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Villagers prevent plugging of breach in Narwana branch
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Lachhru Kalan (Ghanaur), August 9
Irate residents of around 12 villages turned away a contractor trying to plug a breach in the Narwana branch of the Bhakra canal here today. They said they would not allow plugging of two breaches in the canal banks unless syphons were constructed at both points to ensure that flood water could intersect the canal and did not flow in one side flooding their villages.

The villagers also formed a sangharsh committee. They decided to start a relay dharna here and at nearby Majri Fakiran village. The Narwana branch has been breached at Majri Fakiran also. The villagers said they would stop any attempt to plug the two breaches here and at Majri Fakiran unless syphons were constructed at both points.

The committee members, including local SGPC member Jasmel Singh, who belongs to Lachhru Kalan village, said though the Chief Minister had assured them that their demand for syphons at both spots would be considered, Cooperation Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa had brushed away the demand, saying it was politically motivated.

The committee said there was no question of indulging in politics on the issue. “Our area had been flooded five times, do you think we want it to be flooded again”, said Mr Pawan Kumar. Committee members said Mr Randhawa should come forward to take command of the “agitation” for the welfare of the people of the area. They said the syphons should be constructed right now because the Narwana branch was closed for repairs. Besides, Haryana was also not in need of water immediately due to flooding in parts of the state, Mr Pawan Kumar added.

The villagers returned a tractor-trailer of a contractor that was brought for starting earth-filling work. No further attempt was made by the contractor to start the work again. The dharna turned into an anti-government show with speakers saying they could not trust any promise being made by the state government. During the 1993 floods, Congress leader Rajesh Pilot had visited the spot and promised the construction of syphons, but nothing had been done so far, they said.

Small syphons, which take flood water across the Narwana branch, already exist at both points. However these syphons, the villagers said, were inadequate in case of floods. They demanded that large syphons should be put into place at both places.

Around 12 villages were affected in the city due to flood water. Water level rose upto seven - eight feet in a few villages. Besides, this village and Majri Fakiran, other affected villages are Lachhru Khurd, Sheikhpura, Sarala Kalan, Shahpur, Ghungran, Kamikalan, Chamaru, Rampur and Alaana.


 

Ropar officials behind devastation in Patiala, Sangrur?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

A view of the breach in Patiala-ki-Rao near Dadu Majra village
A view of the breach in Patiala-ki-Rao near Dadu Majra village. — This photo was taken by Manoj Mahajan on Monday

Chandigarh, August 9
Did the " unimaginative role" played by certain senior officers of the Ropar district administration regarding the strengthening of a bandh over Patiala-ki-Rao, a seasonal rivulet famed for its ferocity during the rainy season, lead to the flood-related devastation of lakhs of people in the Patiala-Sangrur belt in the recent days ?

It appears to be so. When the heavy downpour continued on August 3, the bandh that was built on the rivulet near Dadu Majra village, at a short distance from here, long back to divert the rivulet waters to the Sutlej river through Siswan nadi and Jainti-ki-Raow, gave way, thus turning the flow of the surging waters towards Patiala district and down further towards Sangrur area.

Informed official sources said today that it was the roaring waters overflowing from the Patiala-ki-Rao that caused maximum damage to the SYL canal, Narwana branch and the Ghaggar river's bandhs. Sources say that on the way to Banur and Rajpura area, the overflowing waters of Patiala-ki-Rao caused a lot of devastation flooding several villages besides damaging mainstream water bodies. The confluence of Ghaggar and Patiala-ki-Rao waters became a " deadly" combination in various ways for most of the people in the area.

Besides, Patiala-ki-Rao, that is called Badi nadi near Patiala, also posed a grave threat to Patiala city on that day.

Sources said that when the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, came to know that the bandh on the Patiala-ki-Rao had been breached, he immediately called upon the authorities concerned to plug the breach, but it was too late. Already, a gap over 70 feet was caused in the bandh and it was not possible to fill that gap.

It is confirmed that nearly 21,000 cusec water flowed through that breach towards Patiala district, thus causing a heavy damage on the way and compounding the flood problem in the down-stream areas. Only 5,000 cusecs flowed towards the Sutlej river through Siswan nadi.

But there is another story behind this story of floods. Sources said that the bandh, which gave way on August 3, was not strengthened for the past two years because of a " petty" objection raised by certain senior officers of Ropar district administration regarding the location of the bandh.

It is to be made clear here that Patiala-ki-Rao emerges from Shivalik hills in the rear of Union Territory Chandigarh and passes by Dadu Majra village in the UT to enter Punjab. Its natural flow is towards Patiala district via certain villages of Kharar-Mohali sub-divisions. Its natural flow was diverted towards Sutlej via Siswan nadi in Ropar district by raising the bandh near Dadu Majra.

Officers of Ropar district administration not only objected to the strengthening of a part of the bandh near Dadu Majra taking the plea that it falls in the Union Territory but also asked the Punjab Irrigation Department authorities concerned to looked into matter.

Officers of Irrigation Department argued that since 1961, the bandh has been invariably being strengthened by the Punjab Government as UT is no way concerned with its strengthening because the bandh has been raised to solve Punjab's problem of floods and not of the UT. However, as no solution was found, the Irrigation Department's drainage wing stopped strengthening the bandh two years ago.


 

Flood scare in Patiala over Tibet lake report
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 9
There was a flood scare in the city as well as in Rajpura today, with people moving their expensive goods to upper storeys in Patiala and carting them to safe places in villages in the Rajpura subdivision.

People living in colonies close to the Badi Nadi moved their furniture and expensive goods to upper floors of their houses. The scare resulted following an apprehension that flood waters which had formed an artificial lake blocking the Parchu rivulet in Tibet could overflow or give way. While many residents understood that it would be difficult for Sutlej flood waters to make way into the Badi Nadi, matters came to a head with a gurdwara at Raghomajra making an announcement, warning of floods in the city.

Sources said this news spread like wildfire and many residents living close to the Badi Nadi started moving costly goods to upper storeys immediately. The district administration tried to dispel fears of floods in the city.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh went on Patiala AIR to assure residents of the city that there was no danger of floods. He said the Badi Nadi was flowing in normal spate and the district administration had established a flood control room on the spot to assess the water level in the rivulet. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the Deputy Commissioner said some rumour mongers had spread fears of floods in the city.

