P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal warns NDA partners on river waters issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Obviously upset over the stand taken by certain top leaders of the BJP and the NDA at the national level against the legislation passed yesterday by the Punjab Assembly to annul various river water-related agreements, the SAD leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said, “ for SAD nothing comes above the interests of the state. We have always made supreme personal and political sacrifices for the rights and interests of the people of Punjab. Nothing can alter that situation, now or in future.”

In a way, Mr Badal has given clear warning that if any NDA partner tried to harm the interest of Punjab on the issue of river waters, SAD would be prepared to say goodbye to such a partner.

It may be mentioned here that former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and certain other senior leaders of the BJP today stated in Delhi that Punjab should be asked to restore pre-legislation position with regard to the river waters. In fact a BJP spokesman in Delhi criticised the abrogating of the agreements by Punjab.

Interestingly, the BJP in the Punjab Assembly yesterday fully supported the annulling of agreements.

Referring to reports of commotion on the Act in Parliament today, Mr Badal expressed surprise that Parliament had chosen to take up an issue which did not fall under its purview since only the state Assembly could legislate on state subjects. Mr Badal said that Termination of Agreements Act was in fact only a re-iteration of the stand taken by Punjab in the Supreme Court in the case filed by him as Chief Minister in the late 70s. The case was later withdrawn by Mr Darbara Singh, who succeeded Mr Badal as CM.

Mr Badal today strongly defended the constitutional legitimacy of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to legislate on the issue of inter-state river water agreements. In other words, Mr Badal has backed to the hilt stand taken by Capt Amarinder Singh on river waters issue.

“Punjab had a total moral, legal and constitutional authority to pass the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004. River waters are a state subject and Punjab Assembly had an absolute, indivisible and inviolable right to legislate on this subject”, said Mr Badal in a statement.

Continuing, he said “ for legislation onstage subjects, the ultimate sovereignty rests with the state legislature. The fact of the matter is that this Act, passed after due deliberation, sets the constitutional position on the issue in perspective, since all the agreements, decisions and awards on Punjab’s river waters in the past had been imposed on an unwilling people of the state by the then Congress governments at the Centre and in Punjab in defiance of the basic provisions of the Statute”.

“The constitutional position was that no such agreements could be held as valid in the eyes of law as they infringed on the constitutional rights of the riparian states,” said Mr Badal.


Experts differ on Punjab’s new Act
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 13
A day after the Punjab Assembly unanimously passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill 2004", thereby annuling the 1981 Indira Gandhi award and subsequent agreements relating to distribution of Ravi Beas waters among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, legal experts were divided on the fate of the Act.

While Punjab Advocate General (AG) Harbhagwan Singh, who was closely associated with the preparation of the Bill, asserted that the Act would stand any "legal scrutiny", former Haryana Advocate General Hawa Singh Hooda felt that the Haryana Government should challenge the validity of the Act.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Harbhagwan Singh said that the issue of SYL Canal and distribution of Ravi and Beas waters between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan could not be compared to that of sharing of the water of Cauvery River.

"It is well known that the Cauvery flows through Karnataka as well as Tamil Nadu. But, the Ravi or the Beas do not flow into any of the neighbouring states. With river water being state subject as per the Constitution, how can we be prevented from legislating on the issue?" Mr Singh asked.

But, when asked how Punjab could wriggle out of is responsibility to complete the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal so many years after having entered into a valid contract with the Haryana Government, Mr Singh asserted that the State Legislature was within its rights to do it.

"We have exclusive rights to legislate on the issue of water of the rivers that flow within our territory. As for the SYL Canal, any contract can be declared annulled by the State legislature if it goes against the interests of the people of the state," he added.

However, former Haryana AG Hawa Singh Hooda remarked that Haryana had the right to approach the Supreme Court to seek legal remedy against the action of Punjab Legislature.

"The competency of the legislation if it goes against the settled law can always be questioned. Moreover, the Act, as far as I understand, does not annul the orders of the Supreme Court on the SYL Canal. Also, what about the money that Punjab has taken for the project?" Mr Hooda asked.

Another former Haryana AG and leading lawyer Manmohan Lal Sarin felt that the Act would lead to a fresh spate of litigation.

"But as for the question whether the Act will stand the scrutiny of the courts will only become clear after the contents of the Act are out. Technically speaking, if the facts on which the SC judgment are based have changed then the Legislature can pass such a Bill. But, if the action of the Legislature is only aimed at overreaching the SC judgement, then Punjab will be in a spot," Mr Sarin said.

Meanwhile, another senior advocate, who did not wish to be named, observed that the Act would only help the Punjab Government buy time.

"It (Act) is politically very sound but legally doubtful. However, Punjab can now afford to prepare its case as the onus will now be on Haryana to challenge the Act," the lawyer said.


Sack CM, BJP asks Governor
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 13
Asserting that the induction of three Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and nine Parliamentary Secretaries is a gross violation of provisions of the Constitution, the Bhratiya Janata Party (BJP) today urged the Punjab Governor to dismiss Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and restrain the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries from dealing with files of the state government.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, a former Punjab minister and member of the national council of the BJP, alleged that the induction of such a large number of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries was nothing but a backdoor expansion of the ministry, which violated the unanimous decision of all parties that the number of ministers not be more than 15 per cent of the total strength of the Parliament or Assembly.

“The posts of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary secretaries have no constitutional validity and as such, they cannot look into the files of the government, which can only be dealt with either by the bureaucrats or by the Chief Minister and ministers to whom oath of office and secrecy has been administered by the Governor under the Constitution. The Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries are products of an administrative decision and their role is to assist the Chief Minister and ministers in work related to the Vidhan Sabha,” said Mr Kalia.

He added that the allotment of portfolios in the Chief Minister’s office amounted to breach of oath of office and secrecy as the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries were likely to deal with files of their respective departments.

“Though the Chief Minister has administered the oath of office and secrecy to newly inducted Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries, according to provisions of the Constitution, only the Governor can administer such an oath,” said Mr Kalia.


CM hailed for waters Act
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 13
Lauding the role of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, in piloting the legislation to annul all previous agreements regarding water sharing, Mr Umrao Singh, former MP, said water was a state subject and state legislature was competent to pass any law to this effect.

Mr Umrao Singh said it was indeed a historic decision and it glorified the dignity and prestige of Punjabis. He said the legislation withdrew all controversial and anti-Punjab agreements. The former MP said the Haryana Government would take a contradictory stand as expected. On one side, they wanted a share as a successor state and on the other side, they were trying to make the issue an inter-state water dispute, he said.


