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Police teams sent to arrest escaped convicts
ADGP begins probe
Chander Parkash & Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, August 23
Even as the state jail authorities have started an inquiry into the incident pertaining to the escape of three convicts from the local Central Jail in wee hours yesterday, the district police authorities have despatched three teams to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to which the escapees belonged.

Official sources said after placing seven employees of the local Central Jail under suspension for their alleged negligence Mr J.P. Virdi, ADGP (Jails), Punjab, today visited the jail and inspection the spot and the material used by the inmates to escape from jail. Ms Shashi Prabha, Commandant, 75 PAP Battalion, also visited the jail to see whether the jawans of the battalion, who were deployed on security duty of jail, were negligent 
or not.

Three inmates of the local Central Jail, including two serving a life term for committing murder and one, who was sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) for the smuggling of narcotics, had escaped wee hours yesterday. The escapees had been identified as Jai Masih of Bihar, Shankar Bhiya, alias Ramesh Kumar, and Subagh Singh.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that jail authorities of the state had started a probe into the role of Superintendent of Jail Swaran Singh and his immediate junior into the escape of its three inmates. Though Mr Virdi talked to mediapersons informally, he did not disclose the manner in which the inquiry would be conducted. He said inquiry would be over within four days.

Police sources said an inquiry was also being conducted by a team headed by SP (H) which would find out how the three convicts had managed to escape from the jail by using bamboo poles and iron rod. This was the second incident of escape of inmates from the jail in the past about one year. The local Central Jail had also witnessed deaths of a number of inmates under mysterious circumstances in the past five years.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the three inmates had managed to escape as they had an easy access to the store and the factory on the jail premises.

Apart from it, the jail authorities, which had been facing acute shortage of jail warders and other officials had been forced to keep a watch on more than 1,600 inmates, including Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, against its sanctioned strength of 1036 inmates. At present there was a shortage of 48 jail warders, four Assistant Superintendent of jail and one Deputy Superintendent of jail.

Information revealed that though the jail authorities had been bundling the inmates into the available barracks, the authorities concerned had not released adequate funds for carrying out the repairs of the barracks and inner and outer walls of jail.

 

Seven jail officials suspended in jailbreak case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
In less than 48 hours after three convicts escaped from the Ferozepore jail, Punjab's Prisons Department today placed seven jail officials under suspension with immediate effect.

Though Punjab's Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) J.P. Birdi — in charge of the prisons in the state — was not available for comments despite repeated attempts, the sources in his office revealed that the suspended officials included two head wardens and five wardens.

The sources added that a probe had also been ordered into the incident. Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Prisons) Jagjit Singh, looking into the episode, was likely to submit his detailed report on Tuesday, the sources added.

They further revealed that preliminary inquiry into the incident had established negligence on the part of Punjab Armed Police (PAP) personnel posted at the surveillance towers. Coming down heavily on them, the department authorities also wrote a letter to the PAP authorities asking them to initiate action.

The sources added that ADGP Birdi rushed to Ferozepore Central Jail soon after receiving the information about the escape of the convicts to take a stock of the situation. He had taken over charge of prisons less than a month ago.

The three inmates — including two sentenced to life imprisonment for murder — managed to escape after making a hole in the toilet wall. They reportedly scaled the outer wall with the help of a bamboo rod and a rope.

The incident was second of its kind to have taken place in 2004. On January 21, three alleged assassins of Punjab's former Chief Minister Beant Singh had escaped from the Model Jail in Burail village in Chandigarh. They were yet to be traced.

Following the escape, several steps were taken both in Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. But lessons were not learnt.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to make the jails more secure in the state, the Prisons Department initiated the process of identifying and transferring officials posted at the same jail for over five years. As a part of the drive, jail wardens posted in Amritsar circle for more than five years were shifted out during phase one of the operation

The development was considered significant as the jail staff — posted at the same place for several years — developed vested interests. The sources insisted that the staff was sometimes involved not only in smuggling narcotics and other prohibited stuff to the inmates, but was also sympathetic towards their "favourites". Messages were also passed to the inmates.

 

Badal visits venue of quadricentennial celebrations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 23
Even as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was still awaiting the official nod from Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Prime Minister’s Office on their participation in the quadri-centennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib, the SAD supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said he was hopeful that Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Dr Manmohan Singh would attend the concluding function on September 1.

Addressing a press conference at the venue of the celebrations here, Mr Badal said it would be befitting for both of them to get the blessings of Guru Granth Sahib which encompasses love and compassion of entire humanity. He added that there should not be any security reservations on their part to come together for this historic event.

The SAD chief said he had requested the Prime Minister to take up the matter with the Pakistan Government for opening the road route from Lahore to Amritsar to facilitate devotees to visit the city without any hassles. He said that the SGPC had also made an appeal to the PMO to allow a corridor between Dera Baba Nanak and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib for allowing devotees from both countries to offer prayers at the historic gurdwara.

Mr Badal said he would suggest to the SGPC to distribute free swarups of Guru Granth Sahib and deliver them free-of-cost to the people so that the message of universal love enshrined in the Granth reached to large sections of the humanity.