He said such people would be prosecuted if identified.

Reports reaching here said persons living close to the Ghaggar as well as areas adjoining the SYL canal today started carting their belongings out of villages.

The sources people were moving their goods to villages further from the water bodies, apprehending that the flood threat in Tibet could result in water gushing in rivers and canals flowing in the region.


 

Farmers fear repeat of 1988 Sutlej floods
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Gatti Jatta (Moga), August 9
Even as the water level in the Sutlej here has not been rising for the past two days, a high alert in Himachal Pradesh and evacuation of people from the banks of the Sutlej has raised apprehensions among residents of villages near the Dhussi Bundh. The district administration’s warning has also set the alarm bells ringing for the area’s farmers, most of whom have agricultural land on river bed.

Farmers of the area stated that the water level had gone up three days ago but it was not enough to adversely affect their paddy crop. Instead it had benefited the same, they added. Balor Singh, a small farmer of Gatti Jatta village, said memories of the floods in 1988 here still sent shivers down his spine. He had lost 7 acres in floods. His companion Mahender Singh said they had suffered huge losses due to the floods in the Sutlej and they had been compelled to work as daily wagers to make both ends meet. Former sarpanch of the village, Mukhtiar Singh told The Tribune that about 700 acres of agricultural land had got submerged in floods.Residents alleged that their village had been facing neglect for the past 20 years and successive governments had done nothing except for giving assurances.

Resham Singh, a farmer of Chak Singhwala village, said he feared the worst when a few days back Sutlej waters entered his 12-acre field. A resident of Thuthgarh village, Tehal Singh, said fearing floods they had started keeping their valuable items at safer places. Gurdev Singh of Chak Bahmni village said he had grown vegetables and floods would leave him penniless.

Residents of other villages, including Chak Kania, Tarewala, Daulewala, and Redwa, complained that whenever administration officials inspected the Dhussi Bundh they didn’t visit them to hear their grievances.

Many farmers in the area had also inserted pipes in the bundh to irrigate their agricultural land, which might prove dangerous in the event of floods. Apart from this some people were also indulging in the lifting of sand from the river bank. Villagers alleged that they had complained about the same to the authorities concerned but in vain.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, said adequate measures had been taken to meet any eventuality. He said the Irrigation Department had been told to strengthen the bundh and a warning had been issued to residents of nearby areas.


 

12 villages still in 2-foot water
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 9
Flood waters receded in the district today. But in the Khanauri belt 12 villages continued to be marooned. Water in these villages is subsiding and now remains one and three feet only against five to six feet earlier.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh today surveyed these villages in a motorboat with Army personnel. He said Army continued to be deployed to provide essential commodities to the flood hit villages. Aerial dropping of food was stopped today. The Patiala-Pehowa road has been opened to pedestrians and two-wheelers with Army installing a float at the site.

The DC said efforts were on to restore power supply in affected villages and the electricity board had supplied power to some of the villages through the Kakrala grid as the Badshahpur grid, which supplies power in the area, continued to be out of order.

The administration has started assessment of the damage due to floods. The DC said though damage to crops and houses would be known after flood water receded completely, the PWD has started the process of calculating loss to government infrastructure, including roads, bridges and Schools.

Meanwhile Dwarkapur Ojhan panchayat sarpanch Amrik Singh today complained that diarrhoea had broken out in the village and many children were 
afflicted.

He said no doctor had come to the village since it was flooded five days back. He added a medical team visited the village today evening after the matter was reported to the press.


 

30,000 acres submerged in 24 villages
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 9
With flood water submerging 30,000 acres in 24 flood-prone villages in Moonak subdivision of the district, the flood situation today worsened in Khanauri and Moonak areas. Water in Ghaggar was touching the 752.5-foot mark against the danger mark of 748 feet at RD 460, near Khanauri, this evening.

Due to a breach in the Ghaggar near Karrial village, about 25 persons got trapped today, but all were evacuated by the administration with the help of boats.

As per reports reaching here this evening the Moonak-Tohana road had been closed to vehicular traffic. Flood water covered the road near Salempur village on the Moonak-Patran road. The authorities diverted the vehicular traffic.

The flood water today entered some populated areas of some villages, forcing residents to take their household goods to safer places.

Talking to TNS on telephone from Moonak this evening, Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said no loss of human life or cattle has been reported so far.


 

Were Jagsir, Arif declared deserters in haste?
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot August 9
Lance Naik Jagsir Singh and Mohamad Arif of 108 engineers regiment returned to India from Pakistan jail to a hero’s welcome today. The questions were why they declared deserters and who is responsible for the suffering their families had to undergo for the period they were in Pakistan’s prison? remain unanswered.

Before they were caught by Pakistani troops, Jagsir Singh and Mohamad Arif were working under the 21 sub Area command with headquarter at Pathankot. Army sources here said that after the Kargil conflict in September 1999, the 108-engineer regiment was ordered to clear mines in the Matdyam area midway the Zojila Pass and Dras.

On September 15, 1999 the section of 10 soldiers were performing duty in Matdyam area. Two of them i.e. Jagsir Singh and Mohamad Arif went missing. According to army rules while on duty a soldier remains absent at the time of roll call without leave he can be declared deserter.

However, Jagsir Singh and Arif, went missing while serving in Matdyam — a very remote area near Zojila Pass where it is hard to desert on foot. Moreover, as the Kargil conflict was over soldiers were being sent on leave. Since Mohamad Arif married only 10 days when he joined duty due to Kargil war and Jagsir Singh’s wife had delivered a baby both could have easily got leave in stead of deserting the Army.

Ignoring these facts, the then commanding officer of the 108-Engineer Regiment declared Jagsir Singh and Mohamad Arif as deserters. This deprived their families of pension and pay benefits which they would have been entitled of both were declared missing rather and not deserters.

For four years families of both soldiers who were prisoners of war in Pakistani jails suffered. They were not paid any salary to which the family of a prisoner of war is entitled. Also they had to suffer stigma of being the families of Army deserters. It tormented them. This led to the newly-wed wife of the Mohamad Arif leaving him and father of Jagsir Singh died taking on him the stigma that his son was a deserter.

