P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Ashwani tells CM to give top priority to
pensioners, poor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Mr Ashwani Kumar, member of the Rajya Sabha from Punjab, has drawn the attention of the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, towards the non-payment of pension to about 90,000 persons in Gurdaspur district. Among them are 70,000 old-age pensioners and 20,000 handicapped persons and widows.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister, Mr Ashwani Kumar has urged that adequate funds should be provided to implement the schemes meant for the welfare of the poorest of the poor.

Mr Ashwani Kumar has told Capt Amarinder Singh that the poorest of the poor should be given top priority as far as their welfare is concerned. This has been also announced by the president of the Congress, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. It has also been made part of the Common Minimum Programme of the United Progressive Alliance ( UPA) Government at the Centre.

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has declared that the Congress-led Government at the Centre would become a model for bringing succour to those living on the margin. In the light of all these programmes and policies finalised by the Congress , it becomes the duty of all Congress leaders and activists to do their maximum for the poor and needy sections of society.

Requesting the Chief Minister to bring the cases of disabled and oppressed sections of society to the notice of the party in Punjab, Mr Ashwani Kumar says that it is disturbing to note that no money has been received by the Pensions Department for further disbursement to beneficiaries as has been reported by The Tribune in its columns on August 8.

In fact, it has remained a major grievance of the people against the elected representatives in the state that they are unable to secure pensions for the intended beneficiaries as per the government policy. It is true that sometimes undeserving persons succeed in receiving benefits meant for the weaker sections and, therefore, the necessary satisfaction of the district authorities concerned is required while handling pension cases.

" But it is equally true, however, that the implementation policy has been inadequate for a number of reasons, including paucity of funds", asserts Mr Ashwani Kumar in the letter. Pensions have been disbursed for the first quarter of 2003-04 and were paid just before the Lok Sabha elections.

He has also drawn the attention of the Chief Minister towards an earlier letter he wrote last month regarding suicide by farmers in Punjab. He had suggested to the CM to take concrete steps to prevent such tragedies.


Singla to seek state’s share in Central taxes
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 12
The Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, will raise the issue pertaining to the discrimination against the state and its farmers in different matters in the meeting of Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers to be held in Delhi on August 17. He will demand the amendment of rules and condition of the Central Government to bring an end to it.

Mr Singla, presided over the state-level function organised in connection with the distribution of prizes of a lucky coupon scheme of small savings by taking out a draw of the scheme here today. Addressing a press conference he said he would also raise the issue connected with the granting of financial help to the farmers of Punjab on the pattern of help given to the farmers of those states which had been declared as drought affected.

He said if the farmers of Punjab suffered losses they would not be able to meet the foodgrain demand of country and hence they should be taken care of.

He said he would also take up the issues connected with the allocation of share of Punjab from the collections of central taxes, as Punjab was the highest consumer of diesel and pesticides on which the Central Government had been earning a lot in shape of central sale tax.

The Finance Minister pointed out that presently, a major share of deposits of commercial banks located in Punjab were being invested and used for development and industrialisation in other states. He added that this practice should be discouraged and that amount should be used in Punjab only to create infrastructure and for setting up industries. He said that he would raise this point strongly in the finance ministers meeting strongly.

The Punjab Government was in favour of implementing the VAT system provided the other states should also give their consent for implementing the same. He said this matter would also be taken up in the meeting.

In connection with the deposits pertaining to small savings, he said more and more people could be motivated for making investment in small savings instead of depositing the same in the banks by extending the facility of withdrawing their amount any time which was not existing in the present system as there was a minimum period of locking. He said by increasing the amount of small savings, Punjab could generate enough funds to fund its various development projects. At present salaries, pensions and the payments of instalments of different loans taken by the state government were eating up the major share of budget.


BSF-smuggler nexus busted, 11 held
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 12
A nexus of BSF personnel and international smugglers was busted with the arrest of 11 persons, including two BSF jawans by the Tarn Taran police. The gang reportedly has close links with Parmjit Singh Panjwar, a self-styled chief of Khalistan Commando Force, whose name figured among the list of India’s 20 most wanted persons operating from Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference, here today, Mr Parmjit Singh Gill , DIG (Border Range) stated that the gang was busted on a tip-off that Suba Singh, Hrjap Singh, Punjab Singh, both brothers and are residents of border village Rajatal, Ranjit Singh (Dhanoa Kacha), Gurnam Singh (Chakk Alla Baksh), Samma Singh (Pandori village) and Mehlu (Rajatal village) along with Budh Singh, of Jodhsinghwala village and Subhash Chand of Kathua (Jammu) — both BSF jawans, used to smuggle in fake currency, heroin and arms and ammunition from across the border.

The DIG stated that the gang has smuggled 31 kg of heroin, worth Rs 31 crore, fake currency and firearms from Pakistan so far.

Suba Singh , the kingpin, Budh Singh, Bakshish Singh, Ranjit Singh Kala, Gurnam Singh, Harnam Singh and Tarsem Singh have been arrested while other members are still absconding. However, the BSF sources said Subash Chand was in BSF custody and was being brought to Amritsar.

Mr Gill alleged that the gang had close links with Pakistan’s notorious smugglers also.

A case under various sections of the Arms Act , Indian Passport Act , NDPS Act and other sections of the IPC has been registered at police station, Khalara.


Samra confesses to doctoring pictures
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 12
Confessing to having doctored the pictures of AIG Varinder Kumar, Dr Gurwinder Singh Samra said today that he had committed the crime in connivance with a Chandigarh-based photo studio owner.

Dr Samra made the confession before the Jalandhar police after he was arrested from his house in Kartarpur yesterday. In his statement he said the pictures had been taken by Baljinder Singh, owner of Prem Studio, Kartarpur. He said the dance depicted in the picture had been conducted by Yamaha Orchestra almost a decade ago.

Dr Samra admitted that he had got the pictures contrived from a studio at Sector 17, Chandigarh, but he said he did not know the exact address. He said he had got the picture of the AIG fixed atop the torso of Ajay Kakkar, a resident of Adarsh Nagar, Jalandhar. He said the other two persons seen in the picture were Anil Kumar and Pavitar Bhushan.

The sources in the police said they had confiscated the negatives of the original pictures. The police will reportedly take Dr Samra to Chandigarh to catch the owner of the photo studio.

Dr Samra confessed to the crime in a local court and has been sent in police remand for one day.


Punjab police restores security cover to Bhatia
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Ending the controversy generated due to pruning of security initially granted to senior Congress leader-cum-Kerala Governor R. L. Bhatia and his family at Amritsar, the Punjab Police today restored the cover.

