P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



14 PTDC employees given compulsory retirement
Employees threaten to move court
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 11
The Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has given compulsory retirement to 14 of its employees. Besides one more employee has been given forcible’ retirement under the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) taking the total number of employees to be ousted from the organisation to about 40.

The recent decision to give compulsory retirement to 14 employees had been taken by the PTDC despite the fact that it had not been able to pay dues to 24 other employees who had been given voluntary retirement about nine months ago.

Sources in the PTDC said the PTDC management had given compulsory retirement to 14 employees in violation of the recent orders of the Chief Secretary, Punjab. The Chief Secretary had recently directed the PTDC not to relieve any employee if the corporation was not in a position to pay the retirement dues to them.

The harassed PTDC employees had sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the injustice being done to them. In response to the petition of the employees the Prime Minister’s office had directed the Punjab Government to redress the problems of these employees.

The VRS floated by the PTDC had become a nightmare for the 350 employees of the corporation. When the government decided to go ahead with the disinvestment of the PTDC, the employees were given an option to opt for the VRS on the pattern offered to its employees by the Punjab Government.

Fearing privatisation all employees opted for the VRS. As per the terms and conditions of the VRS scheme any employee being given the VRS had to be paid the dues within one month. However, the VRS applications of employees became a punishing tool in the hands of the management.

The management, without adopting any definite criteria, accepted the VRS of about 25 employees till date and had now given compulsory retirement to another 14 employees. However, none of these employees had been paid any dues till now.

Even the employees who were till serving in the organisation were in an uncertain position. They had not been given any increase in the dearness allowance or increments in pay after their VRS applications were accepted. Moreover, they were constantly living under the threat of being thrown out of job by the management.

As a clear case of exploitation the management had redeployed some of the employees, ousted after being given VRS on papers on a daily-wage basis. The employees, who were getting regular salaries, were now being forced to work on minimum wages without getting any retirement dues.

Tired of pleading with the government some of the PTDC employees had now decided to move court to seek justice.

Mr Ashok Sharma chairman of the PTDC, said that the employees were being given VRS or compulsory retirement to reduce the financial burden on the organisation. He said that retirement dues of the employees, given VRS or the compulsory retirement, could only be given after the money for the purpose was transferred to the corporation by the Department of Disinvestment.

The employees, however, said the slow ouster of employee was a conspiracy to sell off the PTDC properties to vested interests. They also alleged that when the government was planning to celebrate the Tourism Day the ouster of employees was rather unfortunate.


Cong may contest Garhshankar byelection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
The Congress was likely to field its own candidate from Garhshankar during the forthcoming Assembly byelections. So far the Congress has been supporting candidates from other political parties.

Talking to the media soon after dedicating the Law Bhavan complex to the legal fraternity, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the party workers wanted the Congress to nominate its own candidate. He added that the final decision in the matter would be taken after the return of Defence Minister Parnab Mukerjee as he was looking after the affairs of the state.

The Chief Minister claimed that there was no resentment in any quarter regarding the appointments of board and corporation Chairmen. He added that the Chairmen of other boards and corporations would also be appointed soon.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister called upon the legal fraternity to function in tandem with the executive to catch the deadly monster of corruption that had seeped deep in the democratic set up. It had in particular made the life of society’s underprivileged section a hell.

Elaborating upon his contention, the Chief Minister said society’s creamy layer was least affected by the parasite of corruption compared to the oppressed sections. The affluent had a direct access to the system, while the oppressed had to approach the system through intermediaries. Even to get their genuine and routine works done, they were resorting to corruption.

The Chief Minister reiterated that corruption could be contained only with the participation of the public. Magic wand to control corruption overnight was not available with anyone.

He said sometimes even the lawyers failed to perform their duty. They fell prey to the allurement of money. In the process, they forget their prime duty towards society and started siding with the criminal or the anti-social elements.

He exhorted them to listen to the voice of their conscience while performing their duties, as their responsibility towards society was far more sensitive than an ordinary citizen.

He asked the legal fraternity to lend a helping hand to the government in its crusade against corruption, rather than circumventing the cases of corruption through legal tactics to allow the culprits to get away.

He urged the lawyers to serve society in a constructive manner within the ambit of code of legal ethics thereby rising above the petty considerations of professional wrangling and materialism.

He also assured the Bar Council members that he would provide requisite funds for the bhavan despite the dismal financial position of the state. He said such ultra-modern complexes at par with international standards were the need of the hour because they were instrumental in enhancing the professional efficiency and competency of individuals.