After the matter was highlighted in the Press the Army has decided to restore the pay and perks of Jagsir Singh and Arif from back date. However, it was yet to order an inquiry into, who was responsible for declaring both of deserters that brought misery to their families for four years, the sources in Army told.


 

Kot Bhai erupts in celebrations
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kot Bhai (Gidderbaha), August 9
Residents of Kot Bhai and surrounding villages were in a festive mood today. They beat “dhols” throughout the day over the return of Lance Naik Jagsir Singh to the Indian soil after a five-year-long captivity in Pakistan.

Most of the villagers sat in front of their TV sets to watch the telecast of Jagsir’s arrival at Wagah border on various news channels. It was a special moment for his family members.

While most of the Jagsir’s family members went to Wagah border in the wee hours today to receive him, his other relatives remained glued to the television sets to watch his arrival, distributed sweets and danced to the beats of “dhol”.

The joy of Mr Karam Singh, Jagsir’s aged maternal grandfather, knew no bounds when he saw his return to the country on a private news channel at his house at the village. At the same time, he remembered his son-in-law Gurdev Singh, Jagsir’s father, who died some time back while fighting for Jagsir’s innocence.

Jagsir’s maternal uncle, Dr Kulwant Singh, told The Tribune over his mobile from Wagah border that it might take at least a week before his arrival to the village. He said it was an emotional and memorable reunion for Jagsir and his family members.

Dr Kulwant Singh said they had been told by the Army authorities that Jagsir would be kept at the Army Hospital, Amritsar, for a medical check-up and debriefing for two days, following which he would be sent to his unit, 108 of Engineer Regiment, in Pune. It might take seven to 10 days before all formalities were completed and Jagsir returned to his native village.

Meanwhile, Jagsir Singh, a classfellow of the soldier who works as a conductor in a private company, told The Tribune that villagers were awaiting his arrival at his native village. The day Jagsir arrived, the entire village would celebrate it as Divali, he added.

The local MLA, Mr Manpreet Badal, who was in Jaipur, said over the phone that he would also receive the hero at the village. He was making efforts to fix an appointment of Jagsir’s mother with Defence and Foreign Ministers for his early release, he said.

Jagsir along with soldier Mohammad Arif were mistakenly declared deserters during Kargil War five years ago. However, efforts of their release were made when the Army learnt about their captivity in Pakistan.


 

Army opens ‘refit’ centres for soldiers
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

GURDASPUR: Taking a cue from the US Army, the Northern Command of the Indian Army has started an operation to motivate their soldiers working in the insurgency-hit Jammu and Kashmir areas.

It has opened rest and refit centres at Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh and Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir for the soldiers and officers serving in the anti-insurgency operations. The centres are being run under 21-Sub Area command with its headquarters in Pathankot.

Sources in the Army said the idea to start the rest and refit centres was conceived by the Lt-Gen Hari Prashad of the Northern Command. He first started the rest and refit centre based at Dalhousie.

The stress of working in insurgency-hit areas like Jammu and Kashmir has a telling effect on the soldiers. In some of the anti-terrorist operations soldiers work round-the-clock, separated from their families without any sources of entertainment. This puts them under severe stress.

To break this stress earlier formations and units ensured that after 90 days of such operations troops are given a break in the form of annual or casual leave. These methods were being tried effectively right from the day of World War II.

However, now in the form of a new experiment those who perform exceptionally well in anti-insurgency operations are given an eight-day break in rest and refit centres. In these centres soldiers and officers are given a good living environment along with their families or spouses.

The Dalhousie-based rest and refit centre that was started in April this year has the facility to accommodate 167 persons at a time. It has the facility to accommodate at a time 13 officers, 34 JCOs and 120 soldiers along with their families or spouses.

As the soldiers come to the centre they are treated as tourists irrespective of their rank in the Army. They are accommodated in spacious double bedrooms attached with dining rooms. Most of the rooms have identical facilities but for minor differences. The other facilities at the centre include cafe, library, bank, health club, cyber video theatre, CSD and optional yoga classes. An officer of the rank of Second Lieutenant manages the show for the jawans and officers coming at the refit centres.

During their eight-day stay at the centre the occupants are given the option of visiting various picnic spots in the surrounding areas. In Dalhousie the soldiers and officers at the centre are given the option of Khajjiar, Chamba and Chamera Dam projects.

The Army authorities here said the rest and refit centre was getting a good response from the soldiers as well officers. The soldiers after their eight-day stay at the centre felt rejuvenated to perform their duty again.


 

Nihang organisations demand CBI probe against Poohla
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 9
Representatives of various Nihang organisations and misals of Tarna Dal and Baba Budha Dal today demanded a CBI inquiry against controversial Nihang and alleged self-styled chief of Tarna Dal Baba Ajit Singh Poohla.

Baba Poohla was arrested on July 29 and had been remanded in judicial custody till August 13.

The Nihang organisations also demanded security cover for the witnesses in many criminal cases registered against Poohla. He said it would remove the fear prevailed amongst the public which would bring more criminal cases to light. The organisations said that they would render all support in this common cause.

The representatives of various misals including Baba Makhan Singh, Baba Lakha Singh, Baba Ajit Singh chakarbati, Baba Hari Singh and Baba Swaranjit Singh, while talking to media persons, alleged that Poohla was a blot on the Nihang sects which were famous for rescuing women of the Muslim and Hindu communities during Mughal empire. They alleged that Poohla indulged in anti- panth activities, including kidnapping and raping of minor girls and consumed liquor.

They urged the state government for immediate arrest of his remaining accomplices who were still roaming freely and were declared proclaimed offender in many criminal cases. They alleged that the terrorised victims felt that he would come out of jail and kill them.

They urged Giani Joginder Singh vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, to clear his stand on the various gurdwaras under the illegal occupation of Ajit Singh Poohla. They said that controversial Nihang chief had illegally occupied Shaheed Bhai Taroo Singh Gurdwara at Poohla village and Gurdwara Damdama Sahib at Shri Hargoindpur. They urged the Jathedar to direct the SGPC to take possession of these gurdwaras.


 

Cadre row: HC rules in favour of IPS officers
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab Government to remove all non-cadre officers from cadre posts and submit a compliance report in this matter to the court.

Pronouncing this order, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant also directed that only cadre officers be posted on cadre posts.

