P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Wheat scam worth 1.3 cr unearthed
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, August 13
A scam pertaining to diversion of wheat procured by the district Food and Supply Department to open markets by its officials from its stores came to light today after two officials of the department were arrested by sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau.

Official sources said so far the two accused — Mukhtiar Singh, inspector grade-1, and Jangir Singh, inspector grade-2 of the department, had diverted 25,737 bags of wheat to open markets and caused a loss to the tune of Rs 1.3 crore to the state government.

Sources added that some discrepancy in the stock of wheat was detected when a senior official of the Food and Supply Department conducted a surprise check in June, 2003. Though the official reported the matter to higher authorities, no action was initiated against the two accused. Also, no legal action was taken against the accused despite the fact that a senior official of the department recommended registration of criminal case against them about a year ago.

The accused, who had been meeting higher authorities of the department, had been trying to hush up the matter on one pretext or the other.

Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, who has been handling the case, said the accused diverted the wheat when they were posted at Budhlada centre of the department in 1999-2000. The accused, by misusing their official position, diverted the wheat bags kept on open plinths by the department authorities after procurement.

He said though the two inspectors had been arrested, it was being verified whether the accused had committed the crime with the connivance of some senior officials of the department or on their own.

He said search of residential premises of both the accused would be carried out in this connection. He said Mr Vinod Chaudhary, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, had arrested the accused. A case under Sections 409 and 120-B of the IPC and Sections 13 (1) D read with 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against them in the Vigilance Bureau police station, Bathinda.


Congress rebels begin regrouping
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Political rumblings in the ruling Congress have become noticeable in Punjab. Dissidents, who waged a prolonged battle a few months ago against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, have started regrouping.

Sources in the party say that a certain group of dissidents is holding lunch and dinner meetings almost daily. As a strategy, sources say, they have decided not to project any one as leader of dissidents this time. They are also in touch with senior leaders of party High Command. In fact some "unkind" statements made by certain leaders of the High Command against the CM have acted as a dose of inspiration for dissidents.

Capt Amarinder Singh is perhaps first Chief Minister who has shown tremendous guts to follow his own path while taking decisions regarding important Punjab-related issues. His strong stand on river waters has not been liked by the top brass of the Congress High Command. Because of the river waters factor, his needling by the High Command has become frequent. But tactfully or otherwise, Capt Amarinder Singh has made the river waters issue so emotive that the High Command would have to think hundred times before venturing against him.

A major dissident group emerging now is of MLAs and former ministers, who at one stage were close to the late Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Beant Singh's family is angry with Capt Amarinder Singh. The family has told in so many words to the state government to keep at distance from the functions to be held to observe the death anniversary of the late CM on August 31. Family sources have conveyed this to the government after consulting the MLAs and former ministers who have close ties with it.

Mr Gurkirat Singh, grandson of Mr Beant Singh, will hold a meeting of youth activists of the Congress at Kotli on August 14 to chalk out the programme for observing the death anniversary, party sources added.

The next few weeks will be crucial for the ruling party in Punjab. Mr Pranab Mukherjee, in charge of Congress affairs in Punjab, is likely to visit the state on August 21. The dissidents are expected to put forth their views strongly to Mr Mukherjee.

Another significant development is that Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar has become active in state politics. He has expressed his desire to be Chief Minister of Punjab. Recently, he held a press conference in Ferozepore district to make his views clear on this issue. The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, taking note of Brar's statement, has asked him to use restraint in issuing such unwarranted statements.

Mr Brar, sources say, is keen to contest a byelection in Punjab. To fill three vacant slots in the state Assembly, byelections are to be held in the coming weeks. Garhshankar, Ajnala and Kapurthala constituencies remain unrepresented in the Assembly because the MLAs elected from these constituencies have since resigned as they have become members of the Lok Sabha.

Mr Brar, sources say, intends to contest from the Kapurthala constituency which was earlier represented by Rana Gurjit Singh. However, it has not been confirmed by Mr Brar yet. But it is certain that if he has staked his claim to be CM. It can only be possible by being a member of the state Assembly sooner or later. Efforts were made to contact Mr Brar on his cell phone but he did not respond.


Man gets 3-year jail for turning hostile in
corruption case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
You would have dismissed it as just another story fit for a soap opera. A youngster bags a reward of Rs 5,000 for turning in a corrupt government officer. He later goes back on his statement before the court of law, saving the officer in the process.

But reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. If you are finding it hard to believe, just go through the case of Faridkot resident Sukhwinder Singh. He has been sentenced to three years' imprisonment and fined Rs 1,000 by a Faridkot Court after he turned hostile in the corruption case registered against a government employee on the basis of his grievance.

