P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Panel seeks report on police torture
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 27
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has sought a report from the Home Department regarding allegations against the DSP (D) Sangrur and CIA staff of Bahadur Singh Wala (Sangrur), levelled by a local resident, Bhupinder Kumar, that his brother, Okesh Kumar, was given electric shocks in police custody.

The commission has sent its order and the copy of the complaint to the IGP (Litigation), Punjab, for compliance he has been asked to depute an officer to investigate into the matter and report.

Mr Bhupinder Kumar has alleged that his brother was given electric shocks brutal tortured during his one-day police custody. He also alleged that he and his family were being harassed by the police at the behest of the family of a girl who, he claimed, was the wife of his brother.

Mr Bhupinder Kumar appeared before the commission yesterday. He said Okesh Kumar, had married a girl of Malerkotla according to Arya Samaj rituals in Chandigarh on November 15, 2002. The girl and the boy, he said, were major when they married. The marriage was solemnised at Arya Samaj Mandir, Sector 7, Chandigarh, in the presence of witnesses. A marriage certificate was also issued by the temple authorities. Photographs were also taken at that time, he said.

The police decided to disclose their marriage at an appropriate time to the two families. When Okesh Kumar came to know that the girl’s parents wanted to marry her off to some one else, he obtained an injunction from a civil court on February 19.

Mr Bhupinder Kumar alleged a false case was registered against him and his relatives by the Malerkotla police under Sections 363, 366, 367, 420, 467, 468, 469, 474, 506, 120-B of the IPC on February 18.

He said Okesh Kumar was even threatened by the DSP (D) before the registration of case against him.

Later, Okesh was remanded in police custody for one day. Besides torturing him, the police officials also obtained Okesh’s signatures on four blank papers and some documents the contents of which were not read over to him. They also threatened to implicate him and his family in some other cases.

Taking notice of the complaint, Justice R.L. Anand, a member of the commission, has sought a report from the Home Department by September 23.


A reminder of the dark days of militancy
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Punjab is a happening state, where new events overshadow the present, expose the past, and create apprehensions about the future. The rapidity and the short span in which all this happens often leave the state gasping for breath.

Sample the publication of an advertisement by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the newspapers on July 19. The ad pertains to ’cremations’’ by the Punjab Police of 2,097 persons, “unclaimed or unidentified” in three districts, Majitha, Amritsar and Tarn Taran alone between June, 1984,and December, 1994, and includes the period of Operation Bluestar and Black Thunder. The list of these “questioned” 2,097 cremations is based on the information submitted to the Supreme Court by the CBI under three categories, A-identified, B-partially identified and C-unidentified In respect of each of these cremations, there is proper post-mortem examination record and also First Information Report registered in the police station concerned in the three districts. All these cremations were actually carried out by the respective municipalities, which were handed over the bodies by the police.

In the ad, the NHRC has called for claims from ‘’legal heir, next of kin’’ of the listed persons within eight weeks so that the NHRC may provide compensation in “appropriate cases”. The list includes 693 cremations under investigation, wherein identity has been ‘’definitely ascertained’’. And among them are over 100 “known terrorists”. The police has already filed relevant affidavits in respect of all 693 and given detailed background of the criminal, terrorist activities, including killings, of each one of the known terrorist and weapons recovered from him.

All these 693 are the ones who were killed in “encounters” in which at times civilians too got killed in cross-firing. In these encounters, at least 26 security personnel too were killed. The list also has names of such terrorists who went to “kidnap for “ransom” but were apprehended by the public and beaten to death. Their bodies, too, were handed over to the police for cremation. The ad has been published by the NHRC on the directive of the Supreme Court hearing the case on “circumstances leading to the cremation, by the police in the border districts, of unclaimed or unidentified bodies”. The NHRC was asked to probe “violations of human rights”, if any, and provide “compensation”, where admissible.

The publication of this ad by the state government, albeit reluctantly, has revived old memories and raised new controversies. The state has, meanwhile, received a feed-back from the districts, saying that publishing of the list was likely to “encourage” splinter terrorist outfits in hibernation to regroup or radical elements looking for an opportunity to rekindle the ambers of ‘Khalistan’ or the human rights activists to take advantage to arouse passions of gullible people. There are at least 300 wanted terrorists still in hiding.

Sources say that rather than appreciating these ground realities or the fact that assassins of Beant Singh were still at large after their escape from Burail Jail, Chandigarh, in January last or submission of thousands of affidavits, the NHRC still believes in ‘’technicalities’’. Hence, the published list. NHRC Registrar Ajit Bharihoke says preamble to the list was “clear and self-explanatory”. Patiently replying to several such questions and apprehensions, he told TNS, “This (publication of ad) does not mean known terrorists will be compensated. We have invited claims from legal heir or next of kin of all the listed persons. Each claim will be got verified from the state. Only in appropriate cases the commission may provide compensation”.

Mr Bharihoke said all that the Supreme Court had asked NHRC was to examine if the cremations were done by following the lawful procedure or that there have been any human rights violations.

(To be concluded)


Travel agents spread tentacles in Gurdaspur
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 27
After Doaba, unscrupulous travel agents have started spreading their tentacles in this border district. The increasing number of complaints being received against the travel agents by the police in Batala and Gurdaspur police districts here point towards the fact.

In the past one year, the Batala police has received 103 complaints in which the youth were duped by travel agents. Out of these 62 have been verified as true while 20 are still under investigation. Twentyone cases have been registered against the travel agents and an amount of Rs 10 lakh has been recovered from 14 arrested agents.

The SSP Batala, Mr Ram Singh, said though sign boards of these travel agents could not be seen in these areas, but their operations here have definitely increased in the recent past. Most of the travel agents here operate through locals who are paid a share.

These travel agents somehow manage to procure tourist visas for the youth. After the expiry of the visa term some of them end up in foreign jails or are deported back.

Similarly in Gurdaspur police district also there has been an increase in number of cases registered against the travel agents. The SSP Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said though there was an increase in the number of complaints against the travel agents due to which the number of cases registered has increased.

Members of some Non Government Organisations (NGOs) working in the area say being a border district hardly any new industry was up coming here. Once known industrial towns of the district such as Batala (known for its foundry industry) are also facing crises.

The industry here was either closing down or shifting elsewhere due to the lack of government support. Industrialists of the district had demanded that an extension in the five-year tax holiday. However, the plea was ignored in the Budget.

With the landholding decreasing there is decrease in per capita income here due to which there has been an increasing trend to go abroad.