SGPC members from Haryana seek separate gurdwara committee
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 13
The SGPC’s General House will have to confront a new crisis regarding the demand for enacting Haryana Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HGPC) Act on the pattern of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) by amending 79-year-old Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925.

The election of seven members, who defeated the SAD (Badal) candidates in Haryana, has given a setback to the move of the SGPC for enacting the All-India Gurdwara Act for managing all historical gurdwaras all over the country.

The seven newly elected members, led by Mr Jagdish Singh Jhinda, who had won the SGPC elections from Haryana under the banner of the HGPC, have also decided to meet Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, to seek his support in this regard.

Talking to The Tribune on telephone today, Mr Jhinda said a meeting of all seven SGPC members had been called in Kurukshetra on July 15 to decide the next course of action. He said the HGPC would approach the Central Government and the state government for taking necessary steps for paving way for formation of the separate gurdwara committee for Haryana. He said the ‘Sikh Sangat’ had already given its verdict for separate gurdwara committee for Haryana.

However, Mr Kartar Singh Takkar, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Haryana, opposed the demand for separate committee for managing Sikh shrines in Haryana. He said the ‘golak’ (collections) of most of the gurdwaras in Haryana was low and these shrines could not clear the outstanding ‘daswandh’ (one tenth of the income) for educational funds due to the SGPC. He said by forming separate gurdwara committee, it would be difficult for the gurdwaras in Haryana to meet the daily expenses.

Moreover, the SGPC had been spending a huge amount for managing the affairs of gurdwaras in Haryana, apart from opening a medical college at Shahbad. By forming separate committee for Haryana, the residents of the state would be cut off from the mainstream of the SGPC, he said.

However, Mr Jhinda said if Patna Sahib, Hazoor Sahib and Hemkunt Sahib had separate boards for managing Sikh shrines in their states, why can’t Sikhs from Haryana demand separate committee? He said the authority of the SAD (Badal) and the SGPC should be confined to Punjab only due to the reverses they had suffered in the SGPC elections in the states outside Punjab. While SAD (Badal) could win only four out of 11 seats in Haryana, its candidates had lost to Panthic Morcha in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh too.

Mr Jhinda declared that the Sikhs from Haryana would be compelled to launch an agitation if Jathedar of Akal Takht, SGPC, SAD (Badal) and the Central Government failed to accept their genuine demand for the separate Gurdwara Committee.


SGPC poll: Sekhon admits govt interference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections, Justice J.S. Sekhon, today acknowledged government interference in the recently concluded Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls. The Chief Commissioner also ordered repolling in two stations falling under Dera Baba Nanak constituency in Gurdaspur district. The elections would now be held at booth numbers 88 and 89 on July 15 under the supervision of observers.

Addressing a press conference this evening, Justice Sekhon added that recounting of votes also would take place at 41 polling stations in Khahar constituency on Wednesday. As many as 603 votes, rejected by different Presiding Officers in the constituency, would also be re-examined at 8 am the same day, Justice Sekhon disclosed.

Giving details of government interference in the polling process, Justice Sekhon said, "it was not a on a large scale. But the government did interfere in certain pockets, including Amritsar and other places". He added that initially the government was playing a very active role, but then mellowed down.

Referring to the Dera Baba Nanak incident, Justice Sekhon said polling remained suspended from 9.30 am to 11.40 am following police firing. "According to initial reports forwarded to the control room, 15 rounds were fired aim the air by the police. The attempt was to scare away the voters. Obviously, the cops were not playing Divali".

The commission had earlier stayed the declaration of election results in Dera Baba Nanak constituency. The officials had claimed that the cops were forced to fire in the air to disperse two warring groups outside polling booths in Teja Uheela village in the constituency.

Trouble had started at booth numbers 88, 89 and 90 in the village after Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) workers and rival Panthic Morcha supporters clashed following allegations of bogus voting against each other.

The mob had turned violent and had resorted to stone pelting. It had even attacked police personnel and misbehaved with a Sub-Inspector. The sources in the police headquarters had claimed that initially the personnel resorted to a lathi charge for dispersing the mob, but were, subsequently, forced to fire the rounds. At least three persons were injured and were admitted to a private hospital in Amritsar.


Names of genuine voters deleted: Chandumajra
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 13
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, has hijacked the SGPC elections by putting pressure on the Gurdwara Election Commission and compelling it to take unconstitutional decisions.

This was stated by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president, Akali Dal (Longowal), at a press conference here today. He said it had never happened in the history of the gurdwara elections that a decision taken by a Returning Officer was annulled. He said Gurdwara Election Commission was pressurised to allegedly take biased decisions.

Mr Chandumajra alleged that genuine votes had been deleted from the voters list and many new votes of deserving persons, who had completed the relevant formalities in time, were not made by the authorities concerned. He said complaints in this regard had been received from Patiala and Ferozepore districts. He claimed that between 8,000 to 10,000 new votes of deserving persons were not made by the authorities concerned.

He said the Election Commission had taken a decision that apostates would not be allowed to cast their votes and instructions in this regard had been sent to all the returning officers. But a day before the elections, the commission allegedly changed its decision and informed Mr Badal that such votes could be polled. As such the SAD took the advantage in this regard.

He alleged that the Congress Government in the state sided with Mr Badal in the SGPC elections. Had the government issued directions to the authorities concerned to get all genuine votes made, the result of the SGPC elections would have been very different. He said the party would be challenging this aspect in court.

While welcoming the decision taken by the state government on the river waters issue, Mr Chandumajra said his party fully supported the stand taken by the government. He said rivers waters was a state subject and the Punjab Government could take such a decision in the interest of the state.

He said that the Centre had always been indulging in discrimination against Punjab instead of giving incentives to the state that was producing foodgrains for the entire nation.


Recounting ordered for Kharar SGPC seat
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 13
The Gurdwara Election Commission has ordered the recounting of votes for the 119 Kharar (general) SGPC seat following a complaint by the SAD candidate regarding alleged irregularities in the elections. The commission had yesterday stayed the declaration of the result of the Kharar (general) seat. Polling for the SGPC seats was held on July 11.

The Returning Officer-cum-SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, said here today that the recounting of votes would be done tomorrow at Government Polytechnic, Khoonimajra, in the presence of the election observer, Mr K.K. Khandelwal. The recounting would start at 8 a.m. for the 41 booths. Both the candidates, Mr Bhajan Singh Shergill of the Panthic Morcha, and Mr Ujjagar Singh Badali, belonging to the SAD, had been informed in this regard.