The orders mending the security system were passed in less than a week after Punjab's Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) Shashi Kant took over the charge of security. He was earlier in charge of operations. The orders curtailing the security were reportedly passed by his predecessor.

Though the ADGP flatly refused to comment on the issue, the sources in the Punjab Police headquarters revealed that Mr Kant had also written a letter to Amritsar's Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in the matter.

Giving details of the communique, the sources said the SSP was asked to pay a special visit to the Governor's house at Amritsar. He was also asked to access the threat perception so that security could further be beefed up, if required. The number of personnel deployed for providing security was not immediately known.

The issue regarding curtailment of security had snowballed into a major controversy after the orders were passed sometime last month. The matter was reportedly taken up with Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Terming the orders as routine, senior police officers had reportedly claimed that the same were passed for optimum utilisation of manpower. It was a part of an exercise launched to bring down the number of security personnel to "bare minimum".

They had added that as of now 3,500 personnel were busy providing round-the-clock security to VIPs and others "facing threat". Even though they refused to disclose the exact number of cops deployed with the VIPs, the officers asserted that a substantial number of personnel were providing protection to them. The total number was as high as 10,000 when the present government over.

The security requirement, they added, was being assessed after taking into consideration the threat perception and the person's status during the dark days of terrorism.

The exercise was considered significant as security provided to at least some of the VIPs was posing a burden on the public exchequer. The personnel were also "causing harassment" to the public at large by "throwing their weight around and encroaching upon parks and other places around the residences".

The officers were also of the firm belief that in so many cases security guards brandishing automatic weapons after standing attention in front of the residences were not a requirement but a status symbol.


Lady teacher accuses VC of insulting her, varsity denies charge
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, August 12
Punjabi University’s Human Biology Department Professor Mrs Praveen Singhal today in a representation to the National Women's Commission complained that University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai had “insulted and harassed” her during a recent meeting which was attended by members of her department and top university officials.

Prof Singhal while claiming that the Vice-Chancellor had no right to “intimidate” employees, particularly a lady teacher, requested the Commission to warn the Vice-Chancellor to ensure such an incident did not occur in future.

The university has, meanwhile, refuted the allegation of the lady teacher. University spokesman Dr B S Sandhu said Prof (Mrs) Singhal had, in fact, bullied the Head of the Department of Human Biology by entering his room and bolting the room from inside. He alleged that the lady teacher had employed similar “threatening tactics” during the meeting with the Vice-Chancellor also.

Meanwhile Prof Singhal’s letter to the National Women's Commission says that she and four of her colleagues were given an appointment on August 9 to meet the Vice- Chancellor regarding department affairs. She said the Registrar and the Dean, Research, were also present at the meeting. She said during the meeting she told the Vice-Chancellor that the members of the faculty were feeling disturbed at the baseless charges made against them by department head Dr S M S Cheema during a Selection Committee meeting in which he appeared as a candidate for Professorship.

Prof Singhal said the Vice-Chancellor lashed at the signatories to the note presented to him in this regard and asked them to divulge the source from whom they had come to know about the confidential proceedings of the Selection Committee meeting. She said she was specially pinpointed and when she said she could not divulge the name of the person in public, the Vice- Chancellor told her to tell him the name of the source in private. The lady teacher said she, however, expressed her inability to do so when taken to the office of the Vice-Chancellor.

The teacher said the Vice-Chancellor after returning to the meeting told everyone else that she had not told him her source. She said Mr Boparai then targeted her again saying she was in the habit of even abusing colleagues put on duty by the university authorities. She said she denied these charges following which the Vice- Chancellor left the room in a huff and went to his office. She said she then followed Mr Boparai to his office to represent on behalf of her colleagues but was shocked when the VC told her to “get out” of his office twice.

The university authorities, however, refuted all the allegations levelled by the lady teacher. Spokesman Dr Sandhu said when Prof Singhal came to know that the head of the department had accused some colleagues of not cooperating with him, she went to the office of the department head, bolted the door from inside and asked him how he had dared to make such comments. Dr Sandhu said subsequently at the meeting, Prof Singhal even threatened the Vice- Chancellor in the presence of other members by saying “we will see you”. He said later Prof Singhal even barged into the office of the Vice- Chancellor with the aim of arguing further with him following which she was told that she would have to seek a prior appointment for the same.


With MBA seats still vacant, Pbi varsity turns to govt
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 12
Punjabi University, which conducted the Management Entrance Test (MET) for admissions to MBA and MCA courses in various institutions of the state, has requested the Punjab Government to allow it to conduct a second counselling session since more than half the seats for both the courses are yet to be filled.

The university had conducted a counselling session for both the courses a week ago, during the course of which 738 seats were filled out of a total of 1,195 seats available in the MBA course. The university filled 528 seats out of the total 1,105 seats for the MCA course.

Now it has been revealed that many students who had been admitted to various colleges for these courses have not deposited their fee causing more vacancies. It is not only the private colleges that have been affected, with at least 10 colleges not getting a single student for these courses. Even colleges run by educational trusts like DAV College, Jalandhar, and regional centre of Guru Nanak Dev University at Gurdaspur, and regional centres of Punjabi University at Mohali and Patiala have reported that many seats have fallen vacant even after counselling with students not depositing the required fee.

The Punjabi University MET Coordinator, Prof Suchha Singh Gill, said some students who had taken admission, to private institutions were approaching the university with requests to get themselves transferred to university regional centres following the creation of vacancies. He said the university wanted to conduct transfers as well as fill vacant seats as per the merit, which was why it had requested the government for permission to hold a second counselling session.

The university proposes to charge only a nominal fee from students who have already paid Rs 10,000 as the first counselling fee, though fresh candidates will have to pay this fee. The university has also written to the Secretary, Technical Education, to ask colleges, which get Rs 7,500 as their share of the counselling fee, to adjust the amount as fee in the second semester of the respective courses.

Giving reasons for the request for a second counselling session, Prof Gill said the university wanted to ensure transparency in admissions as some private colleges were employing “unfair” means to secure students for their institutions. He said during the counselling last week, it had been revealed that some agents of private colleges had tried to influence students by taking them to their colleges by bus and also taking their forms and papers into their possession so that the pupil could not apply elsewhere. He said two persons engaged in this this had been unmasked during the counselling and complaints has been sent to Punjab Technical University (PTU), the body responsible for taking action against erring institutions.

Meanwhile, sources said even as there was lukewarm response to 2,200 seats each available in both the courses with only around 2,700 students applying the government had through a notification increased the number of seats in both the courses to 5,000 each. Filling these will, however, remain a tough task with student organisations already up in arms against Rs 10,000 counselling fee charged for the first counselling and demanding that no fee be charged for the second counselling if it at all is held.