Punjab grants Rs 5 cr for drinking water
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
As the situation in the countryside continues to deteriorate on various fronts because of the drought, the Punjab Government today set up a state-level crop management cell to monitor the emerging situation on a day-to day basis, besides ordering the release Rs 5 crore to ensure drinking water for the drought hit rural and urban areas.

Already the Central team led by Dr Joginder Singh, Additional Agriculture Commissioner of India, has arrived in Mansa to assess the situation regarding drought in the state. Dr Ajmer Singh, Director Agriculture, who left here for Mansa today, will accompany the team to various parts of the state.

Informed sources said that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today rang up the officers concerned from Delhi to take all necessary steps to minimise the affect of drought at least on populace. There are reports with the government that drinking water crisis has become a big challenge to overcome in most of the drought-hit areas in the state. Most of the hand-pumps have gone dry in the state. There has been acute shortage of drinking water, especially in the Malwa belt. The CM has put the state official machinery in top gear to tackle the drought related problems.

The Chief Minister has directed the officers concerned that he should be given a detailed report regarding the prevailing situation regarding drinking water, power, damage to crops, pest attack and availability of canal water every evening.

The Chief Minister has directed the Financial Commissioner ( Revenue) to release immediately Rs 5 crore to the Deputy Commissioners from the calamity relief fund to arrange drinking water supply in urban and severely affected rural areas through water tankers.

The Deputy Commissioners have been directed to incure the expenditure from the allocation made to them for the proper functioning of tubewells operated by the Public Health Department.

The state government, which had set up flood control rooms expecting a heavy, rainfall in the region as was predicted by the Met Department, today converted these into drought control rooms. Farmers have been told to approach duty officers in these rooms in case of any problem. Farmers can bring in the notice of duty officers complaints regarding non availability of power, frequent trippings and damaged transformers and scarcity of drinking water etc.

The Deputy Commissioners have been told to widely publicise the number of such control rooms in rural and urban areas through sapanches etc.

At each subdivisional headquarter, a committee headed by the Subdivisional Magistrate and having officers from agriculture, irrigation, rural development, animal husbandry and the PSEB would meet daily to review the action taken by department concerned to deal with complaints and take other necessary steps required to resolve the related problems.

All District Chief Agriculture Officers have been asked to send their reports to the state cell by 7 pm daily, including on holidays, regarding the rainfall in their respective areas in the past 24 hours, details of the areas failing to get 8 hours power supply in past 24 hours, details of the fields ploughed by farmers because of withering of paddy and other crops, any difficulty in the availability of canal water and level of pest attack on crops.

The authorities concerned have also been told to provide seeds of moong, toria and peas for re-sowing to needy farmers free of cost.


Punjab accepts proposals on syllabi revision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Punjab Technical Education and Industrial Training Department has accepted the recommendations regarding revision in the syllabi of technical education and vocational training made by the high powered committee headed by Mr Sukhdev Singh, former Agriculture Commissioner of India.

Releasing the copy of recommendations to media persons, Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, Principal Secretary, Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab, said today that a notification had been issued for the implementation of the recommendations step by step. He said that the recommendations would prove useful to tackle the problem of unemployment in the state.

Briefing newspersons, Mr Sukhdev Singh said that it was the first report of the committee. Other two reports would be submitted in due course. He said that he was happy that Mr Bhatnagar took no time to implement recommendations. Mr Sukhdev Singh said that the review committee’s entire emphasis was to make the technical and vocational education relevant to the needs of job market in the country.

Without acquiring life sustaining skills, students remained misfit for the job market, he added. Finding several flaws in the existing education system, he said that required drastic changes to make it suitable to the needs of the country. “We have adopted the western model of education which had totally become irrelevant after the Independence of the country. It requires in depth study and major change”, he emphasised.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, who have been associated with some major projects in agriculture sector, said the committee had made it mandatory to provide information to students regarding the self employment opportunities available to them in various fields. Providing such information had been made part of the syllabi. Students would be told about the loan providing agencies for starting self employment ventures.

All technical education departments have been told to tie up with industry and other service sectors. Students should be given all information during the course regarding patent rights, trade marks, WTO related matters etc. At least 50 per cent part of the course should be a practical training and remaining part should be theoretical one. Workshops in institutions should be run on such a basis that these should generate internal resources of revenue earning.

Besides, technical institutions have been told to start agriculture sector related courses such as seed production technology, plant protection technology, horticulture and vegetable production technology, agriculture products processing and value addition technology, dairy and meat production, etc. Mr Sukhdev Singh said that agriculture scientists were available in plenty but there was no availability of technologists in this sector.

He said that what was being taught in the agriculture universities of the country also needed a big change.

The committee has also made recommendations regarding upgradation of teaching staff through refreshment courses, regular inspection of institutions to check the introduction of new syllabi, provision of latest equipment etc.


Schools directed to have fire safety norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Punjab Government has directed all heads of schools in the state to have adequate fire- fighting arrangements in their respective schools within a week to avoid any fire mishap.

Stating this here today, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, said that it had come to notice that there were no adequate protection arrangements against fire in the schools. Outlining the plan in this regard, he added that “all the school heads in government, private and government- aided have been directed to make proper fire-fighting arrangements in the schools within a week. The District Education Officers have been asked to ensure the compliance of government instructions in this connection".

It may be mentioned here that The Tribune teams carried out a survey of schools in various parts of this region and found that there were no fire- fighting arrangements in place in most of the schools. It appears that the state government has issued instructions in this regard after the issue was highlighted by The Tribune.

It has also been suggested to train students to take protective measures in case of fire.

The Education Minister further said that school heads must display phone numbers of nearest fire brigade officers on the school notice board. A minimum of two buckets full of sand and a fire extinguisher must be kept in the school at a prominent place. All the electrical wirings and joints must be covered. Multistorey buildings should have all proper arrangements. Emergency fire alarm bells should also be fixed in schools to alert neighbourhood areas in case of fire and to seek their help. Proper coordination should be maintained with nearest fire brigade officials. Schools located in thickly populated areas should have proper certificate from the Fire Officers regarding the protection measures taken on the school campus.


Where teaching and liquor sale go side by side
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, July 27
A liquor vend, allotted to the influential Ponty Chadha group, has been allowed to function from the building of Cantonment Board Elementary School on National Highway No. 1, thanks to the officials concerned who have turned a blind eye to the gross violation of the excise policy.