Commenting on the release of commemorative postal stamps on this occasion, Mr Badal said the SGPC was still awaiting the confirmation. He, however, refused to comment on the funding of the celebrations as earlier done by the previous NDA government during the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa Panth in 1999.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, another SAD leader, who was also present was critical of the present UPA government which had neither made any commitment nor provided any funds for the celebrations till date. He, however, added that the NDA government had given Rs 100 crore for the tercentenary celebrations at Anandpur Sahib.

Mr Badal said they had received confirmation from the former Primer Ministers, including Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr Chandra Shekhar and Mr I.K. Gujral along with the Dalai Lama and several Chief Ministers and Member of Parliament who would be participating on this historic occasion.

He also complimented the American President, Mr George W. Bush, for organising celebrations of the 400th installation ceremony of Guru Granth Sahib at White House in Washington.

Earlier the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD under the presidentship of Mr Badal reviewed the entire arrangements in this connection and assigned the task to different committees for the smooth conduct of five-day long function.

 

Durgiana Committee’s assurance to SGPC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 23
The Durgiana Committee headed by Mr Surinder Arjun, officiating president, and Mr Rajendar Kumar Bhalla, acting general secretary, today assured the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) of full cooperation and support during the celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib here.

At a meeting, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, which was also attended by Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Bibi Jagir Kaur, members SGPC, and Mr Dalmegh Singh, secretary, SGPC, urged all religious organisations for their support.

On the occasion Mr Arjun and Mr Bhalla invited Mr Badal for the kar seva of goldplating at Durgiana Tirth being done by the committee. They claimed that Mr Badal had accepted their requests.

 

Vedanti appeals for illumination
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 23
The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, and the Head Granthi, Golden Temple, Giani Puran Singh, appealed to the Sikh community to illuminate their houses and business establishments on August 31 and September 1 to mark the quadricentennial celebrations of installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

In a joint statement issued here today, they said the Punjabis all over the world in general and Sikhs in particular should light up their homes and other establishments on these days to mark the historic day.

 

Topper in block declared failed
Mass tampering of result sheets
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 23
Shami Kumar is a poor Scheduled Caste student of a government school in Jammu Kaliari village, near Pathankot. His parents labour in the fields to provide for his education. However, they received a shock when they learnt their son had failed in the class V board examinations in 2002-2003.

However, Shami Kumar did not lose heart and continued working hard, topping in the Pathankot education block-II the next year.

But what he found out later shattered his faith in the education system. He discovered that he had topped even in 2002-2003. However, certain teachers had allegedly tempered with the result sheet and declared him failed. Instead of being the topper, one year of his education was lost.

As per the result sheet of the block for 2002-2003, available with The Tribune, Shami Kumar had scored 258 marks out of 550 and was the topper in the block. However, some local Education Department officials drew in line across the result sheet and marked Shami Kumar “failed”, declaring him a case of copying.

According to sources in the Education Department, in 2002-2003 Class V answer sheets, Pathankot-II block were sent to the Fatehgarh Churian block for checking. Fatehgarh Churian officials prepared the results and sent those to the District Education Officer, who forwarded it to the Pathankot-II block. In Pathankot, however, certain teachers prepared another result sheet, changing the results as they fancied. They declared many of the “pass” students as “fail” and vice versa, openly tampering with the results. So blatant was the tampering that they did not even care to destroy the original result sheets.

The sources say that if Shami had been caught copying, his answer sheets could not have been marked. There is no point in preparing a result and then cancelling it for it being a copying case. They allege that Shami Kumar, along with two other students of the government school, Rishu Kumar and Raj Kumar, were failed to declare students a particular private school toppers.

Besides these three students, result sheets of the entire Pathankot-II block, provided to The Tribune, show extensive tampering. Many results have been changed from pass to fail and vice versa.

The sources say that if grace makes are to be granted to declare a student passed or if someone is to be declared failed due to copying, the proceedings have to be recorded on the answer sheets. Final result sheets are prepared after all deliberations. Tampering with the final marks sheet is illegal.

The parents of Shami Kumar now want those guilty of declaring their topper son failed and wasting his academic year to be punished. Armed with documents, they are planning to move court, despite their poverty.

 

Panel suggests setting up DRCs to check financial loss
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Committee on Civil Service Reforms has recommended the constitution of a dispute redressal machinery for government servants both at the Centre and in the states.

The committee has observed the existence of high volume of litigation involving Central and state government servants, who knock at the doors of the service tribunals and courts, thereby causing a big financial hole in the exchequer. Thus, it has suggested setting up Dispute Resolution Councils (DRCs) at the

Centre and in the states. It justifies this on the premise of providing an ''efficacious alternative dispute redressal machinery ''. The report to which The Tribune has access is currently under examination in the Union Government.

DRCs would comprise of a senior officer of the department concerned and one member from a sister department, besides a retired senior civil servant with an ''impeccable'' track record of ''fairness and imartiality'' as chairperson. DRCs,however, shall not be statutory bodies and would be set up by an executive order.

