P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PSEB struggles to keep state economy moving
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Faced with a failed monsoon, forced to resort to regulatory measures and purchase power at a high cost, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is struggling to keep the wheels of the economy moving.

In Punjab 92 per cent households have access to electricity. The per capita electricity is 800 kwh per annum, against the national average of 355 kwh (financial year 2000). At least 54 per cent of all consumers, except agriculture, get metered supply.

It is known for good collections, as well. Yet, it is time the PSEB attended to its internal inefficiencies and not passed them on to consumers.

Though the PSEB has drawn up long-term measures for meeting the power shortage, the projects have a gestation period and it would take time to add more generation.

The PSEB Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, says that at least seven projects are in the pipeline with total installed capacity of 2239.7 MW. These include micro hydro-electric power, Ropar, Mukerian hydro-electric power, stage II, micro-hydel projects, Lehra Mohabat Thermal plant, stage II, Shahpur Kandi, thermal plants at coal pit head and Doraha gas project.

The earliest expected to be commissioned the micro-hydro-electricity project at Ropar (1.7 MW) in 2006, while the rest are expected to be commissioned by 2011. The power plants at Doraha and coal pit head are under active consideration.

Besides, Mr Ratra said, at least eight long-term MoUs have also been signed for generating 1347.5 MW. The projected peaking demand requirements upto 2006-07, showed a deficit of (-)38 per cent in the current and in the next year and (-) 44 per cent in 2006-07.

The growth of power sector slowed down in 1990s. The World Bank Punjab Development Report, 2004, says that compared to 8 per cent average per annum growth in installed capacity and 12 per cent in energy available in 1980s, the corresponding growth was 3.7 and 4.3 per cent, respectively.

Punjab faces at least 14 per cent energy deficit and 30 per cent peak deficit. Consequently, the PSEB has had to resort to regulatory measures like cuts to urban and rural feeders It is quite a task balancing industrial production and farm production. The present power crisis is fast beginning to cast dark shadows over economy and exports.

Mr Ratra informed that there was a turnaround in the financial position of the state in the last two years, which was evident from the fact that ‘’we purchased power worth Rs 1,250 crore from April to August from our resources’’.

The PSEB has had two tariff orders issue by the State Electricity Regulatory Authority, while it awaits the third one for which the commission has issued public notice. In the current financial year the average tariff increased by 6 per cent to 13 per cent for different consumers, except agriculture.

In fact the plan resource committee report is gathering dust in government cupboards since March last, wherein it has strongly recommended against supply of free or subsidised power to any section of consumers, including farmers.


Kashmiri Pandits approach SGPC for rehabilitation 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 16
A delegation of Kashmiri Pandits today approached Akal Takht and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for seeking help in their rehabilitation.
Quoting the sacrifice of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur, who sacrificed his life for saving Kashmiri Pandits, the delegation members urged the Sikhs and people of Punjab to come forward and pressurise the Jammu and Kashmir and Central governments to rehabilitate them.

They had tied their mouths with black strips in protest against the indifferent attitude of governments towards the community.

“We have come to the court of people to seek help in order to pressurise the governments,” said R.K. Bhatt, president of the Steering Committee of the Youth Wing of the All-India Kashmir Samaj (AIKS), who along with his delegation was on a ‘padyatra’, which reached Amritsar today.

The “padyatra” was started on September 12 from Jammu and will culminate at Parliament, Delhi. They will meet the President, Prime Minister and other prominent leaders in this regard. They will present memorandum to them seeking the attention towards their community.

Mr R.K. Bhatt said the governments had forgotten the Kashmiri Pandits. He said three to four lakh members of their community living in exile for 15 years was shame on the Indian democracy. He said the Indian democracy and Indian leadership had failed to defend the fundamental rights of Kashmiri Pandits. They had also failed to protect their lives and properties.

“Who will ensure our survival and who was to be blamed for their mass exodus and ‘possible extinction?,” he questioned.

He said the so-called healing touch policy of the Jammu and Kashmir Government included terrorists and victims of terrorism but not Kashmiri Pandits. He said the unemployed youths of their community were not being taken into consideration for any jobs. He alleged the youths were not given any quota in educational institutions. They were forced to study in lanes and streets.

They demanded a special employment package for Kashmiri migrant youths in the state and central departments, interest-free special loan facilities, release of 100 per cent ex-gratia relief against damage to property and houses and enhancement of relief minimum to Rs 5000 per month.

They demanded that the Central Government should start regular dialogue with Kashmiri Pandit youth leaders for their permanent rehabilitation. 


Visually challenged seek arrest of SGPC member
Tribune News Service

Chhehrta, September 16
Visually challenged persons today staged a demonstration outside the police station here in protest against failure of the police to arrest Mr Baldev Singh, an SGPC member who was booked on the charge of molesting the wife of a ‘raagi’ (also visually challenged).

The Chhehrta police had registered a case against the SGPC member on the complaint of Mr Manjit Kaur, wife of ‘raagi’ Ranjit Singh — an employee of the SGPC on September 7. The alleged victim and her husband also visited the Akal Takht secretariat to narrate the incident before the jathedar personally but found the door locked. Later, they went to Akal Takht. Mrs Manjit Kaur claimed that she, along with her family members, visited Akal Takht as per the demand of Mr Baldev Singh. The SGPC member had stated that he (Baldev Singh ) was ready to face any action in case the complainant and her husband repeated the allegations in front of Akal Takht.

Meanwhile , the SGPC member who was also spotted in the SGPC complex again reiterated that he was innocent and was being implicated as part of deep-rooted conspiracy . He said one member of the fact-finding committee, constituted by SAD (A) had lost the SGPC election against him and hence wanted to finish him politically.

Mr Daya Singh Kakkar , a SAD (Amritsar) leader who was also member of the two member fact-finding committee which had already indicted Mr Baldev Singh, alleged that the police was putting off the arrest of Mr Baldev Singh due to his political connections. Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa, another leader of SAD (Amritsar) said it was unfortunate that the Inspector-General of Police (Border Range) had stated that Mr Baldev Singh could not be arrested as the police did not get any concrete evidence to prove the involvement of the SGPC member in the molestation case.