Though the State Excise Policy, 2004-2005 clearly stipulates that the liquor vends shall be located at a reasonable distance from educational institutions or religious places, this vend is situated within the school building, near its main gate at Rama Mandi chowk.

Students, their parents and staff of the school are facing inconvenience due to nuisance it creates outside the school. Girl students and female staff members are seemingly disgruntled, as neither the cantonment board officials nor excise officials have ever tried to redress the issue.

When The Tribune team visited the school, the Headmaster, Mr Malkiat Singh, and other staff members were reluctant to talk about the issue even as they showed concern about its impact on the students. They were of the view that such a liquor vend could not function from a school building without the connivance of excise officials.

“We favour the removal of liquor vend from the school building as easy accessibility of liquor to teenage students will adversely affect their character, even though we have never found a student standing near the vend. It also dents the reputation of the 12-year-old institution as sometimes people in inebriated state have been seen roaming around the school.”

“We have lodged complaints with the officials concerned on several occasions, but nothing has been done so far. The state government should immediately remove the vend from the school building,” Mr Sudesh Sonkar, a former councillor demanded.

The vend, according to officials, belongs to Ponty Chadha, who is known for his close proximity with senior state bureaucrats and politicians in power.

When contacted, the Chief Executive Officer of the Cantonment Board, Mr K.J.S. Chohan, maintained that the board was earning handsome rent from the liquor owner and there was no proposal to remove it. “The board is not a self-sufficient body. Ask excise officials why they have selected the location for liquor vend?” Mr Chohan added.

On the other hand, the Divisional Excise and Taxation Commissioner (DETC), Ms Kanchan Chawla, said she was not authorised to talk to the mediapersons over policy matters. “I can only say that we only act according to specific complaints and so far we have not received any such complaint,” she said.


Students elude affiliated engineering colleges
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, July 27
Seats in various engineering and management colleges affiliated with Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, have gone begging with most of the colleges managing to rope in students ranging from a mere single to not more than six in total. At least three engineering colleges affiliated with the PTU have failed to fill even a single seat.

Due to a surfeit of affiliations handed out by universities of the state to various engineering and management colleges established in the state during the past few years, a number of these institutions have been rendered redundant with many such colleges desperately on the lookout for students. The number of seats available in such institutions far exceeds the number of candidates who have appeared in common entrance test (CET) conducted by the PTU this year.

Of the 5,000 seats slated for MBA and MCA courses in various colleges affiliated with the three universities, barely half the number of students appeared for the state-level entrance test held at Punjabi University, Patiala. While 2,730 candidates had applied for these courses only, 2,591 students had appeared for the test.

The coordinator, CET, Punjabi University, Prof Suchha Singh Gill, when asked about this downward trend, said: “Seats have been created recklessly. In fact another 650 seats have been added after the first notification by the university on May 29. There is a ‘drought’ of students in the state as our rural education has simply collapsed”.

Same is the case with engineering colleges affiliated with the PTU. As many as three affiliated colleges failed to attract even a single candidate while many others could not make it to the double figure. According to official information, Guru Gobind Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda, Punjab College of Engineering and Technology, Lalru Mandi, and Swami Parmanand College of Engineering and Technology, Jaulan Kalan, Dera Bassi, have failed to fill even a single seat till July 22.

Interestingly, the scenario at the state-run engineering colleges is extremely encouraging with most seats being filled. When contacted, the Registrar, PTU, Mr M.S. Grewal, admitted that nearly a fourth of the total 12,590 seats created for engineering colleges affiliated with PTU would remain unfilled. He said: “We expect that around 3,000 seats will go vacant this year too. We are receiving a lot of queries from students in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, perhaps we could give them a chance to avail of the vacant seats reserved for the state quota”. 


VB nabs 2 more officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths today nabbed two more government officials — a doctor and a school principal — on the allegations of indulging in corruption. Their arrest is a part of a concerted drive launched by the Vigilance Bureau against corrupt practices. Already over seven officials have been arrested in just over a fortnight.

According to information reaching here, Muktsar Civil Hospital's Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Dr Meena Jagga was arrested by the vigilance sleuths while allegedly accepting Rs 300 from a patient in the presence of an official witnesses.

In his complaint before the bureau, Iqbal Singh of Muktsar district had earlier alleged that the SMO was cheating his wife for the past six months. The complainant had told the bureau that the SMO was taking Rs 300 while prescribing medicines for treating infertility, even though they had to purchase the medicines from the market.

Ferozepore's Senior Superintendent of Police Inderjit Randhawa, when contacted, said Rs 2070 were also recovered from the SMO's drawer. Both the operations were carried out under the supervision of Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Ishwer Chander, in charge of vigilance at Jalandhar.

In the other case, the principal of a government school in Phagwara was caught while allegedly accepting a bribe from two teachers for the issuance of no-objection certificates required for going abroad.

In their complaint, the teachers had alleged that Principal Harbhajan Kaur had initially demanded Rs 10,000 from each for issuing the certificate for going abroad. The deal was finally struck at Rs 5,000 each.

Jalandhar's Senior Superintendent of Police Tulsi Ram said the accused was caught "red-handed" after a raid was conducted at her office by the bureau sleuths. Two independent witnesses also joined in the operation, he said. 


Radicals, moderates unite on water
P.P.S Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Radical elements and moderate political parties in Punjab are united on one issue: — no sharing of water with other states. And this issue is expected to raise tempers.

Such subterranean currents have emerged at a time when the Congress is in power in New Delhi and Chandigarh, as was in 1982. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and various factions of the Bharti Kisan Union are in an agitation-mode, though the former has extended full support to the abrogation of all agreements on water that have done immense injustice to the state. And 350-odd panchayats of six districts of Bathinda canal division have already threatened to resign enmass over the construction of the SYL canal.

This scenario provides a ‘’fertile ground’’ to radical elements to once again ignite passions and shoot-off violence in the state, which is still struggling to get out of the shadow of bloodshed during decade of militancy.

This warning has been conveyed in a special report by the state intelligence agencies to the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, say informed sources. The report has been prepared in the wake of June 4 order of the Supreme Court to the Centre to step in to construct the SYL. In the meantime came the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act-2004. The feed-back provided by the intelligence, however, makes a lot of sense and, in fact, Capt. Amarinder Singh has often expressed similar apprehensions in case any adverse decision was thrust on Punjab.