He pointed out that the Punjab Government had already embarked upon an ambitious programme to provide excellent infrastructure to the judiciary to ensure congenial atmosphere so as to enable the judicial officers to discharge their duties diligently and efficiently.

Under the programme, judicial court complexes in the state had been constructed under the centrally-sponsored scheme on 50:50 sharing basis.

An amount of Rs 60 crore had been spent upto March 31, 2004. He revealed that construction work of judicial court complexes at Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar, Mansa, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Patiala has been completed.

He also presented a cheque for Rs 25 lakh to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association President, Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, for the renovation and air-conditioning of the Bar Association hall. The state government has already provided funds to the tune of Rs 33 lakh to the Bar Association for this purpose.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice B.K.Roy, said judiciary expected a pro-active role from the lawyers to hasten the process of justice, because the justice delayed was justice denied.

In his address, local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal urged legal luminaries to make use of the complex for organising seminars and symposia on legal issues emerging on the day-to-day basis.


BJP-SAD to jointly contest byelections
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 11
The BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal will jointly contest the byelection to the two seats of Kapurthala and Garshankar being held next month. Disclosing this here yesterday, the state BJP president, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna said it had already been decided that the BJP would contest the Garshankar seat while the SAD would contest from Kapurthala.

Talking to reporters after presiding over a meeting of the state BJP office-bearers here on Friday, Mr Khanna said, the process of selecting the right candidate would already been started. He said that the probable candidates would be interviewed at Chandigarh on September 14. The names of those found suitable will be forwarded to the party high command.

The BJP leader maintained that the alliance would contest on the issue of the non performance of the Capt Amarinder Singh government in the state. He claimed that the government had failed on all fronts and it would be duly reflected in the elections.

Mr Khanna said that the state BJP had constituted a committee headed by the state general secretary, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal and comprising of Ms Gurbachan Kaur and Ms Laxmikanta Chawla to finalise the arrangements for the “tiranga yatra” being led by Ms Uma Bharti. The yatra would enter Punjab on September 24. Public meetings would be held at Ludhiana, Phagwara, Jalandhar and on September 25 it would conclude at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, where a huge rally would be organised.


Plea for ouster of 3 SGPC members
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 11
Two separate petitions were filed in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) against certain SGPC members including Mr Baldev Singh here today.

The petitioners have sought immediate removal of Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Bibi Amarjit Kaur Sekhwan for causing huge financial loss to the SGPC.

Earlier, Mr Baldev Singh was booked by the Chhehrta police on charges of molesting wife of a Raagi .

In his petition, Jathedar Gurmej Singh Badal, a resident of Avaan (Ramdass) village alleged that a three-member panel of judges nominated by the SGPC had illegally favoured the Dhadi Jatha of Baldev Singh to get first prize of Rs 1 lakh. The SGPC had organised a competition of Dhadi Darbar in Manji Sahib here on the occasion of Divali in 2001.

He alleged the judges were not competent to decide as to which Dhadi Jatha was entitled to receive the prize. This was done to ensure his vote during the annual election of the SGPC chief at that time.

He further alleged an SGPC member was legally not entitled to get any money from the SGPC funds nor was he entitled to make any financial transaction from the Gurdwara funds. Therefore, under the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, the petitioner said, the panel of judges had committed acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, and breach of trust, neglect of duty and abuse of power.

The petitioner put up a plea that Rs 1 lakh with interest an interest rate of 18 per cent per annum should be recovered from Mr Baldev Singh after the encashment of the cheque. The petitioner said that the SGPC member may be removed from the membership of the Shiromani committee and disqualified for six years.

Another petition was filed by Mr Parshotam Singh, a resident of Sur Singh (Patti) village, against Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Bibi Amarjit Kaur Sekhwan for recovering huge amount outstanding against their wards who had got admission under the NRI quota in the SGPC run Dental College. He said Bibi Sarbjit Kaur , daughter of Mr Langah took admission to the BDS course in the Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Dental College and Research .The total fee payable was Rs 12.80 lakh in one installment, out of which only a sum of Rs 1 lakh was paid. In yet another case, Bibi Akal Kala , daughter of Bibi Amarjit Kaur Sekhwan , member SGPC got admission to the BDS course in the SGPC run Dental College against NRI category under the payment scheme .Though total fee payable was Rs 13.20 lakh in one installment out of which only Rs 3 lakh was paid.


