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Punjab ministry swearing-in today
Bhattal may not retain Deputy CM’s post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Punjab Governor, Justice O P Verma (Retd.), has accepted the resignations of 12 ministers that were forwarded to him by the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh on Monday. Consequently, the re-constituted ministry will be sworn-in at Raj Bhawan here tomorrow at 11 am.

The parliamentary secretaries would be sworn-in by the Chief Minister at Punjab Bhawan same evening at 3 pm.

Out of 12 ministers, whose resignations have been accepted, two would be elevated as Cabinet-rank ministers. In effect only 10 ministers have been dropped.

The new Cabinet-rank ministers who would take oath are Mr Surinder Singla, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa and Mr Amarjit Singh Samra and Ministers of State are Mr Hans Raj Josan and Ms Gurkanwal Kaur.

The Chief Minister would administer the oath to the Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, and nine parliamentary secretaries, Ms Razia Sultana, Ms Harbans Kaur Dullo, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Mr Sunil Jakhar, Mr Surinder Kumar Dawar, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmsot.

Mr Arvind Khanna and Rana K P Singh.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister is reported to have done his home-work of re-allocation of portfolios to the Council of Ministers as well as assigning of parliamentary secretaries to different ministers. He had today called his confidants to Patiala for this purpose.

The grapevine has it that Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal may not get to retain the status of Deputy Chief Minister in the new set-up and some parliamentary secretaries may not turn up for the oath-taking function at Punjab Bhavan. One clear voice —that of Ms Razia Sultana not likely to accept the slot of a parliamentary secretary has already been heard.

On the other hand, SAD president Parkash Singh Badal in a written statement has dubbed the down-sizing of the ministry as ‘self-defeating’’ exercise, which showed neither accountability would be enhanced nor financial burden lessened on the public exchequer. The list of Council of Ministers ‘’brazenly’’ mirrored that those who had indulged in misuse of power to sabotage Lok Sabha elections had been rewarded.

The army of parliamentary secretaries was also uncalled for as all of them would enjoy the same perks and privileges as admissible to ministers. That this should have been done at a time when the government had failed to introduce financial discipline or effect economy in its expenditure, made mockery of the constitutional amendment that had required down-sizing of the ministries to 15 per cent of the total strength of the parliament or state assembly, added Mr Badal.


 

Downsizing ministry mere drama, says Badal

Hoshiarpur, July 6
Dropping 10 ministers in the process of downsizing the Punjab Council of Ministers, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has played a drama to befool the public. The Chief Minister has appointed nine Parliamentary Secretaries and one Chief Parliamentary Secretary, who, though not considered a part of the Council of Ministers, get equal perks and facilities. There were only five Parliamentary Secretaries earlier; the downsizing of his Cabinet is merely an eyewash and will give no relief to the state exchequer.

These views were expressed by former Punjab Chief Minister and Opposition leader Parkash Singh Badal while talking to mediapersons here today.

Referring to the obstructions being created in the smooth functioning of Parliament by the NDA, Mr Badal said the NDA and the UPA had seasoned and intelligent leaders. They should sit together and work out an amicable solution to defuse the confrontation-like situation in the interest of the nation. — UNI


 

Punjab refuses to compensate PSEB for revenue loss
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Punjab Government has refused to compensate the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for the revenue loss it suffered because of the delay in the revision of power tariff.

In December last year, the PSEB had submitted a petition to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) for the revision of power tariff rates for the financial year 2004-05.

However, the PSEB withdrew the petition from the commission in February this year, when the commission was almost ready to issue a public notice for public hearings on the petition, taking the plea that it (PSEB) would resubmit the petition keeping in view its decision to unbundle the board. However, in reality the PSEB withdrew the petition under pressure from the Punjab State Government, which did not want any tariff revision before the Lok Sabha elections, which were to be held in April-May.

But now in a fresh petition, the PSEB had asked the commission to allow it to mop up Rs 787 crore from the power customers by revising the tariff. It wanted revenue collection of Rs 392 crore immediately by way of tariff revision and the remaining amount it wanted for creating assets for the board in a period of next few years. The board wanted that the Rs 392 crore should be collected from the power consumers in the remaining period of current financial year.

The commission has posed a number of queries to the board with regard to the revised petition. The commission has asked the board to submit the slab-wise rates of tariff. Secondly, the board has been asked to give reasons for collecting Rs 68 crore less revenue. The commission had allowed the board to collect Rs 220 crore as revenue on the basis of 3 per cent rate of return on its assets from customers. However, the board’s collection falls short by Rs 68 crore.

The commission has also told the board that it would not be possible to pass the order for tariff revision before October. How will the board collect tariff from customers for a period from April to October. It would put double burden on the customers who would have to pay power bills of 12 months in six months — from October this year to March next year — on the basis of revised rates. The board has suggested the tariff rates should be annulled to collect the amount of 12 months in remaining six months, that is from October to March.

Sources said that the PSEB had approached the Punjab Government for compensating it for the revenue loss it suffered from April to October this year because of the withdrawal of tariff revision petition from the commission. It has argued that if the petition had not been withdrawn, the new tariff rates would have become applicable from April last and it would have collected revenue from customers on the basis of new tariff rates. However, the state government, it is learnt, has told the board to take up the matter with the commission as it has no money to compensate the board in this regard.

Obviously, there would be hue and cry among people in case customers had to pay the bills of 12 months in six months on the basis of revised rates of tariff.


 

Engineers blame govt for power shortage
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 6
Punjab is reeling under acute power shortage these days. A hue and cry is being raised against the scheduled and unscheduled cuts being imposed in urban areas. The situation is worse in the border belt, where rural areas get power for two or three hours a day.

Engineers of the PSEB who are grappling with the situation blame government policies for the present situation. They allege that the government has failed to invest in generation capacity addition, due to which the state is facing a power crisis today.

The engineers have been pressing for two additional 500 MW turbines at the Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant. The report of the project has been prepared since long. Many financing agencies are ready to finance the project on the condition that the state gives guarantee for the loan.

The then Finance Secretary had struck down the proposal of the PSEB. He suggested to the government that the state could easily buy power in a lean period. Had the project of the 500 MW power generation addition at Lehra Mohabbat been cleared by the government in time, the state would not have faced the power problem.

Now, when the situation is going out of hand, the government has cleared the project. But it will take another three years to complete the project.

Besides, the government has failed to realise the 600 MW hydel power generation by completing the Shahpur Kandi dam project. If the state did not add to its generation capacity in the coming years, it would be left at the mercy of other states.