In his complaint before the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, Sukhwinder Singh had initially levelled serious allegations against a patwari. Acting on the basis of his complaint, a trap was laid by Bureau sleuths and the patwari was taken into custody on the allegations of demanding and accepting a bribe. A case under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against the Patwari and proceedings were initiated.

Soon after the incident, the complainant received a reward of Rs 25,000 from the Punjab Government for turning in a corrupt officer. Two years' later, Sukhwinder Singh, however, turned hostile in the case.

In no mood to be taken for a ride by the complainant, the Bureau initiated proceedings against Sukhjinder Singh. A first information report under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) alleging cheating was registered against him.

The action against the accused was initiated under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General of Police (Vigilance) N. S. Dhillon. He was, however, not available for comments.

Meanwhile, arguing before the court, his counsel claimed that Sukhjinder Singh was being implicated in the case. But Faridkot's Special Judge for Vigilance cases held Sukhjinder Singh guilty.

Commenting on the issue, a senior Vigilance Bureau officer said the punishment would definitely act as a deterrent. It would also go a long way in telling people that the system just could not be hijacked by some people for their vested interests.


Varsity publication panel chief resigns
Books on Guru Granth Sahib
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar August 13
After a reported stormy meeting of the Publication Committee of Guru Nanak Dev University yesterday following opposition to proposal of “hurriedly” publishing set of 11 books which are be released by President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on September 1, here during celebrations to mark the 400th year of installation of the Guru Granth Sahib, chairman of the committee Dr Raghbir Singh reportedly resigned in protest today.

Dr Raghbir, however, stated that the matter was between him and Vice Chancellor Dr SP Singh. He did not give clear reply on his resignation.

The Vice Chancellor admitted that Dr Raghbir had resigned but said it was due to his long tenure of a year as chairman of the committee and due to personal reasons.

According to reports a proposal had been placed before the Publication Committee to “hurriedly” publish a set of 11 books before the 14-member committee, all on ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ to mark the occasion.

The proposal was opposed by majority of committee members as set procedure that took months was being flouted on such publications. According to the procedure first copy is sent to experts in the field and later a discussion is held before sanction is given for the publication. Reportedly only one such book has been vetted by experts in the list of 11 books. Earlier an author of repute had made serious objections to certain books released during the celebrations to mark 200th year of coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 2001 that were also published hurriedly and had glaring errors. Some experts see the move as one-upmanship by the chief minister over the SGPC as a seminar too is being organised on the occasion where the President will be present.


Public holiday on Sept 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Punjab Government yesterday declared a public holiday on September 1 on the occasion of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

All Punjab Government offices, boards and corporations will remain closed on that day, says a government press note.


Compensation to Hit: Takht summons Kaka
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
Jathedar, Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, summoned Mr Jasbir Singh Kaka a former member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) for raising “ifs and buts” on the directives issued by it (Akal Takht) on August 20.

He has asked Mr Kaka to clear himself, about his remarks against Akal Takht directives in which DSGMC president Prahlad Singh Chandok was directed to give claim of Rs 1.10 crore to Mr Avtar Singh Hit a former president of the DSGMC as compensation for Khalsa high school Harinagar in Delhi.

Akal Takht Jathedar had directed the DSGMC to pay the compensation to Mr Hit but Mr Kaka had opposed it.

In a communication issued here today by Akal Takht Mr Kaka has been charged with denigrating supremacy of Akal Takht by his remarks.

Meanwhile an executive committee meeting of the DSGMC will be held on August 19 in Delhi. According reports issue of Rs 1.10 crore compensation will be deliberated at the meeting. Mr Kaka may find supporters within the DSGMC.

Former jathedar of Akal Takht Bhai Ranjit Singh said it was strange that Akal Takht was worried about the compensation to be paid to Mr Hit but not concerned about defaulters who had not paid full fee of their wards in Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical and Dental Sciences. He clarified that he was not against compensation but before it was paid, Mr Hit should submit full account of his expenditure to Akal Takht for a valid claim.


Police confiscates hard discs in Samra case
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 13
The Jalandhar police has confiscated five hard discs of a Chandigarh-based photo lab where the face of an IPS officer was allegedly superimposed on the body of a Jalandhar resident to show the former as dancing with a female dancer in a photo clicked in a Jalandhar hotel in 1994.

Mr Varinder Kumar, IPS officer, had alleged in a complaint lodged with the police that Dr Gurvinder Samra was intentionally defaming him and was trying to tarnish his image by releasing photographs. On the basis of the complaint the Jalandhar police had arrested Dr Samra from here on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a police party headed by DSP Kamalpreet Singh, which went to Chandigarh and visited the lab in Sector 22 had confiscated the hard discs. The Jalandhar police, which also took Dr Samra to Chandigarh for his identification by the lab staff, has also asked the latter to join the investigation in Jalandhar.