3 boys booked for attacking classmate
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 11
The district police has finally registered a case against three boys who allegedly tried to hit their classmate with a sharp-edged weapon, and badly bruised his right hand.

The incident occurred on Saturday last when Anish Sharma, a Plus One student of Apeejay School, was returning home in his car after school.

The parents of the child had to run from pillar to post for almost a week in order to get the case registered as the grandmother of one of the boys had reportedly been using political pressure to hush up the case.

Anish said in his statement that while he was going back home, his car was stopped by his classmate, Tarun Aggarwal. As soon as he came out of the car, he was attacked with a sword by another student, Kunwar Raj Singh Sandhu, who was accompanied by an outsider Harsharan Mann. He said the boys had tried to attack his head and he sustained deep cuts on his hand as he tried to shield himself.

After the incident, the boy was taken to the Civil Hospital. He was admitted there for two days and was finally discharged on September 6. The father of the victim, Mr Sunil Sharma, a government contractor, said he had immediately reported the incident to the police and it had even taken his statement but the case was not registered till Friday evening, he added. “The boys were booked only after I had complained to higher officials in the police”, he rued.

Mr Sharma also alleged that some police officials were trying to pressurise them to work out a compromise with the parents of the accused. He said he was being told that the family of one of the accused had strong political connections and they should try to withdraw the case. He also alleged that parents of one of the boys had even tried to alter the medical reports that were to be prepared by the Civil Hospital.

Anish’s mother Sunita Sharma said the incident had caused a lot of trauma to the family. “We have been receiving threatening calls since that day. He was to take mid-term examination from September 8 onwards but I had to send an application asking for an exemption as he would not be able to write his exams,” she said.

Police officials, however, denied the allegations levelled by Anish’s parents. Mr Vibhor Kumar, SHO of Division No. 6, said there was a delay in registering the case as he was awaiting the medical reports, including the X-ray report.

The SHO has registered a case under Sections 324 and 34 of the IPC as there was enough evidence to prove that sharp edged-weapons were used for the assault. He said he had sent his teams to arrest the boys but the boys could not be traced.


No hope from Malimath panel report, says DGP
Tribune Reporters

Phillaur, September 11
Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta, Chief Justice (retd.), Kerala High Court, highlighted various recommendations of the Malimath Committee report pending consideration in Parliament. Justice Gupta was speaking at the seminar on " Police criminal justice system…an evaluation of Malimath Committee report" held at the Punjab Police Academy here today.

Reading out the main recommendations of the Malimath Committee, Dr G.S.Aujla, IPS, Director, PPA, Phillaur, said the main points included making the criminal justice system victim-friendly rather than accused-specific, providing compensation to the victim when the accused was found guilty, victim should be made an integral process of investigation and could argue the case in the court also, introduction of the Commissionerate system of policing in cities and towns, investing police with magisterial powers, all offences to be made cognisable, the prosecution cell should be brought under the police, the post of the Director of Prosecution should be given to the Police Department, penalties for perjury and making confession before a gazetted-rank police officer admissible.

Today's seminar discussed the recommendations threadbare. There was difference of opinion on various issues, but all speakers were unanimous over the fate of the report ,shelved for the lack of political will and opposition by the bureaucracy.

Dr A.A.Siddiqui, DGP, Punjab, hailed most of the recommendations, but said he was not very optimistic about its implementation. He said the recommendations give lot of powers to the police which won't be liked by the bureaucracy and politicians.

The recommendations about the Punjab Police Rules, and the Commissionerate system have been blocked by the government and the bureaucracy.

Former CBI Director Joginder Singh said that several commissions like the Padmnabahia and Rebiero committees and others and made several recommendations but a few had been implemented. He said no system could function if the control over the police was not removed.

He was quite critical of the recommendations made by the committee saying that it was not based on ground reality. He said at most four to five recommendations of the total 158 were worth debating. He said no one had any time to even read the recommendations let alone implementing them.


Decks cleared for Abohar-Fazilka rail link
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 11
Decks have finally been cleared with the publication of a notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for acquiring land to lay 42- km railway line to link Abohar with Fazilka.