The PSEB engineers said the power situation was not likely to improve till the monsoon arrived. Punjab was trying to buy power from Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir. While buying power, it was facing stiff competition from Haryana.

The shutting down of the 1500 MW NJPC project due to excess silt in the Sutlej last evening added to the problems on the northern grid. Till the plant was made operational, Punjab would face more unscheduled cuts, they said. Asked about the possibility of the PSEB buying power from north-eastern states, the PSEB engineers said though power was available in the eastern sector, the distribution system was not capable of transmitting power till Punjab.


 

Monsoon may help relax power cuts
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 6
Terming the current power crisis as a natural calamity due to low generation of power in two of the three thermal power plants in the state, Mr H.M. Jain, Member (Generation) of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), said today that there was a possibility of reduction in the on-going power cuts depending upon the monsoon.

“In fact, it is an extraordinary bad situation as in two of the thermal power plants in the state there is a steep downfall in the power generation and due to which power cuts of more than five hours are being imposed in the major cities,” Mr Jain told reporters here today while apprehending that the power cuts would continue in the state. “There can be reduction in the power cuts as the situation improves due to the monsoon,” he added.

“Although we have purchased power from the neighbouring states at a much higher price but it was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand of power,” he said. For example, the board had yesterday purchased 410 lakh units of power against the total consumption of 1181 units in a day, which was insufficient to meet the demand, he added.

Giving details of the power generation situation in all the three thermal plants in the state, Mr Jain revealed that in the Bhakra thermal power plant only 928 million units were generated in the first three months of the financial year against the last year’s generation of 1227 million units during the same period and in Thien Dam also as compared to the last year’s generation of 407 million units in the first three months only 169 million units could be generated.

Only in case of the Ropar Thermal Power Plant, there was an increase in the power generation of over 600 million units, which helped in controlling the situation, he added.

Regarding normalisation of the power situation, he said that with the completion of the ongoing power projects at Lehra Mohabbat, which has a capacity to generate 500 MW, Rs 700 crore project of Uppar Bari Doab canal near Pathankot and a project at Mukerian would definitely help the Board to resolve the crisis.

Apart from this, the Board has signed long-term agreements with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir for purchase of power from the upcoming power projects in these states, he added.


 

Carrying lanterns, farmers protest against power cuts
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6
Agitated farmers carrying lanterns organised a symbolic protest in front of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) headquarters here today, claiming that the board had failed them both in their homes and their fields. They alleged that the board had failed to fulfil its promise to provide 24-hour power supply for agricultural tubewells and that power cuts in villages had gone up to 17 hours everyday.

The PSEB, in a knee-jerk reaction, deputed its Members and Chief Engineers to visit rural areas to assess the power situation and ensure minimum power for agricultural operations. The Members and Chief Engineers are expected to submit their reports to Chairman Y.S. Ratra tomorrow.

“Are we animals that we are being subjected to power cuts of 17 hours long while urban areas are being subjected to only a three-hour power cut”, said Mr Gurnam Singh Lachkani, sarpanch of Lachkani village, while talking to The Tribune. He said though the board was officially stating that it was subjecting rural areas to a power cut of 12 hours, their village and some others got electricity for only six hours a day.

Mr Lachkani said it was due to this that villagers of nearly one 12 villages gathered in front of the PSEB office. They met Board Secretary Jaspreet Talwar and threatened to gherao the board in case the situation was not brought under control immediately. Talking to The Tribune, Rongla sarpanch Jagir Singh Rongla said the board had failed to provide eight-hour power supply to tubewell motors.

He said in some places, power was available for tubewell operations for only two or two-and-a-half hours. He said even where power was available for longer periods, it was not being given in an uninterrupted spell. “This has increased the woes of farmers”, he added. Demand continued to be higher than supply. According to sources, the power available with the board today was 1,181 lakh units, compared to a demand figure of 1,280 lakh units. The board is taking regulatory steps like enforcing a two-day consecutive off on the industrial sector and a wide range of cuts on rural and urban consumers.

The board is also troubled by the fact that the power promised to the state following hectic negotiations with the Ministry of Power has yet to start flowing into the state. It expects to get a part of this power tomorrow, which may give it partial relief.


 

Delhi-Lahore bus stoned Protest organised by religious groups
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, July 6
Passengers of the Delhi-Lahore bus (DL-i-PA 3711) received a rude shock when someone from among a group of protesters threw a stone breaking a window pane of the Lahore-bound bus. The bus was being diverted through the service lane along the GT Road here at around 11.55 am by local police officials because of a traffic blockade put up by some religious groups, who were protesting against the Haryanvi producer-director of a serial released on CDs. According to unconfirmed reports, at least one bus passenger received minor injuries. The bus could only resume its journey at around 2 pm after the replacement of the broken pane.

Earlier, about three years ago, the Lahore-Delhi bus was attacked by some agitators in a similar fashion at Chachrari near here.

The protest was being held against Kuldip Vats’ CD titled “Aaj Ki Ramayan” by more than one dozen religious, social and political Hindu organisations, including radical Hindu bodies like the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), the Shiv Sena (Hindustan), the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

DSP, Phagwara, Jaspal Singh, while confirming that one stone was thrown at the bus causing a minor crack in its back glass, however denied any injury to any passenger. He said the police would register a case against those responsible for attacking the bus.

It is learnt that the protesters held a procession from Hanuman Garhi on the GT road, blocked vehicular traffic for half an hour near the PWD Rest House crossing. The local SDM, Mr Pritam Singh, came to the site to receive a memorandum for submitting it to the Haryana Chief Minister as Vats belongs to Haryana. The protest was held against allegedly blaspheming Hindu gods and goddesses in a drama written by Vats.

The protesters demanded a ban on the CD on view in Haryana and Punjab as it “hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus.”

The organisers of the protest claimed that their protest was peaceful and said they were ignorant about the persons who had hurled stones at the bus.

Though the passengers of the bus were not allowed to talk to mediapersons by security officials, the driver of the bus said the stone was thrown by a young boy, who was part of the agitating crowd.

Meanwhile seven persons, including one woman, were booked today for throwing stones at the Delhi- Lahore bus here. The case was registered under Sections 427,160,148,149 and 279, IPC, for mischief causing damage,committing affray, armed rioting and rash driving or riding on a public way.

This followed a meeting between Kapurthala SSP SK Asthana and police officials, including Mr Shami Kumar, SP(H), and Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, Phagwara.

Confirming the registration of case, DSP Jaspal Singh said that while one person was identified, the others had not yet been identified. Though nobody had yet been arrested, the police would soon make arrests, added the DSP.

The Kapurthala SSP maintained that no social or religious organisation, was behind the attack on the bus and it was the handiwork of Laadi, a young resident of Phagwara, and his five or six accomplices.