The judgement effectively means that all Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers (non cadre), who are presently holding the post of district police chiefs, will have to be replaced by Indian Police Service (IPS) officers.

The order was passed on applications filed by IPS officer Neelabh Kishore, who was earlier posted as Superintendent of Police, Chief Minister's Security, and other IPS officers posted on non-cadre posts.

Among the PPS officers currently posted on cadre posts, including Senior Superintendent of Police in districts, who will have to be shifted, are Mr M.S. Chinna, (SSP, Moga), Mr Harmanbir Singh, (SP, City-II, Amritsar), Mr Mandeep Singh, (SP, City-I, Ludhiana), Mr Gurpeeet Singh Bhullar (SSP, Jalandhar), Mr Kulshinder Singh (SSP, Faridkot), Mr G.S. Dhillon (SSP, Sangrur), Mr Gurkirpal Singh (SSP, Tarn Taran), Mr RPS Bajwa (SSP, Majitha), Narinder Bhargav (SSP, Gurdaspur), Mr Ranbir Singh Khatra (SSP, Muktsar), Mr Shiv Kumar (SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib).

In his application, Mr Kishore, who has since been posted against a cadre post, had challenged the decisions of the Punjab Government to flout IPS Cadre Rules, 1954, by posting non-cadre officers on cadre posts and vice versa.

In the last hearing, the government had informed the court that it was considering shifting 17 Punjab Police Service officers from cadre posts, including district police chiefs, meant for Indian Police Service (IPS) officers.

The government had also indicated that it was thinking of setting up a high-level committee to study and decide the issue.

The hearing on the applications had witnessed frantic activity in government circles, with the Punjab Government trying to explore all possibilities to ensure that it was allowed to continue with PPS officers as district police chiefs.

Its counsel had told the court that wholesale removal of all PPS officers from cadre posts would demoralise them as they had played a very positive role in the elimination of terrorism in Punjab. He also stated that it was prudent to post PPS officers in border districts due to their familiarity with the terrain.

However, Mr Gurminder Singh, counsel for the applicants, has stressed on the need for the government to stick to rules. Incidentally, even Punjab Director- General of Police A.A. Siddiqui had stated that the government has approached the Union Government in this regard.

Meanwhile, the next date of hearing in the writ - Resurgence India versus State of Punjab - which deals with powers, functions and other duty-related issues of the police force - was fixed for August 23.


 

Inside Babudom
10 PPS officers likely to be shifted to non-cadre posts
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Ten Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers, holding cadre posts, are likely to be shifted to non-cadre posts following the issuance of orders in the matter by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court this afternoon.

As many number of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, holding non-cadre posts, are expected to take their places. Formal orders in this regard are anticipated within a week. The government has already shifted nine PPS officers holding cadre posts.

Punjab Home Secretary S.K. Sinha and Additional Secretary in the state Home Department R.L. Mehta were not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

The sources in the Punjab Home Department, meanwhile, claim that PPS officers will not hold the posts of Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) in the state once the orders are given effect to.

In all, there are 23 posts of SSPs in Punjab — 17 in regular districts and six in police districts. Initially out of 23, 12 positions were cadre posts. The rest 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 IPS officers were claiming that their posting opportunities were being limited due to “manipulations” by non-IPS officers. They were also claiming that PPS officers were being posted on cadre posts in violation of the rules. They were further contending that regular IPS recruits, in turn, were being relegated to non-cadre posts in the rank of Superintendents of Police (SPs).

The PPS officers, on the other hand, were contending that they were being deprived of their due. Some of the officers were claiming that their contribution in combating terrorism were being ignored. They were claiming that a large number of officers had lost their families in the fight against militancy and their posting on cadre posts was in recognisation of their services.

The issue had earlier snowballed into a major controversy after Punjab’s IPS Association, at a general body meeting held on March 27, had demanded that such postings should be immediately taken back.

Postings

IPS officer S. Chattopathyaya today switched places with Mr S.M. Sharma. Mr Chattopathyaya, posted as Inspector-General (Provisioning and Modernisation) will now be posted as IG-cum-Director of Vigilance Bureau. The order, issued on administrative grounds by the Department of Home Affairs and Justice, will come into effect immediately.


 
 

Youth Akali Dal members to get new ID-cards
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 9
Announcing the cancellation of thousands of old identity cards of Youth Akali Dal (YAD) workers and office-bearers, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary, said today that a new two-tier identity card system for office-bearers and members was being introduced in the YAD to ensure more transparency in the organisation set up.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Sukhbir Badal after holding a state-level meeting of the office-bearers of YAD, said the step was being taken to inculcate discipline among office-bearers and members and to prevent any misuse of organisation cards by non-serious elements.

Under the new system separate ID cards, badges and vehicle stickers would be issued to office-bearers and members and for each card Rs 10 would be charged.

“Apart from this we are making it mandatory for office-bearers to attend organisational meetings. We are also holding an inter-district sports meet in Jalandhar followed by a gurmat training camp at Anandpur Sahib on November 7 and 8 and a de-addiction camp at Talwandi Sabo”, he said.


 

CBI to finalise Punwire probe in 2 months
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 9
The CBI would be ending its investigations into the multi-crore Punjab Wireless limited (Punwire) scam within the next two months. After four years of the registration of the first police case, last month, the CBI filed chargesheets in two of the 20 FIRs it is currently investigating regarding Punwire. The investigation in the case was handed over to the CBI by the Supreme Court in May, 2002.

A team of CBI sleuths was in the township today to question some of the accused. Sources informed The Tribune that the CBI team was at the final stages of their investigation into the 18 FIRs that were left with them, adding that chargesheets will be filed in the special CBI court at Patiala within the next two months.

The CBI charges based on the various FIRs registered by the police in 1999 and 2000 are likely to seal the fate of former Managing Director of the company Gurpal Singh who has been on the run since the scam came to light, along with at least 20 others accused in the case, including Ved Prakash, the then executive director, Ashok Jerath, AGM, and A.P. Singh, DGM of the company.

Talking to The Tribune, a senior CBI official said that Gurpal and Ved Prakash were the main accused in almost all the FIRs that the CBI was investigating in the case. The CBI was limiting itself to 20 of the total 37 FIRs lodged in the case while the rest had been handled by the Punjab police. In 2002, while the Punjab police had filed charge sheets in 12 of the FIRs, five cases had been closed following investigation by them.