Sources say that the report on the reaction of radical elements and militant outfits over the verdict of apex court begins with a reference to 1981, when a tripartite agreement was signed in 1981. It describes the foundation stone laying of SYL by Ms Indira Gandhi in 1982 and goes on to recapitulate the subsequent accords and award to filing of review petitions in the Eradi Tribunal.

The report refers to the Akali Morcha from Kapuri in 1982 and how the public sentiments were aroused, and subsequently the morcha was shifted to Amritsar, where it turned into a “dharm yudh”. As militants indulged in violence and killings, they also targeted 30 labourers working on the SYL in May 1988 in Chairman of the BBMB in November, 1988, followed by killing of a Chief Engineer and a Superintending Engineer in July 1990.

The report minces no words to say that pro-militant organisations and Sikh militant leaders in Pakistan and elsewhere may use this occasion to create violence by play with the sentiments of the people, particularly farmers.

The chances of water flowing through SYL were ‘’bleak’’. Even if SYL was to be constructed and water was to flow, it would lead to eruption of violence, says the report. The intelligence agencies have recalled the traits of farmers of Malwa, who have a history of indulging in petty disputes on ‘’vari-bandhi’’— schedule of canal water for irrigation or on level of water outlets—’’mogha’’, resulting in murders. ,The report raises the question, ‘’When farmers can not compromise on such small, personal issues, how can it be imagined that they would allow river water to flow through SYL’’?. Any such division of waters was likely to give ‘’breathing space’’ to radical elements and militants to strike, it warns.

On the water issue, irrespective of their political ideologies, ego hassles that have often created multiple horizontal and vertical divisions and factions in SAD, they would act collectively as also in their own ways.


Forum to support SAD on SYL
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 27
The Sikh Intelligentsia Forum has passed a resolution here yesterday to ensure solidarity with the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on the SYL issue. The meeting was presided over by the forum president, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon.

All members of the forum were of the opinion that the issue should be solved logically rather than politically. Dr Dhillon said it was difficult to share the natural resources of state with other states leaving the master state in disadvantage. They suggested that the Union Government should neither impose nor enforce the states to share their resources with other states so as to maintain the national peace.

Those who were present, among others, were Dr K.S. Grewal, Dr S.S. Khera, Dr H.S. Pannu, Dr Ajit Singh Bhatia, Dr Gurnek Singh, Dr Rajinderpal Singh Brar, Dr Gurdev Singh, Dr S.S. Bains and Prof Suba Singh.


Farmer commits suicide
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 27
The drought-like conditions in Punjab have claimed their first victim with a farmer from this subdivision, who was faced with withering crops and towering responsibilities, ending his life by jumping in front of a goods train near the Narwana branch canal this morning.

The farmer, Jasbir Singh (28), owned eight acres but increased family responsibilities had crippled him over the past few years.

A pall of gloom descended over Baroli Gujran village, near here, from where Jasbir belonged. Jasbir’s younger brother became unconscious when the body was brought to the village and had to be hospitalised. His brother-in-law Baljinder said the farmer had been crippled financially as he had to take the responsibility of arranging the marriage of two of his sisters. He said Jasbir was being pressurised to go ahead with the marriage but had been stalling for time.

Village sarpanch Balbir Singh also claimed that Jasbir had committed suicide because he was not able to face life following a severe financial crunch.

He said Jasbir had been talking about his financial crisis and also seemed to be mentally disturbed because of it. “We in the village tried to encourage him to face up to life but apparently he could not cope up”, the sarpanch added.

Other villagers, including a relative Hardeep Singh, said Jasbir was faced with immense responsibilities. He said the victim’s father was sick for the past 10 years and that money was needed constantly to pay for his medicines. Besides this, Hardeep said what had been pulling down Jasbir recently was the inability to ensure proper treatment for his seven-month-old child who was detected with a hole in the heart. He said Jasbir had been told that he would have to arrange Rs 2 lakh for the operation charges of his son.

The villagers said Jasbir had also accumulated some debt although this was not clear yet as the family is tightlipped on the issue. The villagers claimed that Jasbir had taken money to ensure the marriages of his two sisters and had now taken the extreme step once he came to know that he would not be able to raise more money.


Desilt Hansli nullah, plead residents
Balraj Mahajan

A view of the dense vegetation in Hansli nullah.
A view of the dense vegetation in Hansli nullah.

BATALA: The Kasur nullah, popularly known as Hansli nullah here, has not yet been cleared of. Encroachments done by influential politicians belonging to the Congress, the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal, especially near the bridge which links the Leak Wala Tank area with Cinema Road. Moreover, grass has also eaten up part of the nullah at several places as it has not been desilted for long.

This nullah earlier used to be desilted by the authorities concerned. In September, 1993, there were flash floods in which this nullah got clogged. As a result, water overflowed into the colonies on either side of the nullah, submerging thousands of houses and industries, damaging property worth crores. The owners of damaged properties have not yet been compensated.

In 1993, Mr Jagdish Sahni, the then BJP-SAD (B) combine MLA, with the help of Batala Municipal Council class IV employees, party workers and local people, cleared the nullah of blockages at various places, thus minimising the flood damage.

A Junior Engineer of the Drainage Department, Batala, told this correspondent that kanungos and patwaris had been asked by the Revenue Department, Batala, to vacate encroachments. During October-November, 2003, the Revenue Department, Batala, reported that there were no encroachments on the banks of this nullah. But the ground reality is not so.

Mr Manjit Singh Sidhu, Executive Engineer, Drainage Department, Gurdaspur Division, Upper Bari Doab Canal, said the higher authorities had been informed about the encroachments.

The Drainage Department, Gurdaspur, has sent several notices to the Municipal Council, Batala, not to throw sewage of the city area into the nullah but in vain.

Residents of Gopal Nagar and Cinema Road, Batala, who suffered massive damage in floods, have urged the authorities concerned to take remedial measures speedily to deal with flood fury.

Mr Harjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, said flood-control rooms had been set up at the tehsil and headquarters levels to deal with any eventuality.


Ranjit Singh not keen to get co-opted into SGPC House
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 27
The former Jathedar, Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, is not keen to be co-opted in to the general House of the SGPC even as the Panthic Morcha has reportedly inclined to send towering personalities in the House through co-option.

Efforts are afoot to reach a common minimum programme among rival Akali factions and SGPC members from Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh so that SAD could be cornered in the general House.

Though SAD had won the SGPC elections with thumping majority, it had suffered serious setbacks in Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh.

