P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjabi varsity offers free education to rural poor
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 30
Punjabi University, which has invited applications from poor rural students for admission to Yadwindra Engineering College at Talwandi Sabo in the current session, has now floated an “Adopt a child” scheme to finance the tuition fee of students, drawing response from both India and abroad.

The donors, which include industrial houses, have assured to help in the placement of children and also absorb some of them in their own enterprises.

A total of 180 poor meritorious students will be admitted. Out of these, individual and corporate sponsors have come forward to pay the tuition fee of 60 students at the rate of Rs 12,000 per student. University sources said assurances had been received of payment of fee of 30 more students and that the institution expected to get sponsorship of all 180 students by the beginning of the session in two weeks time.

The Yadwindra College of Engineering is itself a pathbreaking venture. The college has decided to give admission to only those students who have paid a tuition fee of not more than Rs 500 per month during their school studies for at least five years. The university proposes to give admission to these students in Class X and then teach them till class XII to make them capable of engineering studies. After the completion of class XII, the students will be given admission to various engineering courses, including electronics and communication, mechanical engineering and computer engineering, according to their ability. The aim behind the project is to give a fillip to poor rural students.

The sources said under the scheme, the university had assured individual sponsors, including those from the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada, of being provided with two monthly reports of the progress of the child. The child would also have direct access to the sponsors and would be able to interact with them directly.

The scheme also envisages to provide money to children on returnable basis but with no obligation on their part to return it. Under the scheme, children will be told that they are being sponsored on returnable basis. This is being done to ensure that the original sponsor continues to sponsor children of the institute on a continuous basis.

Meanwhile, the sources said, a number of industrial houses, including Bajaj Auto, had been roped in to act as sponsors. The State Bank of Patiala, which has its headquarter here, had decided to sponsor four children.


Boparai appears in court
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, July 30
Mr N. K. Gaur, Additional Civil Judge (senior division), Talwandi Sabo, today fixed the hearing of a civil suit filed by advocate Avtar Singh Sidhu in connection with alleged discrimination in the admission process for local Yadavindra Engineering College, set up for rural students by Punjabi University, on August 3.

He fixed the hearing for deciding on the plea for permanent injunction in the case after Dr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, who appeared in person, along with a battery of lawyers and senior professors of the Law Department of the University, in the court and put forward his arguments to support the conditions laid down by the university for making admissions.

Mr Sidhu has pointed out in his petition that the university had been admitting only those candidates to the college, who had got education in rural areas, whose parents had also been residing in rural areas and who had not paid more than Rs 500 as tuition fee to any school in a full academic year.

He alleged the condition of Rs 500 as tuition fee for whole academic year laid down by the university was discriminatory.

It made his son, Mr Amandev Singh, ineligible for getting admission to the college despite the fact that he had scored 78 per cent marks in Class X.

Dr Boparai put forward his arguments and also read out the resolution passed by the university in connection with the setting up of the college.

He said the college had been set up with an aim to impart engineering education to students belonging to poor families and hence the condition of Rs 500 as tuition fee had been imposed. This was done to keep those students out of the college who could afford education in other colleges.

Mr Gaur listened the arguments of both sides and fixed the next hearing on August 3.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters, Dr Boparai said 180 poor students from rural areas would be admitted to the B-Tech course this year.

These students would get sponsorship from industrial houses and other organisations. So far sponsorship for 60 students had been arranged, he added.


VC moots rural university for Talwandi Sabo
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, July 30
The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr S.S. Boparai, has floated a proposal to set up a rural university at Talwandi Sabo.

Dr Boparai said this while talking to The Tribune when he visited the town to appear before a court in connection with a civil suit today. The matter pertaining to the setting up of a university in this historical town had been hanging fire since early sixties when Punjabi University was planned, he said.

A number of former Chief Ministers of the state, including Late Beant Singh, Mr Harcharan Brar, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had promised to set up a university here, but they could not fulfil the promise.

While Beant Singh had proposed to set up a general university in the town his predecessor, Mr Harcharan Brar, promised that a veterinary university would be set up here. both Ms Bhattal and Mr Badal also made similar promises when they headed the state government.

“We are planning to set up another engineering college on the campus of the local Punjabi University Regional Centre of Management and Information Technology. If that college comes up, the campus will have enough institutions to be converted into a rural university,” Dr Boparai said.

He said he had discussed the issue with senior faculty members of the university. He said he did not know how long it would take to put this idea into a practical shape. Once another engineering college was set up on the campus here, it would be easy to set up university here, he added.

He said he had been searching for a right persons for appointing him or her as the director of the new engineering college, and once that was done, the engineering college would be started.

To a question, he said the university had been imposing heavy fines on private college affiliated with it that were not fulfilling the conditions laid down by it. He said affiliation of two colleges was cancelled recently when it was found that these were not meeting the conditions laid down by the university.

When asked what the university had been doing in connection with the acute shortage of teaching staff in government colleges, he said the matter did not come under his preview and he could not comment on the same.