Ajay, a local resident, whose face in the photograph was allegedly replaced with that of Mr Varinder Kumar, today said he had come to know Samra in 1994 and the photo was clicked on Lohri in 1994. He added that he would resort to legal recourse against Dr Samra in this regard.


Cong men resent officials’ postings
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 13
Disappointment is writ large on the faces of a large section of Congress workers of the district as they are feeling let down over the fact that a large section of officials, who have been posted in this district now, are those, who were posted on the same posts during the previous SAD-BJP combine government and had reportedly ‘misbehaved’ with them.

A large section of these workers have been meeting district party leaders and their elected representatives and urged them to shift these officers out of the district as they have “soft corner” for Akalis.

A significant section of party workers feel agitated over the fact that in a number of sections of the state government departments, the officers, who had been enjoying the unbridled powers, were the same who had allegedly maltreated Congressmen during their early postings during the SAD-BJP combine government.

On August 10 about seven members of the block samitis of Congress had met Finance Minister and local MLA, Mr Surinder Singla, and demanded that Ms Parampal Kaur, who had been posted as Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Bathinda block, should be transferred to some other district.

They alleged that when Ms Parampal Kaur was posted as BDPO, Bathinda, during the SAD-BJP combine government, they never got positive response in connection with their problems. Though Mr Singla has assured them that Ms Parampal Kaur would be transferred out of Bathinda shortly, a large section of Congressmen of the district have also approached Mr Lal Singh, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Punjab, in this connection.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that a large section of party workers were disappointed over the fact that the Chief Minister, Punjab, was inaccessible to them. Moreover, the district and state Congress leadership had not been entertaining their complaints against any government official who had been indulging in rampant corruption.

Mr Inder Singh Sahni, acting president, District Congress Committee, Bathinda, while admitting the fact that resentment among the workers was genuine, said the matter pertaining to the posting of Ms Parampal Kaur as the BDPO, Bathinda, had been brought to the notice of the minister concerned, Mr Lal Singh, and president, PPCC, Mr H. S. Hanspal.


Civil engineers should ‘man’ construction sites
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
The Association of Practising Civil Engineers today sought the deployment of technical staff in every construction project.

In a press statement issued here, Mr P. S. Sandhu, president of the association, said certain construction projects were not being supervised by civil engineers. He said the department concerned or agency responsible for the execution of projects was not deploying requisite technical staff as per clause of the tender of Punjab PWD, B and R for minimum technical staff required on the site. During a meeting, the association said the implementation of the rule as per the tender would provide job opportunities to 10,000 civil engineers.

The president also sought the termination of the services two private companies who were empanelled by the State Bank of Patiala for valuation of building materials. The bank had withdrawn the authorisation and empanelment of M/s Tayal Associates of Ludhiana and Lieut-Col A.K. Kapoor of Ludhiana as valuers in land and building category after a report published in The Tribune’ columns. Both were registered with the bank for valuation in plant and machinery category. However, both had managed to get registration in land and building category through “unfair” means, alleged the association.

The association further sought the revaluation of 5,000 cases which were possessed by the two companies during the past five years and framing of the companies under the IPC.


Inquiry finds flaws in scheme implementation
Tribune News Service

Patti (Amritsar), August 13
A high-level inquiry has found many chinks in the implementation of the Centrally-sponsored Integrated Development Scheme for Medium and Small Towns.

A grant of Rs 51 lakh was released through the District Planning Board to the municipal committee here for constructing a modern bus stand and a shopping complex.

The aim of the scheme was to increase the revenue of municipal committees of small and medium towns in the country. However, during inspection, the inquiry team reportedly found the design of the project, including the bus stand and the shopping complex, as faulty, which did not even provide toilets. The design was given to contractors two months after the actual allotment of the project .

Two unauthorised shops are coming up at the entry point of the proposed bus stand. However, the team ordered that work on the unauthorised shops be stopped. The person constructing the shops reportedly enjoys political patronage. The progress of the project was also found to be at a snail’s pace.

Mr Gyan Singh Bal, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, admitted that he had visited the site to know the reasons for the slow pace. He said he had directed the officials concerned not to allow any unauthorised construction in the proposed complex.

It is learnt that those responsible for the ‘faulty design’, ‘unauthorised’ construction and slow pace of the project are being shielded by officials.

Interestingly, the local municipal committee failed to give timely payments to the contractors, which delayed the project .The reason for the delayed payment was that the municipal committee had deposited about Rs 40 lakh in fixed deposits for three months. The contractors were verbally conveyed to submit their bills after the maturity of the FDs.


Defence equipment on display
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 13
Brig A.M. Sharma, Sub-Area Commander, Jalandhar, inaugurated an exhibition of major equipment of the Indian defence forces at Army Ground here today. The defence forces exhibited their might for the first time in Hoshiarpur.