Sources added that the two CBI teams investigating the case were under tremendous pressure to finalise their investigations into the scam as the duration of investigations had crossed two years. Attributing the delay in filing the chargesheets to missing documents, many of which were with the liquidator, the CBI official explained that the investigation was moving at the right pace. ‘‘We have faced a large number of problems in accessing the requisite files. Other than the fact that many of these were missing since the time of the scam surfaced, the fact that the company is closed created its own problems. There is no electricity and at times we had to locate files in candle or torch light,’’pointed out the CBI sleuth.

A majority of the accused, including Ved Prakash, are out on bail. However, the other main accused in the various cases, the company's MD from 1985 to 1999, Gurpal Singh, has evaded arrest. He was declared a proclaimed offender on August 8, 2000. The police suspects that he was hiding in the USA. A notice was also sent through Interpol to trace Gurpal Singh there and arrest him.

The Punwire scam came to light in 1999. Gross misappropriation of funds by the management is believed to have caused a Rs 400 crore loss to various public and private institutions, apart from costing its 1000 employees their jobs.


 

Amarinder for promoting Punjab as IT destination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has stressed upon the need of industrialisation for the development of Punjab and promoting it as an IT destination. He was speaking at a function after inaugurating the students centre at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, here today.

He said for strengthening the power sector, built-operate-transfer (BOT) system should be adopted. The college Principal, Dr Harjinder Kaur, highlighted the achievements in the field of academics, sports and cultural activities. The Chief Minister also released a book “Katha Katha” written by Mr S. Mann Singh, a member of the society, which runs the college.

The Principal of the college said the two-storied building of the students centre would allow the students to undertake recreational activities. At the first floor there would be cyber cafes, shops, a canteen and a health centre. On the first floor, the college authorities would run classes for the skill-oriented subjects. The facility would also be used for holding indoor games. The round shaped building has been designed keeping in mind the Panjab University’s building of the Students Centre.

Orientation  programme

A three-day library orientation programme was inaugurated at the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, here. Mr Vimal Bhargava, Principal of the college, inaugurated the programme. Ms Jaspal Kaur, librarian, said the objective of the programme was to train students.


 

Doctors to observe black day on August 15
Seek registration of case against SDM
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 9
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab, here, today decided to observe black day on Independence Day in protest against the registration of criminal case against three doctors of the local Civil Hospital yesterday allegedly on flimsy grounds.

The medical services came to halt at Goniana, Muktsar and here for the same reason.

The OPD wing, private clinics and all chemist shops in these towns remained closed.

Doctors of the Civil Hospital closed the emergency services in the morning, but the same were resumed after Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, intervened into the matter. Doctors and para-medical staff held a demonstration on the premises of the Civil Hospital.

The Bathinda unit of the IMA, members of the PCMS Association and the Para-Medical Staff Association submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha.

Their demands included the suspension of the SDM, Mr S.K. Singla, on whose direction the case was registered against the SMO, the EMO and another doctor of the Civil Hospital after they were held guilty of the death of an accident victim due to negligence.

Dr Amrit Sethi, president, IMA, Bathinda unit, said apart from observing black day on August 15, a contempt of court petition would also be filed in the Supreme Court against Mr Sinha, SSP, Mr Kapil Dev and Mr Singla for their involvement in getting a case registered against three doctors despite the apex count’s judgement that doctors should not be held responsible for the death of patient.

He said if the authorities concerned failed to take action against Mr Singla and assuring medical professionals that such thing would not be repeated in future, the IMA would intensify the agitation.

Maninder Kumar, an accident victim, was admitted to the Civil Hospital in the afternoon on August 7 in serious condition. In the hospital, he was immediately put to treatment and a ventilator was arranged to put him on artificial respiration. When the condition of the victim deteriorated, he was referred to a Ludhiana-based hospital.

However, Maninder Kumar died on the way as the oxygen cylinders in the ambulance being used to supply him oxygen for artificial respiration, exhausted. The attendant brought the dead body back to the Civil Hospital and started demanding the registration of a criminal case against the ‘negligent’ doctors, who allegedly did not check the cylinders before shifting the patient to the Ludhiana-based hospital. A case was registered against three doctors on the directions of the SDM, Mr Singla.

Meanwhile, Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, said the doctors who attended on Maninder Kumar gave him the best possible medical care. He said cases against the doctors should not have been registered without taking the district health authorities into confidence. He said he would send a report in this connection to the state health authorities. He said acute shortage of staff, including medical professionals, was affecting medical services in the district.


 

SAD function in Longowal’s memory on August 20
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 9
A function to observe the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, will be organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on August 20 at Longowal.

This was announced by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, in Singh Sabha Gurdwara near Satta Chowk here today.

Mr Badal was presiding over a meeting held in connection with the preparations of the death anniversary.

Mr Badal said the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, will participate in the celebrations in connection with Guru Granth Sahib’s installation be ginning from the first week of September.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary-General, SAD, Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, MLA, Sherpur, Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, President of the party Sangrur unit also spoke on the occasion.


 

Bus operators block traffic
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 9
Mini bus operators blocked traffic in front of the City No. 1 police station at Joginder Singh Chowk here today. They were protesting against the release of 10 students who had beaten up a private bus conductor early in the morning. A number of vehicles were stranded due to the blockade.

The bus operators alleged the police had let off the accused without taking any action against them. Immediately after their release, about 300 students of the local Industrial Training Institute assaulted another bus conductor, Gurmeet Singh, in front of the institute, they alleged. Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Jagga Singh, transporters, alleged about 12 students thrashed a driver and conductor of Malwa Tourist Company around 7.30 a.m. The bus driver handed over 10 students to the police in that connection. They alleged ASI Surjeet Singh asked students to buy tickets, but did not act against those who had assaulted the driver and conductor. The accused again threatened the bus operators after their release, Mr Harbhajan Singh alleged. Later, students thrashed the driver and conductor of a private bus (PB29D-9635) and also the son of Malwa Tourist Company owner, Gurpreet Singh.

The blockade was lifted after the police assured the bus operators of registering a case against the accused. SHO Gurbakash Lal said the police had taken proper action in the matter.