Badal for special Assembly session on Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 12
Former Chief Minister of Punjab and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal Parkash Singh Badal today demanded convening of a special assembly session to discuss transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.

Stating this at a press conference in Circuit House here, Mr Badal said that Chandigarh belonged to Punjab and it should be made part of the state. He said that Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, should maintain the stand on the issue like the way he did on the waters issue.

The SAD chief condemned the decision of the state government in continuing to allow the existing water flow to other states. He demanded cancellation of Section 5 of the Termination of Agreements Act and said that the issue be taken up once again in the assembly session.


3 buried alive, kin decry govt’s apathy
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Dhudike (Moga), August 12
The families of the three persons who were buried alive while boring a tubewell here are still awaiting the bodies even after 48 hours of the mishap. What has hurt them most is the slow response of the administration in this regard.

The three victims, Ranjeet Singh, Lakhveer Singh and Gurmail Singh belong to financially weak backgrounds and this would hit their families hard.

When The Tribune team visited the home of Ranjeet Singh elderly women from the village were consoling his wife Rupinder Kaur. Ranjeet Singh, father of four, was the only bread earner in the family. He was working as a daily-wage worker. He has four brothers, all of them living separately. Ranjeet’s elder brother Darshan Singh said the villagers were supporting them in every possible manner. “God has not been kind to him. He led a difficult life and now he got a painful death,” said his cousin Charan Singh. He said had the administration been quick in reacting Ranjeet might have been saved. While there was a gloomy atmosphere in Ranjeet’s home his children, unaware of the incident, were playing outside.

Lakhveer was also a daily-wage worker earning Rs 80 a day. His brother Sukhdev Singh was present at the mishap spot. He said he had been keeping a watch on the rescue operation. He added that one of his brothers was mentally ill, while his father was handicapped. Lakhveer has two daughters.

Gurmail’s house also witnessed similar scene where his wife Swaranjeet Kaur was weeping inconsolably. Though Gurmail, who was a small contractor, had fulfilled his responsibilities, he was the one the whole family looked up to for support. His three sons had been married and were working as daily-wager workers. His sons Chamkaur Singh and Balor Singh said they had been camping at the accident site since morning when the rescue work gained momentum. They said their father had been a guiding force for them.


Road blockade lifted after 23 hours
Buried victims’ kin to get relief
Tribune News Service

Ajitwal (Moga), August 12
The road blockade on the Moga-Ludhiana highway put up to protest against the administration’s apathy in carrying out rescue operation at Dhudike village, where three persons were buried alive on Tuesday, was lifted after about 23 hours at 12.30 pm here today.

The blockade was lifted after the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for the victims’ families. The administration would also give compensation to the farmers on whose land digging had to be done to carry out rescue operation. He said an earthmoving machine would also reach the accident site before 2 pm.

Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner held a meeting with a 11-member action committee formed by the protesters yesterday.

Meanwhile, rescue operations were in full swing at the accident spot. A large number of villagers had gathered at the spot and more were pouring in from nearby areas. The administration had yesterday said an earthmoving machine was on its way and the Army would also be called from Ferozepore to help in the rescue work. However, when this reporter visited the site, the rescue operation was being carried out with the same 2 JCB machines that were engaged earlier and no earthmoving machine could be seen. As far as Army’s aid was concerned there were only two Army personnel on the spot. They said they were from the engineering wing of the Army and they were here to provide only technical expertise needed in the operation. Villagers were putting a lot of effort in the rescue work. They are also exposed to danger as during the digging work mud kept falling again and again yesterday.

Sources said till evening 50 to 60 feet of earth had been dug up and if everything went right the bodies would soon be recovered.


Badungar, Calcutta among 15 co-opted into SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, who was unceremoniously removed as SGPC’s Chief Secretary and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, a former president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) are among 15 members coopted into the SGPC at Teja Singh Sammunderi Hall , here today.

As per the Sikh Gurdwara Act, the Deputy Commissioner here, Mr Raminder Singh, presided over the first meeting of the general house which was attended by 166 members, excluding five Sikh high priests. Only one member was absent. With this the total strength of the SGPC house rose to 187, including five Sikh high priests, who are non-voting members. Justice J.S. Sekhon (retd), Commissioner Sikh Gurdwara Election Commission, monitored the proceedings which were conducted peacefully. He said he would send the list of coopted members to the Union Ministry for the issuance of notification. After a 21-day notice , the election of the office bearers would be held .

With the holding of the general house , the previous house, headed by Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke cease to function from today. All powers would be now with the Secretary SGPC, till the election of the office-bearers which are likely to be held in the mid of next month.

The contest for the chairmanship at the today’s meeting was held between Bibi Jagir Kaur of the SAD and Mr Hardip Singh Mohali, a candidate of the Panthic Morcha who scored 136 and 29 votes, respectively.

The Panthic Morcha which was demanding three members to be coopted had to be satisfied with two members only. The four Independent members had also reportedly voted in favour of SAD candidate while seven members from Haryana who have been demanding a separate gurdwara committee had voted for Panthic Morcha candidates.

The two Panthic Morcha candidates who were coopted are Sant Mitha Singh from Bathinda district and Mr Mangal Singh of Maharashtra. The 13 members of the Akali Dal Badal who were coopted included Mr Sawinder Singh Dobalia, Mr Raghujit Singh and Mr Gurpal Singh Tahliwala (all from Punjab), Mr Surjit Singh Kang (Ganganagar), Mr Gurwinder Singh Bawa (Mumbai), Mr Sukhjit Singh and Mr Khushwinder Singh (both from Uttar Pradesh ) , Mr Harinder Pal Singh, Mr Kuldip Singh Bhogal and Mr Bhupinder Singh (all from Delhi) and Mr Kuldip Singh (Nagpur).


SGPC member flays former DSGMC chief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Mr Harinder Pal Singh Delhi, a member of the SGPC and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), today criticised Mr Avtar Singh Hit, a former president of the DSGMC, for levelling “baseless allegations” against a former SGPC chief, late Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Mr Hit had alleged that Jathedar Tohra and former Jathedar Akal Takht Bhai Ranjit Singh had hatched a conspiracy to get him excommunicated from the Sikh panth. He had also alleged that a false case was framed against him to pave the way for his excommunication .

Mr Harinder Pal Singh Delhi said that it was unethical and most unfortunate to level allegations against a person who was no more. He said while the Khalsa panth had honoured Jathedar Tohra with the Panth Rattan posthumously, Mr Hit “stooped so low” to defame a person who had made major contribution in the religious field.