Due to the stay orders on the declaration of the Kharar (general) seat, the result of only the Kharar (reserve) seat had been declared by the Returning Officer yesterday.

The election observer had visited the town yesterday and gave a hearing to both the candidates. He even went through the election record of the SGPC seat in question.

Thereafter, he presented a report to the Gurdwara Election Commission in this regard.

Mr Ujjagar Singh Badali, who trailed by a very thin margin of 145 votes against his nearest rival, Mr Bhajan Singh Shergill, alleged that some irregularities had taken place in the elections on the directions of the Punjab Government.

The supporters of Mr Badali had claimed that the SAD candidate was winning the election if the totalling of votes was done according to result sheets prepared booth - wise.

They alleged that some irregularity had been done at a later stage in the counting of votes.


Repoll ordered at 2 booths
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 13
The Gurdwara Election Commission has countermanded polling at booth Nos 88 and 89 of the Dera Baba Nanak SGPC constituency of the district. The Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur, Mr Harjit Singh, gave this information in a press note issued here today.

The polling on the said booths would now be held on July 15 at Government School of Villa Teja village.

The polling booths had witnessed violence on July 11 with SAD workers and the police clashed due to which the polling remained suspended for about an hour.

The SAD leaders alleged that the Panthic Morcha candidate, with the help of the police, was resorting to bogus votes. The police, however, booked former minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon, along with his 25 supporters, on the charges of assaulting policemen on poll duty.

The commission on the complaint of former SAD minister Sucha Singh Langah had withheld the result of the Dera Baba Nanak constituency.


Battle against SAD on, says Baba Bedi

Ludhiana, July 13
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president of the Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj and chief patron of the Panthic Morcha, said here today that the battle was lost but the war was on.

Commenting on the result of the SGPC election, Baba Bedi said they had put up strong opposition to the candidates of the Shiromani Akali Dal. “We were handicapped because we did not have a strong organisation and the state bureaucracy supported SAD candidates,” he added.

Baba Bedi said he had entered the SGPC election to keep politicians away from religion. He said they would continue their efforts to free the SGPC, which came into being to look after the uplift of Sikh shrines and uphold the maryada as laid down by the gurus. There was a need for many amendments in the gurdwara Act and people working in the SGPC should not dabble in politics.

Baba Bedi charged the Gurdwara Election Commissioner with having a bias towards the SAD and supporting its candidates by allowing Sehajdharis to vote on the day of polling. — OC


Fill 400 posts of SDO, PSEB writes to govt
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur July 13
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has written to the Punjab Government to allow it to recruit 400 engineers against the posts of the Subdivision Officer (SDO). Besides the engineers, the PSEB is reviewing the shortage of technical staff in the Board. A committee would rationalise the number of the vacant technical posts. Then the proposal would be sent to the government to fill the vacant technical posts of the junior engineers, linemen and sub-station attendants.

Mr Raman Bhalla, member, administration, PSEB, gave this information while talking to The Tribune here today.

At least 400 posts of the SDO will fall vacant in the PSEB by June 30, 2005. Every month 25 engineers retire from the PSEB. In addition to that 100 engineers of the PSEB are serving in the BBMB. If the posts of the SDO were not filled immediately it would create a vaccum in the engineers cadre.

Though the PSEB is overstaffed in the administrative wing, there is a shortage of technical staff. In Gurdaspur alone, 16 posts of SDO are lying vacant. Besides the engineers many posts of the junior engineers and the linemen are lying vacant due to which the work in the field is being hit, Mr Bhalla said.

He said to rationalise the administrative staff in the PSEB the board has written to the government to fill its vacant posts in the BBMB. At least 2500 posts of the Punjab quota are lying vacant in the BBMB was allowed to post its administrative staff in BBMB against the Punjab quota the board could save crores in terms of salaries.

Special committees have been constituted by the board to propose the organisational structure of the board in case of its trifurcation.

Mr Bhalla said the governments other than the Congress in the state have always ignored the power sector. It was only in the during the rule of the congress than major power projects like Ropar, Bathinda and Lehra Mohabat thermal plants were commissioned.

The government has also taken special interest in improving the power supply in the border belt. A 66 kv substation has been commissioned in the Dhar belt of Gurdaspur district that has solved the problem of low voltage in that area, he said.


Sainik School students complain of govt apathy
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 13
The very aim of starting Sainik School in the district for promising wards of the economically weaker section of the state seems to have been defeated owing to the apathetic attitude of the Punjab Government.

While the Ministry of Defence has revised the tuition fees from Rs 7,500 to Rs 26,000 per annum over the past several years, the Punjab Government has not revised the income slabs and scholarship amount for the students since 1989.

The existing maximum scholarship grant of Rs 5,500 by Punjab Government to a student of Punjab-domiciled parents with an annual income of Rs 30,000 per annum is not only meagre but also not in tune with the prevalent current tuition fee and salary structure of government employees.

There are hardly any parents below the defined income slab. The fact that a parent with an annual income less than Rs 30,000 sends his wards to a school charging nearly Rs 40,000 per annum (including hostel, mess and other charges) is by itself self-contradictory. The government also ensures that the scholarship goes to only those students who score atleast 45 per cent marks in individual subjects and 55 per cent aggregate.

What really pinches the students and parents of the Kapurthala school is that majority of the 18 Sainik Schools in the country are getting immense help from their state governments. The Uttranchal government, for instance, has started giving a complete refund of the tuition fee to the tune of Rs 26,000 to all its students in the form of a scholarship.

However, a scholarship amount of Rs 9640 per student from the Central Government this year has come as a ray of hope for nearly 600 students studying in the school. The grant has been distributed among all the students of the school who have passed in the previous session.

It was for the first time that the Union Ministry of Defence had released a scholarship in the aid of its students studying in all 18 Sainik Schools of the country. But students of Kapurthala rue that it was simply a one-time grant as no assurance from the Central Government pertaining to regularisation of the scholarship had come till date.


Kohlis looking forward to Forsters’s visit
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
Not only is the Forster family in agony after losing Hannah, raped and murdered in Southampton in March, 2003; so is the family of Maniderpal Singh Kohli, the accused. The family, which recently moved back to Patiala from Mohali, is looking forward to share the grief and agony of the Forsters.

“My family will welcome any visit from the Forsters,” said Maninderpal’s father, 71-year-old Jagjit Singh. “Even last time, we were waiting anxiously for them when they were scheduled to visit Mohali,” he said.

Mr Kohli felt his son might not be the culprit. “I will ask the Forsters to look into the leads again and try to focus on other suspects,” he said. He said the sale of the flat owned by Maninderpal should not be taken against him as it was put for sale before the incident.