Bhai Ranjit Singh said the SGPC had failed to give justice to the Haryana Sikhs. He said Mr Badal should now nominate a SGPC member from Haryana as the committee chief. He added that the morcha would co-operate with SAD if this happens.

Meanwhile, SAD has started an exercise to shortlist names of candidates for the post of SGPC chief. The front-runner for the hot seat is said to be Bibi Jagir Kaur. Some senior leaders like Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, Mr Tota Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Jang Bahadur Singh Rai and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta are making efforts to get co-opted in the general House. The three aspirants, Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan are already out of race as elections in their constituencies had been countermanded.


Akal Takht Jathedar resents misuse of name
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 27
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has taken serious note of the use of his name in the advertisement published by Rashtaryia Sikh Sangathan (RSS) on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), in a press release issued here yesterday, said that no anti-panthic organisation could use the name of Akal Takht. The press release said the Jathedar described this advertisement as highly unfortunate and dangerous as it had stated to have the approval of the jathedars of other takhts. He said it had been done without their permission.

The press release added that the advertisement was meant to mislead the Sikh community and it was a conspiracy to hurt the feelings of the Sikhs. The advertisement had released to commemorate the centenary celebrations by appealing to the people to participate in the ‘sarb sanjhi gurbani yatra’, which he described as a false propaganda by the sangathan. He appealed to the Sikh community and religious organisations to beware of the propaganda launched by the RSS and not to support them.


Electrocautery can help cancer patients, says expert
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 27
For more than 80 per cent of patients suffering from lung cancer, who could not be operated upon and suffered obstruction of central airways, electrocautery can prove to be a boon for them.

This was stated by Dr H.J. Singh, a veteran fibreoptic bronchoscopy expert, who presented his paper, “The role of fibreoptic bronchoscopy in smear negative tuberculosis,” at the 13th World Congress on Bronchology held at Barcelona last month.

Dr H.J. Singh said that for lack of early diagnosis of cancer, a large number of patients, particularly Indians, generally crossed the stage where surgery was not possible and this led to obstruction of central airways. “In such situations, electrocautery can be used for debulking, a process through which the mass of tumour obstructing the airways is cleared and opened up airways and lungs easily tolerate radiotherapy in a better manner with lesser complications,” said Dr H.J. Singh, adding that remarkable progress had also been made in the field of endobracheal ultrasound, which helped locate and define diseased areas and lymph nodes around airways for proper evaluation of exact stage of cancerous process.


‘Saathiya’ team holds roadshow
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 27
As a part of a drive to promote recently launched tele-serial “Saathiya- Pyar Ka Naya Ahsaas”, the three lead stars held a roadshow at Model Town market here today.

Amar Upadhyay, Sanjit Bedi and Shraddha Nigam were face to face with the youngsters and helped them test their love compatibility using a computer software. The love birds were asked to pen down their names and zodiac signs on a piece of paper and give it to any of the three stars. The love meter in the computer then evaluated their percentage compatibility.

Interacting with the public, the three stars revealed how the serial dwelt on the various aspects of love and life, about good and bad times, through thick and thin. There were some exciting moments for the spectators when they won toys, key chains and photo frames as gifts from the Saathiya team.


Drug de-addiction centre to start at Patiala Saket Hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A meeting of the Administrative Committee of the Punjab State Drug Abuse Prevention Centre was held at the Punjab Red Cross Regional Training Centre here yesterday to check the menace of drug abuse in Punjab. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Dr D.P.S. Sandhu and it was informed that a 50-bed drug de-addiction centre was coming up at Saket Hospital, Patiala.

The state Red Cross Secretary Rajdeep Singh Jaiya stated that the Red Cross had started awareness campaign among school and college students about the ill-effects of drug abuse. He said that staff training would be imparted at Chandigarh centre to train the staff to cater to the needs of patients.

Project Directors of the drug de-addiction centres in Punjab, Gaziabad and Uttar Pradesh spoke about the problems being faced by them and suggested ways for better functioning of their centres.


Ranjit Singh award to be reconstituted
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 27
The state government has decided to reconstitute Maharaja Ranjit Singh Youth Award for excellence in youth affairs and sports, according to Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, chief parliamentary secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs. He said this while addressing a function organised by the Youth Affairs and Sports Department in Shahid Bhagat Singh Multipurpose Stadium.

Mr Sodhi said youth hostels would be established at all district headquarters at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore each.

One such hostel would be established at Ferozepore, for which the district administration will provide 1.5 acres of land.

He said all the rural sports bodies would be granted affiliation with the District Olympic Association.

He also send stadiums would be constructed at Guruharsahai and Mamdot.


Vigyan rail exhibition in Ferozepore
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 27
The vigyan rail exhibition on wheels, which arrived at Ferozepore railway station today was inaugurated here by Mr Dharam Singh, Divisional Manager, Railways. The exhibition, which depicts achievements of the country in various fields of science and technology, electronics, telecommunications, defence, ocean development, solar energy, agriculture, information and broadcasting, health and environment protection, was conceived, planned and formulated by Vigyan Prasar, and the Ministry of Railways with active support of the Department of Science and Technology.

Mr Dharam Singh, said that all sorts of efforts in making the country strong in terms of science and technology would prove fruitful only with an increased scientific awareness among the public and children. He said that the train, set up at a cost of Rs 5 crore, would prove to be a landmark in the history of science and communication.

Mr Nimesh Kapoor, coordinator for the project, said that through this vigyan rail, emphasis had been laid to motivate the people through various working models, multimedia shows put up by the elite organisations of the country like the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Indian Council for Agriculture Research and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.


Lions Club’s mission to control TB
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 27
In order to curb the menace of tuberculosis (TB), the Lions Club International District 321-F, comprising 11 districts of Punjab and Chandigarh, has launched a “Mission TB control programme”.

District Governor of the club Jaswant Rai Garg has appointed Dr Surinder Singla, a chest and TB specialist from Sangrur, as chairman of the programme for the successful implementation of the government’s revised national TB control programme (RNTCP).

The District Governor has also sought guidelines from Punjab TB officer as well as from the Chandigarh TB officer for helping the government in the implementation of the RNTCP at the earliest.

Dr Singla said here today that the Punjab and Chandigarh TB officers, while appreciating the initiative of the Lions Club, had offered five schemes under the RNTCP for adoption by the Lions Club International District 321-F, comprising 130 clubs in various towns of Punjab, besides Chandigarh.