The argument in favour of DRCs was that the ever-increasing volume of litigation diverted the attention of the government servants from their main tasks, which effected public services. The common experience was that decisions taken by superior officers were based on ''file'' records, which at times did not reflect the full facts or correct, factual position or even correct legal position relating to grievances of government servants on service matters. Often they perceived that decisions taken against them were erroneous

The intended DRCs were aimed at minimising, if not eliminating, litigation by the government servants against the government on service matters. Interestingly, DRCs, the recommendation says, shall not permit any lawyer to appear before it on behalf of the aggrieved employees or on behalf of the department or ministry concerned. All decisions by DRCs will be by ''majority''.

In ''rare'' cases, if the department or ministry viewed any decision as not correct or unimplementable due to either public policy or illegality, the same shall be placed before a ''core group'' of secretaries. DRCs were expected to gain credibility of the government servants, hopes the committee.

This correspondent had interacted with the committee during its visit to Chandigarh in March last, where a broad view of the public perception about civil service was discussed. One of the concerns expressed was on the composition and working of the public service commissions in view of the exposure of the Punjab Public Service Commission for its infamous ''job-on-cash'' scam.

In the report submitted to the Cabinet Secretary, the committee has devoted attention to this issue, as well, under ''ensuring impartiality and credibility of public service commisisons''. The report says that the Constitution did not prescribe any ''qualification'' for members and chairmen of these commissions. Finding fault with the manner of making appointment to these commissions, it has been suggested that high-level selection committees be set up for inducting best possible members who were eminent in their respective fields and had relevant knowledge and skills.

 

Punjab to release water in Narwana branch on Aug 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Though the prevailing inclement weather has obstructed the repair of breaches in the Narwana branch of the Bhakra Mainline Canal in Patiala district, the Punjab Irrigation Department authorities concerned have assured their counterparts in Haryana to release water in the canal on August 26.

The Narwana branch was breached by the gushing flood waters on August 3. These breaches triggered a war of words between the Punjab and Haryana Government authorities concerned. Even the Central Government had to send a team of the Central Water Commission to inspect the breach sites. Narwana branch, which carries about 4,000 cusecs of water to Haryana, is considered the lifeline of agricultural economy of that state.

Informed sources said that the Haryana Irrigation Department had asked the Punjab officials concerned to release at least 500 cusecs water in the canal today to cope with drinking water demand in the state. However, Punjab officials said that it would not be possible to do so as rainfall at the breach sites had affected the ongoing repair work in a big way in the past few days.

Punjab officials said that they had to postpone twice the release of water in the canal in the past five days because of bad weather. The repair work had slowed in the absence of sunlight, said a senior official of the Irrigation Department.

“ We have put hundreds of labourers on the work to finish the task at the earliest. Heavy machinery has been deployed to do the job. However, the weather was playing the villain”, said the officer. Asked about the damage to the lining, he said that the lining was damaged because of the closure of the canal. “ But we are doing the lining work simultaneously”, he added.

He said that the water in the canal would be released steadily. “ There is a set procedure to fill up the empty canal. We will follow the same”, he added.

 

Minister’s kin gets possession of ‘sealed’ house
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 23
The ‘sealed’ residence of a conman who absconded after duping residents of Amritsar of over Rs 60 crore has been opened in alleged connivance with senior officials of the district administration.

The possession of the residence, located in the posh Sehaj Enclave locality here, has allegedly been taken by a senior politician of the ruling party (younger brother of a Cabinet Minister). However, the district police chief , Mr Kultar Singh said he had written to the Tehsildar not to transfer the disputed property to anybody. He said whosoever would come to the residence would be arrested and a senior police officer would be deputed to inquire into the matter.

When this correspondent visited the site , the senior politician was present at the residence along with his securitymen. A Safari vehicle (No. CH03M 6833) with red light was parked there.

The residence belongs to Kulwant Singh Nagi of Sublime Chit Fund Company. He fled from Amritsar in the second week of June to evade arrest. It is learnt that Nagi had taken a loan for constructing the residence which has not been cleared so far. It is intriguing when Nagi could not be arrested, how he was available to the senior politician who succeeded in taking the possession of the residence?

Two FIRs were registered against Nagi on a complaint of a former CBI Inspector, Mr Ranjit Singh Nanda, on May 5 in the Civil Lines police station while another was registered by the A Division police station on a joint complaint of 65 innocent investors . Nagi used to throw lavish parties at luxury hotels here for senior politicians and bureaucrats.

Many investors had deposited their pension benefits in the company owned by Nagi to get attractive returns.

 

Bathinda refinery project will be completed: Singla
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Punjab Government is re-negotiating the financial package which it had promised to Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) for setting up an oil refinery of 9 millon tonnes per annum capacity at Phulo-Khari village, near Bathinda, three years ago.

A high-level committee headed by Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill held a meeting with the top brass of the Petroleum Ministry and the HPCL last week in Delhi on the package issue. The HPCL had suspended the work on the refinery about an year ago after spending Rs 300 crore. The state government has also spent a good amount to provide infrastructural support to the project.

Confirming the Chief Secretary's Delhi meeting, Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, told The Tribune that the ''refinery project is on and efforts are being made to rework the deed of assurance (DoA) that is to be signed with the HPCL". The government was determined to get this project completed, he added.