 

CM woos metro food chain
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh yesterday urged Metro Cash and Carry International to set up its sale distribution centres in Punjab. The company would be allowed to deal directly with farmers and trade with retailers and distributors besides businesses-like hotels, restaurants and caterers, he added.

The Chief Minister gave this assurance at a meeting with Mr Thomas Hubber, Chief Executive Officer of the company at his residence here. Sourcing opportunities from Punjab for Metro’s operations worldwide were also discussed. Mr Hubber was accompanied by the Chief of its India Operations, Mr Harsh Bahadur.

Metro officials briefed the Chief Minister that Metro was one of the largest food business chains in Europe with a turn over of 50 billion Euro. They disclosed that each Metro Distribution Centre entailed an investment of over Rs 80 crore. The officials said Metro operated over 476 “business to business” self service whole sale distribution centres across 26 countries meeting needs of business customers including hotels, restaurants and small food retailers.

Metro Distribution Centres in Punjab was the major focus of the discussion. The Chief Minister said the state government was keen that Metro brought this modern supply chain model to the State. Punjab had rich natural resources and a strong agricultural base.

The meeting was attended by Mr P.K. Verma, Financial Commissioner and Managing Director of Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation (PAIC).


 

Vedanti’s warning on ‘prejudiced’ writings
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 6
Taking objection to certain professors settled abroad propagating “a particular school of thought,” the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, urged Sikhs all over the world to be cautious about such people and take appropriate academic measures to counter their activities.

He said that the reflections of these academicians were highly prejudiced and against established facts of the Sikh history and religion.

In a press note issued here today, the Jathedar said the Sikh diaspora was doing a commendable job by establishing Chairs in Canadian and US universities. “Unfortunately, the caretakers of these Chairs are not studying Sikh history, religion and literature in an objective manner, and trying to propagate prejudiced ideas.”

Pointing a finger at the school founded and patronised by W.H. McLeod, he said: “McLeod is hell bent on distorting the Sikh history and religion”.

Mentioning a Chair at the University of Santa Barbara in California, the Jathedar said Prof Gurinder Singh Mann, appointed on this Chair, was also not performing according to the expectations and aspirations of the Sikh community.

He said Mr Mann’s remarks that the text of Guru Granth Sahib was still undergoing evolution were totally uncalled for. “He does not fully subscribe to the revelatory character of Gurbani. His reluctance to accept that the final canonisation of Guru Granth Sahib occurred at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda, in 1706 and Guru Gobind Singh conferred Guruship on Guru Granth Sahib at Nanded in 1708 is all very unfortunate. Similarly, his observation that initially five weapons were part of the Khalsa “rehat” and the five “kakas” were not in vogue, was totally unfounded and historically incorrect.

He did not accept Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur as martyrs, but portrayed them as criminals who suffered execution at the hands of Mughals, the Jathedar rued.


 

Morcha fires another salvo at SAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
With the election scene for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) gathering momentum, the Panthic Morcha today came out with yet another missive against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for appointing a ‘non-Sikh’ to the managing trust of the Guru Ram Dass College of Medical Sciences run by the SGPC.

A senior Panthic Morcha leader and the chief of the Sant Samaj, Baba Sarbhjot Singh Bedi said that the SGPC had appointed Dr Balwant Sigh Tung, who belongs to the Radha Soami sect, as a member of the trust managing the college.

Baba Bedi asserted, “This proves our contention that the people running the SGPC right now, who belong to the SAD, have not been running the institution according to the Panthic maryada…otherwise how could they explain the appointment of a non-Sikh to the managing trust of a Sikh institution”.

Dr Balwant Singh Tung is said to be a follower of the Radha Soami sect.

Baba Bedi observed that the SAD owed an explanation to the Sikhs as how could they act in a way contradicting the Panth traditions. He claimed that there were several similar acts of omission and commission of the SAD while running the SGPC and this would have a definite bearing on the outcome of the SGPC elections.


 

Free gurdwaras from Badal’s hold: Gurnam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Claiming to oust the Badals from the management of gurdwars, the Panthic Morcha candidate for the lone seat of the SGPC from the city, Jathedar Gurnam Singh, said that the Badal family had buckled under pressure of the Bajrang Dal and the RSS and thus lowered the prestige of Sikhism.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Jathedar Gurnam Singh claimed that Mr Prakash Singh Badal had given in to all the unjustified demands of the BJP-led government to see his son as Chief Minister of Punjab.

"The Panthic Morcha has been formed to deal with the betrayal of values of Sikhism, as has happened during the term of the Badal Government. We have appealed to the public visiting gurdwars to defeat the Badal family and free the gurdwaras of their control so that the honour of Sikhism can be restored," he said. He said that the manifesto of the Panthic Morcha was to organise a meeting every two months to discuss the problems being faced by Sikhs and deal with issues that concern them directly or indirectly. "Our aim is to bring back Sikhs who have digressed and deviated from the principles of the Gurus," he stated.


 

Thousands of votes found invalid for SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
In less than a week after the Gurdwara Election Commission (GEC) expressed apprehension about bogus voting during the forthcoming SGPC polls, 7200 new votes in Bathinda have been cancelled by it. In Ropar 400 votes were held invalid, while 305 votes were declared invalid in Ajnala. Out of 36,500 applications received by Ludhiana’s Deputy Commissioner a few weeks before the elections, only 2984 were found to be valid.

The commission has also declared 2157 polling booths sensitive in the state. Another 203 booths have been declared hypersensitive. Majority of such stations are in Amritsar. The total number of stations are 6946. So far, the commission has not heard anything about the deployment of Central forces, but has recommended tight security around sensitive and hyper sensitive booths.

The commission had earlier stalled the publication of supplementary voters’ list in some of the constituencies — including Bathinda, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ropar, Gurdaspur and Amritsar. The commission has also summoned the record and application forms submitted for enrollment as voters.

It had also launched a massive drive to identify “sensitive” polling stations in the state. The sources in the commission had claimed that the adoption of preventive measures in these areas was necessary during the SGPC elections as even Lok Sabha polls held recently in the state were “not entirely free from incidents of violence” despite heavy force deployment.

Group clashes between the members of rival political parties — resulting in injuries — were reported from outside the polling booths at several places in the state during the polls.


SGPC violates election code
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 6
In another violation of model code of conduct of SGPC elections the SGPC has written to the DPI Registrars of Guru Nanak Dev University, Panjab University, and Punjabi University, Patiala for doing all types of correspondence through Mr Dalmeg Singh, Secretary SGPC instead of Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta who stood removed as chief secretary since June 16.