Jathedar of Akal Takht and SAD (Badal) had already indicated that no action could be initiated against the SGPC member till he was proved guilty by the appropriate authorities.

Meanwhile, the SAD (Amritsar) alleged that the victim was being pressurised to withdraw the case. What is worse, the alleged accused was not being summoned at the police station to join the investigation. It is intriguing that the alleged accused himself met Mr S.K. Sharma, IG (Border Range) after registration of the case.


Assets case: Badals file SLP in Supreme Court
Maneesh Chhibber

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Rajya Sabha MP Sukhbir Badal, have filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court.
They have challenged the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court through which it dismissed the petitions filed by them against the power of Special Judge, Ropar, S.K. Goel in hearing the disproportionate assets cases involving them.

One of the main contentions raised by the petitioners was that the permission of the High Court had not been taken by the government while issuing the notification on November 17, 2003, appointing Mr Goel as Special Judge to hear their case.

On September 2, the Division Bench of Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Amar Dutt had dismissed petitions moved by Mr Badal, Sukhbir, former ministers Tota Singh, Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Sohan Singh Thandal in this regard.

In its order, the Bench noted that the special Judge had the jurisdiction to try the case.

It also observed that proper permission had been taken from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker for booking Mr Badal. Anticipating filing of the SLP by the Badals and others, the Punjab Government has already filed a caveat in the SC.

In their SLP, the father-son duo has also sought staying of the proceedings in the Ropar court against them.

One of the main claims of the petitioners in moving the SLP is that the High Court has given a "patently erroneous judgement" on the question of sanction required to start legal proceedings against Mr Badal and Sukhbir.

The petitioners assert that while in the case of Mr Badal, presently Leader of the Opposition, the sanction of Governor was a must, in the case of Sukhbir, who was a Rajya Sabha MP at the time of institution of case, permission should have been taken from Vice-President of India, who is Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, before start of the case.

The petitioners have also questioned the validity of the High Court judgement on the ground that it heard the matter without a counter affidavit being filed by either the Punjab Government or Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who had been made party by name in the writ.

Meanwhile, Akali Dal sources said that SLPs would also be filed soon by Mr Tota Singh, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, both of whom had also challenged the authority of Mr Goel in hearing the cases registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau against them. 


Badal hits out at Central Govt
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 16
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and president of SAD (B), has blamed the Centre for what he called chaotic situation in the state. “The trend of shifting industries to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir will ruin the state’s economy and create unemployment in Punjab”, he said while talking to mediapersons here yesterday. He said Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, had miserably failed on all fronts.

He said Captain Amarinder Singh had failed to retain the oil refinery and tractor manufacturing units in Punjab.

Referring to the financial crisis of the state, Mr Badal said according to the Principal Secretary, Finance, the state government could not issue a cheque for Rs 4,500, as there was no money.

He alleged that Rs 4500 crore given by the Reserve Bank of India for foodgrain procurement had been by diverted towards committed expenditure, salaries, pension and repayment of interest.

Referring to byelections in the state, he said. The SAD (B) would field its candidate in Kapurthala and the BJP in Garhshanker, he added.


Hostages did not see sun for 42 days
Iraqi captors fell for the kurta-pajama
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Una/Ropar, September 16
They left a little bit of Punjab in Iraq, but forgot to bring what was offered to them by the Iraqis.
It was their 30th day in captivity, recalls Sukhdev Singh, when the Iraqi militants questioned them on their dress — the ubiquitous kurta-pajama.

Probably, the militants who had kidnapped truckkers Sukhdev, Antaryami and Tilak Raj, were intrigued by the cut of the apparel and the comfort that it provided their prisoners. Recalls Sukhdev, “They asked many questions about the dress and after examining our kurta-pajamas, they called a tailor. He was asked to stitch a dress each for them. It created a sense of brotherhood amongst us. We were happy that they had adopted a small portion of the Punjabi way of life.”

The hostages, who returned to their native villages in Una and Ropar recently, said the militants treated them well. But there were terrifying moments as well as their life was continuously under threat. “The Iraqi militants suggested to us to seek solace in the Almighty by praying to Allah,” says Sukhdev..

“Your enemies do not give you parting gifts but the fact that the Iraqi militants did not mean any harm to us was evident from the fact that they gave us the Holy Koran on our release. It proves that they were good people who have been compelled by circumstances to fight for the cause they believe in,” says Sukhdev Singh while talking to The Tribune in Makrona Kala village in Ropar.

“The militants would give us bun and butter for breakfast while there was always mutton, rice and Iraqi roti for lunch and dinner. They tried to provide us with the best possible in those circumstances. They did not smoke but provided me cigarettes. They asked me to smoke inside the bathroom so that others did not get disturbed. Not even once did they treat us badly. We were kept in comfortable air conditioned rooms” says Tilak Raj sitting in his native Dharampur village in Una.

“Whenever my eyes were filled with tears and I could not speak anything, they hugged me tightly and tried to console me. But I was quite grief-stricken. During the first few days, I always had a prayer on my lips. Initially, we were hesitant to talk to each other but during the later stages, the seven of us (three Indians and four other nationals) came very close notwithstanding the barrier of nationality, culture and language.

“The militants gave us the Holy Koran when they were releasing us. But the three of us did not have any bags. We kept the Koran in the Egyptian hostage’s bag. I regret that when we were sent to our Embassy, we forgot to take back it,” he adds.

It was on their release after 42 days that they had the first glimpse of the sun. They were shifted from one place to another five times during their captivity. They were blindfolded and the relocation took place only at night. They were kept in rooms that had no access to the outside world.

All they could assume was that they were in Fallujha which is a stronghold of the militants. In captivity, they had access to television and they kept themselves occupied by watching the cartoon network. Though television was their only link to the outside world, language was a big hurdle as all the channels were Arabic.

However, when it came to communication between the hostages and the captors, it was the Egyptian hostage, Mohammad Ali, and Indian Tilak Raj who proved useful. Mohammad Ali, who could speak Arabic fluently, could converse with the militants and convey their orders to the other hostages. Tilak Raj, who had learnt a little Arabic during his seven-month stay in Iraq, helped his two Indian friends.