Pak Sikhs to take part in installation ceremony
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Mr Pritpal Singh, president of the Amritsar Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (AGPC), said Pakistan government had agreed to send a big jatha of Pakistani Sikhs to India to mark the 400th year of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Talking to TNS from America today, Mr Pritpal Singh claimed that the assurance in this regard was given by Mr Niam Akbar, Mr Sham Singh, chairman and co-chairman of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. He said the PSGPC was contemplating to take out a procession from Kartarpur Sahib (Pakistan) to Amritsar if India grants permission.

Mr Priptal Singh said the Sikh Sangat of America, Malaysia and Bangkok, had also planned big functions to mark the occasion. He said the main attraction of the celebrations in America would be the display of ‘Ganga Sagar’, a unique gift, presented to the elders of Mr Aziz Ula Khan by the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh.


Two more govt officers in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Continuing with its against corruption among public servants, Punjab Vigilance Bureau today caught red handed two more government officers on the allegations of demanding and accepting bribe. This time an executive engineer and a patwari have landed themselves in the net.

The sources in the Vigilance Bureau claimed that engineer Jaswant Singh Cheema — posted with Public Health Department at Faridkot — was caught while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 from Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of his own department.

They added that SDO Surjit Singh was to retire upon attaining the age of superannuation by the end of this month. But the engineer had allegedly withheld the pension papers and was asking for bribe.

Instead of making the payment to the engineer, the complainant reportedly approached the Vigilance authorities, after which a team of sleuths — headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police — reached Cheema’s office-cum-residence and allegedly caught the accused in the act.

Both the operations were carried out under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General of Police (Vigilance) N.S.Dhillon. Though he was not available for comments, the sources in the Vigilance Bureau revealed that the accused had been arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Giving details of the other case, the sources said Patwari Naib Singh —posted at Mal Halqua in Bathinda — was caught while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 700 from Pargat Singh of a nearby village. They added that the patwari was allegedly demanding money for “jamabandi fard”.

A senior Vigilance Bureau officer said both the traps laid by them were a success. He added that the Bureau was doing its best to eradicate corruption among the public servant in the state.

In this direction the Vigilance Bureau officials were not only registering first information reports but were also following up all the cases under trail before different courts.


Road, fields in this village still submerged
Tribune News Service

Surjan Bhaini (Moonak), August 12
Though the water in Ghaggar was touching 746.8 foot (below danger mark) at RD 460, near Khanauri, this afternoon but in Surjan Bhaini village standing crops are still under 3 to 4 feet of water. The village is still cut off from the Moonak-Patran road as its link road is also under 2 to 3 feet of water.

A team of mediapersons crossed the link road in tractor-trailer to visit the village where Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, along with other officers was listening to the grievances of the villagers.

Stagnant flood water is stinking in the village. Fields, of Chandu, Banarsi, Therri, Mandvi, Khanauri, Andana, Makror Sahib etc. is still under water. Karnail Singh, a farmer from Surjan Bhaini village, urged the Deputy Commissioner to find a permanent solution of the floods which damage their crops every year. Another farmer Sita Singh asked the Deputy Commissioner that after girdawri influential farmers got more compensation while actual beneficiaries failed to get compensation. On this the Deputy Commissioner assured the villagers that this time. proper distribution of compensation would be ensured.

Mr Lal said the Administration would press fogging machines into service for two-three days in each flood-affected village to check malaria.

Today he visited Khanauri, Banarsi, Chandu, Baopar, Mandvi, Therri, Nawan Gaon, Andana, Makror Sahib, Ghamaur Ghat, Handa, Moonak Karrail and Surjan Bhaini villages. He was accompanied by Mr Dharam Pal, SDM, Moonak, Mr Kuldip Singh, DDPO, Sangrur; Dr J.R. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, and Dr A.K. Sharma, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Sangrur.


Drinking water sources in Punjab villages near UT chlorinated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Residents of Badi Perch village in Ropar finally had their share of respite when the officials concerned turned up to help them following a Tribune report highlighting the civic problems of the area.

A day after The Tribune published report on the diarrhoea threat looming large in five Punjab villages adjoining Chandigarh on August 8, public health officials visited Badi Perch to take stock of the situation. After a long time, the tank of Badi Perch which supplies drinking water to all the other four nearby villages, including Chhoti Perch, Chhoti Seonk, Badi Seonk and Jayanti Devi, was cleaned up. A heavy dose of bleaching powder was also sprinkled in the tank to ensure that the water going out to the households is potable.

On the round of the area were XEN, Public Health Division, Ropar area, and Junior Engineer Bhupinder Singh, who interacted with the residents and took the required action. All the wells which people in Chhoti Perch have privately dug up to make up for the shortage of drinking water were also chlorinated on the same day. Not just that, the officials concerned have also put up a timetable showing the exact timings when water would be supplied to different villages.

Besides this, a team of doctors from Mullanpur also visited the site and held a medical camp in which they examined several residents and distributed medicines.


Meeting on kandi project inconclusive
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur August 12
No decision could be taken on the Shahpur Kandi project at the crucial meeting of the high-powered committee held yesterday. Sources here said that yesterday’s meeting was attended by the Power and Irrigation Secretary, besides representatives of the PSEB, the Irrigation Department and the PIDB.

However, no concrete progress could be made on the Shahpur Kandi project as no concrete agenda was prepared for the meeting. Due to such casual approach of the authorities work on the project has been lingering for years.

Due to the non-construction of the Shahpur Kandi project, the state is losing about Rs 1,000 crore per annum in terms of loss of power generation. Even the 600 MW potential of Ranjit Sagar was not being realised even during peak hours. Just two out of its four turbines could be made functional during the period when the state faced an acute power crises as there was no Shahpur Kandi barrage to absorb the water released from Ranjit Sagar.

Another meeting of PSEB and Irrigation officials was held here today to discuss the 132-MW UBDC (stage III) project. Mr Narinder Mohan Sharma, Chief Engineer (Hydel), PSEB, the Chief Engineer, Civil Works, PSEB, and officials of the Irrigation Department participated in the meeting.


Removal of regulator irks villagers
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 12
Farmers of Ladhuwala Uttar, Kalewala and Chak Suhelewala villages are up in arms over the removal of a cross regulator installed at the eastern canal near Ladhuwala village to feed the Suhelewala minor, stated to be at a higher level than that of the canal.

The regulator was removed on Saturday evening under the supervision of the Executive Engineer, Ferozepur Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu. Angrej Singh, a farmer of the Chak Suhele village, said due to the low level of the canal at minor site the water was not flowing into the minor after the removal of the regulator.