Earlier, the Sikh Gurdwara Election Commission had taken a serious view of the removal of Mr Calcutta and other employees during the election process.

However, the SGPC had pleaded that they were removed from the service on the orders of Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.


 

AISAD releases manifesto
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 6
The All India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) in its election manifesto released here today for the July 11 election of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) declared that it would make all-out efforts to get suitable amendments and incorporations in the All-India Gurdwara Act and due representation to the Sikh diaspora settled all over the World after winning the elections.

Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, president, AISAD, said that his party would fight 75 seats. He said his party would render full support to the Panthic Morcha in the ensuing elections.

In the manifesto, he resolved that conferences, seminars and social meetings would be held in order to spread Sikhism all over the world. He announced that his party would try to revive the World Sikh Council which was established in 1995 under the aegis of Sri Akal Takht as a coordinating central body of the Sikhs as an ally body of the SGPC.


 

SGPC’s medical college promotes 18 teachers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 6
The SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences today promoted 18 medical teachers on the eve of inspection, conducted by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, raising many eyebrows.

The promotions are considered a violation of the election code of conduct by the Sikh Gurdwara Election Commission. The inspection was conducted for increasing MBBS seats from 50 to 100. The state government had agreed in principle to increase the seats, subject to inspection of the Medical Council of India.

Mr Dameg Singh, secretary, SGPC, said the visiting team, comprising Dr U.C. Mishra, Principal, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun and Dr Sital Singh, a retired Professor of Surgery, Government Medical College, Jammu, inspected the building, faculty and other infrastructure of the college. He claimed that the team found the infrastructure satisfied for increasing the seats from 50 to 100.

Interestingly, while Dr Ujagar Singh Dhaliwal denied that the promotions had been effected, Dr Amrik Singh, Medical Superintendents confirmed that 18 teachers had been promoted.


 

Principal violates HC order to favour daughter
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 6
After the SGPC’s working President and two former Akali ministers who have been declared defaulters for not depositing the dues of their wards , it is now the turn of the Principal of the SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Medical College who is in the dock for allegedly allowing his daughter to continue as an MBBS student despite the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court setting aside the admissions against seats reserved for the faculty members. These seats were reserved out of 50 per cent of the minority quota.

Mr Satish Chandera , Secretary, Medical Education and Research, while talking to TNS today said that according to the directives of the court, the state government would direct the university and the principal to terminate the admission of Gursimran Kaur Dhaliwal, who was admitted in the 2001-2002 academic session.

He said the state government had already received a contempt notice for not implementing the decision of the court in this regard . It was surprising that the directions of the court, which had stopped all types of reservations except the SC/BC quota, were being ignored by the authorities of the SGPC-run medical college . Mr Chandera said the state government would issue orders to terminate the admission of Gursimran with immediate effect .

Dr A.S. Sekhon , Registrar of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, said the university was looking into a matter and the decision regarding this would be taken shortly .

However, Dr Dhaliwal claimed that according to the Supreme Court orders, all unaided private institutions had been given the right to handle admissions the way they desired. He said according to the legal opinion sought by the medical college , the state government did not have any locus standi to interfere in the admissions done in July 2001. He further claimed that the high court had nowhere given any specific order to cancel the admission of his daughter.

On the other hand, the communication of the Secretary, Medical Education, sent to the Director-cum-Principal of the college, reads , “Preferential reservation for the wards of the teaching staff of the Institutions within the minority reservations does not stand the test of any rationality and does not flow from any right available to the minority institution. Hence the preferential reservations within the reservation for the minority community students , being impermissible under the law, were set aside”.

Taking a serious note of the matter, Mr Chandera said directions were being issued to the university for the cancellation of the admission of the daughter of Dr Dhaliwal. He said action could be initiated against the college Principal for not implementing the court orders.


 

Computer developed with Gurmukhi fonts
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 6
It may well be called a revolutionary step in IT field that four former students of a Faridkot engineering college have developed the first-ever operating system in Punjabi. This is also probably the first operating system in any Indian language. They have also developed a software package for internet browsing through which one can send and receive e-mails in Gurumukhi, the way it is done in English.

Amanpreet Singh Alam, a resident of Gobindgarh locality, Moga; Gursharan Singh, Narinder Pal Singh, and Susheel Kumar, all ex-students of Adesh Institute of Engineering and Technology, Faridkot, developed this unique operating system in a record time of six months. Jasvinder Singh of Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Technology, Moga, also contributed to their project.

One has to see it to believe it. Every single command and instruction is in Punjabi. You see words like ‘upbhogi nao’ for user name, ‘gupt code’ for password, ‘raddi’ for recycle bin, ‘weda’ for desktop, ‘jharokha’ for window, and ‘meri pasand’ for my preferences and ‘ateet’ for history etc. Not only this you also get instructions in Punjabi and options like ‘theek’ for OK and ‘rad’ for cancel.

In an exclusive interview to The Tribune, Amanpreet and Narinder said they had localised the Linux operating system in Punjabi and even a layman could operate it with ease. At present they have software packages for word processing, image processing and Internet browsing, besides word pad, calculator and games. They are working on another software package called open office. They achieved this goal under the guidance of Mr Amandeep Singh Romana and in association with IndLinux, Bombay.

When asked as to how they got this idea, they said that various IT magazines were focusing a lot on localised operating systems and software packages and they had attended some conferences and seminars on the topic too, which inspired them to take up this project.

“Initially, we were working on the project for fun, but as we started getting results we put in all our efforts to make it happen,” said Narinder.

Speaking on the purpose of developing an operating system in Punjabi, they said that they wanted Punjabi people, who did not know English, to operate computer with equal ease and the whole community to correspond in their mother tongue through internet at an affordable price. They told that their operating system could bedownloaded from punlinux. sourceforg.net free of cost. IndLinux would also launch its CDs in August and these would be available at an affordable price. They have dedicated their project to the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev.

Talking about the hurdles they came across during the project, Amanpreet said, “We did a lot of research in finding suitable Punjabi words for various commands and instructions and we consulted some linguists for selecting right words for the same. We chose simple words, which are used in our routine interactions, to make it easier for a layman to operate the system.” “The toughest part was developing Gurumukhi fonts as we could not use already existing fonts due to copyright factor. We worked for 18 hours non-stop daily during those days, but at the end it was worth the effort,” said Narinder.

Having a glorious achievement under his belt, Amanpreet had already received his appointment letter from Red Hat, Pune. While Gursharan and Narinder want to study abroad, Susheel is looking for a job.