The notification was signed by Mr. R. S. Sandhu, Secretary, Public Works Department (B & R) Punjab.It authorises the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Fazilka, to acquire the land earmarked for the project in Ramkot, Choohriwala Dhanna, Begawali, Awwa, Khippawali, Sultanpura, Jandwala Kharta, Dangarkhera, Nihalkhera, Sureshwala, Heerawali, Ghallu and Khuikhera villages. Earlier, the state government had issued a notice under Section 4 of the Act under the signatures of Mr. A. K. Dubey, the then Principal Secretary of the department. Some farmers, including tenants who had been cultivating land owned by the Government Seed Farm, had objected to it. The authorities had not succeeded in evicting the tenants, most of them belonging to Raisikh community, despite a long legal battle. Under the Act they will not be entitled for any amount of compensation as the proprietorship rests with the government.

The land had been developed by the govt. for research in some specific crops. The tenants had filed objections pleading that their houses numbering five to six would be affected by the process of acquisition. They were not owners of these houses, the department officials had said.

The Public Works Department of the Northern Railway had published tender notices in various newspapers inviting offers for the construction of 8- km stretch of the railway link just five days before the Lok Sabha elections in May this year. Though the process of acquisition had not been completed the then Railway Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, had laid the foundation stone for the project at Fazilka.

The Railway Passengers' Association has already submitted a memorandum to the Railway Minister, Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, demanding a high - level inquiry to find out as to how tenders for the project had been floated when the land was yet to be acquired by the SDM. He was supposed to hand over the land so acquired formally later to the Executive Engineer of the Railways.

Meanwhile sources in the Railways pointed out that the proposal to link Abohar with some areas of Haryana and Rajasthan on Bathinda-Hanumangarh section was being processed seriously.


Desecrated birs cremated
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 11
The bhog of akhand path to atone for the September 8 sacrilege of two birs at the Kotrani dera, near here was held at the local gurdwara Giansar, Satnampura, today. The desecrated birs were later taken to Goindwal Sahib for their ceremonial cremation there. Local SGPC member and SAD Adviser Jarnail Singh Wahid accompanied the cavalcade that carried the birs to Goindwal Sahib. A langar was also organised.

Leaders of all major political parties, including Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, former SGPC acting president, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, local Congress MLA and Chairman, Punjab Agro Foods Limited, Mr Jarnail Singh Wahid, local SGPC member, Jathedar Rajinder Singh Fauji, Central Working Committee member of the SAD(A), Jathedar Sarwan Singh Kular, former Chairman of the local Market Committee, were among those who addressed the congregation and condemned the sacrilege.

Jathedar Bhaur, called upon all deras that were keeping the holy birs but not following the “rehat maryada” as per the Akal Takht directions to shift the birs to those gurdwaras where the maryada was being followed. He said that the copies of the rehat maryada would be supplied free of cost to managers, granthis, ragis and others related to gurdwaras to help them to inculcate maryada.

Jathedar Rajinder Singh Fauji demanded an amendment to the Indian Penal Code for treating the sacrilege of the bir under Section 302, IPC, as it was worshipped by the Sikhs as a living guru and even the Supreme Court had accepted it as a juristic person.

Meanwhile, Bibi Balbir Kaur, who looked after the dera in absence of Sant Swaran Singh was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. The main accused Balbir Singh, who was arrested yesterday from Bisrampur village in Kartarpur tehsil, was in police custody.


Doc alleges pressure to favour firm
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 11
Dr Ramesh Maheshwary, Medical Officer, local Civil Hospital, who is undergoing treatment in the hospital after he was remanded in judicial custody on September 5 said the health authorities should investigate the fact that on whose instigation the complainant, Mr Surinder Kumar, medical representative, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, had got a false case registered against him.

He added that the authorities should also investigate why a section of senior officials posted in the local civil hospital were pressurising some doctors to prescribe the medicines of the company in which Mr Kumar was working.

Dr Yash Pal Singla, Civil Surgeon, said that he himself had verified the facts connected with the corruption case registered against Dr Maheshwary and from the facts it could be said with certainty that Dr Maheshwary was not booked in false case. He added that Mr Kumar had told in the presence of senior police and other officials that Dr Maheshwary had demanded the bribe from him. He added that after cross checking the allegations leveled by Mr Kumar the authorities concerned gave permission for the vigilance raid on Dr Maheshwary. There was no foul play from any quarter in getting the case registered against Dr Maheshwary.

He added that Mr Kumar had been receiving threat to change his statement made against Dr Maheshwary.