It is expected that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who will be in Delhi till Tuesday, will meet the Petroleum Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer, in this connection.

Besides deferment in sales tax for 15 years, the SAD-BJP Government had offered some other concessions to the HPCL for setting up the refinery four years ago. However, when the Congress Government came to power in Punjab in 2002, it had a re-look on the financial package and found it " too generous and thus unacceptable".

That put the breaks on the project.

Mr Singla said with the deferment of sales tax, there would be a loss of Rs 8000 crore as interest alone on the revenue to be collected from the refinery products. The annual estimated loss of sales tax because of deferment would be Rs 600 crore, besides loss of existing sales tax revenue to the tune of Rs 800 crore per annum. In all, there would be a loss of Rs 21,000 crore in 15 years. However, the total worth of the project was only Rs 9806 crore.

Mr Singla said that it was difficult to understand why the Centre was asking its public sector undertakings such as HPCL to seek tax concessions from states concerned for setting up projects. He said that if the Centre believed in tax concessions, it should waive the excise duty on Bathinda refinery project instead of asking for sales tax concession.

At present a two-pronged strategy has been adopted by the government with regard to the project. On the one hand, Punjab has requested the empowered committee headed by the Finance Minister of West Bengal, Mr Ashim Das Gupta, to take up the issue of tax concessions with the Union Finance Minister.

 
 

Rachpal is BSP nominee for Garhshankar
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 23
Mr Rachpal Singh, a former patwari, has been chosen as its candidate by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the Garhshankar Assembly seat, which, would go through byelection shortly along with Ajnala and Kapurthala shortly.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Narendra Kashyap, senior BSP leader and in charge of party’s affairs in Punjab, Mr Avtaar Singh Karimpuri, the state BSP president, said two 11-member panels had been set up to decide candidates for the Ajnala and Kapurthala seats. While the panel to select the party candidate for the Kapurthala seat would be headed by Mr Man Singh Manhera, the panel for the Ajnala seat would be headed by Mr Hargopal Singh. The panels would shortlist names and recommend candidates to the party high command.

The CPM, headed by Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, has already announced that its candidate, Mr Maha Singh Rori, would contest the poll from Garhshankar.

 
 

Endless wait for justice
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Amargarh Kaler (Ludhiana), August 23
How can a person hope for justice in this country when orders of various courts, including that of the Supreme Court, are not implemented even more than a decade after they were issued?

This is the predicament of a 85-year-old, Jaswant Kaur of this village near Jagraon, who began fighting a case, claiming maintenance and later the possession of a piece of land well before Independence and was finally given her right by the Supreme Court after decades of struggle in 1999 but is still awaiting the implementation.

After spending her entire life fighting, justice still eludes the woman as all her appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

Ms Jaswant Kaur was married to Ginder Singh of Patto Hira village in Jawahar Singhwala tehsil in Moga district in 1938. As she could not become a mother, husband remarried and sent her back to parents’ house in Amargarh Kaler village in Jagraon subdivision in 1943, Since then her fight for her rights started.

She was given 30 kanals and 19 marlas of land in lieu of maintenance in 1959 by a court order. Despite the orders she was not given the amount due to her by her husband who died a few years ago. For the past four decades, she had been involved in litigation with her husband and later her stepsons, Gurdev Singh, Hakam Singh and Jagtar Singh.

Since she was given insufficient money, she adjudicated upon by the court of law, filed a suit for declaration that she is the owner of this land as per the provisions under Section 14(2) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. A lower court rejected her plea but the High Court decided in her favour.

In 1999, the opposite party went to the Supreme Court against the orders, which while adjudicating her right dismissed the petition filed by them on dated April 19, 1999. Following the orders, her stepsons gave her some money for a few months but discontinued later.

As the time passed by, the stepsons got the revenue records made in their favour in connivance with the revenue authorities, showing their possession. Then she filed a suit in the court of Collector, Nihal Singhwala, and on September 29, 2003, the correction was ordered in her name.

Now she is dependent on her only brother, and elderly man, who had been fighting her battle. She is even forced to remain in the confines of her house as various bids were made to abduct her to eliminate the owner of a piece of land as per the court directive. Following her appeal in the High Court that she had a threat to her life she was provided with a bodyguard by the court.

Now Ms Jaswant Kaur, whom her brother fears would be killed for the sake of land, is forced to sit at home.

“She is an old woman. A small injury is enough to kill her. Earlier she used to go to a religious place everyday but now we have stopped her to venture out. She was being abducted one day when a cop saw some youth forcing her into a car and rescued her. We fear that she might be killed if she goes out,” said Mr Gurcharan Singh Kaler, her brother, who is her special attorney to fight her case.

Her stepsons have got a tractor financed by a bank by pledging the piece of land belonging to her. An amount of Rs 1.20 lakh needs to be paid back. Now the land in question is also in their possession. She has made several appeals to the district and police administration, Moga, to intervene in the matter but to no avail.