Row over MBBS admission deepens
Guru Ramdas institute to fill remaining seats
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 30
While authorities of Christian medical and dental colleges here have challenged the decision of Justice Majithia Committee in the Supreme Court, the management of SGPC-run Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences is going ahead with filling all its 50 seats for MBBS course by tomorrow, thereby violating the orders of the committee.

Justice G.R. Majithia Committee, which had been set up by the Punjab Government to fix tuition fee and supervise admission to MBBS, BDS and other medical courses in private unaided medical and dental colleges, allowed Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences and Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Dental Sciences to fill 50 per cent of their seats through their own entrance test and the remaining 50 per cent through PMET to be conducted by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences on August 1. Similarly, Christian medical and dental colleges were told to do likewise.

The management of the CMC challenged the decision of the committee in the Supreme Court, where the further hearing, which was held today, was adjourned till Monday, according to Dr Mohan Verghese, Principal of Christian Medical College.

The CMC management held its entrance test on July 25 and also held counselling for admission to MBBS and BDS courses and was expecting a verdict by the Supreme Court today.

Meanwhile, the managements of Sri Guru Ramdas medical and dental institutes also held their entrance test for Sikh minority students on July 21 at Amritsar and then held the counselling on July 27 and 28, according to Dr Ujjagar Singh Dhaliwal, Principal of Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences. They selected 21 students for admission to MBBS course under the management quota and eight under the NRI quota, as per the Majithia committee.

Dr Dhaliwal said they had contacted the Medical Council of India (MCI) authorities, who had told them that the last date for admission to MBBS course was July 31 and the deadline could not be extended. In view of this, they have decided to go ahead with filling its remaining 21 seats tomorrow. “We have informed parents of the students who had appeared for counselling,” he said. They would deposit their tuition fee tomorrow.

Dr Dhaliwal said a Karnataka minister had sought one-month extension from the MCI for admission to MBBS and other streams, which had been turned down by the MCI.

Dr Dhaliwal said it was the responsibility of the state government to initiate the process of formation of committees for deciding on the tuition fee and category-wise quota of seats.

“We are admitting 21 students on provisional basis”, he clarified.

According to the directions of the MCI, “the completion of admissions to the first year of MBBS course for the academic year 2004-05 in each medical college/institution in the country is July 31. The teaching and training in the first year of the MBBS course must commence on August 1. It is only for stray casual vacancies arising for any reason that the last date for admission is September 30.”


Transfer of Principal, Medical Supdt revoked
Strike threat by MC workers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 30
The Punjab Research and Medical Education Department seems to be unable to decide on the action to be taken against doctors of Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital who are accused of negligence. This allegedly resulted in the death of a municipal corporation employee leader on July 8. The department has now decided not to revoke the transfers of all the six doctors as ordered by it earlier. It today revoked the transfers of the Principal of the medical college and its Medical Superintendent only.

The revocation of the transfer orders of the Principal, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, and the Medical Superintendent, Dr Kulbir Kaur, has also come about four days after Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal ordered that all the six doctors who were transferred from Patiala be reverted to their old posts. Secretary, Research and Medical Education Satish Chandra had posted the doctors out of Patiala following the submission of a probe report on the conduct of the doctors by a three-member committee.

The doctors, who had been waiting for their formal orders posting them back to Patiala, were today in for another surprise when only orders revoking the transfers of the Principal and the Medical Superintendent were issued. Mr Chandra said Mrs Bhattal had had a rethink on the entire matter and decided that the role of the four other doctors should be further investigated. They are Dr S.K. Verma, Dr Avtar Singh, Dr Y.S. Banga and Dr Parveen Puri.

The Secretary said it was felt by the Deputy Chief Minister that the Principal and the Medical Superintendent only had a supervisory role to play in the functioning of the medical college and hospital. He said action had been taken against them because it had been found that oxygen cylinders were not stacked properly and that the intercom facility was not functioning.

Mr Chandra said Mrs Bhattal felt that this matter could be examined at a later date and that the four doctors who were present when the corporation leader Harjit Singh was brought to the hospital should be kept out of the hospital. He said it was felt that all the four doctors had handled the patient and thus were directly responsible for his well-being.

The department has also decided to get the entire incident re-examined by appointing a committee in which a senior faculty member of the PGI, Chandigarh, will be involved. Earlier a three-member committee comprising the Patiala Civil Surgeon, the Subdivisional Magistrate and the Assistant Commissioner of the corporation had probed the allegations of negligence and submitted a report indicting the doctors. The report said that there had been an “inexcusable delay” in the treatment of the corporation leader.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Corporation Workers Union today announced that it would hold a rally and burn the effigies of the “negligent” doctors at the railway station on August 2. Union leaders said the government was testing their patience by not taking action against the “guilty doctors” and that they would not hesitate to go on strike again if no action was taken them.


Rain brings cheer to farmers
Tribune Reporters and UNI

Amritsar, July 30
About three hours’ rain in the city and adjoining areas today brought cheers to farmers and people. Children could be seen enjoying and dancing in the rain.

The torrential showers submerged the roads. Maqbool road, Company Bagh, Putlighar, Chheharta, Lawrence road, etc were some of the areas where traffic was affected.

