power cuts,

The BJP leaders warned that if power situation did not improve soon, the BJP would organise rallies and demonstrations in towns and citiesin protest.


Power cuts make life miserable

Phagwara July 1
Most of the residents here spent a sleepless night lastnight due to power cut which started from 11.30 pm to 1 am today and then from 2 am to 4 am. People were seen sitting on roofs and in streets using hand fans to beat heat made oppressive by power cuts. Since inverters could not be charged due to power cuts in the day earlier, the inverters were of little help. Residents are reeling under 8 to 10-hour phased power cuts for the past three days. — OC


Jan Seva helps 12 destitutes
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
More than 12 destitutes who have been suffering from various kinds of psychological disorders were given bath by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), today to save them from the sunstroke.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Vijay Goyal, President, Sahara Jan Seva, said a campaign had been launched by volunteers to help the mentally challenged patients, who roam in the town. He said after the bath they are given new clothes. Some of them were also given haircut.

A woman beggar who died today at a platform of the local railway station was cremated by Jan Seva volunteers with due religious rites.


Chetak Corps completes 25 years
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
Chetak Corps 10 has celebrated its silver jubilee at Bathinda Cantonment. A colourful programme was organised on this occasion on the premises of the cantonment last evening. The ‘Shwet Ashaw’ motorcycle display by the corps of the military police team, band display by the 14 Gorkha Training Centre team, water sports, run for fun, programme for children, barakhana for all ranks and a social evening marked the silver jubilee celebrations.

The Chetak Corps completed 25 years of its raising today. The corps was raised by Lt-Gen M.L. Tuli on July 1, 1979, and had been led by many illustrious generals.


Golden Arrow Division celebrates anniversary
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 1
The Golden Arrow Division celebrated 41st anniversary of its Raising Day with enthusiasm somewhere in the western sector today. This division, with the motto “Excel and Prevail”, has played stellar role during the 1965 and the 1971 conflicts with Pakistan and Counterinsurgency operations in Punjab.

On this occasion, the GOC Golden Arrow Division laid wreaths on war memorials. A barakhana was organised for jawans. Sweets were distributed to patients in Military Hospital, and families of division by president, of the Golden Arrow AWWA. An entertainment programme was also organised.


Resident’s plea to administration
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 1
A local resident has claimed that a souvenir issued by Faridkot unit of the Indian Red Cross Society on the occasion of 45th World Handicapped Day states that handicapped persons would be given 50 per cent rebate on fuel if they have their own vechicle.

However, when Gurdeep Singh Jarg contacted officials concerned to issue him a slip giving 50 per cent rebate on fuel, they said they had not received any such orders from the administration.

He further alleged that even the District Commissioner, Patiala, and District Commissioner, Faridkot, were not aware that any such clause existed in the souvenir issued by the society. He has appealed to the administration to probe the issue and take strict action against the officials concerned.


High Court
Notice issued to Centre on Akali leaders' petitions
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 1
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice to the Government of India,the Punjab Government and other respondents on petitions filed by three Shiromani Akali Dal leaders.

These Akali leaders - Sucha Singh Langah and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, both former ministers, and SGPC acting chief Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke - have sought directions to the Deputy Commissioners of Amritsar and Gurdaspur to allow them to contest the forthcoming Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

The notice was issued for July 6 by the Bench of Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Amar Dutt.

In their petitions, these leaders have challenged the order of the Deputy Commissioners, who are also the returning officers for the polls, to declare them undischarged insolvent and therefore debar them from contesting the polls.

They have also prayed that the decision of the Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections Justice J.S. Sekhon (retd) to countermand the election of the three constituencies from where they were candidates be set aside and elections held along with other constituencies.

Justice J.S. Sekhon had set aside the order of DCs to reject the nomination papers of Mr Langah and Mr Sekhwan and Mr Pakhoke on the grounds that dues were outstanding against the names of their wards perusing education in SGPC-run medical college at Amritsar.

However, the Deputy Commissioners had failed to follow the order of Justice Sekhon.

The three leaders have questioned the locus standi of the DCs in debarring them from contesting the elections and have termed the orders as illegal and in violation of the provisions.

The petitioners have also alleged that fake votes are being made in the constituencies to benefit their opponents.