Mr Kohli claimed that his son enjoyed an impeccable record in the United Kingdom for 10 years.

Asked why Maninderpal was in hiding, Mr Kohli said his son could be afraid or dead. He said he would tell the Forster family that he had not heard from Maninderpal after he left Mohali after a 10-day stay. “We told the police about this stay. We do not know about his whereabouts”, he added.

Mr Kohli said the Mohali police knew about his Patiala address. “They have conducted raids here earlier as this has been my house after retirement. I was staying in Mohali at my son’s house because my wife was admitted to the PGI after going into a coma following an accident.

The kotwali police visited the house of the Kohlis yesterday. The Superintendent of Police (Detective) visited the house today.

The police questioned the Kohli family as to whether it had received any information from Maninderpal or any other family source about the accused. The police took details about other relatives of the family in Punjab.


Dharna by BJP workers
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 13
Criticising the Congress-led UPA government for inducting tainted persons in the ministry, BJP workers staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today.

Addressing the gathering, they condemned the government for removing the Governors appointed by the NDA government. They flayed the government for presenting a “directionless” Budget.


March against ‘tainted’ ministers
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 13
The BJP carried out a march here today to protest against the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government for not removing the “tainted” ministers.

The protest march started from the Raghunath Mandir on the Jalalabad road and culminated at the Kotkapura chowk after passing through several areas of the city, including the main bazar. The protesters raised slogans against the UPA government.

Former Punjab minister Surjit Jiani led the protesters. Besides, the president of Muktsar district unit of the BJP, Dr Anoop Singh Bhullar, and the leader of the opposition in the Muktsar Municipal Council, Mr Satpal Pathela, also participated in the march.


Govt intervenes in MC employees, docs’ impasse
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
The Punjab Government today intervened to break the impasse between employees of the local municipal corporation and doctors of Government Rajindra Hospital with the Health Secretary visiting the city and announcing the formation of a three-member committee, which will probe charges of negligence levelled against doctors of the hospital.

However, the corporation employees, who have been demanding immediate suspension of the doctors, have not ended their four-day-old strike. They have announced that they will take action in the matter only after the committee submits its report.

Health Secretary Satish Chandra held two rounds of talks with the corporation employees and the doctors of Rajindra Hospital. He announced the formation of a three-member committee headed by a former Director, Medical Education, Dr Ajmer Singh. The other two members of the committee are Patiala Subdivisional Magistrate Tej Pratap Singh Phoolka and the Assistant Commissioner, Municipal Corporation. The Secretary, who also visited Rajindra Hospital, announced that the committee would submit its report within two days, following which appropriate action would be taken in the matter.

Meanwhile, sources disclosed that the corporation employees have refused to end their strike despite requests by the Health Secretary, city Mayor Vishnu Sharma and corporation Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu. Employee leaders said they would wait for the committee report before taking any decision.

The employees, however, said the district administration could get the garbage lifted from the front of the houses of two doctors which had been lying since the last three days. Following the intervention of Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh, it was decided that the garbage would be got lifted by the administration. This was done in the evening.

Earlier in the day, both the corporation employees and doctors held separate rallies in the city. The corporation leaders during their rally at Anardana Chowk said the government should not try to shield guilty doctors, otherwise the public would lose faith in the medical institution. Its president Prem Paharia and general secretary Sukhminder Singh said they would continue their agitation untill they received “justice”. The leaders announced that a rally would be held on the same issue tomorrow in front of the railway station.

Meanwhile, the doctors called off the scheduled rally for tomorrow after the announcement of the formation of a committee to look into the entire episode. Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association general secretary Dr B.S. Sohal said the doctors were ready for any inquiry on the issue.

Earlier, during the rally the doctors criticised the district administration and the corporation for being unable to get garbage lifted from the front of the residences of two doctors of the hospital. Association president Dr Janak Raj Arora said the administration or the corporation could have easily hired private persons to do the job.

The city is facing the brunt of the present imbroglio. No sweeping has been done since the last three days. The corporation employees have also refused to do any lifting of garbage unless the committee comes out with its report.


Panchayats to record births, deaths in villages
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 13
The Punjab government has withdrawn orders which authorised the station house officers (SHOs) of rural police stations to act as sub-registrars of Births and Deaths. Now secretaries of the gram panchayats will maintain Registers and record births and deaths in villages on the reports of chowkidars.

Dr Shravan Kumar Juneja SMO Community Health Centre and coordinator of the campaign said that the government had also delegated powers of the civil surgeon to the SMOs in the Rural Health Centres and the executive officers in the Municipal limits to issue certificates to the children not issued birth certificates so far. The orders will be inforce up to December 31, 2004.

Speaking at a Population Control Seminar organised by the science Club of the Jhamku Devi Senior secondary School in Mehrana village in this subdivision. Dr Juneja said today that India had 2.4 per cent area of the world but the population was 16.7 per cent of the world. The rate at which the population was increasing we might leave China behind in 20 years. Unfortunately people believed that more the members of a family more they would earn. They were not aware of deaths due to starvation and malnutrition. He appreciated that a school was bringing awareness among rural people on family planning. Students including girls went to working women to convey message of small family. He said it was unfortunate that people believed that sadhus or quacks could guarantee the berth of a son.

Students presented songs to entertain the villagers and motivate them for a small family. Students also carried a survey under the guidance of Principal V.K. Curiocose, Ms Saroj Chaudhary, Ms Rupinder Kaur and Mr Navneet Kumar.

Mr Anil Kumar an official of the Health Department said that 18000 birth certificates had been supplied to sarpanches. Magician Meeri also educated the gathering on population control and AIDs.


Deficient rainfall leads to drought-like conditions
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 13
Nineteen out of the 30 meteorological subdivisions in the country have received deficient rainfall during the current monsoon period. parts of north-west India, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh have received scattered rainfall so far where the monsoons have not yet set actively, according to the Department of Agronomy and Agro-Meteorology, Punjab Agricultural University.

According to Dr Paramjit Singh Sera, associate professor in the department, although the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) made the forecast of a normal monsoon during the current season from June to September which on an average has 880 mm of rainfall in whole of the country, yet a significant deficit has occurred with no rain or deficient rain over Telangana, Rajasthan, Vidharbha, western Madhya Pradesh, eastern Rajasthan and other parts of the country and in north-west India, including Punjab and Haryana. By the third week of June, the rainfall was about 121 per cent of the normal which has now been reduced to 90 per cent of normal due to the “lull period and weak phase” of the monsoon during the past three weeks giving early indications of possible drought-like conditions over about one-third part of the country.