 

Satnam Singh falsely implicated, says son
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 9
Manpreet Singh, son of Satnam Singh, who was arrested by the Vijay Nagar police on August 1 for allegedly abducting, raping and keeping a girl in illegal detention for a month, yesterday alleged that his father was falsely implicated in the case.

In a press conference here, Manpreet Singh claimed that he had proofs to prove his point. He alleged the girl stayed with his father willingly.

The girl in her complaint had alleged that Satnam Singh had lured her on the pretext of getting her a decent job. However, later he tortured her and raped her and clicked her photographs in marriage costumes, besides taking her signatures on blank papers. He kept her in illegal detention for the past one and half months, she had alleged.

Manpreet claimed that he had copies of telegrams which she had sent saying about the danger to her and her “unborn child” during the past months. He said she had also given her address in the telegrams. He alleged that she was forced to give statement against Satnam Singh.

Answering the media queries, he said his father was booked with the alleged connivance of the girl’s family and one Jatinder Singh, a travel agent and resident of Ajnala, against whom the police has registered a case of defrauding Satnam Singh and his family of Rs 9.50 lakh.

He demanded a high level inquiry in the case and sought justice.


 

45 water schemes made functional
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Public Health Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, today said that 45 rural water supply schemes covering 96 villages in Ghanaur and Bhunerheri blocks of Patiala district had been made functional. Because of floods and power failure, these schemes were lying closed for the past few days.

He said that in the remaining villages where water supply schemes could not be made functional till last evening, the Public Health Department was supplying drinking water through tankers.

In villages where power supply had not been restored, power-generating sets had been pressed into service to run the electric motors for supplying drinking water.

Mr Henry appealed to the masses to use boiled water for drinking purpose.


 

PSEB man enacts ‘Sholay’ scene
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 9
Amarnath, a resident of Partap Nagar, today kept the railway police and residents of the nearby colonies on tenterhook after he climbed an electricity tower this morning.

According to information, policemen and residents made futile attempts to coax Amarnath, an employee of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and an addict, to come down. Risking his life, a resident tried to climb the tower but was hit with a bottle by Amarnath.

The standoff continued for about five hours before a person, who used to consume intoxicants in the company of Amarnath was brought to the scene to urge him to come down. He coaxed Amarnath to come down by offering a dose of intoxicant, after which Amarnath relented.

As soon as he got down, Amarnath was overpowered by the police and later admitted to local Civil Hospital. However, it could not be known if the police had registered a case.


 

Farmers gherao SDO’s office
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 9
Protesting against the stopping of canal water, many farmers today gheraoed the Irrigation Department, SDO office here and raised slogans against department officials here. The protest gained momentum when the Kirti Kisan Union members, who were sitting on a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office for the last five days, also joined them.

Protesters alleged that despite heavy rain in the state, water was not being released in canals for the last 20 days. They said none of the district administration officials had heard their grievances during their dharna before the DC office. Union leaders alleged that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was misleading the farmers by terming floods and drought as natural calamities. They alleged that flood and drought were the result of “wrong policies” of the state government. Union members said the farmers of the state would not allow the construction of the SYL canal at any cost. A meeting of six farmers’ bodies had been called in Ludhiana to chalk out an action plan in this regard. They announced that the protest launched here to meet farmers’ “genuine” demands would continue and farmers from all over the state would participate in it.

Farmers gherao the SDO Office, Irrigation Department, in Moga on Monday.


 

Nurses threaten to hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 9
Criticising the Health Minister Mr R.C Dogra and the Director of Shri Guru Teg Bahadar Hospital (SGTB), Dr G.L. Goyal, for cancelling the transfer orders of 51 nurses, the Punjab Nurses Association today demanded the implementation of the transfer orders.

The association threatened to hold dharna in front of the office of the Director Health Services, if the authorities concerned failed to restore the transfer orders. They urged the Chief Minister to intervene into the matter.

Ms Jeevanpreet Kaur and Ms Gurcharan Kaur, state president and general secretary of the association, respectively, said in a joint press statement that the orders of transfer were issued by a former director of the SGTB Hospital, Dr D.P. Sandhu. However, after the appointment of Dr G.L Goyal in June, the orders were cancelled and new transfer orders were issued.

They said majority of nurses who were affected by the cancellation of orders belonged to Gurdaspur and Amritsar.

They said the Health Minister had assured them to implement the old transfer orders, however, new transfer orders were being enforced they said.

A delegation of nurses would meet the Health Minister and officials concerned at Chandigarh DHS office on August 12 and would hold dharna if the authorities failed to redress their grievances.


 

Jashn-e-Azadi mushaira on Aug 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
An All-India Mushaira, ‘Jashn-e-Azadi’, will be organised at the Central State Library Auditorium in Patiala on August 12. The mushaira is being organised by Mehak Cultural Forum.

Reputed poets like Nida Fazli, Bashir Badar, Sardar Anjum, Waseem Barelvi, Sagar Khyyami and Mohtarma Ana Dehlvi will be participating in the mushaira.

The organising secretary of the forum, Dr Naresh Raj, said in a press note issued today the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will be the chief guest of the mushaira.The Finance Minister, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singla will preside and Dr A.A Siddiqui, DGP, Punjab, will be the guest of honour.


 

Cheques distributed
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 9
Minister of State for Forests Hans Raj Josan distributed cheques worth Rs 18 lakh among 45 panchayats under the rural development scheme in the Block Development and Pinhead office here on Sunday.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Josan said the compensation of Rs 26 crore had been released for the payment to farmers across barbed wire fencing in whose fields mines had been laid.


 

High Court
Adequate security
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab Government on Monday informed the High Court that adequate security had been provided to Mrs Jaswant Kaur, widow of late Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, who was assassinated by terrorists.

The statement was made during the course of hearing on an application filed by Mr Tej Prakash Singh, former Punjab Transport Minister and son Beant Singh.

In his application, Mr Tej Prakash has sought Z category security in the light of the escape of three main accused in the assassination from the high security Burail Jail.

He has said that despite repeated requests from the family, the government has failed to provide adequate security to them. Saying that his father's death anniversary will be observed on August 31, Mr Singh has said that a bulletproof car and an escort car should be provided to ensure that the escaped militants don't harm them.

Today, the Bench asked the government to give details of the security provided to Mrs Jaswant Kaur as also to anybody else in the family. The case will now resume tomorrow.