Col B.K. Bhardwaj, Commanding Officer of 12th Battalion, NCC, said that Hoshiarpur earned the distinction of being one of those districts in the country which contributed a large percentage of their manpower to the armed forces. However, for quite some years the youths of this district were turning away from joining the services and preferred civil or private sector jobs or sought career opportunities abroad. Poor knowledge of recruitment process, career prospects and multifaceted role of the tri-service units as also limited information about equipment profile of the armed forces were believed to be the main reasons for such a pathetic behavioural pattern. To provide an opportunity to young and NCC cadets to have first-hand knowledge of the defence services, their equipment profile as also the recruitment process, this exhibition was organised.

Following the major equipment of the defence forces on display, air show, helicopter show, para sailing micro light aircraft, aero modeling, ship modelling, rescue boat display, tanks, rocket launchers, Bofors guns, mortars, mine sweepers, mines, machineguns, grenade, throwing rifles, infantry weapons, missiles, anti-aircraft guns, radars, wireless sets, radio codes, NCC equipment, video films, Army recruitment cell and soldier board cell are also on display.

The exhibition also remain open on August 14.


Dal Khalsa to hold public meeting on Aug 20
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 13
To highlight alleged misdeeds of the Punjab leadership on the river water issue, the Dal Khalsa has decided to convene a public meeting at Ludhiana on August 20.

The Sikh body declared it has chosen the day as all major Akali parties would be observing the death anniversary of Harchand Singh Longowal the same day.

Dal Khalsa members believe that Longowal betrayed Punjab and Panthic interests as the accord he signed with late Rajiv Gandhi was a complete sell-off. It was announced to release a comprehensive document on the role of Punjab leadership as regard the river water issue on the same day.

An announcement in this regard was made at a function of party delegates held here to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the party. The party announced a series of programmes for the next three months. It was also decided to organise another rally on the water issue at Ropar on September 9. A seminar would be organised on “Halimi Raj” as enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib at Amritsar on October 3. A road show would be held to mark Punjab Day on November 1 at Ludhiana.

The delegates unanimously elected Mr H.S. Dhami the party’s working president for another one year and authorised him to appoint his team and office-bearers.

He appointed Mr Shinder Pal Singh as the Secretary (organisational affairs), Mr Sarabjit Singh Ghuman as the Secretary (publications and documentations), Mr Dalbir Singh Bath as the Secretary (social affairs) and Dr Manjinder Singh as the secretary (finance). Mr Satnam Singh and Mr Surinder Sekhon were appointed as vice-presidents, while Mr Kanwar Pal Singh was retained as the secretary-general and Mr Daljit Singh was assigned the duty to look after religious matters.


Road named after Beant Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Punjab Government today decided to name Doraha-Kotli road after the late Mr Beant Singh, the slain Chief Minister, whose ninth death anniversary falls on August 31.

In a government press note, the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, was today quoted as having decided upon this and also that he had taken up the matter with the Union Communication and Information Technology Minister to bring out a special commemorative stamp on Mr Beant Singh before August 31.

The Chief Minister has also sent yet another reminder to the Centre that Mr Beant Singh be honoured with a ‘Bharat Ratna’ for his supreme sacrifice in bringing peace to a strife-torn state. He was killed by a human bomb in Chandigarh.

Since there was sharp division over observance of the ‘’martyrdom’’ day of Beant Singh with his immediate family opposed to government participation, the Chief Minister has also met the Governor Justice O P Verma (Retd.) demanding that 1.5 acre land attached to the samadhi of the Beant Singh in Chandigarh be given to the state to complete the memorial in his honour. 


Residents block traffic
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 13
Residents blocked traffic for three hours on the Malerkotla-Ludhiana road at Saroud Chowk here today. They were protesting against the accumulation of sewage in front of the Saroud Chowk mosque for the past couple of months.

They raised slogans against the state government and burnt an effigy of the President of the local Municipal Council, Ms Bholi Ismile, and demanded immediate suspension of the local Executive Office, Mr Raj Kumar Mittal, and the SDM, Ms Indu Malhotra.

No official of the administration reached the site to tackle the situation and no alternative arrangements were made for the traffic. This led to the worsening of situation and people intending to go to Ludhiana had to wait for three hours in the traffic jam.

The residents gathered in front of the mosque around 1 pm and started raising slogans against the government and local administration. They jammed the traffic till 4 pm.

Mr Jameel Mohd, resident, said the people had been facing difficulty for the past couple of months. He said, “this is the main road leading to Ludhiana and patients referred to the DMCH or the CMC, Ludhiana have to go by this route.”

He said they had approached the local municipal council and the SDM office many times, but to no avail.