“During our entire stay there, the militants kept reassuring us that they will never kill us. But, at that point of time, we were not willing to believe them. Though we could not understand what was being shown on the Al Arabic channel on television, at times I could see my family members agitating and pressing upon the Indian government to ensure our release. We had lost all count of time and sleep eluded us. We kept reassuring each other though in our hearts of heart each one of us had lost all hope,” says Antaryami, who is still tense even after his return to his village Dehlan in Una.

“The nearest I came close to death was when I was whisked away for taking video footage with a gun held against my forehead. But, in fact, the militants had already explained to other hostages that they were taking me as I was the most emotional and sensitive person and fear could be seen writ large on my face,” narrates Antaryami.

“The militants who were keeping a tab on the reaction and developments world over were aware that it was Antaryami’s family in Una which was creating the maximum ruckus and trying every possible tactic to build up pressure on the government. It was for this very reason that they flashed the video footage of Antaryami and issued a deadline that the hostages would be killed if their demands were not accepted,” says Sukhdev Singh.


Transfers, postings MLAs’ only occupation
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
If it is pungent odour of urine right from the ramshackle reception gate to the end of the parking shed, it is the eerie silence that greets the visitors inside the Punjab Civil Secretariat here, where it is rare to find a minister or bureaucrat. Such is the security environment that the ordinary public prefers to keep away from visiting this seat of the government.

Though it was the same along the desolate reception, it was, however, different inside the Secretariat today, where TNS came across a Parliamentary Secretary, a newly appointed chairperson of a corporation and some bureaucrats. During a casual conversation with them, it transpired that seeking posting or transfer had become a whole time occupation of elected representatives, the deadline for the same notwithstanding. But a more shocking revelation was yet to come when they said frequent transfers had become a lucrative business in departments that were staff-intensive. Interestingly, most of the transfers were not in public interest but in the interest of only the employees. Their candid admission was: ''Public issues have been put on the back-burner as there is nothing we can offer. Seemingly, all of us, the elected representatives, are only for the employees and not the public that actually votes and elects us''.

After that shocking revelation, TNS made enquiries in the Health Department and with representatives of the doctors' associations. Here is a typical case. A doctor retired as Director, Heath and Family Welfare, on July 31. The minister wanted further extension in his service after his superannuation or re-employment. The Chief Minister signed the note put up to him. When the file went to the Secretary concerned, he got the file examined only to discover that the man had remained suspended for 16 long years and was even dismissed. He was, however, reinstated by the Supreme Court. Consequently, the Chief Minister in consultation with the Chief Secretary later rejected the earlier extension that he had given to that doctor.

More shocking, said informed sources, was the fact that he continues to be on ''active duty'' with the minister, much to the consternation of the department as well as the doctors' association and plays a key role in effecting postings and transfers.

There are other reports as well that a minister does not order any posting and transfer without a ''price-tag'' even if the application request is recommended by the boss, they added in a chorus. There was no way a verbal request by a colleague or MLA would be entertained, revealed the political gentlemen.

The existing chaos in the appointment of law officers is a typical example of the clout the politicians and bureaucrats wielded. One politician remarked that there be an exception or two but almost all Superintendents of Police or Deputy

Superintendent-level officers in the districts had the support of more than one or two MLAs or ministers. Some non-IPS SSPs were not far behind.

Frequent transfers at the senior level impinges on policy-making and had a negative impact on the governance. The need, the politicians admitted, was to ''depoliticise'' motivated transfers.


Elections of two panchayat members cancelled
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
In an unprecedented move, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Election Tribunal, while cancelling the elections of two panchayat members of Jhumba village of this district today, also recommended action against the returning officer concerned.

Disposing of an election petition filed by Mr Narinder Singh, a defeated candidate, he held that the elections of the two panchayat members — Fakir Singh and Gurcharan Singh — were void. He also recommended legal action against the returning officer, Mr S.K. Goyal, Executive Engineer, Punjab State Tubewell Corporation, to the Principal Secretary, Irrigation.

Information revealed that in the ballot papers which were printed for the panchayat elections, the names of Narinder Singh and Fakir Singh, were deliberately printed as Mohinder Singh and Jasvir Singh, respectively.

This was done to favour other candidates. The ballot papers were printed under the observation of Mr Goyal.

Mr Sinha said the elections for the two seats would be held again. 


PCC upset at CPM poll announcement
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 16
The Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) has taken exception to the unilateral decision of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) announcing its candidate for the Garshankar Assembly byelection. It is understood to have made it clear to the party high command that in case the seat was given to the left, it may not be easy to win it.

“It will simply amount to handing over the seat to the BJP”, a Congress leader said here.

The PCC leadership and the Chief Minister are likely to raise the issue with the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherji, who is the party in charge for Punjab, during his scheduled visit to the state.

The PCC says the left has been continuously losing the seat and it would be better to give the Congress a chance to reclaim it from the Akali-BJP alliance.

The Garshankar seat fell vacant after the sitting MLA, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, was elected to Parliament from Hoshiarpur.

With only a month left for the byelections to the two Assembly seats of Garshankar and Kapurthala, the PCC seems to have got down to serious business of allocating assignments for the byelections. It has conveyed to its cadres in all districts, including MLAs and councillors, to prepare themselves for the two byelections which mean “life and death” for the Punjab Government.

It is learnt that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has initiated the process of identifying workers and leaders who would be deputed at these two places. The working of these leaders would be monitored on a day-to-day basis. The party is learnt to have identified booths in these Assembly segments.

Each MLA and Minister will be assigned a particular number of booths. It will be a high-pitched campaign led by the Chief Minister himself to ensure that there is no sabotage from within.

Local Congress leaders say they have been asked to prepare a list of active workers who can be assigned responsibilities. Since the elections will be held under the media glare everything is expected to be done in a transparent manner.


M.P. Mann BJP candidate for Garhshankar seat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Mr Mohinder Pal Mann will be the BJP’s candidate for the Garhshankar Assembly byelection to be held on October 13. This was announced today by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP. Mr Khanna said that Mr Mann’s name, who belongs to a farmer family, had been cleared by the party High Command which met in Delhi this morning.