Phagwara: The town and its surrounding areas had torrential rain on Friday, breaking the continuing dry spell. The rain was so heavy that the town was virtually flooded with rainwater entering shops and houses. Traffic was affected on many roads. Low lying areas were inundated. The paddy growers heaved a sigh of relief.

Kapurthala: Residents heaved a sigh of relief on Friday when the town and its surrounding areas experienced rainfall for more than half an hour. The rainfall after a gap of one month will prove beneficial for the paddy crop.


Removal of encroachments ordered
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 30
In a major step, which may go a long way towards preserving green belts along highways and other roads of the state, the Punjab Forest Department has ordered the removal of alleged encroachments made on forest strips by owners of dhabas, marriage palaces, workshops and other commercial establishments in the state.

Swinging into action within hours publication of a news item by The Tribune about the alleged encroachment of prime forest lands, Mr A.S. Dogra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, issued orders to all forest officials in the state to take stringent action against the owners of those commercial and other establishments running along the highways that have been violating the Forest Conservation Act by encroaching upon the forest land in one form or the other.

“We have issued orders for removal of encroachments from our land. Strict action would be taken against those officials who fail to take action against violators in their respective areas of operation well within time,” said Mr Dogra.

Meanwhile, enquiries have revealed that as per provisions of the Forest Conservation Act-1980, no forest land, including green belts along roads, could be used for purpose other than forestry without the permission of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Owners of hundreds of commercial and other establishments who have been using forest land without permission, could invite contempt of the Supreme Court, which, in its verdict of December 12, 1996, had also specified that erring officials, who failed to preserve forests, could also be punished.


Sonia fear factor in Punjab Cong?
by P.P.S. Gill

Chandigarh, July 30
Punjab is increasingly getting crises-ridden with the Congress High Command occasionally creating avoidable political uncertainty at a time when the state needs better governance and an action plan for development.

Today Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is in charge Punjab affairs, has ruled out any change of leadership in the state. His remarks that neither Capt. Amarinder Singh had been asked to resign nor had he done so was expected to put at rest the rumour mills active since yesterday. The rumours were afloat due to the unwarranted statement by AICC general secretary Janaradhan Diwedi on Capt. Amarinder Singh, who had dubbed the passing Punjab Termination of Agreements Act-2004 as ''unbecoming'' of a Chief Minister.

Besides Mr Mukherjee, a clarification on Mr Diwedi's outburst has also come from Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, contradicting the AICC general secretary. One only hopes rather than further compounding the political confusion, the Congress High Command would do well to set its own house in order. Political observers said today that such engineered statements because of the impending Assembly elections in Haryana only fuelled speculation about the future of the Chief Minister.

In fact, unlike Haryana Congress leadership, Congress leaders and ministers in Punjab are seemingly smitten by the "Sonia fear-factor''. They have maintained a studied silence and have not spoken a word on the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act-2004.

These observers also said that contrast the ''insolence'' of Punjab Congress leaders and ministers with the stand taken by the Shiromani Akali Dal and various other Akali factions. All have extended ''unstinted'' support to the Act and the act of Capt. Amarinder Singh.

Political Affairs Committee of SAD had even passed a resolution to this effect and Mr Parkash Singh Badal had led MPs to meet the President and the Prime Minister in support of the Act and to explain Punjab's position. Even Haryana Congress leaders did so. But not Punjab Congress men. Why?

SAD may not have distanced itself from BJP but was vocal enough to convey its displeasure to national BJP leaders over its ''anti-Punjab'' stand in and outside Parliament. Even the District Congress Committee presidents at their recent meeting in Chandigarh did not pass any resolution in support of the Act that would have shown the cohesiveness within the state Congress wings, organisational and legislative.

All that one has heard from all quarters, including the Congress High Command, these past weeks is political rhetoric and hysterical statements that tantamount to hard political machination. No one questions the legal or constitutional validity of the Punjab step.

The Punjab Chief Minister has maintained a low profile and silence over this issue after his return from New Delhi, where he had met all those who matter. While having all respect for the judiciary, the Captain had told his critics that he could not let the past shadow the present and cloud the future, as water was an emotive issue and was responsible for the violence that shook Punjab to its roots.

His stand was clear and cogent: since Presidential reference had been made to the Supreme Court, one should wait for the judicial decision. He was convinced that the decision to go in for an Act was in the interest of the state and there was nothing ''illegal or unconstitutional''. The Presidential reference, in fact, would provide Punjab a fair opportunity to place the entire gamut before the apex body.

However, the flutter that Mr Diwedi's statement had created and provided gist to the rumour mills does not portend well for Punjab, where sweep and spread of such statements and crises that follow were as much a reflection on the state of affairs as affairs of the state. After the re-constitution of the ministry, Punjab had hoped for better governance with focus on socio-economic and infrastructure development.

Given the near drought-like situation, when all energy and effort should have been on fighting this natural calamity, contradictory statements from the Congress High Command in New Delhi were creating political confusion. And the crises that afflict Punjab are not just political and administrative. These also encompass social and economic issues. Many of these crises are man-made and several nature-induced. Political analysists said that conflicting statements only tended to precipitate the politico-administrative situation, something Punjab can ill-afford at this juncture.