Accidents on rise in city
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 13
Two children of a local businessman were crushed to death by an overloaded tractor-trailer near SSD Girls College in the heart of the town. The father was seriously injured when the tractor-trailer hit their scooter on August 7. The same day, Maninder Kumar, a resident of Paras Ram Nagar, was hit by a vehicle near lakes. He succumbed to his injuries while being shifted to a Ludhiana-based hospital after one day.

On August 8, Arun Kumar, a resident of this town, met with an accident near Namdev Nagar Gate while he was driving a scooter and hit by a vehicle. Arun Kumar got seriously injured and was getting treatment at a hospital. On August 10, five persons were injured when they were hit by vehicles at different points in the town.

Though the authorities concerned have been trying to regulate the vehicular traffic, the road accidents have been claiming human lives and maiming them in significant numbers. So far the road accidents have claimed 15 lives in more than seven months of this year.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that though traffic police personnel had been challaning the two-wheelers of those who were driving the same without wearing helmets, hundreds of heavy vehicles, which were overloaded and without necessary documents, were rarely challaned for reasons best known to the traffic wing.

Information revealed that an increase in the population of vehicles, inadequate width of most of the roads, driving of vehicles at high speed and non-observance of traffic rules had been leading to road accidents.

Apart from it, the authorities concerned had also failed to implement the report which was specially prepared for traffic by a traffic expert of Mumbai, Mr Vishvanath. The report contained the ways and means to ease the traffic bottlenecks and to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic in the town.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, when contacted, said that traffic was creating problems at various points as some of the roundabouts needed traffic lights. He added that, however, this was not being done as residents of those particular areas used to resist any move initiated by the authority.

He said that heavy vehicles, which were overloaded and without documents were rarely challaned as this exercise used to create traffic jams.


3 minor girls drowned
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, August 13
Kali Bain, known for its sacred reasons, turned fiery as it took the lives of three minor girls who accidentally fell into it and drowned this evening.

The incident took place at Boot village in Subhanpur subdivision when the three girls, who had come to its banks to pluck guavas, fell into it. Incidentally, the water level in the rivulet was high. The cries of the girls could not reach the residents of the area.

The girls have been identified as Babi, daughter of Gurdev Singh, Rajji, daughter of Harnek Singh, and Maan Kaur, daughter of Surjit Singh, all residents of Boot village. They were of the age of seven to eight years.

The bodies of the girls were recovered after three hours and sent to the Civil Hospital for post mortem.


Kharar MC creates no-overtaking zone on national highway
Maximum speed limit 45 kmph
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 13
The local Municipal Council has unanimously cleared a proposal to create a no-overtaking zone on that stretch of the National Highway which falls under the municipal limits at its meeting held here today.

The maximum speed limit on this stretch has been fixed at 45 kmph. Boards displaying the speed limits would be put up at various points on the main road.

Mr Charanjit Singh, president of the council, said information in this regard should be sent to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Seema Jain, and a request be made for getting the decision of the council implemented.

In a letter dated July 26 to the civic body, the Kharar SHO had asked the council authorities to fix a speed limit on the main highway falling under municipal limits as a number of accidents were taking place on this stretch. He also urged the council to create a no-overtaking zone on the main road and display sign boards at various points with a warning to offenders. Help of the traffic police was to be taken for the implementation of the plan.

The council decided to set up a cattle pound on one acre of land near the bridge at Khanpur Nadi. Earlier, the council had decided to use one acre, out of more than seven acres, falling in Khanpur and Aujlan villages, that had been retrieved by the council from illegal possession, for making a cattle pound. But the Deputy Commissioner had directed the civic body to look for an alternative site for the cattle pound as the retrieved land should be used for making a colony.

The Director, Local Government, Punjab, had asked the civic body to initiate a departmental inquiry in connection with the case related to the issuance of fake transit slips to various persons. A complaint in this regard had been made in February last year after which Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, had investigated the matter. In its report the vigilance officials had pointed out that some council employees were involved in the racket. As such a departmental inquiry into the matter had been suggested. Taking action on the directions of Director, the council today decided that the superintendent would inquire into the case while the accountant would be presenting the required documents.

The council has decided to plant 1200 saplings during the ongoing monsoon season. Saplings would be planted in all the cremation grounds and government schools. Mr Charanjit Singh requested councillors to get 50 saplings planted in each ward. He said residents would be given saplings free of cost in case they were interested in planting these near their homes.


Funds for purchase of emergency equipment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Minister for Higher Education, Medical Education and Technical Education, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today said that principals of medical colleges had been authorised to spend up to Rs 1 lakh on the purchase of emergency equipment for providing better medicare to patients in the hospitals attached with the state government colleges.

In a press note issued by the state government, it was stated that this was decided at a review meeting she had had here today.

The principals were asked to arrange generators for the smooth functioning of emergencies.

Meanwhile, to revamp technical education, she has announced the constitution of a committee under the chairmanship of the Technical University Vice-Chancellor which will review the current courses in the engineering colleges of the state. The committee would also consult industry for this purpose.