Quash proceedings of Ropar court, Badals urge HC
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 1
Former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal, his son and Lok Sabha member Sukhbir Badal, former ministers Tota Singh and Sohan Singh Thandal today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the power of the Special Judge, Ropar, S.K. Goel in hearing the disproportionate assets cases involving them.

Mr Badal, his son and the two Akali leaders have claimed that the ongoing proceedings before Mr Goel are illegal and in violation of the Article 21 of the Constitution as his appointment as the Special Judge to hear the cases registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act was without the concurrence of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

It may be recalled that Mr Goel had dismissed the application filed by Mr Badal and his son in this regard. The duo had filed applications in Mr Goel's court, seeking that the Judge not hear the case.

In their applications, Mr Badal and his son had claimed that the notification issued by the Punjab Government on November 17, 2003, appointing Mr Goel as the Special Judge to hear their case, was issued without either consulting the High Court or seeking its concurrence. Interestingly, Mr Goel has been made party to the writ by name.

The leaders have sought quashing of all proceedings held in the court of Mr Goel so far on the grounds that he was not competent to hear the case. The case is likely to be taken up tomorrow.


Police remand of ex-minister’s PA extended
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 1
Police remand of Sodhi Ram, a former PA of a former Punjab Minister and senior BJP leader Mr Swarna Ram, was extended today for five days. He was produced in a court here which extended the police remand.

Sodhi Ram was arrested on June 27 for defrauding local branch of UCO bank of millions by depositing a fake bank draft of 2.5 lakh pounds (Rs 2.07 crore) and withdrawing Rs 1.07 crore last month. He had got this draft from the East West Bank of the UK which confirmed the draft to be fake. He was arrested under Sections 420, 466, 468, 471 of the IPC, he was on police remand till today.

Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann had demanded a high-level probe into political shelter provided to Sodhi Ram by a senior BJP leader. Sodhi Ram was a “cog” in the wheel of hawala operations, he remarked.


Farmers demand water, stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
On the call of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha (JKS), Punjab, hundreds of farmers today held a dharna in front of the office of the Chief Engineer Canal and Irrigation Department here. They raised slogans against the authorities for not providing water in canals at tailends.

Addressing the farmers Mr Ratan Singh Randhawa, district secretary of the JKS, said that the authorities concerned had promised to provide water and take steps to stop water theft. However, even after a month no action had been taken in this regard, he alleged. Mr Pargat Singh Jamarai, state general secretary of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Naujawan Sabha said their struggle for water and electricity would continue till their demands were met.

The agitating farmers were demanding water for Jamarai Khele, Bhail, Bhoia, Munda, Malla villages. They alleged that canal water was not reaching their villages. They also sought an inquiry in the alleged corruption in the department. They threatened that if their demands were not met they would gherao the Chief Engineer’s office.


SHO suspended for detaining BJP leader
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 1
In a case of alleged high-handedness, the SHO of Division No. 4 police station beat up the General Secretary of the Punjab unit of the BJP and senior Dalit leader, Mr Vijay Sampla, inside the police station late last night and illegally detained him for about five hours.

Mr Sampla had gone to the police station to ensure the release of Lucky of Ali Mohalla. Lucky had been illegally detained by the SHO for the past three days to put pressure on his brother, who had allegedly fled with a girl.

Mr Sampla along with his supporters reached the police station to secure Lucky’s release.

The SHO refused to release the boy and entered into a verbal dual with the BJP leader. The situation took a bad turn when one of the police personnel gave a glass of water to Mr Sampla which was not liked by the SHO. Mr Sampla was allegedly manhandled and pushed inside a lock up by the SHO and his gunman in the presence of mediapersons.

Mr Sampla, who was kept in illegal custody for about five hours was later released on the intervention of some senior police officials at 4 am in the morning. When contacted, the SP, Mr Rajpal Singh Sandhu said Balkar Singh was immediately suspended and transferred to the Police Lines. “The SSP has asked me to probe into the allegations levelled by Mr Sampla in his complaint. As far as registration of a criminal case against Balkar Singh is concerned, it will be done only after conduct of a detailed inquiry,” Mr Sandhu added.

Meanwhile, BJP workers led by Mr Sampla today gheroed the SSP office and demanded registration of a case against SHO Balkar Singh. The SSP, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, was, however, not available for comments.