 

Seminar on distortions in history
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 23
The Bharatiya Itihaas Sankalan Samiti organised a seminar on the topic “Distortions in Indian history” at the State Language department here recently. The former professor and Head of the Department of History in Kurukshetra University, Dr Satish Chander Mittal, was the main speaker.

As many as 100 educationalists from various colleges of the city participated in the seminar. Addressing the gathering, Dr Mittal said leftists were responsible for the distortions in Indian history, particularly after the Independence.

He said in a book written by Dr R.K. Sharma, there was no authentic proof about the existence of Lord Rama and Krishna found in Mathura and Ayodhya during the evacuation.

Dr Mittal further said the character of king Ashoka, had been written wrongly in the history books. He said “Our historians did not even see Shahjahan’s narrow-mindedness as he destroyed a number of temples in India.” Dr Chander said Mahmood Ghazni was not anti-Hindu. On the other hand, the whole world knew that how he destroyed the temples and looted the temples mentioned in history. In the end, he said history depended on facts not on thoughts.

He said revolutionaries of Indian history of 1857 were being insulted by historians as they said the revolution was against money lenders.

Dr A.C. Arora, who presided over the function, said Britishers were responsible for the distortion in the Indian history and the leftist were responsible after the Independence. 

 

Lahore Addl AG for exchange of law officers
Our Correspondent

Wagah (Amritsar), August 23
There is a need for amendment in laws in Pakistan and India in the view of the changed socio-economic scenario and increased cyber crime. The exchange of delegations and regular interaction between law officers of the two countries could help in this direction.

This was stated by Mr Mohammad Hanif Khatana, Additional Advocate-General, Lahore, who, along with a 22-member delegation of law officers from the Lahore Bar Council, today crossed over to India.

Mr Harpreet Singh Sandhu, Additional Advocate-General, welcomed the delegation on behalf of Choudhry Harbhagwan Singh, Advocate-General of Punjab.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Khatana said the origin of the CPC, CrPC and the penal code of both the countries was common — they were derived from the 1935 Constitution made by the British. He said the scenario had changed with time and there was a need for suitable amendments to meet the present-day challenges. Regular interaction and discussion between the law officers of the two countries would help in amending the laws.

Mr Khatana expressed satisfaction over the movement in both the countries to bring the people closer. He said it would diminish the hatred created by wars. The goodwill generated by the recent thaw would force the governments to take more positive steps.

He said the exchange of judicial delegations would also take up the issue of releasing cross-border prisoners.

On countering the growing cyber crime, the Additional Advocate-General, Lahore, said a recent meeting of judicial officers in Sri Lanka had recommended a number of steps to meet the challenge. He said the governments must prepare a stringent set of laws to tackle this form of crime.

Mr Sandhu said the delegation would visit the Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur and also witness proceedings of the Punjab and Haryana High Court during their stay in Punjab.

 

Babaji returns with cash for hospital
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, August 23
Dr Budh Singh Dhahan, a renowned social worker, affectionately called Baba ji , founder president of the Guru Nanak Mission Medical and Education Trust, Dhahan Kaleran (Nawanshahr), returned from a three-month-long-fund-raising tour of Canada on Saturday. It was his 24th fund-raising tour abroad. This time Kwantleen University, Surrey, Canada, conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on him for his social service. A felicitation function was organised to welcome him on the Trust premises on Sunday.

Dr Budh Singh Dhahan said he had got donations amounting to more than 3 lakh Canadian dollars for the Trust .The amount would be spent on the construction of trauma and cardiology centres proposed to be set up at the Dhahan Kaleran hospital.

Besides, Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu of nearby Khatkar Kalan, presently living in Canada, had collected 50,000 dollars, including his own contribution of 25000 dollars, for launching a mobile dispensary at the Dhahan Kaleran hospital, said Mr Budh Singh.

Moreover, the Punjabi doctors living in Canada have also offered to visit the Guru Nanak Mission Hospital, Dhahan Kaleran, to treat the patients. He further said that Kwantleen University, Surrey, Canada, had recognised the B.Sc. (Nursing) degree of Guru Nanak College of Nursing, Dhahan Kaleran. The B.Sc. (Nursing) pass-outs of the college run by the Guru Nanak Mission Medical and Education Trust, Dhahan Kaleran, seeking jobs in Canada would not have to undergo any other test except registration there. 

 

6 units identified hazardous
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 23
The Ropar administration today identified six industrial units — National Fertilisers Limited (NFL), Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Plant, Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Limited, Philips India Limited, Ajay Electrical Lamps and Neon Chemicals Private Limited — in the district as a major accident hazard zone.

It asked the Directorate of Industrial Health and Safety to ask these units to conduct rehearsals and mock drills to ensure the safety of employees and people living in the surroundings.

Official sources said Ranbaxy Private Limited in Mohali was not mentioned in the list following a clean chit to it by the Pollution Department on the grounds that emission of toxic gases from the industrial unit was within permissible limits.

Giving details, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, said the decision was taken today at a meeting with senior officials while preparing the off-site emergency management plan to cope with any crisis.