Mr Khanna said that Mr Mann was an aspirant for the party ticket from Garshankar in 1997 and again in 2002. However, then he could not be accommodated.

He was working in the party for the past one decade or so. Mr Khanna said that Mr Mann belonged to Kukkar Majra village near Pojewal in Hoshiarpur district.


Mob burns household goods, motor cycle of ‘rapist’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 16
Irked over alleged threats by family members of an alleged rapist of a five-year-old girl to other residents of the area, a group of residents of Quila Mohalla went berserk and made repeated unsuccessful bids to put the house of the alleged rapist on fire. The most of household goods and a motor cycle of the accused’s family were burnt by the mob after putting kerosene on these.

Vir Partap, a young resident of the Quila Mohalla locality, who had allegedly raped a five-year-old daughter of his neighbour yesterday, was arrested today by the local police on the basis of allegations made against him.

The situation went out of control today when family members of Vir Partap allegedly threatened some neighbours in connection with the case and the effort was retaliated by some youths, who, not only turned violent and made a bid to put the house of the accused on fire but also roped in a Youth Congress leader. They took out household goods and a motor cycle from the house of the accused and burnt these with the help of kerosene on the road.

Apparently dreaded by the mood of the violent mob, shopkeepers of Quila Bazaar and Bhairon Bazaar put down shutters of their establishments. The mobsters, however, spared family members of the accused and allowed them to leave the house during their efforts to put the house on fire.

The situation was brought under control only when SHO Satinder Kumar and DSP Charanjit Singh reached the spot with police force and warned the mob not to resort to violence. The entire area was cordoned off, while some youths and residents of the area have been booked under Sections 307, 452, 436, 379, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC.


Dhar residents protest against inadequate drinking water
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Donera (Gurdaspur), September 16
The anger of the people of Dhar subdivision against the non-availability of drinking water today spilled on to roads. Hundreds of residents of the area, including women, held a protest rally and sat on a dharna in front of the office of the Public Health Department.

The agitated residents led by former BJP minister Mohan Lal initially gathered in Donera, about 50 km from Pathankot. They organised a march raising slogans against the Punjab Government and later sat on a dharna in the front of the office local SDO Public Health.

Addressing a large gathering, Mr Mohan Lal alleged that the entire Dhar subdivision, which was one of the most backward areas of the state, was facing acute water shortage. Many areas like Salti, Bar Sudal, Bhanguri, Marva and Patralva received drinking water just for one hour after three to four days.

To add to the woes of the people, the Department of Public Health has issued notices to the panchayats to deposit Rs 70 per stand post in the area. Being a semi-hilly area, the people here hardly have any source of income from agriculture. Besides there is no source of employment in the area.

Ms Anita Pathania, Sarpanch of Bhanguri village, said even after 50 years of Independence, women of the area had to walk 5 to 10 km to get drinking water from natural resources or the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake.

Ms Gurjeet Kaur, another Sarpanch, alleged that instead of providing drinking water to more villages the Department of Public Health, had ordered uprooting of many stand posts to victimise certain persons politically.

The protestors today announced at the rally that they would not pay the enhanced bills of drinking water stand posts till the supply of drinking water was adequate. They also submitted a memorandum to the SDO, Public Health.

The Public Health Department officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Cabinet had approved the policy of charging bills from stand posts last year. The department did not press upon the people to pay bills in remote areas like Dhar Kalan.

Now, however, an audit objection had arisen and it was estimated that the department had lost Rs 22.58 lakh in the last financial year due to non-recovery of water bills. So they were forced to issue notices to the people of the area for the recovery of bills.

Sources revealed that the NABARD drinking water schemes in the area were designed to supply 70 litres of water (per capita) in the area. However, some of the tubewells had failed despite crores being spent on them. The government had not ordered any inquiry till date to find out the reasons for the failure of tubewells.


Only three doctors for 42 villages
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Nihalsinghwala (Moga), September 16
Punjab may have got the best state award recently, but the health services in its rural areas belie all surveys. In this tehsil, which has over 40 villages, there are only three doctors and dispensaries.

A married couple has turned the health sub-centre in Madheke, into their home, while the staff of the Primary Health Centre, at Patto Hira Singh like to be outdoors fearing that the roof could give in any time.

When this correspondent visited these villages, some startling facts came to the fore. When an old man was asked about the government health centre at Madheke village he was taken aback and asked “Whom you want to meet?” The reason behind the query became clear on reaching the dilapidated health sub-centre surrounded by heaps of dung.

A villager said the centre was set up about 15 years ago, but most of the time it remained closed and there was only one health worker who used to visit the village once in a while.

Surprisingly, a married couple was staying at the sub-centre whose windows and doors were infested with termite. There was a bed there and pictures of gods and goddesses adorned the walls.

Sources said the couple was had been staying with the consent of the sarpanch. However, the sarpanch, Chhinder Singh, and other panchayat members denied the same.

At the Primary Health Centre of Patto Hira Singh, the staff was sitting outside and the rooms were gathering dust. The employees said they feared that the roof would collapse anytime.

There has been no doctor in the centre for the past 10 years. There are two pharmacists, a staff nurse and two health workers, all of whom attend to 15-20 patients a day. The emergency ward of the centre has a bed and a cot, which is mostly used by the watchman.

There was no staff member at the dispensary of Rauke Kalan village. A man present there said the pharmacist had gone out on some personal work while the nurses had to attend a camp at Badhani Kalan. Sources said there had been no doctor at the dispensary for the past three-four years.

Village dispensaries that don’t have any doctor include Lopo, Bilaspur, Machhike, Rauke Kalan, Dina Sahib, Rauta, Patto Hira Singh, Rania and Saidoke. Residents of these villages, turn to the Nihalsinghwala Community Health Centre, which is also facing a staff crunch. The centre has six posts of doctor, out of which four are lying vacant. There is no dentist, gynaecologist, orthopaedist, or ENT specialist in the hospital.

There is only one pharmacist and the doctor who performs an operation doubles as anaesthetist.