Dr Sera told this reporter today that parts of north-west India, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh, have received a scattered rainfall so far. These drought-like conditions are adversely affecting the kharif crops.

Due to a shortage of water, some farmers have started reploughing their paddy fields as a result of the delayed monsoons and electricity crisis.

Dr Sera warns that the government has to make contingency plans if such a situation prevails for some more time which is quite likely.

According to Dr Sera, there are several reasons for this likely short fall of rain during the current monsoon season, the principal being the slow development of the strong low-pressure areas in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea on the east and the west coast of India and their movements deep inland towards central and northwest India.

Dr Sera said that there are neutral conditions of the El-Nino Southern Oscillation(ENSO) phenomenon up to August after which the El-Nini factor with higher than normal sea surface temperatures of about 27°C might gradually return which could further add to the problem of subdued rainfall activity.

Dr Sera hopes at present there are favourable conditions for the development of an intense low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal which may lead to the revival of monsoons first over central India and then over north-west India with Punjab and Haryana getting active phase of monsoons after about week’s time.


Ravi waters flowing to Pak due to lack of barrage’s repair
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur July 13
Political parties’ unity on saving state’s water from going to other states is laudable but they (when ever in power) failed to check Ravi’s water flowing to Pakistan. Due to lack of repair of the Madhopur barrage used to divert Ravi water into the Upper Bari Doab UBD canal system thousands of cusecs water of has been flowing to Pakistan.

A survey revealed that water has been spilling in large quantity through gate numbers IV, V, VI, VII and VIII of unit-1, gate number III of the unit-II and gates V and VI of unit-3. In gate V of the unit-1 the water was leaking even through the pillar of the gate.

In most of the damaged gates water was spilling either at the bottom or via the damaged railing on which the gates slide. Sources here said it had been so because no funds had been released for the repair of the barrage for past 10 years.

There are 54 gates at the Madhopur barrage. Trolleys of half of these gates are damaged due non-application of paint or lubricant on the iron structures. Seals of the gates that plug the seeping of water through them have been damaged in all gates due which the water has been seeping through almost all gates. Besides the girders on which the gates rest are damaged due to non-application of anti-corrosion paint on them.

Other major problem of the barrage is silt. The Madhopur barrage has 27-foot head. However, due to silting the head has been reduced to just 10 feet and its storage capacity has been reduced to 12000 cusecs. Recently when Ranjit Sagar dam authorities released more water due excess generation it spilled on to roads of the area. Due to reduced head of the barrage most of excess monsoon water spills over the sources added that the members of the Eradi Water Tribunal which visited the barrage recently had taken serious view of the Ravi water spilling over to Pakistan. They had estimated that 1000 cusecs to 1500 cusecs of Ravi water was flowing waste to Pakistan.

The Irrigation Department sources here, however, put seepage through the Madhopur head due to lack of repairs at just 200 cusecs to 300 cusecs. They maintain that water in the Ravi increases downstream due to the merger of tributaries like Ujh.

The Irrigation Department earlier submitted a proposal of Rs 30 crore to the government for the repairs of Madhopur head. The proposal, however, was sent back with a direction to reduce the cost. The revised estimate of Rs 3 crore for just minimum repair of the project was submitted again. Status of the proposal was yet to be conveyed to the Irrigation authorities here.

Sources here said that by saving money from repairs of the Irrigation projects the government was not acting wisely.


Implement oil refinery project: GSP
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
The General Samaj Party (GSP) today urged the Union Government and the Punjab Government to start implementation of oil refinery project in this district as it would create job opportunities for thousands of unemployed youths of this region.

In a press note issued here today, a spokesman of the GSP said a delegation of the party met the Deputy Commissioner today and submitted the demands of the party.

The GSP raised the question that when a private industrial house of the state could be given sales tax concession to the tune of Rs 200 crore then why the oil refinery project could not be implemented by extending sales tax concession to the establishment which was executing this project.

He said the GSP was also of the view that all political parties should join hands to facilitate the implementation of oil refinery project. He added that Mr Surinder Singla, local MLA, had been continuously claiming that he was instrumental in bringing oil refinery project to Bathinda and now he had become the Finance Minister. Now Mr Singla should take pains for its implementation.

The GSP also demanded that ring road project of this city should be completed at the earliest and residential colonies should be developed on the patches of land surrounding it to enable to the people to construct houses at cheaper rates. He alleged that a section of politicians in connivance with the land mafia made the prices of land to go unprecedently high and hence made the residential plots unaffordable for commoners.

He said the GSP would launch an agitation, if the concerned authorities did not accept its demands.


Tribune Impact
4 cops suspended for detaining Nepalese
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 13
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr J.P. Birdi, has placed four policemen, including a head constable, under suspension in kidnapping, illegal detention and chaining of a Nepali national by the Amritsar police for three days.

He was later booked in a fabricated case of possessing liquor by the police when the incident came to light.

The victim was arrested and brought by the police last month in place of his son who was allegedly involved in a Rs 10 lakh theft case from a house at Lawrence Road here. He was kept chained in Nehru Shoping Complex police chowki.

Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, confirmed that four policemen had been suspended after an inquiry conducted, by the DSP, Civil Lines, Mr Ashish Kapur. He said the case of possessing liquor, which was registered against him, had also been dropped. The suspended policemen are Head Constable Kulwant Singh and constables Balwinder Singh, Ishwar Lal and Sanjeev Kumar.

As there is no extradition treaty between India and Nepal, the arrest of the Nepali national without valid documents was treated as unconstitutional. The case was highlighted by Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, state vice-president of the BJP when she saw the chained Nepali national in the police chowki without registration of any case. Ms Chawla had also written to the National Human Rights Commission for intervention.

After the incident came to light and published in The Tribune, the Government of Nepal took up the matter with the Union Home Ministry which ordered the Inspector-General of Police (Border) to take action against the policemen involved for his alleged kidnapping from Nepal.

However, it was still not clear that who had ordered to bring the Nepali national.


Gurkanwal for pension lok adalats
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 13
Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Minister for Social Security and Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Classes, today said she would ensure early release of old-age and widow pensions and would undertake a tour of the state to identify more such people who deserved such pensions.

Ms Gurkanwal Kaur while addressing a press conference here today said her priority would be to ensure release of pensions of those deserving old people and widows to whom payment of pension was stopped for one or the other reason. “I would take up the matter with the Chief Minister. Pension Lok Adalats would also be held for this purpose,” said the minister.