On the other hand, in a letter written to the President, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab, the management of Sun Pharmaceutical Limited has made it clear that it has not given any cash to Mr Kumar to indulge in any unethical practice. The management added that it did not know that under whose “influence” Mr Kumar had committed that act.

These questions are also being hotly debated a section of medicos posted in the local Civil Hospital and in the government-run health centres after Dr Maheshwary was allegedly caught while taking a bribe from Mr Kumar on September 4.

A large number of doctors are of the view that they too could be made to suffer all sorts of humiliation and criminal cases on the basis of false complaints. They added that the district health authorities had also contributed in creating such an atmosphere in the Civil Hospital.

A section of doctors on the condition of anonymity pointed out that Dr Maheshwary was made to pay the price for actively participating in an agitation launched by the PCMS Association to protest against the registration of a criminal case against three doctors of the Civil Hospital on flimsy grounds about a month ago.

Apart from it, the doctors claimed that Dr Maheshwary was also raising his objection whenever any senior functionary of the Civil Hospital tried to misuse his or her authority or violate the norms and ethics.


Punjab needs focused attention on health, education
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
While the ''negative'' vibes of the abrogation of all old agreements on sharing of river waters in July still reverberate, much to the chagrin of Punjab, let us take a look at some quicksilver developments that have escaped public notice, as these were buried in the inside pages of newspapers.

One such development was the ''discussion'' in the Council of Ministers on September 9, when the need for focused attention was stressed on school education and health delivery systems. The real problems that beset these two important components of the state's socio-economic delivery programmes were only ''articulated''. No conclusive implementation agenda was, however, chalked out, except once again asking bureaucrats to suggest ways to reinvent the two.

The other development took place on Friday night, which echoes the state of affairs of the government and mirrors its helplessness in dealing with the prevailing mess. This was evident in the plain-speaking by two Cabinet ministers at a dinner hosted by the Chief Minister on Friday night. They were apparently facing the opposite directions.

First, about what the ministers had talked at the dinner last night. A Cabinet minister reeled off facts and figures in terms of investment and returns to reveal how ''bad'' the situation was in school education and health delivery systems. This also reflected the helplessness of the government in dealing with the situation due to ''political exigencies''. To this his colleague said that if one was to go public on such issues, the Congress would be sent packing home in the next Assembly elections. Their candid confessions showed the government's moral bankruptcy and lack of political will to govern.

The Cabinet minister, who had rued the way Punjab was shaping up and waiting for focused attention, drew the attention of newspersons around him to one more fact. He said more was required to be done to restore financial health, right-size the government, discipline public sector undertakings, make bureaucracy accountable and governance transparent. Also, the need was to inculcate political will to perform. He did not say how but went on to say that it would, indeed, be cost-effective if the

government closed down all its schools and instead paid around Rs 500 per child towards the cost of

school education. That would still be cheaper and save the government substantial financial outgo on salaries and pensions. The same way it would be economical to shut down hospitals, encourage private medicare and introduce health insurance schemes.

He wondered what useful purpose was being served by the chairperson and his 10-member Punjab Subordinate Service Selection Board when fresh recruitments were banned? Each member cost the exchequer over Rs 1 lakh per month.The same was true of several other commissions as well. Accommodation of 50-odd MLAs in boards and corporations, too, would have a cascading impact.''We have been labelled a roll-back government'', he sighed.

The situation in the Health Department was no better, where 39 per cent of the doctors remained absent from duty on any given working day. In both cases, ''poor supervision, inadequate incentives and lack of penalty mechanism for errant service providers was to blame'', says the World Bank Punjab Development Report, 2004. Yet the outgo on pay and pension in the two wings was huge.


Lights on trees violate SC order
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 11
Hundreds of acres of green strips along the GT Road the national highway and other roads here has allegedly been usurped by owners of dhabas and restaurants. Owners of marriage palaces, dhabas and restaurants have also started violating Supreme Court directions by displaying lights on trees in green strips belonging to the Punjab Forest Department.

Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act and directions of the Supreme Court specify that no forest land can be used for non-forestry purposes. Hundreds of owners of dhabas, marriage palaces, restaurants and hotels along road have allegedly been using forest land as parking lots after uprooting trees.

They have started using trees in front of their establishments by fitting imported lights on these to attract customers. These lights are a traffic hazard and these disturb the photosynthesis of the trees.

Nothing has been done by Forest Department officials in this regard. Mr A.S. Dogra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, maintains that taking note of such small things and taking preventive measures like filing of cases in courts is the job of lower-rung officials.