“Though there are five nurses, we face problems as the hospital runs round the clock. Many a time, the pharmacist is on night duty in place of a nurse,” said Dr Chaman Lal, the officiating SMO. He said two years ago he was the only doctor there. The hospital never had more than two doctors at a time. The state of the emergency ward was also pathetic, while the corridor of the ground floor was serving as a parking lot for the employees.

An other hospital in the tehsil is located at Badhani Kalan. It was built with public support at the cost of Rs 2 crore but it has not been upgraded even to the Primary Health Centre level. It has only one doctor, that too an eye specialist. Out of the three blocks of this hospital, only one is being used.

When contacted, the CMO, Mr S.K. Bansal, admitted that the posts of doctor were lying vacant.


Operation theatres not functional since August
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
A number of patients, who are in need of immediate surgery, have been left with no other option than to get treatment from private surgeons by paying through their nose as both operation theatres of the local Civil Hospital have been closed for about a month, after infection spread in it due to leakage of underground sewerage pipes.

Official sources said the Civil Hospital authorities were conducting surgeries in accident and other emergency cases in its operation theatre set up in the gynaecology ward. Those patients, who were in need of general surgeries, had been refused for the past one week or so.

The sources added that the authorities were expecting that the operation theatres would start functioning normally by the end of this month. The repair were going on a war footing round the clock so that these could be put to use for patients at the earliest.

Not only this, the local Civil Hospital and other health centres, being run by the Punjab Government and the Punjab Health System Corporation in this district, were facing acute shortage of doctors and members of paramedical staff thus affecting their functioning.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that about 90 posts of doctors were lying vacant against the sanctioned strength of 190 in various hospitals, dispensaries and community health centres in this district. Apart from it, more than 80 posts of nurses, including staff nurses had been lying vacant in this district. The blood bank at Rampura Phul had not been working properly as the post of Blood Transfusion Officer (BTO) was lying vacant. Similarly, the operation theatre of the Civil Hospital, Talwandi Sabo, had become virtually useless as the only surgeon, which was posted here, had been transferred to some other hospital.

The Civil Hospital alone had been facing shortage of 10 doctors and about 35 nurses, including staff nurses. The functioning of X-ray wing of the hospital had been badly affected as the only radiologist had left the job recently. It was also causing trouble in the handling of medico-legal cases. Due to an acute shortage of staff, the district health authorities had been finding it difficult to meet its annual targets in various national and state-level health programmes.

The sources said financial health of the Civil Hospital was also not good as the authorities had been finding it difficult to arrange money for meeting the liabilities of electricity and telephone bills.

Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, said he had been trying his best to reform the functioning of all health centres by bringing the level of corruption to zero and making their functioning transparent. He added that he had taken up the matter pertaining to the staff shortage with the higher authorities.


Staging street plays to educate farmers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 16
Street plays have become a popular medium to bring awareness among residents of this subdivision. Earlier, the plays were aimed at promoting literacy in rural areas, fighting dowry, drugs, child marriage and other social evils but now artistes from Punjab Agriculture University are performing in villages to bring awareness among cotton-growers about the negative effects of insecticides.

Mr Surender Kumar Jakhar, Chairman of the Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperatives, had earlier sponsored seminars to educate farmers but he felt that street plays were a more effective medium.

Street plays directed by local stage masters, including Surender Narula (Aks), Gaurav Vij (Sparsh) and Vikas Batra (Natrang) have been attracting a good audience.

Natrang had recently performed plays on land mines in villages located along the Indo-Pak border, that had caused many deaths.

PAU scientists feel that most of the pest-management failures in cotton had occurred due to the development of insecticide-resistance pests. To counter this problem, a national-level project on insecticides resistance management was initiated.

To attract more farmers, PAU artistes had a play titled “Sambhal Samajh Karhee Keet Nashak ka Upyog-ek Mukti Marg,” directed by Dr Anil Sharma, and had won the first prize of Rs 40,000 at a the national competition organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Department for International Development, UK, at Nagpur. The play gives a potential message on the judicious use of insecticides.

The play was staged during farmers’ training camps at Rajpura and Bhangala villages of this subdivision.

Mr Nahar Singh Mavi, Area Manager, IFFCO, hoped it will help in promoting qualitative and balanced use of insecticides and fertilisers among the cotton-growers who had suffered due to frequent attacks by American bollworm.


Covering 30 km to fetch water
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, September 16
Residents of this town and the villages falling in this sub-division have been facing drought-like conditions. To quench their thirst, the residents have started fetching water from the Bhakra main line (BML) canal passing from the area in Haryana and bordering Talwandi Sabo sub-division by covering more than 20 to 30 km every day.

Officials of the Public Health Department have made a request to officials of the Irrigation Department to release water in canals and distributaries immediately.

Almost all villages have been facing an acute shortage of water for the past two weeks. They are finding it difficult to get water from the storage tanks of the water works as they have started drying up.

Information revealed that a section of residents had also started cashing in on the situation as they had started selling water in villages by fetching it from the BML canal on tractor and trailers. Those who could not purchase water, were consuming underground water which has been declared unfit for consumption.

Mr S.S. Gill, SDO, Public Health, who along with officials of the Public Health Department, toured the affected villages, said the main supply to the water works was from the Talwandi Sabo and Bahini distributaries.

Talwandi Sabo and Bahini distributaries had been getting no water for the past many-days due to a fall in the level of the Gobind Sagar of Bhakra Dam, the water works being fed by these distributaries were drying up.

He said as per information, the water in Talwandi Sabo and Bahini distributaries would not be released for about 15 days more.

Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, SDM, Talwandi Sabo, said there was no evidence of water being sold in villages. He said he had asked public health officials to provide potable water to the residents.


Temple may ban Hindu Sena chief

Amritsar, September 16
The management committee of the Durgiana temple is contemplating to declare the president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena persona non grata on the temple premises.

Mr Surinder Arjun, working president of the committee, said the two, Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, Sena chief, and Mr S.S. Sharma might be debarred from entering the premises owing to their alleged “anti-temple activities”. A meeting of the temple management held here yesterday, chaired by Mr Gopi Chand Bhatia, president, called for action against the two for indulging in “anti-temple activities”.