Khalsa Dal for demolishing SYL canal in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 30
Lauding the Punjab Agreement Termination Act abrogating state’s water-sharing accords with neighbouring states, the Shiromani Khalsa Dal today demanded the scrapping of Clause 5 of the Act for cancelling the provision of the previously agreed upon flow of water to Haryana and Rajasthan in the pre-1981 pacts. It also demanded the dismantling of the already completed portion of the SYL canal constructed in the Punjab area and the restoration of the affected land to their owners.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Bhai Swaran Singh Khalsa, chief spokesman, and Mr Jagdish Singh Malli, working committee member of the dal, demanded that Punjab be declared a drought-hit state and a compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre should be given to paddy growers.


Sunam awaits its renaming after son
Udham Singh’s death anniversary today
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sunam (Sangrur), July 30
Sunam, the birth place of Shaheed Udham Singh who avenged the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, is still known with the same name though Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had announced the renaming of the town as “Sunam Shaheed Udham Singh Wala” on the occasion of the 64th death anniversary of the martyr here last year.

However, Mr Ravinder Singh, SDM, claimed that the renaming of the town was in the final stage, as the Punjab Government had already taken up the matter with the Centre and also sent the reply in response to the queries, made by the latter with regard to the town’s historical background.

Capt Amarinder Singh had also announced last year that the state government would set up a museum in the memory of the hero, but no museum has been set up here so far.

Like Capt Amarinder Singh, the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had also announced the installation of a bronze statue of the martyr in the town before the next death anniversary i.e. July 31. Mr Badal had also announced on July 31, 2000, that the town would be made a model one. But neither the bronze statue has been installed, nor the town made a model town.

People of the town feel that chief ministers do not hesitate making “false” promises on such occasions.

Even noted film actor Raj Babbar, as per the kin of Shaheed Udham Singh, had announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the martyr’s family. The announcement was reportedly made by the actor when he visited the family on August 1 last year. The family said the actor also failed to keep the promise.

Ms Gurdial Kaur, wife of Mr Bachan Singh (nephew of the martyr), today expressed resentment over the Punjab Government apathy towards the kin of martyrs. She said the government had done nothing for them so far as they were living in a dilapidated house and making the both ends meet by working as daily-wagers. She, however, said the state government had given jobs to two grandsons of Mr Khushi Anand, a nephew, and Ms Inder Kaur, a niece of the martyr.

Mr Bachan Singh and Mr Inder Singh, both nephews of the martyr, said they did not want “shawls” from the government in the name of honour to the hero every year. What they needed was jobs for their grandchildren, they added.

The 65th death anniversary of Shaheed Udham Singh will be observed at a state-level function here tomorrow. Capt Amarinder Singh will preside over the function.


Proposal to hold conference on NRI investment in UK
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The Director of the Centre for South Asians Studies, Prof Shinder Thandi, Coventry University, UK, has proposed to host a conference for promoting NRI investment among Punjabis in the UK.

This offer was made to the Punjab Minister for Revenue and Rehabilitation, Relief and Resettlement and NRI Affairs ,Mr Amarijit Singh Samra, here yesterday.

Mr. D S Bains, Commissioner, NRI Affairs, and Professor Avtar Singh Dhesi accompanied him to the Minister. Dr Thandi has done extensive research on the role of diaspora finance in Punjab's economic development. He has studied the impact of inward remittances, portfolio finance, foreign direct investment and philanthropic finance in Punjab's rural development.

According to him, the potential for increasing and strengthening NRI

contribution was much more than the current contribution. In his opinion the constraints for realising the potential may be related to lack of information about facilities and opportunities offered by Punjab. To bridge the knowledge and information gap, this conference was being organised.

Mr. Samra assured Professor Thandi that the government would be keen to work towards providing details of the sectors in which there was good potential for attracting NRI investments.

NRI remittances have contributed largely to the Green Revolution. In 60s and 70s NRIs were remitting large funds for improving the land, creating irrigation facilities and the mechanisation of agriculture, especially in Doaba region. Even now, remittances were large and were locked in banks but the deposits were not being invested in Punjab.

Dr. Thandi mentioned that some other states like Kerala, Gujarat and Maharashtra were considering to issue NRI bonds with RBI permission. Punjab may also get the benefit of such a scheme since many small NRI entrepreneurs and workers would be happy to contribute by purchasing bonds even though they cannot start up new businesses.

Mr. D S Bains said that he looked forward to the success of this conference as foreign investment would happen only when an NRI was convinced that his new enterprise would make profits after being established in Punjab.

Mr Bains said NRIs were making many philanthropic investments for social welfare and community projects. The Kharaudi experiment in Hoshiarpur has charged the imagination of many NRIs, who want a similar approach for developing the infrastructure of their native villages. In this connection, the state has introduced Rs. 5 crore matching grant scheme.