MC earmarks Rs 1 crore for development
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 1
The Municipal Council (MC) at a meeting here on Tuesday approved Rs 1 crore for development works in the city. It also decided to engage an advocate for the case of octroi with Nestle India.

A resolution was also passed to take legal action against 40 defaulter-tenants of MC shops. The meeting was attended by 25 of the total 31 members and in all 20 resolutions were passed. Resolution to pertained cleanliness in all wards. MC president Joginder Pal Jain, executive officer R.K. Mittal and Councillors of different wards, attended the meeting.


Councillor removed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 1
The Department of Local Government, Punjab, has removed Mr Ashok Kumar Sood, councillor and former president of the Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, from the membership of the council with immediate effect and debarred him from contesting the elections of the MC for a period of five years.

The orders in this regard were issued by the Principal Secretary, Local Government, and were received in the council today.

The Principal Secretary, in his orders, has stated that Mr Ashok Kumar Sood, councillor, during his previous tenure as president of the council had committed irregularities by making interpolations in the official proceeding book on June 29, 2001.

Consequently, Mr Sood was served of show-cause notice in this regard on September 24, 2002.

The charges levelled against Mr Sood were proved.

Mr Sood’s term as member of the council expired on March 20, 2003.

He again contested the elections for the council membership on April 2, 2003, and was declared elected.

The department has stated that he cannot continue as a member of the council because he has been debarred from contesting elections till November 16, 2008.

Mr Sood alleged that his removal was politically motivated.

He said his opponents could not find even a single case of corruption, misappropriation of Government funds or financial loss to the council against him.


Show-cause notices to 3 MC officials
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
Three Municipal Corporation (MC) officials were served show-cause notices and asked to submit their replies within a week, following allegations of negligence in the performance of their duties.

Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Mr K.S. Kang, said here yesterday the three were served notices after residents of Khazana Gate held a demonstration and one of them tried self-immolation a few days ago in protest against an acute water shortage in the area.

The three officials are Subdivisional Officer Rama Shankar Sahay, Junior Engineer Nirmal Singh and XEN P.S. Grewal.


New DTO takes charge
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 1
Mr Mukand Singh Sandhu took the charge of the DTO here. He was earlier the DTO, Ludhiana. He replaced Mr Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa, who was holding additional charge.

Addressing officials of the department, he urged them to work in a transparent manner and not to harass the public. He warned that the corruption would not be tolerated.

He urged the transporters to deposit their due tax to avoid any hardship. He appealed to people not to approach middle men for preparing driving licenses, registration or other related documents.

He said as per the directions of the government all those violating the traffic rules and the directions of the high court regarding the use of black films and red lights on their vehicles would not be spared.


Kharar village violence: 5 held
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 1
Five persons were arrested today in connection with an incident of violence involving members of two communities in Sahora village, near here, yesterday.

They had been booked on charges of rioting, armed with deadly weapons, voluntarily causing hurt and house trespass.

They were produced in a court here and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.

According to the police, those arrested were Mr Kirpal Singh, sarpanch, Mr Ajmer Singh, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Dalip Singh, all panches, and Mr Dilbagh Singh, a former manager of a cooperative society.

They had allegedly attacked Mr Nirmal Singh and members of his family after entering their house.


Parents kill drug-addict son
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 1
Parents and family members of Karamjit Singh, a drug addict of Ucha Dhakala village, killed him during a quarrel on June 29. Gurdaspur SSP Narinder Bhargav told this to The Tribune.

The deceased was cremated hurriedly and his ashes disposed of in a rivulet. The police has recovered the weapons used in the crime. A case under Sections 302, 201 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against his father Kuljeet Singh, mother Gurdev Kaur, brother Palwinder Singh and maternal uncle Bhajan Singh.


Body fished out from Badi Nadi
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 1
The police today fished out the body of Satnam Kaur from Badi Nadi, near Daulatpur village. It took nearly nine hours to retrieve the body.

Satnam Kaur and her lover, Dharam Singh, were both hacked to death by her brother Iqbal Singh who later stuffed them into a jute bag and threw it into Badi Nadi.


NCERT fails to clarify on errors in biology books
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
If you can’t convince anyone, confuse him. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi, seems to have adopted this strategy while answering some queries made regarding factual mistakes made in its Biology textbook for Class XI.