This operating system can be utilised in a big way for computer literacy in Punjab and the state government may also help these boys in their research or higher studies. They said that the Punjab Government should implement their operating system in school education and Punjabi University, which may bring an IT revolution in Punjab.


 

Damaged bridge an invitation to mishaps
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Malout, July 6
A damaged bridge on the Lambi-Rajbaha between Sikhwala and Phatuhi Khera villages of Malout subdivision on the Lambi-Khuban road is an open invitation to accidents as the Public Works Department Buildings and Roads (PWD B&R) has failed to repair the bridge for the past two years.

A number of accidents have taken place due to the damaged bridge during the past two years, said a farmer, Mr Manohar Singh of Sikhwala village. While several persons narrowly escaped in these accidents, a number of vehicles, including buses, cars and tractors, were badly damaged, he said.

“The department officials visited the damaged bridge, but no repair work had been started so far,” Sikhwala villagers Mala Singh and Parkash Singh said. “Probably they are waiting for the occurrence of a big accident and then they will start the repair work,” they said.

The bridge falls under SAD President and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s Lambi constituency. Asked whether the villagers had brought the issue of the damaged bridge to Mr Badal’s notice, nambardar Deep Inder Singh of Sikhwala village told The Tribune that Mr Badal knew the problem as he had crossed the damaged bridge a number of times.

Mr Manohar Singh said a large number of vehicles, including loaded buses, crossed the damaged bridge daily, due to which a big accident might occur at any time. The risk of occurrence of accident increased during night as no tubelight was installed near the damaged bridge, he added.

The farmer further said they had to cover a long distance for taking their combines either via Maniwala or Rorawali village to their fields as these could not be taken through the damaged bridge due to their big size. This not only resulted in wastage of time, but also consumed excess diesel, he added.

When contacted, Malout SDO(PWD B&R) Sulakhan Singh told The Tribune that the repair work of the damaged bridge could not be started as the local department had not got the required money for the same. He said an estimate of over Rs 12 lakh had been sent to the Muktsar construction division of the PWD(B&R) for maintenance of the damaged bridge about five months back.

Head draughtsman at Muktsar construction department Parminder Singh told The Tribune that his office had sent the estimate to the SE Construction at Faridkot, who would have sent it to the Chief Engineer PWD(B&R) Patiala for approval.


 

Flyover adds to residents’ problems
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 6
Resentment prevails among residents of the trans-railway colonies as the flyover built over the railway crossing, 245-A, popularly known as “khooni fatak” has proved to be more of a bane than a boon.

Mr Anjani Kumar Sharma, who has formed an NGO, Kshetryia Welfare Manch, said ever since the flyover had been completed, the residents had been feeling “cheated”. He said the nearly 3 km flyover with no provision for lighting during the night ends on the outskirts of the city and the residents avoid going to the city due to the long distance.

Mr Sharma said women, elderly people and schoolgoing children avoid using the bridge due to its poor design. He alleged that the carriage charges for all items had increased manifold due to the flyover and even rickshaw-pullers and the rehriwallas avoid going to the trans-railway areas, it being a longer route. He said the business in the area had been affected badly and prices of property had also fallen despite a steep increase in other areas of the city.

He said due to poor medical facilities in the trans-railway areas, people have started feeling like second-class residents. He said the residents had held a march to lodge their protest over the poor design of the bridge. The residents also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner suggesting that a subway should be provided at the railway crossing to facilitate the movement of the traffic.

He said otherwise a small gate could be provided at the railway crossing on the pattern of one provided under the Multania flyover.


 

Taksal Head Granthi among 4 killed in accident
Our correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
Four persons, including the Head Granthi of the Damdami Taksal, were killed and two seriously injured when a Mohindra jeep in which they were travelling rammed into a parked Punjab Roadways bus on the Sirhind road near Tarkhan Majra village early this morning. Two persons died on the spot while the two other on their way to the local Civil Hospital. The two other occupants of the jeep including a minor child were injured seriously and admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Those killed are Bhajan Singh, Head Granthi Damdami Taksal, Prem Singh, a Sevadar in Gurdwara, Gurjeet Singh driver of the jeep belonging to gurdwara Sarmastpur near Pathankot, and Dhanna Singh, all belonging to Damdami Taksal. The injured are Gurdeep Singh a resident of Abubal, near Sidhar, Inderjit Singh, 10-year-old son of Prem Singh, who died in the accident.

According to information available, a large number of disciples of Sant Giani Bhagwan Singh Rudarpur- wale were coming from Rudarpur in Utter Pradesh by the bus after attending the cremation of their guru. They were going to Boparai Kalan Jalandhar. A jeep of the gurdwara near Pathankot carrying six persons rammed into the bus which was parked on the GT Road. due to some fault around 4 a.m. The passers by informed the Deputy Commissioner, who immediately reached to the spot and arranged for an ambulance to remove the bodies and the injured to the hospital. Meanwhile, a large number of their companions reached the Hospital and the bodies were handed over to them after a post-mortem.

Mr Swarup Singh, a representative of the Damdami Taksal, told The Tribune that they would take two bodies to Mehta and another two to the respective villages of the deceased. He appreciated the district police and the civil administration for extending all help and providing immediate treatment.


 

Jail inmate’s bid to end life
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 6
The functioning of the local Central Jail once again came under a scanner as a jail inmate attempted to commit suicide late last night allegedly after getting pressurised due to an ongoing tussle between two groups of undertrial prisoners.

According to the police, Nitin Kataria, who is facing charges in a double-murder case, consumed half bottle of “phenol” to end his life. He was shifted to the local Civil Hospital late in the night. He was stated to be out of danger.

Talking to reporters here today, Nitin said that he was preparing for a supplementary examination of BA (final). Alleging that there were two groups of undertrial prisoners in the jail, he said that both of these groups were putting undue pressure to join them. When he reported the matter to the jail authorities, they too failed to take any action.

He took the extreme step after facing harassment at the hands of the undertrial prisoners and the jail authorities, he added. The Superintendent of Jail was, however, not available for comments.


 

Jail officials told to tighten security
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Punjab’s Prisons Department is issuing instructions to jail superintendents and other officials to intensify day and night patrolling inside the jail premises, besides directing them to adopt other precautionary measures.

The operating instructions are significant as they are likely to go a long way in preventing the occurrence of untoward incidents in the jail premises, including clashes between the inmates and branding of prisoners.

The instructions, in form of circular, are expected to be sent to the jail staff on Wednesday for immediate compliance. The staff is also being warned of strict action in case of non-conformity.

Giving details of the instructions issued regarding patrolling, the sources in the Prisons Department say that the jail staff is being asked to “properly” inspect the barracks in the mornings and the evenings.