Mr Nardev Singh Mann, son of Mr Zora Singh Mann, Member of Parliament, alleged that the regulator had been removed at the behest of the Minister of State, Mr Hans Raj Josan, as the majority of the residents of these villages supported the Shiromani Akali Dal.


Pak, Indian students to co-produce play
Our Correspondent

Wagah (Amritsar), August 12
Now it is the turn of children of India and Pakistan to work for strengthening the bond of love between the two countries having strained relations for the past five decades or so.

Following initiatives by both nations to end hostilities, many delegations have participated in various seminars and debates with a view to strengthen ties. Theatre artistes and poets also have their contribution to it.

Continuing the process, 17 members of the Ajoka Children Theatre Group and belonging to various schools in Lahore today crossed over to India. The group would produce a play ‘Border-Border’ in collaboration with children of Spring Dale School here. This is for the first time that a play would be staged in which children of both countries would participate.

Ms Madeeha Gohar of the Ajoka Theatre said, “The play exposes the hatred-breeding policies”. She said children were the future of both countries and such plays would promote the feeling of love and brotherhood. She hoped more such plays would be produced in future. She said the group had come with a moto of ‘Act today for the peace tomorrow’.

The play tells the story of two children of these countries that were exchanged during retreat ceremony at Wagah joint checkpost. How these children mingle with people without knowing that they had crossed over to other country ? is depicted in the play.

Ms Gohar said the combined workshop for the plays would be a memorable experience for children from both sides. ‘Border-Border’ will be staged in Amritsar, Delhi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Mariam, a Class X student of Convent Jesus and Marry School, Lahore, said this was for the first time that she had come to India and she is looking forward to a wonderful experience here. She said she had worked hard for her selection in the list of 17 children and was very excited to come here.

Nirvan, who had been to India earlier also in connection with other plays said whenever he visited any other country, he felt he was in alien land, but when he entered India, he felt at home. He said the border should be opened for all without any restrictions.


Cultural ambassador of Urdu
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, August 12
Humility is the essential hallmark of all great men. It is perhaps also the cloak behind which men of learning let lie their wisdom, opening up at times to spread the pearls far and wide. The moment poet par excellence Waseem Barelvi gets down to sharing his thoughts with you, thereon begins a voyage of discovery into a realm of emotions and concepts whose very profoundity, when seen through the poet’s eyes provokes deep thought.

Waseem Sahib is one of those handful of poets in the country who can be truly called the cultural ambassadors for not only India but also the Urdu language. There is hardly a reputed singer in the country who has not lent his or her voice to Waseem’s verse. His ghazals , ‘Main chahta bhi yahi tha, tu bewafa nikale’, sung by Jagjit Singh and ‘Mili hawaon mein udne ki woh sazaa Yaaraon’ by Lata Mangeshkar in the album ‘Sajda’ have carried many a listener towards ecstasy. The countless mushairas he has participated in all over the world are a testimony to the poet’s universal appeal.

However, talk to Waseem, who is in Patiala to participate in the ‘Jashn-e-azadi Mushaira’, about the cult he holds and the man is all modesty. He counters praise with his couplet, “ Hamaare ghar ka pata batane se kya hasil, Udasiyon ki koi shahriyat nahi hoti” (There is no need to lay any credit at any doorstep, universal poetry belongs to mankind). Waseem’s appeal also lies in the fact that his poetry is created within the confines of social and environmental issues which tug at the heartstrings of the masses. ‘ I try to reflect life as it is today in my verse. Same problems plague all of us, hence my emotions hold true for each one of us as well”.

Waseem, who retired as Head of the Urdu Department , Bareilly College, is a philosopher as well. “ When you ponder over things your inner turmoil comes to the forefront and thus poetry is born. I am disturbed by many current trends like the disintegration of the joint family , failure of the current generation to understand love as a complete value system or the decline in morality of our politicians. I, for one, have learnt all I have sitting besides my ‘buzurg’ (elders) and doing their ‘khidmat’ (service)”, explains the poet. His first words of encouragement , arguably, had come from Jigar Moradabadi who after reading his first ghazal which he had composed in class VI patted his head and said, ‘Write poetry but also pay attention to your studies’.


Special girdawri from Aug 20
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 12
Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh yesterday announced that a special girdwari would be conducted in the district from August 20 to assess the damage to crops due to the recent flash floods.

The Deputy Commissioner, who held a meeting with officials of the Agricultural department today, said that special committees had been constituted to conduct the girdwari. He appealed to the farmers to cooperate with the department officials so that the process could be conducted smoothly.

Mr Tejveer Singh also asked the Agricultural Department to provide seeds of alternative crops to farmers whose paddy crop had been damaged in the flash floods. He said farmers could also directly get in touch with the District Agricultural Officer at number 0175 - 2214774 and the Samana officials at number 01764 - 221190.

The Deputy Commissioner said the flood waters had receded throughout the district and that the situation was fast returning to normal. He said presently the district administration was focussing on providing medical and veterinary services in all affected villages and that around 40 medical and veterinary teams had been formed to do this exercise.Besides, fodder was also being made available wherever needed.

Mr Tejveer Singh thanked the various regiments of local First Armoured Division here which, he said, had done a great service during the flash floods and were responsible for evacuating hundreds of people from affected villages besides providing them the needed supplies.


87-year-old Zenana hospital in utter neglect
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, August 12
The 87-year-old Princess of Wales Zenana Hospital, whose foundation was laid by Lady Chelmsford, Star of India, on April 16, 1917, has become the victim of government apathy.

The 50-bed hospital under the then municipal committee headed by its president Mr C.M. King, and Lieut Col H. Smith, its civil surgeon at that time, boasted of thousands of births that took place in the walled city, many of whom were celebrities, freedom fighters, martyrs, etc.

A survey of the hospital by this correspondent found not a single patient admitted to the hospital, although the hospital register showed 4,772 patients in OPD and 495 patients admitted.

However, the number of births have been on the decline here with merely 150 births reported from January so far. The hospital, which possessed one of the best labour rooms and operating theatres, including a minor operating theatre is now forced to refuse pregnant ladies who need surgery, even in case of emergency as both its theatres have been locked for the past one and half years.

The theatre has a defunct autoclav (equipment for sanitation of instruments and linen), lacks child resuscitator, equipment for administering anaesthesia, and inverter and has two ACs that are out of order. Torches are used during normal deliveries in case of power failure.

Dr Sushma Sondhi, Medical Superintendent, said they had complained a number of times about the condition of the hospital, but only structural patchwork was ever undertaken.