Only one beggar in Fatehgarh Sahib district?
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 30
Believe it or not there is only one beggar in Fatehgarh Sahib district as per the report sent by the District Social Security Officer (DSSO) to the Principal Secretary. Social Security and Child Development. This report has become a talk of the town as there are thousands of beggars harassing the public.

Interestingly many beggars can be seen begging in the judicial complex where the office of the DSSO is situated. This fact came to the light when the Deputy Commissioner noticed a copy sent by the DSSO to the Principal Secretary regarding the report sought by him about the number of beggars in the district.

Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said he has sought the explanation of the DSSO, as she has sent a misleading statement to the Government. by hiding the facts. He said even hundreds of beggars could be seen sitting opposite Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, which was close to the office of DSSO. He said that it was unfortunate that even district heads do not bother to apply their mind, while sending the report to the Government. He said it was gross negligence on the part of officer. Meanwhile, DSSO Amrit Wala, DSSO, she said she got a letter from the Principal Secretary to send the report regarding number of beggars in the district. She said that she marked the letter to all five CDPOs of Khamano, Amloh, Bassi Pathana, Khera and Sirhind. In their report only Khamano CDPO mentioned that there is a beggar, where as other CDPOs sent nil report. She said she has no fault and on the basis of their report, she wrote to the Principal Secretary that there was only one beggar in the district.


225 diarrhoea cases in Moga village
Tribune News Service

Mari Mustafa (Moga), July 30
As many as 225 cases of diarrhoea had been reported from Sehna Patti locality of this village so far. The two persons, who died here in the past two days, were also suffering from diarrhoea and not food poisoning as suspected earlier. Both victims were residents of Sehna Patti.

When The Tribune team visited the locality today one of the probable causes of the disease was the absence of sewage disposal at the village. It was flowing right in front of the houses. A small piece of land had been dug up at the entrance of the locality, which serves as a sewage disposal point. This disposal point serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the sewage is mixing with groundwater. The presence of toilets next to these handpumps sans a proper disposal system has raised the chances of water contamination.

Angry residents complain that the sweeper appointed by the panchayat didn’t maintain cleanliness in the area. They alleged that the only after the outbreak of diarrhoea the sarpanch had asked them to clean up the locality. They said on papers the sewage from the village was being disposed into Sem Nullah on the Sekha road, but nothing concrete had been done in this regard.

The CMO said they had been told to drink boiled water and chlorine tablets would be distributed later in the locality.

Of the 225 cases 64 have been referred to Baghapurana. Fiftyfour fresh cases were reported today. The SMO of the Baghapurana Civil Hospital, Mr G. Sharma said 15 patients were discharged yesterday. About 10 cases were also reported from Bouriasikh locality, which is located near the gurdwara sarovar.

The Baghapurana SDM, Mr Harcharan Singh Sandhu, said water tankers would soon be pressed into service to provide potable water to the locality. He added that to prevent any such outbreak in future an order had been issued as per which no one could organise roadside langars or chhabeels without prior permission from the administration. He said water samples from the affected locality had been sent for analysis.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, said adequate measures had been taken and he had instructed the CMO to destroy food items which were being sold in open on roadsides. He said steps would also be taken for sewage disposal in the locality.


Budgetary back-up for concessional travel
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Coming down heavily on various government departments that were offering free/concessional travel of Punjab Roadways buses without clearing dues, the Punjab Transport Department has demanded budgetary back-up for such travel concessions. Worried that the department could go a step ahead and bar the facility, the Punjab Government has coughed up Rs 241 crore in lieu of the dues.

The Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, has also directed all the departments to make budgetary provisions while making concessional travels for reimbursing Punjab Roadways for the services being provided to the beneficiaries. They have also been asked to take the consent of the Transport Department before issuing any such free travel facilities. In fact, the order states that no department will unilaterally declare any such facilities to the beneficiary and the same would only be entertained if they are backed by the necessary budgetary support. These directions have been issued on the basis of a letter written by the Principal Secretary ( Transport), Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, to the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary, Finance.

The figures available show that a sum of Rs 249 crore was to be recovered (from 1996-97 to 2003-2004) as arrears from different departments on account of the concessional travel. This was because of the fact that most of the departments had not made any budgetary allocation for the same during the past several years.

Sources said that the expenditure on these recoveries was being treated as losses to Punjab Roadways. However, the department, after taking up the matter with the Finance Department, got provided Rs 249 crore in the revenue heads of various departments during 2003-2004.Of this amount, Rs 241 crore has already been recovered by the Transport Department during 2003-2004. The biggest defaulter was the Punjab Police Department, from which Rs 98 crore have been recovered. The other defaulters and the recoveries made from them for extending this facility are : Education Department (college students) -- Rs 72.76 crore; freedom fighters ( Rs 17 crore); school students ( Rs 12 crore); women above 60 (Rs 10.95 crore); ITI students( Rs 9 crore); polytechnic students ( Rs 7 crore); blind and handicapped ( Rs 6.52 crore); jail personnel ( Rs 4 crore); secretariat employees ( Rs 2.50 crore), besides small amounts from widows of terrorist victims, thalassaemic patients and cancer patients.