 

36 cases disposed of in Lok Adalat

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 9
As many as 36 out of 122 disputed cases related to bank loans, matrimonials and traffic challans were settled on the spot after awarding the compensation of around Rs 41.80 lakh to the claimants at a Lok Adalat here today.

Additional District and Session Judge B.J. Nagli Civil Judge (senior division), B D.S. Johal, Chief Judicial Magistrate, G.S. Dhillon and Judicial Magistrates K.S. Soolar and Gopal Arora settled the cases.

Speaking on this occasion, District and Session Judge J S Kaler, who is also chairman of the District Legal Services Authority, said a total of 4,717 cases were put up at the quarterly Lok Adalat held in Fatehgarh Sahib and Amloh from 1998 to date.

He said 2,548 cases were disposed of with the consent of both the parties and compensation of Rs around 15.37 crore was awarded to the claimants. — UNI


 

Man duped of Rs 20 lakh, 2 booked
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 9
The police here on a court’s order registered a case under Sections 406, 420, 465, 468, 471, 323, 324, 506, and 34 of the IPC against Neeraj Sharma and his brother Pankaj Sharma of Delhi yesterday.

Both brothers allegedly cheated Brijesh Kumar Goyal, son of Romesh Kumar of Malerkotla, of Rs 20 lakh for getting him allotted a petrol station of the Indian Oil Company at Purhiran on the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road.

Brijesh Kumar gave Rs 5 lakh on January 25, 2004 to Neeraj Sharma. On February 28, 2004 Neeraj Sharma gave documents of allotment of petrol station for Purhiran of the oil company to Brijesh Kumar. After getting the documents he gave remaining Rs 15 lakh to Neeraj Sharma. When he approached the office of Indian Oil Company, New Delhi, for the work, the allotment order was found to be bogus. Brijesh Kumar asked both the brothers to return his money. They told him to return the allotment documents and get a piece of their land. They called him Purhiran on June 3, 2004 to for the deal. Brijesh Kumar and Punesh Kumar went to Purhiran on the given date and found Neeraj Sharma and Pankaj Sharma and three associates with pistol and swords. They demanded allotment papers from Brijesh Kumar but he told them that these were not with him. He first wanted transfer of land in his name. They started beating up Brijesh Kumar and Punesh Kumar. People of the area rescued them.


 

PRTC General Manager arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 9
Mr Dhoop Singh, General Manager, Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), New Delhi Depot, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda today allegedly for favouring, Mr Karamjit Singh, driver in an inquiry against him when Mr Dhoop Singh was GM, PRTC, Budhlada depot a decade ago.

Mr Dhoop Singh and driver Karamjit Singh were arrested for fabricating documents and misleading the government.

Mr A.S. Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda Range, said that Karamjit Singh got recruited on the basis a fake certificate of class VIII. He added that Karamjit Singh used the certificate of his sister whose name was Karamjit Kaur. He rubbed word Kaur from the certificate and wrote Singh in its places.

An inquiry into this case was done by Mr Dhoop Singh who did not hold Karamjit Singh guilty though the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) stated that no one with name of Karamjit Singh passed class VIII in particular year.

The Vigilance Bureau, prepared its source report and probed it. Mr Dhoop Singh and Karamjit Singh were found guilty and a case under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 13(1) (D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against them.

In another case, Mr Ram Chander, a Junior Engineer (JE), Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), posted at Gidderbaha, was arrested for accepting Rs 500 bribe from Mr Daljit Singh, of Rai Ke Khurd village for replacing a meter in his house.

DSP Vigilance Ashutosh Kaushal caught Mr Ram Chander, Mr Daljit Singh in presence of government and shadow witnesses.

A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against Ram Chander.


 

Eunuchs bobbitise man

Faridkot, August 9
A person has been admitted to the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College Hospital here after his penis was allegedly severed by a group of eunuchs in Amritsar. The victim, Satpal Singh, is a resident of Janer village in Moga district.

Sources said Satpal used to play “dholak” for eunuchs in Janer and its nearby villages. Some time back the eunuchs had divided their work area, but soon they had differences over the matter. The eunuchs had also reportedly denied Satpal his dues, which forced him to move court.

On Friday, Satpal was called to Mamdot from where he was taken to a Gurunanakpura residence in Amritsar on Saturday. Eunuchs made him drink liquor and severed his penis with the help of a doctor. They abandoned him near a pond in Janer village last night. He was taken to a Kot Ise Khan Hospital from where he was referred to the Civil Hospital, Moga, and finally to the medical college at Faridkot. No case has been registered so far.


 

Pop singer booked
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 9
The local police today booked Punjabi pop singer Bobby Sidhu for allegedly duping Gurmukh Singh of Rs 8 lakh.

It is learnt that Bobby had taken Rs 8 lakh from Gurmukh Singh, resident of Anand Nagar locality of the city, on the pretext of sending him abroad a few months ago.

On the complaint of Gurmukh Singh, the DSP investigated the case and registered a case against the accused under Sections 406 and 402 of the IPC at Sadar police station.


 

Unemployed ETT teachers hold rallies
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, August 9
On the second consecutive day today members of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union (UETU) and DIET Students Welfare Association (DSWA) observed fast in front of the residence of Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, at Lehragaga in support of their demands.

Mr Mohinder Pal Singh Kaleke, district president of the UETU, told TNS over the phone that 11 unemployed teachers and ETT students, including Jasbir Kumar, Baljit Singh, Pargat Singh, Kuldip Joshi, Hartej Singh, Sumandeep Kaur, Gagandeep Kaur and Ramandeep Kaur observed fast to force the state government to accept their demands.

The protesters also staged a dharna and raised slogans against the Punjab Government. The demands include regular appointment of teachers by stopping recruitment of teachers on contract basis. They also demanded the withdrawal of “false” cases registered against student leaders at Jalandhar. The protesters also condemned the police lathicharge at Jalandhar yesterday.

Mr Kaleke also said they would hold a meeting at Moga tomorrow to chalk out further course of action.

BATHINDA: Hundreds of members of the Unemployed ETT Teachers Union, the Kisan Union and the Majdoor Union observed a hunger strike on the second consecutive day today and held a demonstration in front of the house of the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla.