Mr Billa, who could not be contacted, had earlier refuted the allegations. — OC


Alexander’s bid to prove loyalty to Gandhi clan: Badungar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 16
The former SGPC president and senior Akali leader Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, today accused Mr P.C. Alexander of rubbing salt on the wounds of Sikh in his autobiography, “Through the Corridors of Power”.

Mr Alexander was Principal Secretary to Mrs Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister, when Operation Bluestar was undertaken in 1984.

After addressing a congregation here, Prof Badungar said Mr Alexander had tried to pass the buck with his observation in the book that the decision for a commando action, instead of a siege of the Golden Temple, to flush out terrorists was taken by Generals in command at the eleventh hour.

Mr Alexander was trying to prove his loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family by attempting to put a lid on the “misdeeds” of the family and their “anti-Sikh” approach.

He asked Mr Alexander as to how could an Army General dare a decision as Operation Bluestar when Mrs Gandhi was considered a very powerful Prime Minister.

He reminded Mr Alexander that Army exercises for attack on the Golden Temple were conducted several months in advance by making a gigantic model of the Golden Temple and Operation Bluestar was finally ordered with the approval of Mrs Gandhi.

He asked Mr Alexander why he had kept mum over the “Congress-sponsored” Sikh carnage in 1984 after the assassination of Mrs Gandhi.


When cops had to eat the humble pie
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 16
The challan-happy traffic police had for once to eat a humble pie.
Advocate S.N. Aggarwal, a former president of the Bar Association here, was challaned on April 21 last year near old Sabzi Mandi at the Banga road under Section 119 of the Motor Vehicle Act. The challan (no. 1343) accused Mr Aggarwal of disobeying the traffic signal and not complying with the directions given by the police on duty.

The traffic police summoned the advocate and let him off on bail on a personal bond of Rs 1000.

However, the lawyer pleaded not guilty in court. The prosecution failed to examine a single witness. The court repeatedly summoned ASI Jagdish Singh but he failed to turn up.

Eventually, Mrs Ramesh Kumari, Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Phagwara, closed the case and acquitted Mr Aggarwal of the charges, declaring the surety bond stood discharged and directing the traffic cops to return the RC of the motor car to Mr Aggarwal, it was learnt.


Sheikh Farid drama festival begins
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 16
The seventh Sheikh Farid National Punjabi Drama Festival was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, here last evening.
About 15 troupes from various parts of the state are participating in the festival. The festival will conclude on Saturday.

The festival started with a drama “Armana di Kabar”, presented by Om Theatre Group, Moga. The play was based on the story of a childless couple, who adopts a child. Later, misled by some sadhus, they sacrifice the child to have one of their own. However, things does not turn out as they were told and they regret sacrificing the child.

Another play “Satti Veehin Sau”, staged by Creative Eye Theatre and Films, Sangrur, showed how big nations make smaller nations fight to establish their hegemony in the world and protect their own interests. Sirjna Art Group, Raikot, presented “Neero di Bansuri”, which portrayed the need to strengthen Indo-Pak friendship through people-to-people contact and defeat the forces working against it.


Theatre fest begins today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 16
“Television has nearly gobbled up the audiences of not only cinema but also theatre.
These days people prefer soft and easy entertainment,” lamented noted director Mohan Maharishi from Delhi, who is here to stage his play “Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch” for the national theatre festival to commence here from tomorrow.

As many as 10 theatre groups from India and abroad will participate in the festival from September 17 to 26. Well-known theatre groups from Jammu, Lahore, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Mohali, Lucknow, Haryana and Delhi will be participating in the 10-day festival. 


Govt lab technician beaten up

Gurdaspur, September 16
A laboratory technician of government hospital, Kanuwan, Mr Kuldeep China, was beaten up and injured allegedly by henchmen of private clinical laboratories yesterday.

Hospital staff today observed a two-hour strike in protest against the attack on their laboratory technician. The injured technician is now admitted to a hospital. Private clinical laboratory owners had been pressing him not to conduct all clinical tests at the government laboratory, he said. He did not succumb to their pressure.

Doctors of the Kanuwan hospital have written to the Civil Surgeon, Gurdaspur, to take up the matter with the higher authorities of the police. — TNS


Protest by Balmik Samaj
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 16
A large number of protesters belonging to the Balmik Samaj today held a noisy demonstration and a rally against the Punjab Government failure to release Rs 1 crore for Balmik Tirath at Amritsar. A memorandum was presented to the local authorities.

The protest march started from Balmik Mohalla, passed through various bazars and the bus stand before converging into a rally at the SDM’s court. The protesters claimed that the Chief Minister had promised in November last that Rs 1 crore would be released for the temple and its sarovar. However, the money had not so far been released. Balmik Tirath is a historical temple.


Retd Havildar awarded for bravery
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 16
Vajra Corps honoured a retired Havildar for his act of bravery at a function held here today. Havildar Kamla Prasad, a non-commissioned officer, has been working in the Military Hospital at Amritsar. On January 29, 2003, this unsung hero had saved life of a child when his neighbour’s house caught fire. He had sustained severe burn injuries in the process.

Mr Kamla Prasad retired from service prior to the announcement of award on Independence Day this year, when he had received Jeevan Raksha Medal from the Central Government for displaying exceptional courage.

During the ceremony held today, he was awarded a medal and a cash award of Rs 30,000 from Lt-Gen P.K. Singh, GOC, Vajra Corps.


Two die after inhaling poisonous gas
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 16
Two employees died while two others were seriously ill today following the leakage of poisonous gas from the sewerage plant of the MilkFed factory, situated at Jhinjdi village in Anadpur Sahib.

The incident took place when the sewerage plant of the factory was chocked and the employees went into the main hole to find out the cause of the blockage.

The two employees-Surjit Singh and Inderpal Singh-were the first who went into the hole and did not return. When the other two, Dharam Pal and Amandeep, entered into the main hole to find the missing employees, they also got exposed to the toxic gases.


Work starts on Jal Dhara project
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 16
Work under a Central scheme, Swai Jal Dhara, was started at Majatri village here today which was inaugurated by the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh.
The project, costing Rs 24.33 lakh, was likely to be completed in the first week of December and two villages: — Mazatri and Makran — would benefit from his. Almost 1666 persons living in both the villages would start getting 40 litres of water per head per day after the work gets completed.