She said the Directorate of Industrial Health and Safety had been directed to organise an orientation-training programme for dealing with chemical accidents, fire prevention and protection, and loss prevention in industries. Officers were also directed to update the disaster management plan based on earlier incidents.

She said besides industrial units, directions were also issued to several other departments, including Revenue, Police, Home Guards, Public Health and Family Welfare, PWD, Town and Country Planning, Public Health and Engineering and the Punjab State Electricity Board to prepare plans to cope with any crisis including floods in the district.

 

MLA for CBI probe into ‘tardy’ development
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 23
The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, has demanded a CBI inquiry to find out why no activity in connection with various development works had started in the Kharar constituency. The foundation stones of some of the projects had been laid by the Punjab Chief Minister several months ago.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who talking to mediapersons at a press conference here today, said that strict action should be taken against officials responsible for the delay.

He said that the Chief Minister had laid the foundation stone of the 220 kv grid sub station at Jhanjeri village on February 4 but no work on it had started due to the indifferent attitude of the officials concerned. The project when completed would have given 24-hour power supply to Mohali, Kharar and surrounding areas.

He said that in fact a Congress leader was making efforts to purchase the land, allegedly in connivance with government officials concerned, in which the grid was to be stationed in order to shelve the project.

He said the Chief Minister had laid the foundation stone of a student centre in Government College, Mohali, on January 6 and not a brick had been laid in this regard so far.

He lamented that huge amount of money, that had been got sanctioned from Nabard, for providing bridges in his constituency and also for strengthening the Kharar-Banur road, had been used elsewhere by the state government. Many bridges in the area had got damaged during the recent heavy rains and many villages got flooded. He said the Chief Minister should call an emergency meeting to discuss problems related to floods and also to announce relief to affected persons.

 

Book in-laws of deceased: villagers
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 23
Family members of Baljinder Kaur who died yesterday under mysterious circumstances along with a large number of villagers from Mianapur village fall under the Kurali subdivision, today held a protest in front of the office of the SSP here demanding registration of a case of murder against the deceased’s in-laws.

The villagers raised slogans against the police for more than one hour claiming that the girl was forced to commit suicide by her in-laws so a case of murder should be registered against them. Later the villagers met the SSP.

Police sources said Baljinder Kaur had died yesterday in her in-laws house in Chintgarh village after consuming poison.

The deceased’s in-laws came to know about it when Baljinder started vomiting and become unconscious. Her mother-in law and others took her to civil hospital but doctors referred her to the PGI. The doctors at the PGI declared her brought dead.

The deceased’s father Harpal Singh said his daughter was married to Sukhdev Singh about one and a half year ago. After a few months, Sukhdev had gone to Dubai. He alleges, “My daughter had been harassed by her in-laws earlier on many occasions and she was upset. He said she was not allowed to receive her husband’s calls from Dubai. My daughter did not commit suicide but she was harassed to such extent that she was left with no option other than committing suicide”.

SSP Surinder Pal Singh said that he had listen the grievance of the deceased’s father and directed a police officer to investigate the case. He added that the police was waiting for post-mortem report, action could be taken after that.

He said the police did not registered a case against the in-laws earlier because the deceased’s relatives had given in writing in the police station concerned that they did not want to take any action against them.

 

Rights panel orders probe into torture case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 23
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed the Director-General of Police of the Commission to inquire into the alleged violation of human rights of Mr Sudershan Mittal, a Municipal Councillor of Samana, who has charged police officials with torturing him.

Justice R.L. Anand of the Commission has directed that the report on the issue be submitted to the Commission within three months. He has also directed the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police and the Station House Officer, Samana, to protect the life, liberty and dignity of the complainant.

According to the complaint, on July 30, a police party, led by SHO, Samana Rajesh Chhiber, came to Mr Mittal’s shop, hurled abuses at him and forcibly threw him into a police vehicle. It said that Mr Mittal was taken to the Samana police station where the Samana Deputy Superintendent of Police was also present.

The complaint said that when the news of the arrest of Mr Mittal spread in the town, a number of persons collected in front of the Samana police station. Following this, the complaint said, the police officials took Mr Mittal to the Badshahpur police chowki in the sub-division, where third-degree methods were used to torture him after he was stripped naked. It was also complained that his signatures were taken on blank sheets of paper.

It said the police officials responsible for torturing Mr Mittal did so because they had a grudge against him because he had appeared as a witness against a complaint filed before the Commission against Sub-Inspector Rajesh Chhiber and the DSP.

 

Palledars gherao FCI office
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 23
Hundreds of palledar belonging to the FCI and the Punjab Food Agencies Palledar Union today gheraoed the district manager of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and his office to lodge their protest against the non-payment of their wages by the contractors.

In a press note issued here, Mr Baldev Singh, spokesman of the union, pointed out that they were left with no other option than to launch an agitation as they had been facing extreme economic hardships. They had not been paid their wages by the contractors for the work executed by them in March, 2004.

He said that though the matter was raised with the district FCI authorities, they failed to get any positive response. He said that family members of the union activists also participated in the today’s agitation.