Khalra panel’s clean chit to Didar Singh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 11
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) yesterday gave a clean chit to Didar Singh Dari an alleged activist of the Babbar Khalsa who was arrested in connection with the murder of Baba Jagtar Singh, head granthi of Dera Akal in Tarn Taran.

The five- member committee alleged that he was falsely implicated in the case. The committee refuted the claims of the Tarn Taran police that police from Tarn Taran bypass arrested Didar Singh. However, it said that the committee had found that he (Didar) was taken into custody by the Baba Bakala police from his village on September 3 in presence of Ratan Singh, a former sarpanch and the villagers.

The committee, which headed by Mr Harmandeep Singh Sarhali, chairman, KMC, also included Mr Virsa Singh Behla, Mr Joginder Singh Fouji, Satinder Singh Palasour and Jasbir Singh Padri.

They claimed that at the time of the murder of the dera chief Dari was in the Amritsar jail. They also claimed that a senior police official, who had personnel enmity with Dari had got false cases registered against him. The committee members demanded a judicial probe into the matter and transfer of SSP, Tarn Taran.


DC orders probe into patient’s death
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 11
Acting on a complaint, Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, has ordered an inquiry into the death of a patient, Pankaj Kumar Sharma (30), a migrant labourer from Begusarai district of Bihar, in the operating theatre of the local Civil Hospital on September 6.

Talking to TNS over the phone today, the Deputy Commissioner said the inquiry would be conducted by the Sangrur Civil Surgeon who would submit report within seven days.

On the basis of which, further proceedings would be initiated.

In his complaint against Dr Karamjit Singh, an orthopaedician in the local Civil Hospital, Mr Tilo Sharma, maternal uncle of the deceased, had alleged that before entering into the operating theatre his nephew was in high spirits but died during operation. He has held Dr Karamjit Singh responsible for his nephew’s death.

Mr Tilo Sharma has also sent a copy of the complaint to the Punjab Chief Minister for taking action against Dr Karamjit Singh.


Political might hitting power generation
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, September 11
The management of Ranjit Sagar Dam, better known as Thein dam, has come under a cloud for releasing excessive water for the Beas-Madhopur link canal in the Upper Bari Doab Canal. The water level of the reservoir has started decreasing and the dam may face closure and stop generating power in the near future.

According to sources, under a Congress politician’s instructions, the dam authorities has started releasing more than 14,000 cusecs of water, as against the 8,300 cusecs of water being released after adopting safety norms. The decision of the authorities concerned has put them under the scanner.

The dead storing level of the reservoir is 487 metres and the water level is 502.74 metres at present. With the increase in release of water, the water level of the reservoir is decreasing by 20 cm every 24 hours.

If this practice continues for about two months, the dam will stop generating power, according to a senior functionary at the dam. Mr Bhalinder Singh, Chief Engineer of the project, has feigned ignorance about the matter.


Bank organises interaction session with rice shellers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 11
Punjab National Bank had a meeting with rice shellers to enlighten them on schemes of the bank here yesterday.

As many as 100 rice sheller participated in the function. The function was presided over by senior regional manager U.K. Sharma. Speaking on the occasion Mr Sharma said that the objective of the meeting was to interact with rice shellers of the area and tell them of schemes of the bank.

He added that the bank had opened seven specialised SSI branches in the Zone with the aim of better quality of credit portfolio, expeditious delivery of credit besides providing single point for small scale industries.


Bank branches remain closed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 11
All branches of the State Bank Of Patiala in the district remained closed due to the strike of the employees. The Bank employees under the banner of All India State Bank Of Patiala Employees Federation organised a demonstration. Mr Varinder Takyar, Regional Secretary of the federation said that the strike had been observed in protest against the indifferent attitude of the management towards the demands of the employees.

He demanded that all pending compassionate ground appointments be made and all decisions taken implemented.


Verma lauds farmers for self-reliance scheme
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

(Doomchheri) Morinda, September 11
Poverty stricken farmers of four villages in Ropar district have proved that hard work can change destiny. These landless farmers not only broke the chain of poverty but also helped many others to get employment and become self reliant. To witness the achievement of the landless farmers through the self-help group scheme, the Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today visited Doomchheri village in Morinda subdivision, about 25 km from Ropar.