The sources assert that the staff is also being instructed to tighten the security at the prison entrances to thwart any bid to escape. The staff is also being requested to ensure against drug trafficking in the prison premises. They are being told to check the visitors to the jail premises thrice — first at the main entrance, then at the meeting place and lastly before they leave the jail premises.

The sources add that in a majority of the cases drug trafficking was leading to discord among the inmates. In at least two cases the supply of drugs had resulted in clashes. Inspector-General of Punjab Police (IGP) S.K. Dutta — in charge of the prisons in the state — was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

The sources, meanwhile, add that the allegations of human rights violation are not new in the state. Way back in 1995, “jebkatris” was branded on the foreheads of some Sangrur district residents. The victims had to undergo plastic surgery for the removal of the stigma. The expenses incurred were borne by the police department and the state government.

The functioning of jails in the state was foregrounded once again after two inmates in Jalandhar and Amritsar separately accused senior jail officials of branding them.

Even though the Prisons Department gave the staff a clean chit, human rights organisations in the state are claiming that the witnesses were influenced to make statements in favour of the jail staff.

In one such incident, Rockey — an under trial in a theft case — had alleged that he was branded on his back by the Deputy Superintendent of Amritsar’s Central Jail, along with other prison officials. Rockey had added that his demand for supply of water and other facilities, in accordance with the jail manual, had infuriated the staff resulting into the incident.

In the other incident, undertrial Malkiat Singh had claimed that objectionable words were inscribed on his back by the jail staff. Following the incident, two senior officials, including the jail doctor were placed under suspension.


 

Archives to get new home
Rajindra Kothi to be Heritage property
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6
The archival record of the erstwhile princely states in Punjab is set to get a new home, with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) deciding to spend Rs 1.8 crore on the renovation of the old Deputy Commissioner’s and Commissioner’s office in the city to make it fit for storage of the record. The Rajindra Kothi, which houses the record, will be freed for use as heritage property.

The archival record of the erstwhile princely states is mainly stored in the Rajindra Kothi in the Barandari Gardens here, besides the Language Department headquarters and the Punjabi University. The record, which was earlier in the Rajindra Kothi only, was partly shifted to the Language Department and the university to vacate the main hall of the kothi for a painting exhibition under the Patiala Heritage Festival two years back. Though the government had transferred the Rajindra Kothi to PUDA for development as a heritage hotel, the project could not take off as planned as a new home could not be created for the archival record. PUDA had earlier declared that it would construct a modern building for the state archives, but after the vacation of the old Deputy Commissioner’s and Commissioner’s office, it was felt that these buildings should be used to house the archival record.

A meeting of the Patiala Development Authority (PDA) held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister recently removed the last bottleneck in the heritage project. Besides approval of a Rs 1.8 crore project for the renovation of the old buildings which would house the archival record, the PDA had decided to hand over 3.6 acres adjoining the Rajindra Kothi for development under the heritage hotel scheme.

The PDA decided that a team of the Cultural Affairs Department would visit the National Archives to study the facilities needed to be created at the new site. The team would suggest ways and means to build a micro-filming section, besides ensuring humidity control in the new building. Only after the team gave its final recommendations would the renovation start.

A PUDA team had visited the National Archives along with architects. PUDA Additional Chief Administrator Ajay Sharma said the team had, after a study, recommended structural changes which needed to be made in the old buildings. He said the structural changes would be only internal in nature so that the heritage look of the buildings was not changed. Mr Sharma said the changes would involve removing partitions made in the buildings during the past 50 years to make way for a library, an exhibition hall and other facilities.

PUDA had decided to remove roofs in the building wherever these are weak and go in for RCC roofing. Mr Sharma said this was necessary to ensure effective climate control. He said after looking into the recommendations of the Cultural Affairs team, PUDA would start renovation work within two months.

Meanwhile, PUDA had identified 3.6 acres adjoining the Rajindra Kothi which would be offered along with the main building as a heritage hotel site under a lease agreement or a joint venture project. The adjoining land would be used by the private party for parking and recreation. However, no structures would be allowed on this land. Mr Sharma said the proposal to transfer this land to PUDA had been forwarded to the state government and would be put up before the Council of Ministers at the next Cabinet meeting. He said once this was done, PUDA would advertise the site.


 

Shahrukh, Preity cut short visit to Amristar
Rashmi Talwar

Wagah (Amritsar), July 6
Film stars Shahrukh Khan and Priety Zinta along with Rani Mukherjee today shot for Yash Chopra’s new film “Swadesh” amidst tight security on the Indo-Pak border checkpost here today.

Film shooting started in the early hours. It is learnt that the Pakistan Rangers refused to open the gate on their side for shooting a border-crossing scene. The sequence had to be improvised on the Indian side of the border only.

According to sources, the hitch led Shahrukh and Priety to wind up shooting and cut short their visit here. They left for Mumbai at about 4 pm despite a three-day booking at the MK Hotel for them. Mr Sanjay Galhotra, owner of the hotel confirmed the booking.

However, Rani shot for the film at Khalsa College till late in the evening.

It is learnt that an ugly spat occurred between DSP (Rural) Sandeep Sharma and some BSF personnel when the latter allegedly refused to let the DSP’s vehicle proceed beyond the barrier that was put 500 metres before the gate manned by the BSF and others. However, the DSP and top BSF officials denied that any such incident took place.

Mediapersons were stopped a kilometre from the shooting site and not allowed to come close or take photographs of the stars even later.


 

Farmer finds arms in field

Batala, July 6
The police recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition from a field in Purian Kalan village here today.

A farmer, Palwinder Singh, went to the field and found a packet in his fields and recovered two AK-56 assault riffles, four magazines and live cartridges in large qualities.

He informed the police which took the arms and ammunition in its possession, police sources said, adding the matter was being investigated. — PTI


 

Sepoy cremated with military honours

Hoshiarpur, July 6
Sepoy Naresh Kumar Salaria of 14 Dogra, who was killed in an encounter with near Kamala village in the Akhnoor sector on July 3 was cremated with military honours at his native Dalla Goria village today.

Subdivisional Magistrate Amarjit Pal attended the funeral on behalf of the district administration. — UNI


 

Action against INTUC men

Patiala, July 6
President INTUC, Punjab, Dr Subhash Sharma, has directed the organisation to issue a show cause notice to the President of its Patiala unit, Mr Suresh Mehra, for working against Congress candidate Preneet Kaur during the last parliamentary elections held in the state.

The decision to take disciplinary action against office-bearers and workers of INTUC who had indulged in ‘anti-Congress activities’ was taken at a meeting of the working committee.