She said her department had already identified those pensioners, who were granted pensions during the SAD-BJP rule in the state despite the fact that they were not eligible for such pensions. “We won’t spare officials of the department who were found guilty in the pension scam.

I will hold a meeting of the eight-member committee which was formed to look into grant of such pensions during rule of previous government,” said Ms Gurkanwal Kaur.


Alert security guard averts bank robbery
Ravinder Sud

Hoshiarpur, July 13
Presence of mind and timely action by Mr Malkiat Singh, security guard, today foiled dacoity attempt by five or six unidentified persons at Punjab National Bank, Chautala branch, about 35 km from here, on the Garhdiwala-Tanda link road.

Mr Malkiat Singh and one of the dacoits received bullet injuries during firing by another dacoit before their escape. Mr Malkiat Singh was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where his condition was stable.

The dacoits came to the bank at about 12.45 p.m. today. One of them entered the bank and took out a revolver and a dagger. He ordered the bank staff to raise their hands. One of his accomplices, who was entering the bank, was stopped by Mr Malkiat Singh. The dacoit tried to snatch his double-barrel gun. There was a scuffle and the gun was damaged.

Mr Jai Ram, branch manager, pushed the security alarm switch, which attracted the attention of inhabitants of the locality. On realising the gravity of the situation, the dacoits fled in their Maruti van. The police registered a case.


Monuments converted into guest houses
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, July 13
Several historical sites in the ancient city of Pathankot subdivision had been converted into guest houses. Centuries old monuments are being used for some other purposes, and some of them have been encroached by local residents.

The Shahpur-Kandi fort, situated on the bank of the Ravi river, had been completely ruined and its remains are still visible. The fort dates back to the Mahabharata period. Originally known as Shardapur, it was re-named as Shahpur to please the Mughal-Emperor Shahjahan (1627-1658) on his visit to this place.

A Rajput chief, Jaspal Singh Pathania, had constructed the fort. This fort had been converted into a rest house by the authorities of Ranjit Sagar Dam.

Pathankot being the gateway to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, had also a centuries-old fort, which has been converted into tourist complex and a park, popularly known as Shimla-Park.

According to historians, the site of the old fort of Pathankot, which no longer exists, is one of the most ancient sites in the Punjab, as its position is specially favourable as a mart for the interchange of produce between the hills and plain.

According to some senior citizens, the walls of the old fort of Pathankot were still intact at the time of the British occupation in 1947, but they were pulled down to furnish bricks for the works of the Bari Doab Canal officer’s houses at Madhopur. These were of a very large size, which is a sure sign of Hindu origins as well of great age.

Several business establishments are functioning from the fort. Mr Surjit Rana, president of the local Bar Association, demanded that the remains of the ancient monuments should be preserved and sign boards explaining the history of the monuments should be put up.


Resentment over non-payment of gratuity
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 13
Resentment prevails amongst employees of the Municipal Council here against the indifferent attitude of the authorities.

Mr Jawahar Lal Ghosh, secretary, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Punjab, along with Mr Davinder Pal, president, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Gurdaspur, said here today that the retired employees of the council like sweepers, watchmen, peons, road-gang employees, firemen, octroi clerks, etc., had not been paid their gratuity under the Gratuity Act, 1972.

These employees have now filed cases in the office of the controlling authority under the Gratuity Act and the Assistant Labour Commissioner to get the gratuity amount released from the council authorities.


Bandh by religious bodies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
Several social and religious organisations led by the Shree Ram Seva Samiti today made business establishments of the city observe a bandh in protest against the projection of different gods and goddesses in ‘bad taste’ in a compact disk made by a resident of Haryana. Activists of these organisations held a demonstration in the city and sought the registration of cases against those, who got the disk (CD) prepared and to hurt sentiments of a community.

In a memorandum to President of India, Dr A.P.J. Kalam and other higher-ups, the organisations sought the registration of cases against Mr Kuldeep Vatas, Mr Kharaiti Lal Batra, and actors, actresses, cameraman, financier and others, involved in the preparation of (CD) titled “Aaj Ke Ramayan”. Mr Rajinder Kumar, President of the samiti, said in the CD, Lord Rama, Mata Sita, Lord Sugreev, Lord Shiva and Rishi Nard had been presented in bad light.


Plan to develop Bathinda town
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
The Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, today urged the state government officials to perform their duties with devotion and to work hard to solve the problems of the people to build the image of state government.

Mr Singla, who made his first visit to this town after becoming Finance Minister, addressed the meeting of district civil and police officials today. He added that all the welfare policies, which had been launched by the state government, should be implemented by the officials concerned without any delay.

He pointed out that the Punjab Government had decided to develop Bathinda as one of the best developed towns of the state. The plans for this task had been prepared.

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, who attended the meeting, sought a special package to improve the supply of potable water in the entire district. He also assured Mr Singla that government officials would work hard to implement the state government policies.


2 mentally retarded persons dead
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, July 13
Two 90-year-old mentally challenged persons — Rama and Sawan — have died after spending more than 50 years in the government-run Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital here. Both were brought to this hospital after Partition.

Both of them were transferred to the mental hospital in Multan (Pakistan) from a jail where they were lodged for committing a murder. From Multan they were transferred to Lahore and then to Amritsar after Partition.

According to their files, Sawan had murdered his mother while Rama was also under trial for the same cause. After committing the murder Sawan went running to his school with a blood-stained kirpan and told his teacher that he had killed his mother. The teacher immediately called the police and he was arrested. However, the court found him to be mentally disturbed and was, therefore, sent to the mental hospital in Multan in 1941. He was then shifted to the Lahore mental hospital and then to Amritsar. However, there was no mention of his residential address. So was the case with Rama.

Dr B.L. Goel, Director of the mental hospital, said these two were like VIPs for the hospital staff.



SDO’s arrest stayed in abduction case
Tribune News Service 

Patiala, July 13
A local court today granted stay on the arrest of Irrigation Department Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Satpal Jindal till July 26 after he claimed that he had no role in the kidnapping of a 33-year-old city woman.

The local police had registered a case against 55-year-old Satpal Jindal on the allegation of the husband of Maninder Kaur, who had accused the SDO of abducting his wife. The SDO was reportedly untracable after the incident which occurred on May 31 when the Matiz car of Maninder was found near the Bhakra canal in the city.

In his application filed in the court of Mr K.C. Puri, the SDO claimed that he had no role in the reported abduction. The SDO also appended a recent application filed by Maninder in a Chandigarh court recently. In the application Maninder had stated that she had a religious bent of mind but was not allowed to pursue her wishes by her husband Arvinder Singh.