Besides this, facilities to the tune of Rs 34.37 crore will be provided to the beneficiaries under various categories during 2004-2005 ,as the same has also been sanctioned under the revised estimates to the 13 departments under separate heads by the Finance Department.

As a result of these recoveries , the deficit of Punjab Roadways, pertaining to the huge recoveries of previous years, will be reduced to the extent of the amount credited for each year from 1995-1996 onwards, said Mrs Bajaj. The situation will further improve as henceforth the departments would provide for the same in their budgets or reimburse the amounts due against these services.


Rs 2 cr sanctioned for 2 major functions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The Punjab Government will cooperate with the SGPC in celebrating the 400th celebration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, on September 1 and the tercentenary observation of the Martyrdom Day of younger Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh at Fatehgarh Sahib in December.

the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has sanctioned Rs 2 crore for the two functions, says a press statement.

The government has also constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary, Information and Public Relations, Mr D.S. Jaspal, to look after all the arrangements.

The other members of this committee are Mr Kulbir Singh, member secretary, a representative of the DGP, Director, Local Government, Director, Health Services, Chief Engineer, PWD, and both the DPIs.


CM mourns Amrit Dhaliwal’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today expressed grief and sorrow over the death of Mrs Amrit Dhaliwal, wife of former Federal Minister of Canada, Herb Dhaliwal (Harbans Singh Dhaliwal), who died in Canada yesterday after a prolonged illness.

In a condolence message, Capt Singh said that Mrs Amrit Dhaliwal was a multi-faceted personality committed to bring social awakening amongst the unprivileged sections of society. She was a source of inspiration and played a vanguard role in the political career of Mr Herb Dhaliwal.

Capt Amarinder Singh expressed sympathies with the members of the bereaved family and prayed to the Almighty to give strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss and grant peace to the departed soul.


400 phones not working
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 30
Resentment prevailed among telephone subscribers of the industrial town of Batala today due to the non-working of their phones since last evening.

The residential telephone of this correspondent (244699) is also out of orders.

However, when this correspondent contacted to Mr I.S. Gill, Divisional Engineer, Telecom (DET), he replied that one cable of 400 pairs had gone dead due to some fault.


Looted passengers get money back
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 30
The local railway station authorities today recovered the money looted by two policemen from four migrant workers yesterday. The labourers, waiting to board the Jan Nayak Express, were looted by a GRP constable Sat Paul and a Home Guard jawan Dhyan Singh who took out their cash on the pretext of searching them. The victims were also beaten up. One of the victims, Paltera, reported the matter to the local railway authorities. The railway officials today made the cops return the booty to the owners.


Traffic awareness week begins

Patiala, July 30
The local traffic police started traffic awareness week in the city here today. As part of the awareness drive, the traffic police set up a check post at YPS Chowk near the local Government Girls College. During the checking, they made students aware of the documents required while driving a vehicle. OC


Life term for rapist

Hoshiarpur, July 30
A local court today sentenced to life imprisonment Parampal Singh, alias Lovely, who is proclaimed offender in a murder and rape case.

In her complaint the victim said that she was waiting for a bus when a person came to her and offered her shelter in his house with his family for a night. She accompanied him. On reaching the house she found that instead of his family members Parampal Singh, alias Lovely, and another person were present there.

All of them gang raped her throughout night. Later they took her to a tubewell where some other persons joined them and raped her. — PTI


Professor allowed to attend UGC meeting
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 30
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh has allowed the application filed by a Professor of Punjabi University, Patiala, seeking directions to the Vice-Chancellor of the university to allow him to attend a meeting of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in New Delhi.

In his application, Dr Karmajir Singh Sidhu, Professor of Defence and Strategic Studies, who is at present under suspension, had sought the interference of the High Court in the matter.

The writ filed by the Professor challenging his suspension by the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University is still pending in the High Court.

His application stated that he has been invited by the UGC as an expert to attend a meeting that is being held on August 4. However, his application to the university to allow him to attend the meeting was turned down.

Apprehending that he would not be allowed by the university to attend the meeting, Dr Sidhu moved the High Court.

In its order, the Bench headed by Mr Justice Nijjar held that the fact that the petitioner is under suspension would not be an impediment in his attending the meeting.

Therefore, the application was allowed.

Poaching case

The High Court was informed on Friday that one of the numbers from which threatening calls were allegedly made to some of the main witnesses in the poaching case, in which the then Pathankot Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Puneet Goel is an accused, has been traced.

The number is said to belong to one of the accused in the case.

It may be recalled that the two main witnesses in the poaching case - Gunraz Singh and Sukhdeep Bajwa, both guards in the Punjab Forest Department - had filed an application in the Court, stating their in that they had received threats on their telephone, asking them to remove themselves from the case. They had also provided some telephone numbers to the court.

The court had then given time to the Punjab Government to look into the statements of the two main witnesses.

It may be recalled that then Pathankot Sub-Divisional Magistrate Puneet Goel and his two accomplices had allegedly killed two peacocks and four other birds in a shooting spree. They had been caught and booked for the crime. Mr Goel was later transferred by the Punjab Government.