 

NGO meeting

Patiala, July 6
The general body meeting of Dedicated Brothers Group, an NGO, was held at the State Language Department here on Tuesday. The meeting was presided over by the founder of the group, Mr Rakesh Vermi. Speaking at the function Mr Vermi said there was a need to spread social awareness among people. — OC


 

Section 47A of Gurdwara Act challenged
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
The petition filed by Mr Rajinder Pal Singh Randhawa challenging the validity of Section 47A of the Sikh Gurdwara Act will come up tomorrow before a Bench headed by Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy.

In his petition, Mr Randhawa has stated that Section 47A, which deals with appointment and powers of Chief Gurdwara Election Commissioner (CGEC), was inserted in the original Act as an amendment event though no ordinance or amendment had been passed by the legislature.

He has said that since the original Act only provided for commissioners and no Chief Commissioners, the appointment of Chief Commissioner was illegal.


 

Growth of cotton crop satisfactory
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 6
Dr Ajmer Singh, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, today said that so far the growth of the cotton crop in the cotton belt of the state was satisfactory as it was expected that production would cross its target fixed by the department.

Dr Singh, who toured Bathinda and Mansa areas, said that teams of the Agriculture Department had constantly been educating the farmers not to use pesticides and insecticides in excess. They were also being educated about reducing cost of inputs by avoiding the use of biofertiliser, growth regulator, promoter, etc, as these things were not useful for the cotton crop in any way. Training camps were being organised and the common addressing system was being used to educate the farmers in connection with the cultivation of cotton crop economically.

He added that those farmers who had adopted the technique of bed planting of cotton plants had saved a lot of money and water. This technique also saved the crops from pest attacks. The farmers also saved a lot of money as less quantity of seeds per acre was required in this technique as compared to the quantity of seeds required in other modes of planting.

He pointed out that farmers were being regularly asked not to use those pesticide and insecticides, which had not been recommended by the Agriculture Department. The field staff of the department had been keeping a continuous surveillance of the cotton fields.

Apart from it, Dr Singh visited the fields where the paddy and pulses had been cultivated by the farmers. He urged the farmers to adopt those methods of paddy and pulse cultivation that were less labour intensive and cost effective.



 

Channu farmers may not get relief soon
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Channu (Malout), July 6
In a clear example of government apathy, over a dozen farmers of Channu village, falling in SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal’s Lambi constituency, will not be able to get relief from acute water-logging problem in their over 300 acres of land in the near future.

The reason is that the secretaries of irrigation and expenditure departments could not visit the site as scheduled by June-end to give their approval to build a box-type mini flyover on the Malout-Dabwali national highway road for extending Rajasthan Feeder Toe Drain to Thrajwala village, which is necessarily required to solve the problem of water-logging of the village.

The sources said that the scheduled visit of the secretaries was cancelled due to the ongoing process of reconstituting the council of ministers in the state. As a result of which, the work could not be started to build the mini box-type flyover required to extend the toe drain. The local department just required approval by the secretaries to start the work as it has got sufficient funds required to extend the drain.

When contacted, Xen, Drainage, Malout, Mr Jagpal Singh, confirmed that the visit of the secretaries had been postponed till further orders. The next date of visit is yet to be finalised.

The Tribune had carried a report which stated that the Drainage Department, Malout, had already sent a plan for extending the toe drain to Thrajwala village to the state government for its approval. However, the state officials are still seemingly turning a blind eye to the problem.

Meanwhile, while talking to the TNS, Gagandeep Singh, Jarnail Singh and other affected farmers of the village demanded that the secretaries should visit the site at the earliest for giving their approval to construct mini flyover so that their barren fields may become fertile again.

Actually, over 300 acres of land has come under water-logging for the past about three years due to which the affected farmers could not sow even a single crop since then. As a result of which, they have been facing acute financial problem as they were fully dependent on this land to run their livelihood.

Now what to talk of even returning interest on bank loans, they found it very difficult to make both ends meet. The plight of the farmers can easily be judged from the fact that no one wants to get his or her son or daughter married because of their bad financial condition.


 

15 shopkeepers held for selling drugs illegally
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 6
The district police has launched a special campaign against chemists selling psychotropic drugs illegally. In a crackdown, 28 chemists have been booked under the NDPS Act during the past two months.

Besides the chemists, 15 other persons selling psychotropic drugs in grocery stores and other shops were also arrested. The SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav, while giving this information to TNS said the crackdown on chemists followed complaints regarding increasing psychotropic drug abuse among the college and school students.

During the raids, a large quantity of unaccounted for psychotropic drugs were seized from chemist stores. In the rural areas, the condition was worse. Psychotropic drugs like morphine injections were easily available to the drug addicts. Due to high profits in selling psychotropic drugs, many grocery store owners besides licensed chemists and quacks had also started keeping stocks of these drugs.

The licences of the chemists from whom unaccounted for psychotropic drugs had been seized were being forwarded to the respective registrars for cancellation. The police would seek judicial and police remand of the persons who were selling psychotropic drugs unauthorisedly. The campaign against those selling psychotropic drugs would continue and any erring chemist would be booked, he said.

The most dangerous trend was that school and college students were taking to psychotropic drug abuse due to the easy availability of these drugs. The government should take special measures to check the availability of psychotropic drugs in the open market to prevent their misuse, they said.


 

Blind murder case solved
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
The district police claims to have solved the mystery behind the murder of Satpal Singh Kang, a financer of Bassi Pathana town, who had been missing since May 5 and his dead body with multiple injuries was recovered from Bhakra canal on May 9. After post-mortem it was established that he was murdered.

The case was solved by Gurmeet Singh Pinky, CIA Inspector, with the arrest of the main accused Billu, while his other accomplice is still at large.

The police on the complaint of Arvinder Singh, son of the deceased and resident of Chaudhry Colony Bassi Pathana, had registered a case U/S 302, 201, 34 of the IPC. Billu had also revealed during interrogation that he was fed up with the financers and he had also planned to eliminate two other financers of the town, who were harassing him.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, said the investigation of the blind murder case was handed over to the CIA and Inspector Gurmeet Singh along with SHO Surinderjit Kaur solved the mystery.

He said Satpal Singh Kang was a financer and used to lend money to poor people at high rate of interest. He had given Rs 10,000 on interest to Updesh Singh, alias Billu, of Lohari Kalan. As Billu failed to clear the installments of payment, Kang started visiting his house at Lohari Kalan to get the money.

He said Kang started luring his wife Darshan Kaur and forced her have illicit relations.