Just four years ago when many of the poor farmers in the region were on the brink of committing suicide following heavy debt and exploitation by moneylenders, these farmers started the self-help group with the help of the Shivalik Kshetriya Gramin Bank (SKGB). Members of the group contributed whatever little money they had and deposited it in the bank. The bank gave them loan with heavy subsidy. The loan helped the farmers to purchase land, tractors to start dairy farms or to purchase shops.

The success story of these farmers of four villages — Doomchheri, Kotli, Tajpur, Kajoli — is a lesson not only for the state but also for the whole nation. With their efforts, today there are 31 self-help groups with 370 members working in these villages.

Speaking to The Tribune Sarpanch of Doomchheri village Gurmail Singh said, “Just a few years ago we had lost all hope. Many of us were under heavy debt and unable to look after their families. The self-help group helped us to get a respectable place in society”. The group had also helped the Dalits who were being exploited by moneylenders.

While appreciating the efforts of the villagers Justice Verma said it was a perfect example of self-reliance. He said, “People should help themselves and not wait for help from any agency. In many parts of country people were facing problems because they were not willing to make efforts. He said that such groups were the true agents of change and development.


Meeting discusses contract farming
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 11
The Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation (PAFC), under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh, organised a meeting to discuss the action plan for contract farming for the rabi season (2004-2005) with focus on hyola here yesterday.

Addressing the meeting Mr Tejveer Singh said a special campaign had been launched by the state government for diversification of crops through contract farming.

It had been decided to introduce hyola (hybrid gobhi saron) for the rabi season (2004-2005).

Mr Tejveer Singh added that the PAFC would train farmers in contract farming. Seeds of this oilseed variety would be supplied through co-operative societies at the village level.

He added that for best results, this crop should be sown from October 1 to October 25. He informed that 1.25 kg seed was sufficient for sowing in one acre.

He said the PAFC would purchase it at Rs 1,600 per quintal and farmers were at a liberty to sell the crop in the open market if they got a higher price.

Mr Tejveer instructed officers of the PAFC, agriculture and co-operative societies to encourage farmers to sow this crop.


Farmers’ training camp organised
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 11
The district office of the Punjab Agro Food Grains Corporation in collaboration with the District Agriculture Department yesterday organised a farmers’ camp to impart them training about cultivation of hyola crop at Grain Market, Amloh town, in the district. More than 100 farmers attended the camp.

According to Mr Raman Arora, DM Punjab Agro, the main objective of the camp was to motivate the farmers to diversify from the traditional cycle of wheat and paddy crop and to boost the cultivation of hyola crop, which is more remunerative as compared to wheat and paddy besides being eco-friendly.

He said the corporation intend to cultivate hyola 401 hybrid variety in 200 acres in the district during the season. He said the corporation would organise such awareness camps in every block to motivate the farmers.


PCS officer Sidhu reinstated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
The Punjab Government has reinstated Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu, a senior PCS officer, who was suspended in July this year. He has joined duty in the IAS branch here, the state government today said.

Mr Sidhu, who unsuccessfully contested the SGPC elections from the Dirba constituency in Sangrur district, had sought the permission of the state government to contest the elections.

He had given an undertaking to the state government that he would not take part in any political activity while contesting the elections. He had stated that the SGPC election was a religious activity .

However, the government had ordered the suspension of Mr Sidhu taking the plea that the SGPC elections were also a political activity and no officer should take part in it.

Mr Sidhu holds a degree of doctor of philosophy in religious studies.


MC website launched
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 11
The Municipal Corporation (MC) here launched its website at a function held here today.

Mrs Preneet Kaur MP in-augurated the website-www.mcpatialaonline.org- at a function held at the MC premises here today. Mayor Vishnu Sharma, Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu, Senior Deputy Mayor Kabir Dass and all Municipal Councillors were present.

The website will help Patialvis living in foreign lands to get more information about the projects launched by the MC. Details of all 50 MCs will also be available on the website

Mrs Preneet Kaur also gave appointment letters to 18 persons whose relatives had died while on duty with the MC. Later Mrs Preneet Kaur also inaugurated a streetlighting project near the Mohindera College here.


Illegal medical camps: fraud case registered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 11
The district police has registered a case of fraud against nine persons, including three women, who were caught by the Civil Surgeon and the police while running illegal medical camps for administering hepatitis-B injections in two separate raids conducted on July 19.

Confirming this Mr Pawan Kumar Rai, SP (city-I), revealed today that a Section 420 of IPC has been added to the earlier cases registered under the Indian Medical Council Act against them at the local Rambagh police station.