The heritage building, with 12-inch-thick walls and pillars, that is still under the present day municipal corporation is crumbling from the inner sides and has developed cracks, while the walls have developed seepage despite the outer facade of the building remaining intact.

The corporation has failed to undertake any repairs in the past 15 years. Mr S.S. Sharma a social worker said according to the records, 2,400 births took place in 1991, which dropped to 1,600 in 1995 and further down to 700 in 2000 and only 300 in 2003. While Dr Sondhi says the drop is due to the mushrooming of number of private nursing homes in the area, it cannot be denied that the hospital has failed to provide requisite services despite a 40-member staff that includes one Medical Superintendent two medical officers, one resident medical officer and a battery of nurses. The laboratory here is also ill-equipped and the condition of wards, furniture and bathrooms is pathetic with water flowing into lower areas due to faulty drainage.

Interestingly, a part of the hospital that is spread in two acres in the heart of the city, has been taken over by the municipal corporation for its own activities. Even the furniture has been taken away by them, said the Medical Superintendent.


Death of inmate: jail, hospital staff lock horns
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 12
A jail inmate died after he fell ill here today. The deceased, Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Burj Dunna village in the district, was arrested on the theft charge only three days ago.

The jail staff said that Harbhajan had fallen ill yesterday too and he was rushed to the Civil Hospital. He was sent back as his blood pressure and ECG reports were found to be normal. They said that before falling sick today, Harbhajan had tea with other inmates. Sources said the deceased was a drug addict and once he had applied for bail, saying that he was suffering from blood cancer.

However, the jail and Civil Hospital staff were at loggerheads over the place where the inmate died. While the hospital staff said that he was brought dead to the hospital, the jail staff maintained that he was alive when they admitted him to the hospital. They said that the hospital staff took him to the emergency ward and he died about 30 to 45 minutes later.

There was also a controversy over the inmate’s post mortem as his body was reportedly referred to Faridkot despite the fact that there were all facilities available in Moga for the same.


I-Day chief guest changed thrice
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 12
With Independence Day around the corner, the Punjab Government seemed to have found it difficult to choose a suitable chief guest for unfurling the national flag on the occasion in the town.

Information gathered by the TNS has revealed that the fact that Punjab Government was confused over the choice of minister for the purpose came to light when it changed the name of the chief guest thrice.

The government initially decided to send Finance Minister Surinder Singla, who represents this Assembly segment, to unfurl the national flag here. However, after a couple of days, the government decided to replace him with Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh, who was earlier supposed to unfurl the flag at Amritsar. Today, the government decided to send Urban Development Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri to unfurl the flag here. A senior official said that instead of preparing for the Independence Day celebrations, they were busy printing new invitation cards with the “changed” chief guest.


Kharar MC octroi collection auctioned
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 12
The work of octroi collection of the local Municipal Council was auctioned for Rs 2,03,90,000 today.

The auction in this regard was held at Bachat Bhavan, Ludhiana, under the supervision of the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, Mrs Sarojini Gautam Sharda. The reserve price fixed by the Deputy Director was Rs 2,03,55,000.

Mr Jagjit Singh Sahi, Executive Officer, who witnessed the auction, said that there was an increase of 17 per cent in the octroi income as compared to last year. Last year the work was auctioned for Rs 1,77,3000. The final bid was given by Ajay Kumar and Company.


Malta boat tragedy victims remembered

Hoshiarpur, August 12
A meeting of the Malta Boat Tragedy Sufferers Association was held here yesterday. Parents and dependents of deceased young men from Sangrur, Ropar, Gurdaspur and Nawanshahr participated in the meeting. A two-minute silence was observed in memory of those killed in the tragedy. — OC


Govt employees hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 12
On a call given by the Federal Council of Punjab Subordinate Services Federation, employees of various government departments, including corporations and boards, staged a dharna and a rally in front of the Mini Secretariat here today.


Children distribute food packets
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 12
Students of Malwa International School, Samana, distributed breads and biscuits among flood victims in Samana subdivision yesterday. The students contributed by offering food packets to the victims at Badshahpur, Sadhanpur and Jalalpur villagers. All inhabitants of affected villages gathered making it difficult for the students and staff of the school to manage the crowd.


High Court
Two judges pull out of Full Bench
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 12
Two Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today disassociated from a Full Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, which was to hear a review petition filed by the High Court against the order passed by the two Judges.

Today, just as the five Judges - Mr Justice Roy, Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh - started hearing the mater, two of them, Mr Justice Bedi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh questioned the authority of the Bench to hear the review.

Earlier the Bench asked the court's counsel if the writ was seeking recall or review of the order.

In the May 13 order, the Division Bench of Mr Justice Bedi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh had dismissed a writ filed by Punjab Police constable Ramesh Singh, who had challenged his transfer from Rajpura to Faridkot.

The petitioner had stated that since he refused to bear the expenses of repairs that were carried out at the residence of Rajpura Subordinate Judge Jatinder Kaur Walia, she got annoyed with him and got him transferred in July last year.

He later complained to the District and Sessions Judge, Patiala, about the alleged wrong done to him, following which an inquiry was ordered.

Even as this enquiry was pending, the Inspecting Judge of Patiala received a representation from Ms Walia, following which the District and Sessions Judge (Vigilance), Punjab, was asked to conduct an inquiry.

In its order dismissing the writ of the constable, the Division Bench also stopped all proceedings in the enquiry and held that the matter was closed. Incidentally, the High Court was not party to that writ.

Today, in view of the refusal of the two Judges to sit in the Bench, the Bench ordered that the Bench be reconstituted.

The case is likely to come up tomorrow before a new Bench.

Orders quashed

The High Court has quashed the orders of the Deputy Commissioners (DC) of Gurdaspur and Amritsar by which the nominations of three senior Akali leaders for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections had been turned down.

In a hard-hitting order, the Bench also castigated the DCs for having passed the impugned orders without taking judicial propriety into consideration.

Shiromani Akali Dal leaders Sucha Singh Langah, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and SGPC acting chief Alwinder Pal Pakhoke had moved the High Court against the orders of the DCs and also sought setting aside of the order of the Chief Commissioner, Sikh Gurdwara Elections through which he had countermanded the elections of the three seats from where these leaders were to contest.

Holding that the orders of the Chief Commissioner in the matter were in order, the Bench also directed that elections to the three seats should be finalised within three months.


Ex-serviceman duped of Rs 1.75 lakh
Our Correspondent

Batala, August 12
An ex-serviceman, Mr Panna Lal, of Kalian Brahmnian village has accused two persons — Baldev Singh of Laduwal village, Ludhiana and his uncle Om Parkash of Talwandi Lal Singh village — of duping him of Rs 1.75 lakh under the pretext of sending him abroad.