At present they were being given only 10 litres of water per head per day.

An NRI, Mr Baldev Singh, gave Rs 2.60 lakh for the project. Under the scheme 10 per cent of the total cost of the project has to be pooled in by villagers.


Students collect Rs 80,000 for SOS village
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 16
The students of the junior wing of Yadavindra Public School, Patiala, have raised Rs 80,000 for the SOS Children’s Village, Rajpura, under a ‘Child caring for Child’ programme.

The SOS village had approached the school to help organise a ‘Young Ambassadors’ programme, wherein students were motivated to collect donations.

The largest amount collected by a single student was Rs 10,000, which was submitted by Seherinder Kaur.


Mozambique envoy meets Singla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
A delegation led by Dr Sergio Vieira, Member of Mozambque Parliament and Director General of Zambezi Valley Development Area and Mr Carlos Agostinho do Rasario, High Commissioner to India, met Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, here today.

They explore the possibilities for sending progressive farmers form Punjab to Mozambique to spread entrepreneurship skills and technology among their farmers.


Girl’s body taken out of canal

Patiala, September 16
The body of an undergraduate student of the Government College for Girls here, who was missing since September 10, was taken out of the Bhakra canal at Khanauri last night. The mystery over the disappearance of the girl Amandeep was solved when the body of her lover Deep Singh also surfaced in the canal today. The girl’s father Mohan Singh had registered a case against Deep Singh. TNS


Arrangements for Pak delegates

Chandigarh, September 16
The Punjab Government has set up an office at Sector 36 Technical Bhavan to monitor the arrangements being made to facilitate delegates from Pakistan and other countries attending the World Punjabi Conference scheduled to be held for three days at Patiala from December 1. — OC


5 get life term for dowry death

Moga, September 16
Additional Sessions Judge Sukhdev Singh has convicted and sentenced five members of a family to life imprisonment on the charge of murdering a married woman on September 2, 1999, at Badhnikalan in the district.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each and in case of default all accused would have to further undergo imprisonment for six months.

The accused are Vijay Kumar, Bhim Sein, Bal Krishan (all brothers), Kamla Jain (mother) and Raj Bala, wife of Bhim Sein.

According to the prosecution, Kavita Rani was married to Vijay Kumar in 1996 and since then her husband and the family members were harassing her for more money from her parents. When she failed to bring any cash, the accused murdered her by strangulating her with an electric wire. — PTI


Capt welcomes venture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today welcomed the initiative of Bharti Enterprises Ltd. in state’s agricultural economy.

Just as the way Punjab had taken the lead in ushering in the Green Revolution, the same way, with Bharti Enterprises coming forward, Punjab was poised to lead the country in agri-farming and processing that would provide farmers a new linkage with the world markets, he said.

The intended purpose of the venture was “value addition’’ to farm produce and it would make farming remunerative and sustainable.

Capt. Amarinder Singh expected a warm response from the farming community to such a private initiative in the strong-arm of the state’s economy.


Attendance check continues in offices
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 16
Officials, apart from employees, were found absent from offices during a checking conducted by the SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, here today.
The checking started from the Forest Range Office of the Forest Department where the SDM reached at 9.07 a.m. The Forest Range Officer, Mr Naresh Mahajan, was not available in the office though almost all staff members, including the block officer, were present. 

Those available in the office told the SDM that no attendance register or movement register was being maintained in the office. The SDM reached the office of the Punjab State Electricity Board at 9.10 a.m. Though the SDO was present in the office, five employees were found to be absent. However, two of them reached when the checking was going on.

The office of the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, was checked at 9.15 a.m. and the Assistant Registrar was not present in the office. While two employees were found absent, two others were on leave. Even here no movement register had been maintained.

The SDM went to the office of the Block Development and Panchayat Office at 9.20 a.m. and found that the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Mr Amarbir Singh Sidhu, was not available in the office. Two employees of the office were on leave while another had gone on a tour.

A report prepared in connection with the checking has been sent to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner for information and further action. The drive of checking attendance in offices was started by the SDM after getting complaints that officials were not present in the offices during office hours, leading to the harassment of the public.


Punjab postings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The Punjab Government today posted Mr Samir Kumar as Special Secretary, Planning, and Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu as Additional Secretary, Revenue, according to a government release.


‘Satta queen’ arrested
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 16
Krishna Devi, a local resident, known as ‘satta queen’, was arrested by the police. She had been operating single digit number satta along with her two associates by moving from one place to another.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the accused was carrying out satta for the past many years. She had employed a number of persons, who had been collecting stakes being put on the single digit satta by the people belonging to the rural and urban areas.

The modus operandi of the accused was that she used to fix the winning number on the outer wall of her house everyday and then used to make payments to the winners through her employees. She was also booked into a number of gambling cases earlier by the police.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, DSP (City), said Rs 24,000 were recovered from her. A case under the Gambling Act had been registered against her.

In another case, the police arrested another woman, identified as Parveen Kumari, who was also operating single digit satta in the area. About Rs 5,000 in cash and 19 bottles of liquor were recovered from her. A case was registered.


Gang of imposters busted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 16
A gang of cheats, including a retired police inspector and a municipal councillor, has been busted by the Valtoha police. Angrej Singh, a retired police inspector of Ludhiana, Kulwinder Singh, municipal councillor, Patti, Gurdev Singh and Gurkanwal Singh, both of Amritsar, were impersonating as Vigilance Bureau officials.

The four had gone to Mr Satnam Singh, ‘patwari’ of Desuwal village in a Gypsy with a red beacon light. They were drunk and tried to pressurise the ‘patwari’ to work with them. On the patwari’s refusal to do so, they kidnapped him and beat him up.

The patwari, in his statement to the police, said Angrez Singh posed as DSP (Vigilance) and the rest his subordinates.

The villagers of Desuwal gheraoed the four when they were beating the patwari and handed them over to the police. A .12 bore double-barreled gun was found with Gurdev. All were booked under Sections 341, 342 and 506 IPC, and the Arms Act.