The illegal camps were being held at various religious places. On a tip off a health department team led by Dr H.S. Gill, Civil Surgeon, along with Rambagh police raided the camps in the Sharifpura area.

The inquiry conducted by Mr Rai revealed that the camps, which were supposed to be run under the supervision of qualified doctors and nurses, were being held with untrained girls and boys who were found immunising children and adults. Organisers of the camp used to charge Rs 10 for preparing a card and Rs 45 to 50 for administering injections. The inquiry was conducted after a complaint was lodged by the All-India Youth Association.

However, sources revealed that no arrest has been made so far. According to sources raids have been conducted to arrest the culprits who were absconding after the additional charges of fraud were added.

Those booked include Mohammad Mukhtar, a resident of Shaibabad, Uttar Pradesh, Padamjit Singh of Jora Phatak, Rahul, Vinay of Maqboolpura, Amandeep Singh of Krishna Nagar and Vinay of Nehru Colony besides three women.

However, eyebrows were raised when the police released the accused on the same evening after the registeration of a case against the accused on July 18.


4 booked under Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 11
The police registered a case under Section 4 (A) of the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act 1955, against four cattle transporters who were involved in exporting over 600 bullocks out of the state.

According to Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, SDP, Dera Bassi, Sher Khan, Haji Iqbal Ahmed, Haidev Ali and Allias, residents of Muzzafarpur in Uttar Predesh, have been booked for transporting the bullock to the Bihar.

The four were booked on the complaint of Col (retd.) Dharamvir Singh, vice-president of Vishav Hindu Parishad, Punjab. In his complaint to the police, the complainant had alleged that the four were temporary residents of Malerkotla and camping with over 600 oxen adjacent to the Ghaggar railway station in Mubarikpur village near Dera Bassi.

He had also alleged that the oxen were to be transported for Bihar and West Bengal, states having minimum land for agriculture purpose. He also alleged that smuggling to calves and cows to Muslim countries through West Bengal border had become a major source of income for such persons.


Paedophile targets 13-yr-old boy

Lehragaga (Sangrur), September 11
A 13-year-old boy was abused sexually by a labourer in Kotralehal village under Lehragaga police station under Sangrur district yesterday.

Confirming the incident, a doctor had prepared a case file in this regard on the basis of which the Lehragaga police today registered a case under Section 377 of the IPC against the labourer, who was absconding.

The accused, Seera Singh of Gobindpura village, was working in the fields of Bhola Singh of Kotra Lehal village when he got hold of the boy and sexually assaulted him.

The seriously injured boy was taken to hospital. — UNI


Youth injured in clash
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 11
Simrat Singh, son of Mr Hardev Singh, a resident of Mustrapur, under the Dhariwal police station, was seriously injured by a sharp-edged weapon. Simrat Singh was reportedly injured in a clash between two students groups.

He was referred to Guru Nanak Hospital, Amritsar, by Dr Amandeep Singh of the Civil Hospital, here, who examined him yesterday evening. Dr Amandeep Singh said his right leg was fractured below the knee.

When contacted, some professors of Bearing Union Christian College here said recently groups of students had been roaming freely with Sharp-edged weapons in the college premises. The incident took place in the absence of the principal of the College. So far, no case has been registered.


Patwarkhana stoned
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 11
Miscreants stoned the central patwarkhana on the Banga road here around midnight. Its main door and some panes were damaged.

Revenue records of the block are kept at the patwarkhana. It is located near the city police station. A shopkeeper who passed by the patwarkhana informed revenue personnel about the incident.

The SDM and the Tehsildar visited the site today. The SDM said the revenue records were intact.

The police registered a case under various sections of the IPC. No arrest had been made so far.


Engg college alumnus selected for US conference
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 11
Navchetan Singh , an alumnus of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBE), Fatehgarh Sahib, brought laurels to his college by becoming the only student from the North to be selected for presenting a research paper at International Conference in Washington (USA).

The research paper titled “Face Recognition by Capturing Eye Illumination Spot “ was selected for publication in the IEEE Computer Society Press in the post-proceedings of the 33rd Applied Imagery and Pattern Recognition (AIPR) International Conference to be held from October 13 to 15 at Cosmos Club, Washington.

The college Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, said Navchetan Singh had also been invited by the IEEE Computer Society to attend the conference and present his research paper and deliver speech at the conference.

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