Shopkeepers burn effigy of CM
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 27
Members of the Beopar Cell of the Sunam unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and activists of the BJP today held march through the town of Sunam, 13 km from here, in protest against the state government’s order on the closure of shops at 6 pm daily and deteriorating situation of the power and water supply throughout the state.

The protesters also burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in the old grain market chowk of Sunam to express their resentment against the “failure” of the state government on power and water supply front. Among others who participated in the protest march and demonstration were Mr Prem Gugnani, district general secretary of the BJP, Mr Sarnesh Kumar, president of the BJP Beopar Cell, Sunam, Mr Lajpat Rai, district secretary of the BJP; Mr Vinod Gupta, a member of state executive committee, and Mr Shankar Bansal, president of the Sunam unit of the party.


Villagers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 27
Alleging inaction on the part of the Kapurthala police in the recent case of severing of both hands of a youth, residents of Dyalpur village held a protest on the Jalandhar-Amritsar road today.

They blocked the road for about two hours and raised slogans against the police alleging it was hand in glove with the six persons against whom a case had been registered.

It was on the intervention of the policemen that they lifted the dharna.


Panel for initiative on Punjab in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Committee for Information and Initiative on Punjab — petitioner in a case before the National Human Rights Commission pertaining to mass disappearances in Punjab — is coming to Chandigarh on Wednesday for presenting an “update on the status of the case”. Mr Ram Narayan Kumar and Mr Ashok Agarwal of the committee are expected to clarify “issues arising out of the publication of a notice. The notice was published on July 19 in newspapers.


Bank staff rally
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 27
On a call given by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, the bank employees today organized a rally in front of the head office of State Bank of Patiala to protest against the ‘uncompromising’ and ‘adamant attitude’ of the bank management in not providing compassionate appointments to dependents of deceased employees.


High Court
Punjab Termination Bill referred to another Bench
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 27
The public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill 2004 was today referred to another Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as one of the judge's recused himself from the case.

Today, when the PIL came up before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice BK Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant, the latter recused himself, following which it was directed that the case be listed before some other Bench. The PIL filed by Mr Naresh Kumar Kadian of Rohtak in Haryana questions the validity of the Act, passed recently by the Punjab Assembly. He has sought quashing of the Act.

The Act annuls the 1981 Indira Gandhi award and subsequent agreements relating to the distribution of Ravi- Beas waters among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Mr Kadian has also sought directions to ensure that the rightful share of river waters, as provided in successive river water pacts, including the 1981 Agreement, is provided to Haryana.

He has also prayed that the recent judgement of the Supreme Court regarding the completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal be immediately ordered to be complied with.

CBI probe

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant issued notice of motion on a petition filed by a man seeking handing over the investigation into the alleged custodial death of his young son to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In his petition, Mr Pal Singh of Sangrur has stated that his young son, Ravinder Singh, was picked up by police personnel on January 18, 2004, and tortured to death.

Though no case was initially registered against the accused policemen, a case was registered some days later after thousands of villagers laid siege to the police station, Sherpur.

The accused mentioned in the FIR registered under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code included the Deputy Superintendent of Police of the area. While some of the policemen were arrested, the DSP was not arrested.

Three months later, when the challan was presented in the court, the case was turned into culpable homicide not amounting to murder.


Judicial remand for institute chief
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 27
Mr R.K. Garg, Sub- Divisional Judicial Magistrate, yesterday remanded Dr G.D. Sharma, Director, R.M. Tagore Nursing Institute here, in judicial custody till August 8.

The police had arrested Dr Sharma on Friday following the registration of a criminal case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 354 and 506, IPC. Girl students of the institute had accused Dr Sharma of sexually harassing them on the pretext of a monthly medical examination.

During the investigation, the police seized some tampered records of the institute. However, the accused said he had been falsely implicated in the case. The counsel for the accused disclosed before the Magistrate that Dr Sharma had filed a criminal complaint against former Pathankot SP and others, in which the SP and others had been declared as proclaimed offenders.


Kidnapping case: SDO’s bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 27
A local court today rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Irrigation Department Subdivisional Officer (SDO) Satpal Jindal who is accused of kidnapping a businessman’s wife from Patiala in May.

The bail plea was rejected by the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr S.P. Bangarh. The prosecution while arguing the case said Jindal’s arrest was essential in the case to ascertain the facts which had led to the alleged kidnapping of Maninder Kaur along with her son.


Replace transformer, say farmers
Tribune News Service

Ghal Kalan (Moga), July 27
While the Punjab Government is purchasing power worth crores everyday to provide eight-hour power supply to the farming sector, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has not even bothered to replace a transformer which was burnt 45 days ago.

The district unit president of the Kirti Kisan Union Mr Devinder Singh Ghali, one of the affected farmers, today alleged that they were compelled to run their motors on generator, as the electricity board had not replaced the damaged transformer.

Another farmer, Harinder Singh said they were spending about Rs 1,200 each a day on generator, which consumes four to five litres diesel per hour, to save their crop.

They said there was a 25 kv transformer near their fields and it had burnt twice due to overloading.

They said that they had requested the Dagru SDO to replace it with a 63 kv transformer, but no heed was paid to their demand.

They alleged that other villages like Salhina, where Punjab minister Avtar Henry had a farmhouse, and at Daroli were having 63 kv transformers.

They said if the new transformer was not installed soon then they would gherao the power grid at Dagru.

When contacted, the SDO, Mr Gurbhajan Singh Kalra, said he had got a 25 KV transformer installed last week, but it was burnt.

He said for a 63 kv transformer he would have to take permission from Patiala. He said the transformer would be replaced soon.


GRP drive to check looting of passengers
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 27
To check looting of railway passengers in trains and on railway platforms, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has started a special campaign in this connection. This was stated by Mr Subhash Jain, Additional Director-General, GRP, while talking to mediapersons today. He said on account of regular checking by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the GRP of all trains being plied on the Jammu-Amritsar route, no looting incident has been reported so far.

He said eight members of two gangs involved in such incidents had been arrested under the drive. They are Mandal, Dinesh Kumar, both of Darbhanga (Bihar), Ravi Kumar and Sanjivan Mehato of Mujafarpur (Bihar), Mangaldeen, Raj Kumar, Santokh Singh and Vijay Kumar.

Mr Jain said all trains coming from Jammu were being checked near the Chakki bridge, Pathankot. He said during the interrogation of the above said it was noticed that members of these gangs generally looted labourers going from Punjab to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, etc. during Divali and Dasehra.