Reacting to some queries raised by a local Botany teacher, Mr Rajesh Singla, NCERT has issued an ambiguous reply, in which they have further compounded the doubts rather than clarifying the same.

Mr Singla while talking to TNS here today said the Biology textbook was being read by lakhs of students all over the country. He lamented that the ambiguous reply submitted by NCERT had disappointed him. He alleged that NCERT was itself not clear about the system of classification of organisms followed by it. He added that it was causing huge academic loss to students particularly in competitive exams that were based on multiple choice questions.

Mr Singla said NCERT, in its letter No. F-6-8/2003-04/DSEM-1785 (dated 21 June, 2004) had accepted that in its biology textbook the point regarding mentioning of ascospores and basidiospores as asexual spores (page 83) was not true. The letter said the necessary correction, that these spores were sexual spores, had been carried out in the new edition of the book.

He added that regarding the query about Spirulina, the fact whether this organism was unicellular or multicellular, NCERT had quoted that, “according to H.D. Kumar, Spirulina cell is elongated into a helical filament. They are filamentous or trichomatus in form”. NCERT said, “according to another scientist, Fritsch, Spirulina is a member of the family of Oscillatoriacaeae and order Nostocales. According to another author, Chapman, the word spirula means smaller coil from which the name of the organism has been derived and that trichomes have no proper sheath and are septate although septa are obscure.

“In the book titled Botany-for degree students, by A.C. Dutta, spirulina has been mentioned as truly unicellular, however, in some cells, after division they may adhere and form a chain of cell or filament,” NCERT said and added that in the light of the above facts spirulina had been mentioned as a single cell organism.

On the other hand, Mr Singla said even after these discussions NCERT had not clarified that which of these statements/scientists were to be followed.

He added that regarding the queries about the members of kingdom protista being only unicellular and not multicellular, NCERT had accepted that its book mentioned protista members as unicellular and multicellular. He said in its explanation, NCERT had quoted many books and authors but had not clarified the question of protista members being unicellular or multicellular. By mentioning these cells under both categories in its explanation, the NCERT had further compounded the conffusion and problems of the teachers and the students alike.

He said classification of the fungus member, Mucor, under Phycomycetes was wrong according to modern system of classification which was being followed everywhere as it was a member of Zygomycetes, which was another class of fungus. He said NCERT in their reply to the above query had stated that most of the books consider zygomycetes as a sub-class of phycomycetes. However, Alexopolus considers zygomycetes as a class. Thus NCERT has not clarified which system or scientist was being followed by it white writing the books.

Mr Singla said he had submitted a new memorandum to NCERT and had sought further clarification by asking some multiple choice questions on the pattern of the competitive exams. He said NCERT should clarify which system of classification would be followed while evaluating the answer sheets of the competitive exams.

Prof R.D. Shukla, Head, Department of Education in Science and Mathematics, NCERT, who had given written answers to the queries of Mr Singla, could not be contacted for his comments despite repeated efforts.


PTU not to admit students to MBA: VC
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 1
After running the first batch of MBA (international business) for a year, Punjab Technical University (PTU) has decided not to hold any fresh admissions to the two-year specialised degree programme for the new academic session.

While the decision has come as a rude shock for students and authorities of different colleges running the course, the university authorities have said it was decided earlier that the course was to be run on experimental basis in its initial stages and any subsequent admissions be held only after the placement of the first batch is determined by the industrial houses when they pass their final year.

The authorities also decided that the second year of the course be run as a University Directed Programme (UDP) in selected colleges of the university that would work as its regional centres for the course. The university has chosen the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), Ludhiana, as the centre for students taking the course in the city. Similarly, the Regional Institute of Management and Technology (RIMT), Mandi Gobindgarh, has been chosen as a centre for those taking the course in colleges of the area.

The college authorities have said no such decision was conveyed to them before the commencement of the course last year. They said had they known about it they might not have opted to start it. Last year, all 52 colleges of the PTU running MBA course had been given an option to start the course. Majority of the colleges opted for it but only a few were able to draw a good response.

Of the 52 colleges in the state, PCTE got the best response as nearly 70 students took admission. RIMT got nearly 30 students, the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT), Ludhiana, got 11 students and the Khalsa Institute of Management and Technology (KIMT), Ludhiana, got four students.