On demand of the students, she said the government would look into the grievances of BBA and BCA students.


MC gives Rs 2 lakh for operation theatre
Our Correspondent

Amritsar August 13
The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr K.S. Kang sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for the operation theatre in the pre-partition founded Princess of Wales Zenana Hospital here today.

The Tribune had highlighted the condition of the hospital in its columns today.

Meanwhile, Mr S.S. Sharma, a resident, has written to the Chief Secretary, the minister and the Director, Local Government, and the Commissioner, MC, regarding the deplorable condition of the 87-year-old hospital whose functioning in surgery had come to a halt following disrepair of its surgery equipment.

The structural condition of the hospital had been deteriorating due to lack of funds. 


Economically sound states must: Singla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
''With a view to achieving the targeted 8-10% growth, the country needs economically healthy states," declared Mr Surinder Singla, Punjab Finance and Planning Minister, here today.

Addressing CII members from Punjab, the minister emphatically declared that conferring of special status in terms of concessions on some states had a decidedly adverse impact on others, and would distort the economy and could not be binding in the long term in a market-driven economy.

The CII presentation, made by Mr Gunbir Singh, convener, Social Development Panel, CII Punjab State Council, called for focus on three key areas through public-private partnerships---tourism, agriculture and textiles.

Presenting an overview on'' Managing State Finances'', Mr Dhruba Purkayastha, head, Infrastructure Practice, ICRA Advisory Services, expressed concern at Punjab's huge revenue deficit, which was affecting its social sector spending.

Earlier, Mr S K Bijlani, past Chairman, CII Northern Region, said steps like early introduction of VAT, phasing out of subsidies, streamlining of public finances and curbing unproductive expenditure were key issues of concern here for fiscal prudence of the state, he said.


Mushaira focuses on Partition pain
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 13
An Indo-Pak mushaira, Jashan-e-Azadi, which attracted acclaimed poets from both sides of the border, concluded on a vibrant note at the Central Library hall last night.

Organised jointly by the Mehak Cultural Forum and the Sufi Foundation of India, the mushaira saw poets like Waseem Barelvi, Nida Fazli, Sardar Anjum, Jamshed Kamal, Azim Amrohi, Nashir Naqvi, Bekal Utsahi and Naresh Raj reciting Urdu couplets. Prominent among those present were Finance Minister Surinder Singla, DGP A. A. Siddiqui and ADGP Mohammad Izhar Alam.

The Finance Minister announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the Sufi Foundation of India. Sardar Anjum, in his inimitable style, trained guns on politicians, who, he implied through his couplet, were responsible for the division of India and Pakistan. His couplet “Sar ooncha karke ye keh do nangi talwaron se, apna hak hum chheen ke lenge kursi ke bimaron se” went down well with the audience.

Another couplet much appreciated was Azim Amrohi’s “Zaroorat puri karne ko badan ki, zameeron ka na karobar karna, main ban jaunga bhai se padosi, na hargiz jahan mein deewar karna.”

Dr Nashir Naqvi displayed a command over the language with his couplet “Kaun meri rooh bata tune badan chhod diya, khudh hi awar hui apna watan chhod diya, tumme himmat hi nahin thi shayad, bat jab kehne ki aayee to sukhan chhod diya.”

Dr Naresh Raj, who was one of the chief organisers of the event, received a cheer when he recited “Weh bewafa hain ki bawafa chalo chhodo, hato yeh kisa bahut ho liya chalo chhodo, woh chahata to taluk tualuk bahal rakthta, main uska dost tha dushman nahin tha chalo chhodo.”


Bodies of 3 labourers recovered
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 13
Bodies of three labourers who were buried alive while digging a bore hole at Dhudike village on Tuesday were recovered 72 hours after the incident. Rescue workers had to dig a pit of 60 feet 70 feet to retrieve the bodies. A crane of bigger capacity was used for the task.

Rescue workers had almost recovered the bodies last night when mud started falling again. The officials then decided to stop it and began afresh today morning. Three rescue workers fell unconscious yesterday due to heat and stench of the bodies. Two persons became unconscious today. The Deputy Commissioner and the SSP camped at the site since morning.

Stench of bodies made it difficult to take these out. The bodies had to be recovered one by one. The bodies have decayed a postmortem examination of the bodies would be done at the Civil Hospital here. Last rites would be performed today. The district administration thanked villagers for cooperation in the rescue operation. Mr Harbans Singh of Haans Kalan village put in great efforts to recover the bodies.