He further said joint patrolling by the GRP and the RPF had been started on railway tracks up to Ambala. During raids at railway stations and on trains in Punjab, the GRP seized 145.30 kg poppy husk, 1.075 kg opium, 20 kg ganja, 150 gm smack, eight revolvers and pistols, 18 cartridges, 53 daggers and 2,224 bottles of liquor.

The GRP has registered six cases of murders this year till June 30 as compared with three cases last year. Two cases of attempt to murder and 17 cases of theft have also been registered. Nine cases of cheating and two cases of gambling have also been registered. Besides, 78 cases under the Railway Act, 18 cases under the NDPS Act, 56 cases under the Arms and Ammunition Act and 152 cases under the Excise Act have also been registered.


59 MC employees transferred
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 27
The Municipal Commissioner, Patiala, Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu, today transferred 59 employees of the Municipal Corporation.

These are the first major transfers affected after the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, took over about two years back. XEN V.K. Setia has been put in charge of all development-related projects, while XEN M.M. Syal has been given the responsibility of looking after the water supply and sewerage section.

The transferred employees included six SDOs, 10 JEs and four Superintendents.

Mr Prem Chand Sharma has been put in charge of the main store, while Mr Manjit Rishi in charge of the health store. The four Superintendents, Mr Sanjay Nehra has been put in charge of the octroi branch, Mr Manjit Singh of water supply and sewerage branch, Mr C.L. Sharma of the house tax and Mr Amrik Singh of the establishment and land branch. Mr Dharvinder Pal Sehgal has been put in charge of the legal branch.


Police-public meetings
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 27
To curb the crime rate, the Punjab Police today organised police-public meetings at Dera Bassi, Mubarikpur and Zirakpur.

Chaired by Dr Kaushtumsh Sharma, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Patiala, sarpanches, panches and other prominent people of various villages attended the meeting.

The ASP sought the cooperation of the people in solving cases. He also sought public opinion on traffic problems on the Kalka-Ambala highway and other link roads in the area.

Issues relating to influx of migrant labourers, legal status of arms possessed by the villagers and various other problems were taken up at the meetings.


DC’s orders to cable operators
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 27
The district administration has directed cable operators of the city not to resort to cutting or damaging of cable wires and property of another operator here today.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, has issued these instruction to resolve the recent cable war among the cable operators of the city.

He further said that a list of all staff employed and authorized would be provided to the Senior Superintendent of Police. Along with this, all employees will have to display a proof of identity along with photograph issued to them by the owner of the cable networks.

He further ordered that a proper receipt should be issued against all charges from clients and to strictly abide by all provisions of the Cable Television Network Act 1995 and all other laws as applicable.


SPO murdered
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 27
SPO Jagtar Singh, a resident of Chack Kare Khan village, who was posted at Zira in Ferozepore district, was allegedly murdered by four persons of the same village on Sunday. The police had registered a case under Sections 302, 34, IPC.

Police sources said the accused had been identified as Sarabjit Singh, Surjit Singh, Tarsem Singh and Gurjant Singh and were absconding.

The SPO was attacked by the accused when he was returning from his duty. The accused used lathis and sharp-edged weapons to kill him.

The body was sent for a postmortem at the local Civil Hospital here.


Two youths attacked in gurdwara
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 27
Tension gripped the city as a group of Sikh youths brandished swords on the Bhagwan Mahavir Marg following alleged delay by the police in booking a youth, who is said to be a member of the controversial Noormahl based Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan and allegedly injured two youths inside Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Gurdwara, just before the arrival of Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti this evening.

Giani Vedanti was to participate at a meeting convened by Sikh Organisations of Jalandhar, including the Khalsa Mission Councils, to discuss the “attacks on basic principles and tenets of Sikhism,” by some organisations and sects.

The youth, identified as Gurmit Singh, allegedly entered the gurdwara at around 5.30 pm and attacked Iqbal Singh and Satwant Singh with a “gandasa”. He also allegedly raised anti Jathedar slogans and threatened to eliminate him.

Members of the Sikh organisations tied him with a rope.

The situation turned out of control as a police party headed by Mr Opinderjit Singh Ghumman SP (D) reached the spot and tried to take the youth away. The situation was brought under control by Mr Ghumman and DSP Rajinder Singh, who held a meeting with Vedanti and assured members of the some Sikh organisations that action would be taken against the youth.

Mr Ghumman said the motive of the police party was to save the youth from the violent mob. He said a case would be registered after recording the statements of eye-witnesses.


Missing girl found with lover
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 27
The CIA staff here has solved the case of a minor girl of Kala Sanghian village who had gone missing on July 11.

The investigations conducted by the team led by Mr Surinder Singh, in charge of CIA, revealed that the 17-year-old girl had coped with her lover, Gurdeep Singh, alias Minta. Sources revealed the girl had been dating him at his house for the past couple of weeks. When the villagers informed the parents of the girl about her relationship with Minta, she reportedly got a severe thrashing from her mother.

At this, the girl turned hostile towards her parents and told Minta that she did not want to put up at her parents’ place Minta, allegedly with the involvement of his mother took her away to Jalandhar and stayed with her at his maternal aunt’s place. Later he took him to another maternal aunt’s house at Sirhind. At Sirhind the two were traced by the CIA team. A case has been registered. Gurdeep Singh has been arrested.


Perfume seller loots house owner
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
Ritu Sahaie, a seller of perfumes and body sprays, allegedly looted some expensive goods and cash from the house of Mr Gurtej Singh, located in the Bharat Nagar locality, here yesterday.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Kapil Dev, the SSP, said the accused entered the house of Mr Gurtej Singh on the pretext of selling perfumes and body sprays. He made Mr Gurtej Singh unconscious and then stole a mobile phone, a walkman, a tape recorder and Rs 5,000 in cash.

A case in this connection was registered in the city police station under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC.


2 motor cycle thieves arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
The police yesterday arrested three persons for their alleged involvement in vehicle theft and recovered two motor cycles.

In a press release here yesterday, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the accused had been identified as Harpreet Singh alias Tinku, Manjit Singh and Dinesh Kumar, all residents of this town and Gobind Pura village. The fourth accused, Sachin escaped.

He said the accused had been using the stolen motor cycles after changing their number plates. The accused were contemplating to sell the stolen motor cycles.

A case has been registered at the Sadar police station. 


Three injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 27
Three persons were injured in an accident when a car collided with their bicycles near Sahora village last night.