The protesters said they had been agitating for the past two days to lodge their protest against the state government’s move to recruit teachers on contract basis despite the fact that Centre had said that teachers should not be recruited on contract basis.

They alleged that instead of redressing their grievances, the state government had been trying to curb their voice by resorting to lathicharge like in Jalandhar on August 1 and August 8. They added that they would mobilise villagers to launch a campaign against the anti-people policies of the state government.

AMRITSAR: Coming out in support of unemployed ETT teachers, the All India Youth Federation (AIYF) today urged the state government to fill vacant seats of elementary teachers all over the state at the earliest. It alleged that the state government was not fulfilling its promise made during elections to provide employment to youths.

Prithipal Singh Marhi Megha and Devinder Singh Sohal in a joint press note said the appointment of teachers on contract basis would harm both teachers and students.

They said the government must follow the international norm of employing a teacher for every 22 students.

Meanwhile, the one day hunger strike, held on a call given by the UETU, concluded peacefully here today. At the end of the strike, the union threatened to intensify the agitation if the government failed to pay heed to their demands.

FARIDKOT: The Unemployed ETT Teachers Union will observe Independence Day as black day at all district headquarters in the state to protest against the state government policy to recruit teachers on contract basis. A meeting of the association has been convened at Chandigarh tomorrow in this regard, said Mr Parminder Singh, convener of the association, while talking to mediapersons here today. Criticising the state police for resorting to lathicharge on protesting teachers, he said they would intensify the stir until their genuine demands were acceded by the government. He claimed that many government and non-government organisations had come forward in support of the teachers. He said though over 11,000 posts of teacher were lying vacant in different parts of the state, no steps were being taken to fill these.

Meanwhile, over 100 unemployed teachers staged dharna in front of the residence of Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh Brar, president, District Congress Committee, here today. They also raised anti-government slogans. Many senior leaders of various government bodies addressed the agitators.

FEROZEPORE: The Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union and DIET Students Welfare Union continued its hunger strike for the second consecutive day today in front of the residence of Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, against the contract system. Addressing the crowd, Mr Nirmal Singh, general secretary of the union, condemned the police lathicharge of unemployed elementary teachers in Jalandhar.


 

Students go without water for three days
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 9
The rain god may have got pleased, but drinking water is perhaps the most precious commodity for over 450 students of Jawahar Navodya Vidyalya at Masitan village in Kapurthala whose parents had to supply water to them in the wake of alleged non-availability of drinking water in the school for three days on account of a snag in the submersible pump installed in the school.

Interestingly, a shortage of water not only forced students to go without bath, but they bore the ordeal of not getting drinking water for three days till Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal of Dera Baba Seechewal dispatched a water tanker of drinking water for the students.

The unusual ordeal for students allegedly took off on Saturday when the submersible pump went out of order and subsequently water went out of stock from the 5,000-gallon tank installed in the school. This revelation was made by students to their parents when they went to the school to meet their wards on Sunday. The school caters to students hailing from Tibba, Sultanpur, Phagwara, Palahi, Pammna, Saidpur, Boolpur, Nadala, Bhulath, Dhillwan, Haibatpur, Kalewal, Dera Saidan, Takkranwal and Mutkarawala villages of Kapurthala district.

“We were shocked to know when our children told us that they spent three days without water in the school and could not bath during all this while,” alleged Satbir Kaur, a resident of Nauli village in Jalandhar district. She alleged that rice supplied to students was also not of good quality.

Though the school authorities denied that there was a shortage of water and maintained that the problem was there for a “short while”, Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal admitted that sewaks of his dera had sent a water tanker for students in view of a shortage of drinking water. Mr Sita Ram Bansal, a teacher, denied that rice supplied to students was not of good quality.


 

Punjab school board chief gets extension
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 9
The Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Dr Kehar Singh has been given a two-month extension in service by the Punjab Chief Minister. The six-month extension in service to Dr Kehar Singh ended yesterday.

Dr Kehar Singh’s three-year term as Chairman had ended in February this year after which the Chief Minister had granted him a six-month extension. Now Dr Kehar Singh will continue as the board’s Chairman till October 8.

It is learnt that the extension has been given keeping in view the fact that Dr Kehar Singh, who is the President of Council of Boards of School Education will lead a delegation to Cambridge University in September this year.


 

Teacher shortage in Dhar Kalan
Our Correspondent

Dhar (Pathankot), August 9
More than 12 primary schools of the newly formed subdivision of Dhar Kalan are on the verge of closure due to the apathy of the government. While a majority of the school buildings are being used as cowsheds, a few others are serving even as liquor dens.

The schools in Mangni, Baroh, Magnet, Baleva, Salari Khad, Mooran, Brickely, Darban, Bhatwan, Hardosaran, Treheti, Naloh, Barh Sudal, Bhatoli and Plah villages are facing an acute shortage of teachers. Some are even running without teachers.

Mr Subhash Sharma, joint secretary of the Government Teachers Union, disclosed that more schools were likely to face such problems as more teachers were going to retire in the near future.

According to residents of Naloh village, more than 80 students have already dropped out school.

When contacted, Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Harjit Singh said the Education Department had already called an interview for fresh appointments.


 

Panels to monitor facilities for nursing institutes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab government has constituted 12 committees to undertake fresh physical verification of all 60 nursing institutes in the state to ensure that facilities being provided by them conform to laid down standards.

This was stated by the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, to a delegation of students from Guru Nanak Nursing Training Institute and Hospital, Jalandhar, when they called upon her to project their grievances here today.

Ms Bhattal said that under a new policy framed by the government, no objection certificates would now be granted only to those institutes who possess atleast 2 acres land and have all requisite academic and administrative facilities. Classes would be allowed to commence only after physical verification has ensured that the institute conforms to established norms.


 

College to observe Engineers Day
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 9
The Baba Banda Singh Abrader Engineering College chapter of the Institution of Engineers (India) will observe the 37th Engineers Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya.

The Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, informed mediapersons today that the college would observe the day by organising seminars on “Emerging Technology”.

Prof Lakhwinder Singh, Head, Department of Electronics and Communication, and president of the chapter, said a paper presentation contest would also be organised for the students. He said students of 104 engineering college were expected to participate in the contest.

Prof R.S. Uppal, media coordinator, said the last date for sending entries to the contest is September 6.


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