Directive to SGPC on use of power
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
In a significant development, the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, Mr J.S. Sekhon, in a written communication to the SGPC, has stated that in view of the co-option of members of the SGPC yesterday, “it is not desirable for the present office-bearers of the SGPC to take any policy decision, including recruitment of persons in its services or incurring any expenditure on new ventures or projects except issuing the salary to its staff and expenses required for the already existing projects like celebrations in connection with the 400th installation ceremony of Guru Granth Sahib.”

He said only the formality of issuance of a notification by the Government of India for the constitution of a new board was pending.


High Court
Badals' plea on Ropar Judge: High Court reserves order

Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved its judgement on the petitions moved by former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Badal, former ministers Tota Singh and Sohan Singh Hundal challenging the power of Special Judge, Ropar, S.K. Goel in hearing the disproportionate assets cases involving them.

Mr Badal, his son and the two Akali leaders have stated that the ongoing proceedings before Mr Goel are illegal and in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution as his appointment as Special Judge to hear the cases registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act was without the concurrence of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Today, the Division Bench of Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Amar Dutt heard the arguments of both sides and then reserved its judgement.

During hearing, the counsel for the petitioners again said the trial at Ropar was unconstitutional as the accused could be tried only where the alleged offences were said to have taken place. He also questioned the validity of the cases being registered at a Mohali police station.

It may be recalled that Mr Goel had earlier dismissed the application filed by Mr Badal and his son in this regard.

Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla of the High Court has issued a contempt notice to Gurgaon HUDA Estate Officer N.S. Bangar for November 1.

The notice was issued on a contempt petition filed by New Super Star Cooperative Group Housing Society through its representative R.N. Aggarwal. The petitioner has stated that despite the High Court order of August last year, directing HUDA to return over Rs 10.97 lakh that the society had deposited in lieu of a plot that it did not take later.

Last year, a Bench had directed HUDA to return the money, which, the petitioners claim it did not.


3 smugglers sentenced to 12-yr RI
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 13
Mr Raj Shekhar Attri, Additional Sessions Judge, today sentenced three narcotics smugglers to 12 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) along with Rs 2 lakh each as fine while holding them guilty of indulging in the smuggling of poppy husk.

Mr Attri, while delivering the judgement in a case registered in Maur Mandi police station on February 1, 2003 under Section 15 of NDPS Act, held the prosecution version to be true and sentenced the accused — Amritpal of Maur Mandi, Makhan Singh of Maur Kalan and Darshan Singh of Har Raipur villages of this district.

He also held that in case the accused made any default in the payment of the fine they would further undergo imprisonment of two years in lieu of that.


Registration powers of Tehsildar withdrawn
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 13
Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner-cum- Registrar, has ordered that the registration powers of Mr Ajaib Singh Godara, Tehsildar-cum- Sub-Registrar, Barnala be withdrawn till further orders.

The action follows the registration of a land sale deal belonging to Tallewal village which was not in the jurisdiction of Mr Godara, Naib-Tehsildar, Bhadaur had the jurisdiction to sign this registration of the land sale deal which according to reports, was quite big. On learning about trespassing of his jurisdiction, the Naib -Tehsildar brought this to the notice of the SDM Barnala. The SDM in turn reported the matter to the Registrar, Sangrur.


11-year-old Dalit girl raped
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 13
An 11-year-old Dalit girl, who belongs to Uppli village, near here, was allegedly raped early this morning by her 30-year-old neighbour who is also a Dalit and taxi driver.

The police said that the minor girl was sleeping on a cot in the street in front of her house at Uppli village when her neighbour lifted her in a sleeping condition and took her to his house where he allegedly raped her and absconded.

The police said it had got done the medical examination of the victim from the hospital and registered a case under Section 376 of the IPC against the alleged accused.


Councillor’s son in police net
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, August 13
The district police seized 1.5 kg of opium from the son of a municipal councillor while he was on his way back to the city from Dadupur village here today.

The accused, Inderjit, is a resident of Tota Mohalla and son of Mr Tarsem Lal, councillor from Shekhupur. He was caught red-handed as the opium was seized from his scooter (PB-09-2027) that was stopped and checked by the police.

Inderjit has been arrested and an FIR registered against him under the NDPS Act.


Bid to replace FCI’s quality rice
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 13
A flying squad of the FCI here has foiled an attempt to replace a truckload of quality rice with substandard rice during loading of a railway rake of rice.

Mr Malkiat Singh, assistant manager, FCI, said that during loading of the rake FCI officials detected a truckload of substandard rice. Further inquiry revealed the rice loaded in the truck at an FCI godown was replaced somewhere on the 4-km-long route from the godown to the railhead. He said a report had been lodged with the police and the stock on the truck sealed.

When contacted, the SHO (City), Mr Gurpiar Singh, said that an FIR had been registered and the truck impounded, but the driver and the cleaner had absconded. Neither any registration certificate nor any permit of the Transport Department had been found in the truck.