Saviours turn aggressors
Addicts attacked, injured at rehabilitation centre
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
Saviours took on the role of violent suppressors yesterday when the management of a private drug de-addiction centre turned against youngsters under their care, inflicting multiple fractures on two of them.

The youth, who have been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital here, said they had been severely beaten last night when they protested against the treatment being meted out to them at the centre.

In fact, if the youngsters are to be believed, beatings and torture are a routine for the nearly 40 inmates of the Amrit Jivan Drug Counselling and Rehabilitation Centre situated on the Bhadson road on the outskirts of the city.

The city police has registered a case under Sections 420, 323, and 541 of the IPC against the director of the centre, Mr Vishwjeet Singh, who has absconded. The Sadar police has sealed the centre.

The youths, Sandeep Singh and Verinder, talking to Chandigarh Tribune, said the trouble erupted yesterday when they protested against inhuman treatment. They had objected to the treatment meted out to one of the inmates who had started vomiting blood.

The protest turned into a quarrel and when the centre authorities tried to suppress it, a fight broke out, they alleged.

The boys said most of the inmates fled the centre when the management attacked them with baseball bats and sticks.

The inmates of the centre in their complaint to the police said they were awarded corporal punishment frequently.

They were also not allowed to meet their families, due to which they could not complain against the centre authorities. The inmates were made to do all work at the centre and kept locked in small rooms in a three-storey building, they alleged.

The last fact was corroborated by residents living near the centre. They said the authorities even used to lock the building and go away for work.

There was no qualified staff at the centre, according to the residents.

Sources say such centres are required to employ a psychiatrist and get a licence.


Farmers booked for attacking PSEB men
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 16
A team of Punjab State Electricity Board employees was attacked by a group of farmers at Ghal Kalan village here. The electricity board team from Baghapurana was in the village to conduct a raid.

Sources said during the raid they caught a farmer, Jaswant Singh, running a motor illegally. His associates, Beant Singh, Preetam Singh and other farmers soon gathered at the spot and attacked the PSEB staff and threatened them.

The board staff narrated the incident to the SDO, who reported the matter to the police. A case has been registered against the farmers under Sections 379, 353, 386, 506 and 34 of the IPC.


Man booked for killing wife
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 16
A man killed his wife after having a fight with her over some issue at Daulatpura village here yesterday.
Sources said the accused, Jagsir Singh, had not had good relations with his wife for the past few months. The bitterness in their relationship took a serious turn yesterday when Jagsir strangulated her to death.

The police has registered a case against Jagsir on the basis of the statement of the victim’s father, Mr Gurdev Singh.


Student killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 16
Anuj Aggarwal (19), a student of B.Com-II died on the spot at Patel Chowk here yesterday after being hit by an Army school bus. The deceased was a resident of Sailli road locality. He was going on a motor cycle when the bus hit him. A case has been registered.


Absentee lecturers repatriated
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
All the four school lecturers, who were allegedly found absent from duty in the District Institute of Education and Training ( DIET), near Moga, during a surprise check conducted by a team of top officers of the Education Department on September 14, have been repatriated to their original place of postings. The lecturers are Mr Ajmer Singh, Mr Mastan Singh, Mr Suraj Mal and Mr Sohan Lal.

The team comprising Mr S.S. Randhawa, Director, and Mr Baldev Raj, Deputy Director of the State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT), conducted a surprise check at DIET at Khosa Pando village (Moga) on that day at 4.05 p.m. Though it was a working day, the main gate of the institute, which was supposed to remain open till 5 p.m, was found locked by the team officials. All the four lecturers posted on deputation were not available in the institute.

While Mr Ajmer Singh, a lecturer in mathematics, has been sent back to Government Senior Secondary School, Rania, Mr Mastan Singh has been sent back to Senior Secondary School, Gholian Khurad. Mr Suraj Mal has been repatriated to Senior Secondary School, Bhinder Kalan and Mr Sohan Lal to a Senior Secondary School, near Moga. They have been sent back on administrative grounds and an intimation in this connection has been given to Circle Education Officer, Faridkot, and District Education Officer, Moga.

When the official team reached for checking in the village, Mr Nachhattar Singh, Headmaster of the local Government School, who holds the additional charge of the Principal of DIET, was present. Mr Randhawa called members of the panchayat, including village sarpanch, Mr Jagdev Singh.

He and Mr Baldev Raj took the attendance register and other relevant documents in possession in the presence of the village panchayat . Besides talking to the village panchayat,which sought the transfer of all four lecturers in writing, Mr Randhawa also held a meeting with the Principal.

They also made some entries in the attendance register. The panchayat asked for improving the functioning of DIET. Interestingly, DIETs have been opened in all schools for improvement of quality of education in the state.

Official sources said that as many as 98 teachers from two education blocks of Moga district were assigned to DIET for two week long training-cum-seminar in “Sarav Sikhsa Abhiyan”. Their training programme, that started on September 6, was to be completed on September 18. Lecturers were posted on deputation in the institute as regular posts sanctioned for it have not been filled by the state government.

Mr Randhawa and Mr Baldev Raj have been directed to conduct surprise checks by the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar.


Three copying cases detected
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
As many as three cases of copying were detected at the examination centre set up at a government boys school, Malout, where students were taking their matriculation supplementary exams by the flying squad headed by Mrs Raksha Wati, today.

Mrs Wati, while talking to TNS, said she had also recommended the shifting of supervisor of that examination centre, as he was allegedly involved in facilitating copying by the students, who were caught today. She added that students were taking their science exam today.

She said earlier on September 13, she managed to catch two cases of copying at an examination centre set up in Muktsar town.


Varsity guard beats up law student
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
Punjabi University students today gheraoed the reception counter at the gate. They were enraged when a security guard refused to let in a student who wanted to get his fee refunded.

Ritesh Garg of LLB IInd year said the guard kicked and butted him. Punjabi University Students Confederation convenor Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal termed the act as deliberate. He has also demanded action against the reception centre officials.

The ‘gherao’ was lifted after the authorities assured the students that an inquiry would be conducted into the entire episode.

Meanwhile, the students continued their dharna in front of the office of the Vice Chancellor for the second day.

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