Today, the court was informed that a case had been registered in the matter and efforts were on to trace the other numbers also.

The case was later adjourned to August 23.


Grant for Guru Angad Dev’s village
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 30
The Punjab Government has released the first instalments of Rs 10 lakh each for the overall development of Sarai Naga and Hari Ke Kalan villages, birthplace and maternal village, respectively, of Guru Angad Dev.

This was stated by Mr Buta Ram Banga. Deputy Commissioner (DC), while addressing the panchayat and residents of Hari Ke Kalan village during a function held here to redress their problems.

The DC said the historical villages would not face any shortage of money as far as their development was concerned. The panchayats of both villages should start developmental works after chalking out a proper plan within a month, he added.

Mr Banga heard the problems of the panchayats of Samagh, Khokhar, Haraj, Waring and Kotli Sangar villages and announced grants of Rs 1 lakh each for their developments.

The DC said the state government had provided more powers to panchayats but it was felt that a large number of panchayats were showing hesitation in starting developmental works.

Mr Banga spoke about the ‘Sway Jaldhara Scheme’ (self water managements scheme) of the government, under which panchayats can build their own water tanks for which 90 per cent money will be provided by the government.

Most of the panchayats were not taking benefit of the scheme, despite acute shortage of drinking water in their villages, he added.

The DC said the electricity transformer in Sarai Naga village would be replaced with a double-capacity transformer within a month.

SSP R.S. Khatra, SDM J.C. Sabharwal and DSP Gurmeet Singh were present on the occasion.


9 PPS officers to be shifted from cadre posts
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Nine Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers holding cadre posts are likely to be shifted to non-cadre posts soon. Indian Police Service (IPS) officers are expected to take their place. Formal orders in this regard are anticipated in a day or so.

The decision to shift the officers has reportedly been taken by the Punjab government in an attempt to solve the row between the cadre and non-cadre officers.

The sources in the Punjab Police headquarters claim that as of now PPS officers are occupying 18 cadre posts. The government has decided to shift at least half the number of officers initially. Punjab Home Secretary S.K. Sinha and Additional Secretary in the Home Department R.L. Mehta were not available for comments.

In all, Punjab has 79 cadre posts. Forty of them are SP-rank officers. Out of them, as many as 18 posts are occupied by PPS officers, the sources disclose. Giving details, they assert that in all there are 23 posts of SSPs in Punjab — 17 in regular districts and six in police districts. Initially, out of 23, as many as 12 positions were cadre posts. The remaining 11 belonged to the non-cadre category. But on November 5, 2003, all 23 positions were made cadre posts. This resulted in the posting of PPS officers on cadre posts. It also resulted in friction between PPS and IPS officers.

The sources add that the Punjab government had made another attempt to solve the dispute by sending a proposal to the Government of India for removing 11 posts of SSPs from the list of cadre posts. But the same was rejected by the Union Government.

The IPS officers have all along been claiming that PPS officers were being posted on cadre posts in violation of the rules. They have also been contending that regular IPS recruits, in turn, were being relegated to non-cadre posts in the rank of SPs.

In fact, IPS officer Nilabh Kishore filed an application before the High Court against the government. He stated that the post of SP in the Chief Minister's security was a non-cadre post and he should not have been posted against it.

The issue had snowballed into a major controversy after Punjab's IPS Association, in its general body meeting held on March 27, had demanded that such postings should be immediately taken back. The association members had also demanded that cadre posts should not be given to non-cadre officers.

The minutes of the meeting were also sent to Punjab's Principal Secretary, Home Affairs, for appropriate action.


MC to hold ‘khula darbars’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 30
The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, today organised a ‘khula darbar’ to register complaints regarding water supply, sewerage facilities and streetlights of the people of the city.

As many as 15 complaints were registered during the darbar. The Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr Vishnu Sharma, said on the 15th and 30th of every month ‘khula darbar’ would be held. He added that all the complaints which would be filed during these darbars would be resolved within a week. Mr Sharma said action would be taken against employees and officials of the corporation found absent on the day of the darbar.


Jail inmate dies under mysterious circumstances
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 30
Kala Singh, an inmate of the local central jail who was convicted in a rape case, died today under mysterious circumstances. Kala Singh (34), died while he was being shifted to the local civil hospital, after his condition deteriorated in the morning.

The doctors in the emergency ward declared him brought dead. The deceased, who was sentenced ten years of rigorous imprisonment and Rs 1300 as fine, belonged to Moga district. He was sentenced by Mr D. S. Malwai, Additional Session Judge, after holding him guilty of the crime on November 23, 2001.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Saggu, Superintendent, Central Jail, when contacted, said Kala Singh was suffering from tuberculosis and he was getting treatment from the civil hospital.

He added Kala Singh remained hospitalised from July 5 to July 14 for treatment. Mr Saggu said today suddenly the condition of Kala Singh deteriorated and he was immediately taken to hospital. However, he died on the way.

Information in this connection was given to the NHRC, District Magistrate and other concerned authorities.