The applicant said in her application that her husband used to hit her often. She said she was fed up and decided to go to a pilgrimage to Hemkunt Sahib. The applicant said she had recently returned from the pilgrimage and was presently residing in Burail in Chandigarh. Maninder also alleged in her application that her husband Arvinder had come to her house in Burail recently and intimidated her.

In his complaint Arvinder Singh had said that on May 31 his wife had left the house along with their son Gurpreet for a beauty parlour in the city. He said when she did not return till late in the evening he rang up the beauty parlour owner who told him that his wife had left the parlour and had left for Tripuri. He said the search led to Maninder’s Matiz car near the Bhakra canal.

Though first Arvinder had not named anyone, later he named the SDO in the case also, claiming that the SDO was in possession of the passport of his wife and son.


15-year term for smuggling poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 13
Additional District and Sessions Judge Harjinder Pal Singh yesterday sentenced the main accused in a poppy husk smuggling case to 15 years in imprisonment, and fined him Rs 2 lakh. Three other accused were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine each. One accused had been declared absconder.

The Dharamkot police had set up checkposts on July 31, 2000. Following a tip-off the police checked a truck (RJ-13C-5062) and found bags filled with poppy husk powder under the bags of cement. The police had seized 30 bags of poppy husk powder with each one containing 36 kg. According to the police, the truck driver disclosed his identity as Diljeet Singh of Muktsar. His accomplices were identified as Amarjeet Singh Bhamba of Khosa Randheer, Ajeet Singh of Sandhwa and Mahinder Singh of Fatehgarh Panjtoor.

The police had registered a case against the accused under the NDPS Act.

In case the accused failed to pay the fine they would have to undergo further imprisonment for six months each.


Farmers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 13
Protesting against the power and water shortage, farmers of Minia village, under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), blocked traffic for two hours on the main road in the Badhani Kalan area of the district yesterday.

Earlier, the farmers had staged a dharna in front of the power house in Badhani Kalan.

The farmers said that their motors were not working due to low voltage which was hampering water supply to their paddy crop. They said that the power line to their village was in bad shape and the electricity board had replaced it on their demand, but it was yet to supply power through the new line.

Addressing the BKU workers, the district president of the union, Mr Trilok Singh Himmatpura, said that the farmers had been demanding 16-hour power supply to the agricultural sector, besides proper canal water supply, for long, but the state government was “ignoring” the farmers. He said that the government also did not respond to the demands of waiving off farmers’ debt and giving subsidy on diesel. He said that they were staging dharna at the power house, but the electricity officials did not pay any heed to them, after which they decided to block traffic. About 500, farmers, including women, participated in the dharna and raised slogans against the electricity board and the Punjab Government.

Later, the BKU members submitted a memorandum to Naib Tehsildar Madan Mohan who, along with SHO Jasbeer Singh, pacified the farmers to lift the blockade.


Asst Director Horticulture suspended
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 13
The state government has suspended Mr Anoop Singh, Assistant Director, Horticulture, Fatehgarh Sahib, for dereliction of duty.

In a fax message received at the Deputy Commissioner’s office, it has been mentioned that Mr P.K. Verma, Financial Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Agriculture, has ordered his suspension.


Woman, paramour held for killing husband
Tribune News Service

Malout, July 13
Rani Kaur and her paramour, Paramjit Singh, alias Vicky, were arrested by the Malout police today for killing her husband, Darshan Singh. Darshan Singh was found dead in his house on Sunday.

According to police sources, Rani Kaur and Vicky strangulated Darshan Singh with dupatta to death. When Darshan Singh died, Rani Kaur informed the neighbours that he had taken some intoxicant substance.

However, when the neighbours reached the spot, they found him dead. The police did the formalities under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code but the police suspected foul play after the postmortem report on Monday.

Following which, the SHO of Malout city police station, investigated the matter and came to know that Rani Kaur and Vicky had illicit relations for the past two years, and Rani’s husband came to know about the affair in the recent past.

So Rani and her paramour made a plan to eliminate him. Actually, Darshan Singh met with an accident a couple of days ago and was taking some painkillers. Taking benefit of it, his wife gave him some intoxicating tablets in the name of painkillers. Following which he became unconscious and then both of them strangulated him to death.

Meanwhile, the police arrested both of them today and the FIR was converted into Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC. Both the alleged accused would be produced in the court tomorrow.


Husband abducts wife’s sisters
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
In a bizarre incident, Mohinder Singh, a local resident, allegedly abducted two sisters of his wife.

Police sources said that a case under Sections 363, 366 and 506, IPC, had been registered against Mohinder Singh and his two other kin for their alleged involvement in the crime. The case was registered on the complaint lodged by Mrs Kuldeep Kaur, wife of the accused, to the district police authorities.

In her complaint, Mrs Kuldeep Kaur alleged that she was getting treatment from the local Civil Hospital. On July 3, she along with Mohinder Singh went to the hospital for routine check up. After the check up, her husband asked her to wait for a while in the hospital as he would come back after doing some urgent work.

She said that instead of returning to the hospital, her husband abducted her two sisters. She added that her one sister was minor, while the other was a widow.

Police sources said that investigations were on in this case. No accused had been arrested in this connection.


Mother, child killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 13
A 30-year-old resident of Bikaner and her five-year-old daughter were killed as a bus reportedly hit their Esteem car on the Malout bypass here today. Three others, including her 10-year-old son were injured.

According to information Sumita Devi (30), wife of Anil Siyag of Kathuria Colony Bikaner arrived here in Esteem Car to drop her son Arpreet (10) a student of Assumption Convent School here. The school is schedule to reopen tomorrow after the summer vacations. As driver Karanveer was trying to park the car on the roadside near the school, a private bus of a local transport company reportedly hit the Esteem and dragged it up to a distance of 20 feet. The car was badly damaged.

Sumita and her daughter, Arfi (5), were dead by the time they were taken out by breaking the car doors. Her relative Chawli Devi wife of Ganga Singh r/o Abubsheshar in Haryana and driver were admitted to Civil Hospital here. As Chawli Devi’s condition deteriorated she was referred to the district hospital at Sriganganagar 40 km from here. The police has registered a case against the driver of the bus under Sections 279, 238, 237 and 337 of the IPC.


Two killed, three injured in road accident
Tribune News Service

Kabarwala (Malout), July 13
Two persons, including a soldier, were killed in a road accident at Kabarwala village in Malout subdivision of Muktsar district yesterday. The deceased have been identified as Army jawan Ranbir Singh of Dhilwan Mor village and driver of the jeep, Darshan Singh.