 

Body of second drowned student recovered
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 23
The agony of the parents of Abhinav Sharma, student of the Institute of Hotel Management, Gurdaspur, who drowned in the Ravi on Saturday, ended today after his body was recovered from the Madhopur-Beas link canal. The body was handed over to the parents after post-mortem at the Pathankot Civil Hospital. The body of the other drowned student was recovered last evening.

 

Shift garbage bin: residents
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 23
A waste collection drum placed on the Mandi Gobindgarh-Amloh main road has become a source of nuisance for shopkeepers on both sides of the road and passersby.

The residents made many complaints to the local municipal council. On the orders of Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, the garbage drum was removed from the site. Local residents heaved a sigh of relief.

 
 

CJM orders probe in ‘forgery’ case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 23
In a case of an alleged act of forgery (change of an application with another application under the same receipt number and date) by a man, running a finance company, in connivance with the police officials, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Sangrur, has directed the SSP, Sangrur, to get the matter investigated through the officer not below the rank of SP.

The CJM has also directed the SSP to furnish the report by September 30 as the next hearing of the case has been fixed for that day.

The complainant, Jatinder Kumar, a local resident, has filed a complaint under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC in the court of the CJM against state and eight persons, including Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, then DSP, Sangrur, three ASIs — Sat Parkash, Mukand Singh, Gurjant Singh then SHO of city police station, Sangrur, and Bhupinder Singh, a partner of M/s State Finance Company (Regd), Sangrur.

The complainant alleged that Mr Bhupinder Singh, a partner in the finance company, had moved an application against the complainant before the DSP, Sangrur, on August 7, 2002. It was received in the office of the DSP, Sangrur, vide receipt number 160/Peshi/DSR (dated August 7, 2002) and the same was marked to the police station City Sangrur vide receipt No. City Sangrur 61/PC/PS (dated August 8, 2002), and was changed by another application under the same number and date.

The CJM in his order mentioned that the complainant had placed on record certified copies of both the applications in support of his charge and it amounted to an act of forgery. “As the record pertains to the police department the matter needs to be investigated through the officer not below the rank of SP”, he said.

As per the photostat copies of both applications, given to this reporter by the complainant Bhupinder Singh had given an application to the DSP, Sangrur, on August 7, 2002, alleging that Jatinder Kumar had taken a loan of Rs 3 lakh from the finance company on April 5, 2001 and had assaulted an employee of the finance company who had gone to collect loan installment from him. While in the second “changed” application Mr Bhupinder Singh had alleged that Jatinder Kumar had taken a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh on April 10, 2001 from the finance company and there was no mention of assault on the employee.

 

Peacock poaching: wardens level serious allegations
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
The two wardens of the Punjab Wildlife Department, who are eye-witness to the alleged shooting of rare birds by some persons, including the then Pathankot Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Puneet Goel, today leveled serious allegations against the officer during hearing in the matter.

Wildlife Wardens Gunraj Singh and Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa, who were present when the SDM and his accomplices were caught after they had shot six birds, including some peacocks, have also submitted a Video Compact Disc (VCD), prepared by the reporter of a television news channel, to prove that they were present on the spot when the arrest was made.

Their counsel today told the court that the viewing of the VCD was necessary in order to prove that the claim of the SDM that the two wardens were not present at the time of the incident is wrong and he has committed perjury.

Incidentally, the SDM is reported to have taken the same stand in the lower court also. Counsel of the two wardens also stated that due to his clout, the SDM has also managed to ensure that the names of the two wardens did not appear in the damage report.

After hearing their counsel, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice BK Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant directed that a VCD player be made available in the courtroom tomorrow so as to make the viewing of the VCD submitted by the two wardens possible.

 
CRIME
 

Man kills grandfather over land dispute
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 23
A grandson murdered his grand-father last night by shooting him when the latter was sleeping in their house in Bhatehri Khurd near here.

According to police sources, there was friction between 70-year-old Thakur Singh and his son Kulwant Singh as the former refused to sign his land in the latter’s favour.

The sources said the friction in the house took a turn for the worst when Kulwant’s 22-year-old son Harjinder shot his grandfather when the old man was sleeping.

The police sources said Harjinder used his grand-father’s rifle to kill him. He fled the spot after the crime. A case under Section 302 has been registered against Harinder at the Sadar Police Station.

 
 

Objections to Punjabi University appointments
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 23
Punjabi University’s Deputy Controller of Local Audit has raised objections to the appointment of a few persons, including a professor, and remuneration being given to senior teachers for non-teaching responsibilities held by them.

The Audit department has listed the example of Dr Gurpreet Singh Lehal who has been appointed as professor in the Computer Science department without due approvals. The department has noted that the university is releasing his salary of Rs 26,326 per month.

It has also given the example of the earlier appointment of Ms Ramanjit Kaur as Programme Officer in the NSS department against a post which had been abolished by the Regional Centre, Chandigarh of the Ministry of Sports.

The Audit department has also raised the issue of honorarium being given to university teachers at 10 per cent of the basic pay, for holding additional posts. It has noted that Central rules were clear that “when a government employee holds current charge of another post, in addition to his own substantive post, he does not officiate in the former and is not, therefore, entitled to additional remuneration”.