Stating this to mediapersons here today, Mr Panna Lal alleged that the two had demanded Rs 4 lakh for sending him to Greece within 10 days.

He gave Rs 1.75 lakh to them. But the two sent him to Kakinara in Andhra Pradesh, where he stayed for two months. Then he was sent to Dubai on a visitor’s visa.

At the Dubai airport, he was detained for 48 hours after which he rang up the agent.

He was taken out of the airport after the police report. He was kept for 24 days in Dubai.

Thereafter, the agent shipped him to Oman in a private ship ferrying oil, where at the American checkpost the authorities took charge of the ship and kept him in jail for month and a half.

He was then deported to India and he reached Bombay on October, 2003.

He alleged that Om Parkash, who is his uncle, asked him not to talk about the incident and that his money would be returned soon.

But after two months, Om Parkash refused to return the money.

When contacted, Mr Ram Singh, Batala police chief, said the complaint had been marked for action to the Anti-Fraud Cell.


Man held for murder of wife
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 12
The hoax created by a postgraduate of Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, alleging his and his wife’s kidnapping has turned out to be a brutal murder of the latter.

According to Mr Madan Gopal, ASP, Raisinghnagar, the culprit, Krishan Ram, had been married to Gomti, daughter of Jetha Ram, a resident of Bhagsar, village in 1987. Both of them were minors at that time. The marriage was solemnised under the ‘Watta Satta’ (exchange of matrimonial alliance) tradition to facilitate Krishan’s uncle to marry in the same family.

Gomti could get only primary education, but Krishan did postgraduation from a college at Sriganganagar. When she was formally brought to her in-laws’ house on November 20, 2003, Krishan could not accept her as she was neither very beautiful nor well educated.

On August 5, Krishan took Gomti to her parents at Bhagsar village on his motor cycle. Next day, they left for Vijaynagar, but did not reach the destination till evening. A day after, he made a telephone call to his parents saying both of them had been kidnapped by some miscreants, he was left in unconscious state at Ahmedabad, but the kidnappers had taken Gomti with them without demanding any ransom. He made another call from Jodhpur the same evening. He reached his home on Monday.

His in-laws lodged an FIR with the police alleging that Krishan had killed his wife. When a police investigation team took Krishan into custody and interrogated him, he could not hide the truth for much time. He reportedly disclosed that on their way back, he halted the motor cycle near RD 530 of the Indira canal, stabbed Gomti to death and threw the body into the canal as he wanted to get rid of poorly educated average -looking wife.

A police party found Gomti’s body floating at a distance of 100 km from the place of murder. As the body was badly mutilated, her brothers confirmed the identity on the basis of the clothes she was wearing. The knife used for the killing was yet to be recovered. Krishan said after killing Gomti, he left for Bikaner, but a cow collided with the motor cycle causing minor injuries to him. After leaving the motorcycle on the roadside, he took lift in a jeep from Bikaner. Then he boarded Jammu Tawi-Ahmedabad Express and made phone calls to the parents.

Krishan was yesterday remanded in the police custody till August 15.


2 caught while taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 12
Mr Jaswant Singh Cheema, Executive Engineer, Public Health (Rural Water Supply), Faridkot Division, was caught by a team of the Vigilance Bureau led by the DSP, Mr Ashutosh Kaushal, while accepting bribe from Mr Surjeet Singh Kalsi, a retired Sub-Divisional Engineer of the same department.

Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, in a statement issued here today, said Mr Cheema demanded Rs 5,000 from Mr Kalsi for sanctioning his case connected with the post-retiremental benefits and sending the same to the higher authorities for approval. He added that a deal was struck between them at Rs 4,000.

He said on getting information, a trap was laid by the DSP, Mr Kaushal, and the accused was caught accepting bribe in presence of the government and shadow witnesses. The bribe money of Rs 4,000 was also recovered from his possession.

A case in this connection had been registered in the police station, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, under Section 7, 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He said in another case Naib Singh, Patwari, Bhairupa, Revenue Circle, was arrested while accepting bribe of Rs 700 from Mr Pargat Singh, a resident of Jangirana village for issuing him a latest copy of “zamabandi” from the revenue record. The accused was arrested by a team of Vigilance Bureau led by the DSP, Mr Vinod Chaudhary.


One arrested on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 12
The police arrested one of the two accused for raping a minor schoolgirl today.

The twelve-year-old girl was raped by two migrants. The medical examination of the girl was done by the police in the local civil hospital. One of the rapists was tenant of the victim. They were dyers in profession.

The girl told the police that sixteen-year-old Gandhi raped her in her house twice last month but she did not disclose it to her parents. His maternal uncle Nusar also raped her yesterday after gagging her mouth. Both rapists belong to Banaras.

The Police had registered a case against the two and arrested Gandhi.


Man held for taking bribe in name of DSP
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 12
Mr Harbhajan Singh, a local resident, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau (VB), for allegedly taking money from Mr Nardev Singh on the name of DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Mansa, for “hushing” up a corruption case registered against the father of one of his friends.

In a press note here yesterday, Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, said Mr Harbhajan Singh was arrested after a case against him was registered under Section 420 of the IPC and Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In his complaint Mr Nardev Singh had alleged that Mr Harbhajan Singh had taken Rs 30,000 from him for hushing up a corruption case registered against Mr Parshotam Dass, Naib-Tehsildar, Budhlada, who was father of his friend, Mr Naresh Kumar. He added that the DSP, Mr Vinod Chaudhary, arrested Mr Parshottam Dass on August 2 and he was later released on bail.

When this happened, Mr Nardev Singh started demanding money from Mr Harbhajan Singh alleging that when the case was not hushed up, his money should be returned to him.


4 kg of opium seized, two arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 12
The Majitha police claimed to have seized four kilograms of opium in two raids conducted by the Jandiala police station.

Mr Rupinder Singh Bajwa, SSP, Majitha, in a press note here, said the police arrested Ashok Kumar, a Nepali, living on the Verowal road in Majitha with two kilograms of opium. Mr Bajwa said earlier his son Ravi Kumar was also arrested with one kilogram of opium.

In another naka on the Amritsar-Jalandhar GT Road, the police stopped a car (PB-02-Z-1114) and arrested Malook Singh of Dinewal and seized two kilograms of opium from him. Cases have been registered.


Gang of bogus travel agents busted
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 12
The CIA staff of the local police claims to have busted a gang of bogus travel agents with the arrest of Manoj Singh, kingpin of the gang. The gang members used to fleece Punjabi youths of lakhs of rupees by promising to send them abroad on fake documents.