The injured — Sukhwinder Singh (19), Jagmohan Singh (17), Paramjit Singh (17) — were taken to the local Civil Hospital. The condition of Sukhwinder Singh and Jagmohan Singh is stated to be serious.

All three had left for Naina Devi from Alampur village, near Rajpura last evening. A car, which was trying to overtake another vehicle, allegedly collided with their bicycles. The driver tried to speed away from the accident site but soon his vehicle hit a tree in the darkness. He fled from there after leaving his car behind.


Nursing students leave Pathankot hostel
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 27
All students of the Pathankot-based R.N. Tagore Nursing Institute have left the hostel. After the arrest of its director by the police, teaching was suspended in the institute. The director was only teacher in the institute running a one-man show.

Some of the students while talking to The Tribune on phone said all students decided to leave as there was no warden for their hostel. They were feeling insecure in the institute. Moreover, no classes were being held now.

The director of the institute was arrested by the police when many girl students levelled charges of sexual harassment against him. The police also found that the director had forged the accounts of the institute by showing fake teachers on his roles.

The students now are worried about their future. One of the final year students of the institute said their final exams are due in September.

Many of the students and their parents had earlier complained to the nursing council of the state about the lack of infrastructure and the teaching staff in the institute. However, the authorities took no action. Instead they allowed the institute to conduct admissions.

The students have demanded that the nursing council should arrange for the completion of their course in some other institute. The first year students are demanding the refund of their fee so that they can take admission elsewhere next year.

The students along with their parents have decided to meet the authorities of the nursing council and the local district authorities to seek solution to their problems.


Teachers, students observe strike
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 27
Teachers and students of Baring Union Christian College, Batala today went on strike to protest against the Principal, Mr Hepesh Shepherd, for his dictatorial and indifferent attitude towards the staff and the students.

Students said that there was only one generator set installed in the college complex and that too attached with the offices of the Principal and the manager only. The college charged Rs 150 per student for running such a generator. However, Dr Shepherd said that there were four generator sets installed in the college and he had ordered for another generator set.

The students said there was no drinking water facility for the students. Only one hand pump was to meet the water requirement of about 2,000 students.

The College teachers Union, a unit of the PCCTU and the students criticised the suspension of an old teacher, Mr Rajiv Mcmullen.

The principal today posted about 100 personnel of the Punjab police on the college campus.

The teachers decided to continue and intensify the agitation.

On the other hand, the principal has threatened to close the college, thereby jeopardising the future of the students.


Teej celebrated at school
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 27
Students and staff members of Deepmala Public School here today celebrated Teej with a great fervour. A cultural programme was organised by the students.

Ms Deepmala, chairperson of the school, while interacting with the students, highlighted the importance of the festival. Besides enjoying swings, the girl students participated in events like solo dance and group dance, said Ms Anita Mittal, Principal of the school.


B.Ed counselling today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 27
Dr Surjit Singh, coordinator of B.Ed. counselling-2004 said the seats of general category (code 01) in the combinations under the humanities group of fine art-English (16 seats), fine art-Hindi (8 seats), fine art-Punjabi (17 seats), fine art-music (3 seats), home science-English ( 7 seats), home science-Hindi (B.Sc./BA) (5 seats), home science-Punjabi (B.Sc./BA) (3 seats), home science-Hindi (BA) (1 seat), music-English (5 seats), music-Hindi (15 seats), music-Punjabi (14 seats), physical education-Hindi (3 seats), geography-Hindi (3 seats) and home science -life science/science (10 seats) under 85 per cent quota (for Punjab resident candidates only) are available and the candidates of these combinations should come for counselling on July 28.

Physical education-Punjabi (5 seats) combination for the rural candidates is available only for girls in Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Ludhiana.

The seats in the combination of economics-English, economics-Hindi, economics-Math, economics-Punjabi, commerce-economics, commerce-English, commerce-Hindi, commerce-Punjabi, computer-math, home science-English, home science-Punjabi, mathematics-economics, mathematics-English, mathematics-Hindi, mathematics-Punjabi, mathematics-Sanskrit, Physical education-English, social studies-English, social studies-Hindi, social studies-Punjabi, social studies-Sanskrit, mathematics-computer, social studies-physical education, geography-English, geography-Punjabi have already been filled and the candidates are advised they should not come for counselling tomorrow. 


Admission date extended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 27
Guru Nanak Dev University has decided to extend the date of admission to fill the vacant seats in MA sociology till August 6. Students can submit application forms till August 6 and for further information are advised to contact the Head of the Department of Sociology.


Beopar Mandal resents change in shop timings
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
The Bathinda Beopar Mandal has expressed its anguish over the fact that traders were not taken into confidence by the state government while taking the decision to change the time of opening and closing of business establishments from 8 am to 6 pm and urged the Deputy Commissioner to revise the timing.

In its representation, the organisation pointed out that the closure of shops and business establishments at 6 pm would create a curfew-like situation.

Mr R.D. Gupta, chairman of the mandal, said traders were also concerned at the drought-like conditions in the state. He added that the state government’s move to change timing without taking traders into confidence had hurt them the most. He added that if the state government revised the opening timing to 9 am from 8 am and closing timing to 7 pm from 6 pm, both traders and the government would benefit.

To overcome the power crisis, he suggested a change in the timing of streetlight, ban on the use of glowsigns, neon lights, air-conditioners and flood lights, and imposition of uniform power cuts in all areas.

Meanwhile, a large number of shops and business establishments in the town remained open after 6 pm last evening despite a state government order on closure of shops.

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, general secretary, DCC (I), Bathinda, said the state government should not force businessmen to close their establishments after 6 pm. He added that instead the government should impose power cuts in the evening hours and allow traders to use generators after the deadline.


Tent dealers demand withdrawal of tax

Bathinda, July 27
Mr Iqbal Singh Metro, executive member of the All-India Tent Dealers Welfare Organisation, while expressing apprehension that the service tax imposed on tent and “shamiana” would render lakhs of people jobless, urged the Prime Minister to make arrangements for withdrawing the same at the earliest.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Metro said the imposition of the service tax on tent and “shamiana” by Union Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram was equal to the “jazia”, the tax that was imposed by Mughal king Aurangzeb on the traders.

He added the service tax had already been imposed on banquet halls and marriage palaces. The imposition of the same on the tent and “shamiana” trade would hit the illiterate and semi-literate persons who had been carrying this business at the mercy of government officials. He said if the Finance Minister did not withdraw the service tax, the tent and shamiana dealers would launch an agitation. — TNS

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