It has also claimed that one teacher has been given an additional charge as Co-ordinator of Examinations against a post which did not exist.

A university spokesman, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, said as far as Dr Gurpreet Singh Lehal’s case was concerned, the teacher had been appointed professor in the eminent scholar category.

He said the audit department had raised objection to Dr Lehal’s five year stint in the research wing of the local Thapar Institute, saying this amounted to training in the industry and could not be construed as teaching experience. This charge, he said “seemed to be motivated” and was being sorted out.

He said as far as the issue of grant of an honorarium of 10 per cent of the basic pay was concerned, the issue would be explained to the audit department. He said earlier the university was giving a lumpsum to teachers holding additional responsibilities and that the audit department did not have any objections to it.

 

Few takers for private law colleges
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 23
Private colleges of law with fancy infrastructure and air-conditioned classrooms in the state, have taken a beating from the two universities and their regional centres as far as admissions to both BA, LLB (five year) and LLB (three year) courses are concerned.

While all departments of the Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University as well as their regional centres have attracted law students, newly opened private colleges failed to impress them. A large number of seats for both courses are still lying vacant after the end of the second and final round of counselling for law colleges on August 21 at Punjabi University.

There were as many as 960 seats for the BA, LLB course. Only 615 students were able to qualify the combined entrance test for these admissions. However eligibility criterion was relaxed resulting in 88 more students qualifying for admission. The counselling was held for 840 seats with 120 being earmarked as college management seats. Only 470 seats were filled through the counselling.

In the three-year LLB course, there were 1,088 seats. For test for admission to this course, the eligibility criterion was relaxed after only 952 students qualified it. With 80 seats being earmarked for the management of the colleges, counselling was undertaken for 1,088 seats. Only 709 seats have been filled.

Prof U.C. Singh of Punjabi University, who was the chief co-ordinator of the Law test, said university institutions and regional centres had attract most of the law students. In some private colleges admission figures were very low. For the BA, LLB course, the Saint Soldier College of Law, Landran (Jalandhar), attracted only four students as against a total of 70 seats. Similarly the Sardar Amarjit Singh Memorial College of Law, Dhaintal (Patiala), could fill only eight seats out of a total of 70.

The Professor said for the three-year course, the Saint Soldier institution had been able to fill 27 out of the 70 available seats. The Amarjit Singh College had got 17 students as against the availability of 70 seats. Even colleges with a large number of available seats like the Baba Farid College of Law, Faridkot could fill only 59 out of 140 available seats, he added.

Students said though the private colleges had excellent facilities, lack of quality teachers there was the chief reason why they were not opting for those. They said most of the teachers in these institutions were inexperienced and were paid low wages in violation of statutes. “They keep changing making it difficult for the students to get quality education,” the students said, complaining that private colleges “invented” excuses to charge more fees in one way or the other after admission.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi University Dean, Colleges, Dr H.S. Ghumman, said he had received a complaint against the management of the Punjab College of Law, Raipur (Patiala), in this regard. He said though the college authorities had claimed that the allegation of a woman teacher that she was not given the prescribed salary was refuted by the college, the matter was still being probed. Dr Ghumman said the college managements were being asked to hire teachers on the prescribed salaries and also appoint regular principals. He said a few colleges had not kept regular principals earlier and one of the colleges was still to do so.

 

Teacher alleges molestation
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 23
A teacher of Little Flower Convent School here, Ms Rani Yohannan, has levelled a charge of molestation against Father Ruby, administrator of the school.

At a press conference held here today, Ms Rani, wife of Major Yohannan posted at Tibri, said she had been teaching in the school for the past two years.

On August 17, when she reached the school, the gatekeeper and the driver of the school misbehaved with her on the order of a teacher of the school, she alleged. When she inquired, she was handed over an envelope carrying orders of the principal that her services were no more required.

Thereafter, she went inside the school to get a certificate for her son. In the principal’s office, she met Father Ruby, who offered to resolve her problem and called her to the nunnery, she claimed.

There, the Father had molested her and also tried to rape her, she alleged. While trying to free herself from his clutches, she had sustained injuries and remained admitted in the Military Hospital at Tibri for two days, she alleged.

The principal of the school, Sister Tiisiana, however, said the charges of Ms Yohannan were fabricated. She said she had been ousted for misbehaving with school authorities. She had broken a glass of the car of Father Ruby and also misbehaved with other school officials, due to which her services were terminated, she added.

School officials and Ms Rani Yohannan both have lodged their respective complaints with the police. Though no case has been registered, the inquiry into the incident has been handed over the DSP City, Mr Avtar Singh.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harjit Singh, has also ordered an inquiry to be conducted by the SDM.

 

Unemployed teachers flay Congress government
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 23
The district unit of B.Ed Unemployed Teachers Union condemned the Congress government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh today for dilly-dallying on the issue of filling vacancies.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Subash Kumar, district president of the union, said they would meet on August 29 at Company Garden to chalk out further course of action.

He said more than 40,000 posts of teacher were lying vacant in the state.

However, the government was not taking any constructive steps to fill the vacant seats and fulfill its pre-election promises, he added.

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