According to Mr Gurmeet Singh Pinky, Inspector, CIA, the police got information that a kingpin of the gang was in Punjab to lure Punjabi youths into sending them abroad on fake visas and passports. He said the CIA staff arrested him near Khanna town. During interrogation, he revealed that he had been working as a travel agent in Kolkata and travel agents of Punjab would come to him to hand over Punjabi boys for sending them abroad. He would further hand over these boys to travel agents of Bangladesh. He admitted that he used to pay commission to Punjab travel agents for bringing customers.

The Inspector said Manoj Singh had fleeced hundreds of Punjabi youths and taken crores of rupees from them and had not sent any one of them abroad. Rather, these youths are in jails of Cambodia, Bangkok, Dhaka and Chiti Gaun. He said the agents working on Manoj Singh’s behalf in the state would also be arrested.


PEC admission row hits students opting for Thapar
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 12
Can the admission procedure in Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, affect students of Punjab wanting to take admission in the Thapar Institute of Information and Technology (TIET) here. Yes, say hundreds of parents visiting the Thapar Institute here hoping for admission of their wards.

The parents feel their wards are at the receiving end due to the uncertainty of the admission procedure which is to be eventually followed by PEC. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune the parents said they were waiting in vain for the finalisation of the PEC admission case.

“Last year students, who secured an all-India ranking of around 21,000 in the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), were able to get admission in the Thapar institute “, a parent said. But the situation now was such that students with merit of around 12,800 in the AIEEE exam were only able to get admission after the first counselling session held by Thapar.

Parents said this happened because a large number of students, who had applied for admission in PEC, Chandigarh, had also applied here because of uncertainty of the admission rules to be followed by PEC. While PEC had earlier fixed of 85 per cent for Chandigarh residents, the same was challenged and a new quota of 50 per cent could also be fixed for Chandigarh residents, they said. “Because of this, Chandigarh students have applied enmass in the Thapar institute, they added.

The Thapar institute, which had fixed a second counselling session on August 14 keeping in mind the August 11 date for hearing of the PEC case, is in a fix again as the case will now be heard on August 16. The counselling date was fixed to allow for new admissions in case students of Chandigarh wanted to choose PEC over Thapar. The institute had earlier also postponed its second counselling which was announced for August 7 to August 14.

Sources said a further postponement in the counselling could delay the start of the session in the Thapar institute. Parents, however, are demanding that the second counselling should be postponed again till the case of PEC was decided by the high court.

Parents are also complaining that the uncertainty had caused them dear financially. “I had hopes that my son would get admission in the Thapar and I did not apply for admission in either Punjabi University or Guru Nanak Dev University Engineering Colleges”, said a parent. He said he had, however, now decided to apply at both the institutions and stood to lose nearly Rs 1 lakh in case his son was selected for Thapar in any subsequent counselling.


Bhattal's assurance to lecturers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The Minister for Higher Education, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today assured a deputation of selected lecturers that their representation for issuing of appointment letters would be considered ''sympathetically''.

There are 61 persons who have been selected for appointment as lecturer in English in government colleges by the Punjab Public Service Commission. Their police verification and medical examination was complete and they were awaiting only formal posting letters.

Ms Bhattal told TNS that there were a large number of vacancies in various government colleges and she would once again take up the matter with the Chief Minister in the Council of Ministers to exempt higher education, when it came to filling up of vacancies, as studies of the students suffered.

The deputation, led by Mr Amrit Samra, mentioned all facts and also that selected candidates were undergoing ''mental stress'' on account of the delay in issuing of appointment letters. In fact, several of the selected candidates have made it to the final list for the second time, as their earlier selection in 1999 and 2001 was cancelled due to job-on-cash scam.

With similar grievances another deputation of the Selected Government College Lecturers' Association also met Ms Bhattal on Wednesday seeking that all vacancies be filled up. A deputation from Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology also called on her and apprised her of the ''mismanagement'' at the institute.


Supplementary exam schedule
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 12
Punjabi University today released the schedule of supplementary examinations of various classes to be conducted during September to December, 2004. Prof Baldev Singh, Chief Coordinator, Examinations, said BA, BSc, BCom, BCA; BPEd, DPEd, BEd, B.Pharmacy, MIL; MA, MSc, MCom; LLM, MEd, Master of Sports Coaching (parts I and II) and various diplomas had been fixed for September 29.

Prof Baldev Singh said the dates for MBA (CC) terms first, second and third, will be announced later. He said examinations of the Guru Gobind Singh Institute of Information Technology (Distance Education) earlier scheduled for September 29 will now be conducted from October 18. The Schedule for the conduct of semester system examinations shall be notified later, he added.


Vigyan Rail exhibition disappoints many
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 12
It was an endless wait for over 50,000 students from government-aided and private schools of Jalandhar and adjoining areas, who came to take a round of the Vigyan Rail, scheduled to stop at the railway station for the last day today.

The students stood in serpentine queues extending from the platform to the parking lot outside the station in the heat for nearly three hours before they were allowed to have a glance of the exhibits inside the coaches.

Though for the students and teachers who came from far off places like Ramgarh, Nawanshahr, Nakodar and Adampur, the wait was long, the spirits of the students remained quite high. Manpreet, a student from a government school in Hardey Prohla village, near Jalandhar Cantonment, said, “I did not mind waiting for my turn. This was a onetime opportunity for me. I got an opportunity to see so many science exhibits in the rail and learnt many ideas and concepts.”

Students from Government Girls’ High School, Ramgarh, said there should have been better arrangements. Ms Malkiat Kaur, Headmistress of the school, said, “There should have been more fans and exhausts in the train so that the students could stay longer in the train and watch all the objects keenly. Similar were the comments of the science teachers, accompanying the students from St Pius Convent School, Lamba village, Jalandhar.


Fresh entrance tests for Rayat College
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Panjab University has decided to conduct fresh entrance tests for admission to the three-year Ll.B and five-year B.A.— Ll.B (Honours) courses for the Rayat College of Law,a statement issued here said. The college is situated on the Chandigarh—Jalandhar road.

The last dates for receipt of applications for the fresh entrance test is August 23, and the test is scheduled to be held on August 25.


Counselling for MBBS course from Aug 16
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 12
A three-day counselling for admissions to the MBBS course in six medical colleges — Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, Government, Rajindra College, Patiala, Government, Medical College Amritsar, DMC - and CMC, - Ludhiana, and Guru Ram Dass Medical College, Amritsar, being conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences will start at the local Medical College on August 16.

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