He said Billu objected the repeated visits of Kang to his house and when he did not stop, he decided to kill him.

The SSP said accused Billu along with one of his relative Babbu a resident of Mathi village, hatched a plan to murder him. As per the plan Billu went to the house of Kang and invited him to visit Lohari Kalan as he wanted to clear his dues. At about 8 pm Kang left Bassi Pathana for Lohari Kalan on his scooter and when he reached the bridge of Bhakra canal near Khalaspur village, Billu along with his relative stopped him and started arguing with him, which led to a scuffle and as per the plan both of them stabbed Kang 10 times and threw his body and scooter into the canal.

The SSP said Billu had regularly been visiting the house of Kang to express grief and sorrow. He took the entire family of Kang into confidence.

He said that as CIA Inspector got suspicious about his role and during investigations, he spilled the bears.

He said that Billu had beams arrested, while his accomplice had absconded.


 

Gold ornaments stolen
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 6
Gold worth Rs 67,000 was stolen from local Khanna Jewellers near Dharshani Gate at around 4.15 pm today.

According to the information, an employee of the shop was sitting at the counter when an unidentified person entered the shop and asked him to show gold rings and chains. Later, when the employee kept the items including 5 rings and 6 chains in the box, the accused snatched the box from him and threatened him that he would shot him if he raised the alarm.

A case has been registered.


 

Two held for murder
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 6
A youth, Sarabjit Rai Saboo, was allegedly kidnapped and strangled to death by five other youths of his village, Bhardwajian, in this sub-division last night.

The suspects allegedly severed the head and tried to burn the body, but failed, and threw it in the Kali Bein canal. The police, headed by Phillaur DSP Kamaljit Singh Dhillon, recovered the body and the head. It also arrested two suspects, Kulwinder Singh and Jaspaul Singh. Personal enimity was said to be the cause behind the murder, according to the police.


 

Illicit liquor seized, 1 held

Moga, July 6
The police on Sunday arrested a person and seized 50 boxes of illicit liquor. However, two accomplices of the accused managed to give the police a slip.

According to sources, the SHO of city no. 2 received a tip-off that three persons, including a woman, were looking for liquor customers at Kothe Sandhua village. The police raided the spot immediately and recovered 50 boxes containing 600 bottles of illicit liquor. The police arrested Raja Singh, a resident of Basti Sandhawali, Moga, while his other two accomplices, Maghar Singh and Bholi of the same locality, fled in their Tata Sumo. — TNS


 

Body found in canal
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 6
A body of an unidentified person was found in a canal near Mandira village in Baghapurana on Sunday. Despite the canal having no water for the past few days, none of the villagers spotted the body.

According to information, somebody informed the police on phone that a body was lying in the canal. The ASI rushed to the spot along with a police party. The police said hands, legs and nose of the deceased were cut. The police has sent the body for postmortem examination.


 

School management bows to protesters
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 6
The two-day protest and the continuous agitation launched by the students of the local SSD Sada Ram School, their parents and other persons against its managements decision to close the same today yielded the positive results, when the management changed its decision and opened the same for regular education.

The students belonging to the downtrodden section of society and their parents launched the agitation when they came in for a rude shock after the management locked the school, located in the Sanguana Basti, without informing them. The students were also told by the management to attend their respective classes in the SSD Mangat Rai Mittal High School. Braving blistering sun, the students continued their agitation to press the SSD Sabha management to reverse its decision.

The students, their parents and other residents of the Sanguana Basti started an agitation to lodge their protest that when the land on which the SSD Sada Ram School was set up was donated by a resident of this town about four decades ago for the special purpose of setting up a school, why had the management closed it. They protested in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office and staged a dharna in front of the school.

The matter was resolved when Mr S.K. Singla, SDM, intervened and pacified the students by getting the gates of school opened and ensuring that regular classes would be held. Mr Singla told that students and the management of the SSD Sabha would not take any decision which would affect their interests adversely.

Mr Manohar Lal, president, SSD Sabha, when contacted, said the SSD Sabha, at its executive meeting in the past, had recommended a sell off of the land where the SSD Sada Ram School had been set up.

He added that such a recommendation was made to generate money for filling the sand in a big deep pit located in the SSD Mangat Rai Mittal High School.

He said people of Sanguana Basti were not aware of the fact that it was not easy to run a school. As they started lodging a protest against the recommendation of the SSD sabha, the sabha had decided to continue classes upto Class V at that school and to shift Classes VI to VIII to Mangat Rai Mittal School. The residents alleged that management wanted to dispose of the land to generate funds for its own convenience by putting the academic future of about 200 students belonging to the lower economic strata in a jeopardy.


 

College to start more courses
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
“Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, has been allowed to start courses in MBA, M.Com and PG diploma in insurance business and risk management by Punjabi University, Patiala,  from the current academic session”  This was stated by Dr Gurmohan Singh, principal of the college. He said Mata Gujri College was the first college in the university to start M.Com and insurance course.

He said earlier, too, the college had taken the lead in starting BCA, PGDCA and B.Sc biotechnology.

Dr Gurmohan Singh said the concept of education had totally changed and only that education is relevant now which makes the students market relevant and globally competent.

He said the college had also started three career oriented add-on courses in the filed of food science and quality control, seed technology and mass communication which can be studied along with the normal degree course.

He also stressed the need for moral values among the youth.


 

500 students attend counselling
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 6
As many as 500 students along with their parents and guardians attended counselling held at the Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi, for management quota seats in various branches of engineering near here.

Girl students outnumbered the boys in this two-day counselling programme during which seats were allotted in branches of engineering like electronics and communication engineering, computer science and engineering, mechanical engineering, information and technology and electrical engineering.

Students opting career as engineers from the far-flung areas, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Bihar attended the counselling.

Mr Avtar Singh, Chairman of the institute, said the admission was held strictly as per the Punjab Technical University (PTU) rules. The Chairman himself reviewed the counselling system for transparency in the allocation of seats, informed Mr I.S. Sandhu, Principal of the institute.


 

Counselling for JET(UG) sciences on July 14
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 6
The counselling for the joint entrance test (UG) sciences, 2004, to be conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University will start on the university premises here on July 14.

Dr A.K. Thukral, coordinator, said the counselling for reserved categories (all eligible and qualified candidates) will be held on July 14. The timing for the counselling for SC/ST candidates will be held at 10 a.m. for backward classes at 12.30 p.m. and for other categories at 2.30 p.m. He said that counselling for the general category (all eligible and qualified candidates) will be held on July 15 up to 250 merits. He said that the timings of one to 100 candidates will be at 10 a.m. and from 101 to 250 candidates 12 noon.


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