The authorities of remaining colleges later rued that the course be scrapped, as the response to it was feeble. They even demanded that an approval be sought from the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) if the course was to be run in affiliated colleges. Under such circumstances, the university decided that the course be run as a UDP for the time being so that the council’s approval is not required.

The syllabus of the first year MBA (international business) was the same as that of general MBA, the colleges were running combined classes for both the courses. But there was marked difference in the second year syllabi of both courses, making it impossible for some colleges to run the course for four or 10 students.

Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice Chancellor, PTU, confirmed that no fresh admissions to the course would be held this year. But he said it was pre-determined that the course was to be run for testing its viability. He said the university would first assess the market value of the course and then run a regular course only if it gained popularity among the industrial houses of the state.


SGPC colleges’ staff await salaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
“The days are not far when we will witness employees committing suicides like farmers”, Mr Aminderpal Singh says while describing “tough times” being faced by most employees, including teachers, in the SGPC-run colleges in Punjab.

Mr Aminderpal Singh is the convener of the Employees Association of SGPC Colleges, besides Secretary of the Punjab and Chandigarh Colleges Teachers Union (PCCTU).

In certain colleges, employees have been awaiting salaries for the past seven months.

PCCTU President S.S. Hundal says that the SGPC was opening more colleges but paying little attention to better the lot of existing ones. As many as 14 colleges were being run by the SGPC in the state. The SGPC was also running technical and medical institutions.

The problems faced by colleges as well as employees have been brought to the notice of the SGPC top brass but to no avail. Now an open letter has been written by Mr Hundal and Mr Aminderpal Singh to all those in the fray for the SGPC elections drawing their attention towards the “poor state of the SGPC-run colleges”.

“Whenever the employees ask for their salaries, they are told by the SGPC authorities that the government has not been releasing 95 per cent grant for the colleges,” says the convener. However, he said when most of these colleges were opened, there was no provision for government grants for these colleges. It was only in 1978 that the government started giving 95 per cent grant to these institutions along with other private colleges. “It is now the responsibility of the SGPC to pay the salaries to the staff even if the government is not releasing the grant,” says Mr Aminderpal Singh.


GND varsity releases admission schedule
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
Guru Nanak Dev University today released admission schedule for B.Ed, M.Ed and PGDCA (teaching) courses in its affiliated colleges for the academic session 2004-05.

As per the schedule, admission to B.Ed courses would start from July 29 and end on August 9 while the principals of these colleges could admit students with a late fee of Rs 50 up to August 17. The students could also be admitted with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor with a late fee of Rs 100 from August 18 to 25 and with a late fee of Rs 1,000 from August 26 to September 2.

Similarly, admissions to M.Ed course have been scheduled from August 5 to 10. The principals of the colleges concerned could admit students up to August 18 with a late fee of Rs 50.

Thereafter, with a late fee of Rs 100, the colleges can admit students with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor of the university up to August 26 and with a late fee of Rs 1,000 till September 3.

The admissions to the post-graduate diploma course in computer applications (teacher education) will begin August 6 to 16 and the principal can admit students with a late fee of Rs 50 upto August 24 and with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor till September 9.


B.Ed degree holders threaten to oppose Cong
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
Members of the B.Ed Berozgar Adhiyapak Front today threatened to oppose Congress candidates in the byelections for three Assembly seats as the state government had failed to implement already accepted demands.

In a press note here today, Mr Yadwinder Singh, general secretary of the front, said that the Punjab government had not been giving employment to those, who had done B.Ed degree despite that about 40000 posts were vacant in government schools in the state. He added that the Punjab government had backtracked from its promise to give employment to unemployed B.Ed teachers.

He added that if the Congress government had been facing financial crises in its third year of rule, then Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, should resign his post.


Principal to attend global congress
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 1
Dr D.S. Hira, Principal of the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, will participate in the 4th Global Congress on Engineering Education in Bangkok from July 5 to 9.

The UNESCO International Centre for Engineering Education (UICEE), in collaboration with King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Bangkok, is organising the event.

Dr Hira said the global congress would debate important global issues in engineering education and industrial training. He would present his paper on ‘Woman in Technical Education in India’.

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