Murder case solved within hours
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 30
The district police today claimed to have solved the murder of an old woman within a few hours of detection of victim’s body, with the arrest of a close relative.

Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, SSP, stated here today that Updesh Kaur was found murdered in her Ladhewali residence this morning. It was found during preliminary investigation that the victim was living alone in her house after her husband’s death, while her two children were settled abroad. One of her sons was settled in Rajasthan, he said, adding that the needle of suspicion pointed towards Mandeep Singh, son of the victim’s cousin. He was subsequently arrested.

The trio went to the house of Updesh Kaur last evening and allegedly strangled her before ransacking the house.


Seven injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 30
A group clash took place at Gulabgarh village last night, resulting in serious injuries to seven persons. A gold chain of a woman which was alleged to have been snatched started it, leading to an Uno car being damaged in the melee. Swords and brickbats were used freely in the clash which was attributed to an old enmity. While one group alleged that the rival group had invaded their house, leading to the flare-up, the other group accused the former of provocation. The police intervened to quell the fury.


Life-saving drug found spurious
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 30
A life saving drug being manufactured by a Mohali- based firm and being sold in this town was found spurious when the sample of the same was tested in a laboratory.

Dr Y. P. Singla, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, in a press note issued here today said that life-saving drug which was found spurious was Betamethasone tablets. He added that legal proceedings had been launched against the firm.

He said that in another case, an owner of a chemist shop, who was running the same without licence, was arrested by the police after a criminal case was registered against him for his alleged involvement in the sale of intoxicants. The accused was in judicial custody now.


Man claims castration by gang
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 30
A case of a young man being forcibly castrated and being inducted into a eunuch gang has come to light with the man presenting himself before Patiala Inspector-General of Police Rajinder Singh today.

Sanjay Kumar of Patran town in this district claimed that he was taken to Karnal four years ago on the pretext of better employment.

There, he was made to drink an intoxicant, which made unconscious. When he woke up, he found himself castrated. Sanjay alleged he was forced to work like a eunuch by the gang.

The IG has ordered that a medical board be formed to examine the case.

If the allegations are found true, a case would be registered at the Patran police station.


Rs 35,000 stolen from shop
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 30
An amount of Rs 35,000 was stolen from a shop at Chikawala Bazar here last night.

Mr Gurdeep Singh, owner of the shop, said the incident came to light this morning when he opened the shop.

A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.


Course on advanced technology concludes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 30
A six-week course on advanced technology of digital electronics concluded at the electronics and communication centre of the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College. Course coordinators Tripatjot Singh Panag and Jagtar Singh Dhillon and students from Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh participated. The course was aimed at equipping students with additional knowledge which would help them get jobs after completion of their degrees.

Mr Tripatjot said training in this field was rarely available in engineering colleges of north India.

He said the department, which is accredited with the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) had already spent Rs 20 lakh on hardware and software of digital design. The department had already sent modernisation of laboratory proposals to the All-India Council of Technical Education to get financial aid.

Mr Jagtar Singh Dhillon said large scale integration design was the buzz word in the electronics world today and hardware descriptive language (HDL) was the language used in VLSI design.


DC finds 3 govt schools locked
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 30
Three government schools were found locked during working hours when the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ranjit Singh, visited the schools to check the attendance of schoolteachers.

Government Elementary School and Government Primary School, Kabar Bacha, and Government Senior Secondary School for Boys, Mudki, were found locked today during the working hours when the DC conducted a surprise check.

When contacted, Ms Mohinder Kaur, sarpanch of the Kabar Bacha village, said she was unaware of the same and the Principals had not informed her anything in this regard.

Mr Harbans Singh Chahal, DEO, (Secondary), who was accompanying the DC, said he was surprised to see the schools locked without any information to his office.

He said stringent disciplinary action would be initiated against the heads of these institutions.

During the checking of Government Senior Secondary School, Bajidpur, and Government Elementary School, Luham, the DC found that two teachers, Ms Renu and Ms Sanjay Devi, were marked on leave in the attendance register without any request application for leave.

The DC also checked the attendance of the teachers in various other government schools in Malwal Kadeem, Mishriwala, Shehzadi, and Vada Bhaika villages.

He inspected various developmental works initiated with the grants provided to the schools under Sarv Shikhiya Scheme.

The DC found the Medical Officer of Government Ayurvedic Dispensary (GAD), Vada Bhaika, absent from duty without any information.

Villagers told the DC that the Medical Officer of the GAD, Dr Iqbal Singh, seldom visited the dispensary and was hardly available.

The DC took the attendance register in his custody and ordered an inquiry into the case.


Board honours Deputy Director
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 30
The Punjab School Education Board honoured Dr Jagir Singh, Deputy Director, Academics, for achieving a national-level award in performing arts, at a function here today. The citation was handed over to Dr Jagir Singh by the board Chairman, Dr Kehar Singh.

Dr Jagir Singh had been awarded the Gurmat Sangeet Award by the Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi. It is the highest award in performing arts at the national level.

He had been given a number of awards at various levels earlier. Dr Kehar Singh said the award given to Dr Jagir Singh was an honour for Punjab as well as the education board.

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