Punjabi varsity to have AIDS information centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs has selected Punjabi University for setting up a zonal level AIDS-HIV Information and Counselling Centre ( ICC) under the chairmanship of Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice Chancellor of the university. Official intimation has been sent to the University in this connection.

Mr Satish Kumar Sawhney, Deputy Programme Adviser of the Ministry, said here that this would be a model ICC in the entire zone consisting of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Outlining the objective of the ICC, he said that students would be provided with information and education on HIV-AIDS prevention.

In a letter addressed to the university, Mr Sawhney has lauded the role of the National Service Scheme Department of Punjabi University with regard to the organising of rallies, marches, exhibitions and mega blood donation camps to spread awareness among people regarding AIDS.

Dr Baltej Singh Mann, Director, NSS, Punjabi University, said today that the setting up of the ICC was a big achievement of the University. He said that the Vice Chancellor, Mr Boparai, had been encouraging students all the time to give top priority to community services. Because of this reason, the university got the ICC.


Research scholar levels bribery charge on guide
Approval of PhD dissertation
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 13
After a case involving allegations of harassment filed by a girl student last year against her PhD guide, another case surfaced today with a PhD student levelling charges of corruption against her guide, saying the latter had demanded money from her through a middle man to approve her dissertation.

The complainant Nitu Bansal’s husband met the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, today and demanded action in the matter. The university spokesman, Dr B.S. Sandhu, while confirming the development, said the genuiness of the complaint would be confirmed following which appropriate action would be taken in the matter.

Nitu Bansal has alleged that her guide, Dr Partap Singh, who is a Professor in the Department of Economics and is presently posted in the Department of Correspondence Studies, had demanded Rs 25,000 from her husband to approve her dissertation through a person posted in the Department of Correspondence Studies.

Giving details of the case, Ms Nitu Bansal said she had enrolled for a PhD degree in December, 2001, and cleared the examinations conducted in the first semester (January, 2003), and second semester (January 2003) with B plus grade point average and had also presented her pre-submission seminar within the stipulated time period on May 7, 2004. She said during the presentation of the pre-submission seminar itself, Dr Partap Singh asked her to pay Rs 500 to the “sewadars” in his office to arrange for tea and snacks for faculty members attending the seminar.

The complainant said after the seminar she had prepared the whole dissertation on her own as her supervisor, Dr Partap Singh, did not help her in any manner. She said she was called time and again to the office of the teacher when she submitted the dissertation. She said the dissertation was given back to her after one month with the remark that it was “not upto the mark”.

Complainant’s husband Nitin Jain alleged that upon persistent requests, Dr Partap Singh had referred him to one Rajesh who is working in the same office saying the latter would help in “making the dissertation upto the mark”. He said the teacher called up Mr Rajesh from his (Nitin’s) cell phone on August 4 and asked the latter to “arrange help for me”. Subsequently on the teacher’s instructions, he had met Mr Rajesh on August 9 during the course of which he was introduced to an old person who was referred to as Dr O.P. Sharma.

Mr Jain said the dissertation copy was shown to Dr Sharma by Mr Rajesh who then told him that it would take Rs 25,000 to make the dissertation “upto the mark” and also to get it approved. He said he was given a justification by saying a “very reasonable” amount of Rs 12,500 would be paid to Dr Partap Singh while Rs 7,500 would be paid to Dr Sharma. The remaining Rs 5,000 was to be pocketed by Rajesh who also promised five copies of the “new” dissertation within this amount.

Dr Pratap Singh, when contacted, said a simple glance on the dissertation submitted by Ms Nitu Bansal would reveal the true facts of the case. He said Ms Bansal had not made any changes recommended by him.

The teacher said as far as the allegation of bribery was concerned, the student should give evidence about the charge. He added that no student under his tutelage had levelled such allegations against him. “The fact of the matter is that they tried to force me to approve the dissertation. How can I do this if it is substandard,” he maintained.


Protest by jobless teachers on Aug 15
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 13
Intensifying their stir against the contractual appointment of teachers, the Unemployed ETT Teachers Union has decided that jobless teachers will take out a protest march in seven major cities of the state on Independence Day in this regard. This was decided yesterday during a meeting of the union and the Diet Students Welfare Association. The state president of both unions, Mr Jasvinder Singh Sidhu and Mr Ranjeet Singh Bath, attended the meeting, which was held at Nachhatar Singh Memorial Hall here.

The union members warned that if the contractual appointments continued even after August 15 then the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, would be gheraoed at public meetings.


Admission date extended
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 13
Punjabi University has extended the date of admission to affiliated colleges of Punjabi University for the session 2004-05 up to August 31.

Giving this information, Dr R.S. Ghuman, Dean, College Development Council of the university, said this extension did not apply to law, physical education, education & MBA/MCA courses. Students seeking admission shall have to pay Rs 1500 as late fee.

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