The accident occurred when the driver of the jeep tried to overtake a car near Kabarwala, following which the jeep collided with a private bus. Five persons were boarding the jeep. Darshan Singh died on the spot.

Ranbir Singh and Jarnail Singh were injured and were referred to Bathinda Civil Hospital. Ranbir succumbed to his injuries today, whereas Jarnail was still struggling for life. The other two, Army jawan Jagtar Singh of Pacca Kalan village in Talwandi Sabo of Bathinda district, and his father, Atma Singh, were also injured in the accident and were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Malout.

The two soldiers were returning from Gobindgarh with their relatives to their respective houses as they were shifted to Jammu and were about to join their duty on Monday.


Undertrial attacks cop
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 13
The Kotwali police has registered a case against an undertrial who attacked a Head Constable at the local bus stand here when being taken to attend a court hearing in Karnal. According to sources, the undertrial, Pargat Singh, got into an argument with Head Constable Sukhminder Singh and Constable Surjit Singh when refused to entertain his request to allow him to make a phone call, besides buying a “gutka” packet.

The sources said following this, Pargat attacked the Head Constable and tore his shirt in a fit of rage. 


College student killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 13
A student of Guru Gobind Singh Engineering College, Khanpur, near here, was killed while another one was injured in an accident here today.

It is learnt that Amit Sharma and Arun Malhotra, who were going on a scooter from Kharar towards their college, were hit by a vehicle from behind. Both of them were injured. They were taken to the local Civil Hospital where doctors referred them to the PGI without admitting them.

Amit Sharma succumbed to his injuries while Arun Malhotra’s condition was stated to be serious.


B.Ed counselling from July 17
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 13
Guru Nanak Dev University will hold a counselling session for admission to B.Ed course for various colleges of education at the state. These colleges are affiliated to it and to Punjabi University, Patiala, Panjab University, Chandigarh. The counselling will be held from July 17 to 28 on the university campus here.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Co-ordinator B.Ed entrance test said counselling for 15 per cent quota (for non-Punjabi candidates) will be held on July 17 for reserved categories and general category of the science and humanities groups in the Dashmesh auditorium and Guru Nanak Bhavan Auditorium of the university, respectively.

He said the candidates must bring their admit cards and all documents in original at time of the counselling. The counselling for 85 per cent quota (for Punjab candidates only) would be held from July 18 to 28.


Education board to regularise services of sacked staff
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 13
In a significant decision, the Punjab School Education Board today decided to regularise the services of employees who had been working on an hoc or daily wage basis and had been removed from service.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of 11 board members held here at which the recommendations of a subcommittee of the board were presented. The recommendations were accepted in toto by the members.

At present there are nearly 150 posts vacant in the board and these will be filled by regularising the services of deserving persons. The board members also decided that in order to encourage employees to learn the use of computers, an additional increment will be given after holding a test.

Earlier, a subcommittee of the board had recommended the regularisation of the services of employees on July 9. Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the board, had said that keeping in view the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of Mr Balkar Singh vs State, it had been decided that the services of the employees who fulfilled the conditions laid down in that case should be regularised. A notification issued by the Punjab Government was also discussed by the subcommittee. It was decided to prepare a merit list of the employees who had completed three years of service on the basis of seniority and the services of deserving employees would be regularised.


Workshop on virtual instrumentation
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 13
A two-day workshop on “virtual instrumentation” organised by the National Instruments Systems (India), Bangalore, and Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, began at the Electronics Department of the college today.

Faculty members from various engineering colleges of the state affiliated to Punjab Technical University (PTU) are participating in the workshop.

Dr D.S. Hira, BBSBE College Principal, inaugurated the workshop. He said the measurements of various physical parameters could be made only with the help of computers by using the concept of virtual instrumentation.

Mr Tarun Gupta, Academic Specialist of National Instruments, delivered a lecture on the application of virtual instrumentation in the field of electronics and communication and electronics and mechanical engineering.

In the practical session measurements of vibrations and force of very short durations were made and recorded by using data acquiring techniques.

Prof K.S. Penesar, Head Mechanical, and Prof R.S. Uppal, coordinator of the workshop, said the PTU was making efforts to educate the faculty of affiliated colleges in the field of virtual instrumentation and computer-aided design.

Prof N.D. Sharma and the Sandeep Singh Gill of GNE, Ludhiana, Prof Harpal Singh and Prof Amarjit Singh of IET Bhaddal (Ropar), Prof Paramvir Kaur and Mr R.K. Bansal of SUS College Tangori, and Prof A.P.S. Sethi, Prof J.S. Oberio, Prof I.P.S. Gill, Prof Jagtar Singh Dhillon, Prof Triptjot Singh, Prof Gurneet Kaur Tiwana, and Prof Jatinder Kaur of BBSBE College also expressed their views.


Truck operators rue low profit
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 13
While farmers of the region are taking to the streets due to a power crisis, the rising cost of running and maintaining vehicles and unchanged freight rates have taken a toll on transporters’ business. Between 35 and 40 per cent of trucks in the district are stranded due to declining margin of profit in the business. This has affected persons employed in the transport industry in the district, which has about 4,000 trucks.

Speaking to The Tribune, Mr Mahinder Singh of the Moga Truck Union said the cost of tyres, spare parts, and diesel were on the rise whereas freight rates had remained the same for the past 10 years. He said the government was imposing heavy taxes on truck operators, which was cutting on profit. He alleged that the district transport officer penalised them for blowing horn and they had to shell out Rs 2,000 for the same.

Another union member, Mr Chamkaur Singh, said they were fined heavily for overloading. “We have to pay Rs 1,000 per tonne for overloading, which makes it Rs 10,000 for 10 tonnes,” he added. He said the bigger trucks being bought by rich transporters had affected the business of small truck operators as the bigger trucks could carry thrice the load. “On long trips, we save very little, as our trucks are challaned at various points in other states. In states like Bihar, we are fined up to Rs 20,000,” he added.

Mr Mahinder Singh said the declining profits in the business had made it difficult for a truck operator to sell his vehicles as nobody was ready to buy these. In a situation like this, if someone had bought a truck on loan, he could hardly make both ends meet, he added. Highlighting another aspect of their woes, Mr Chamkaur Singh said there had been cases when drivers and cleaners hailing from other states had run away with their money.

Both union members opined that the government should reduce taxes, besides the prices of spare parts, tyres and diesel, to provide reprieve to transporters. Various truck unions should join hands to take measures regarding increasing freight rates, which had remained the same for the past decade or so, they added.

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