P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM launches BoP electronic kisan card
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today launched the electronic kisan card of Bank of Punjab to ensure 24-hour credit to farmers enjoying credit limits with the Bank of Punjab to enable them to get best quality inputs like pesticides, high-yielding seeds and fertilisers from the approved outlets.

He handed over two such cards on behalf of the bank to Mr Kirpal Singh and Mr Sher Singh, both farmers.

Speaking at the function, Capt Amarinder Singh said this unique and first-of-its-kind facility offered by the bank would be instrumental in safeguarding the interests of the farmers, thereby saving them from the clutches of money-lenders on the one hand and menace of adulteration on the other.

He said the scheme should be made available even to small and marginal farmers through proper counselling and guidance at the grassroots level.

The Chief Minister hoped that the availability of cost-effective credit coupled with the latest technology of agriculture would help the farming community to participate in the ongoing programme of crop diversification more vigorously.

The Executive Director of the bank, Mr Tejbir Singh, said the bank was focussing on rural credit with special emphasis on agricultural credit. With the help of this card, the farmers will now have access to low-cost loans and easy access to credit.

The bank has drawn aggressive plans for agricultural credit and is targetting 177 per cent growth in its overall farm lending during this fiscal. The bank has recruited officers with agriculture background for effective marketing of agricultural schemes and products.

Mr Tejbir Singh said the bank was also providing investment finance to farmers for purchase of farm machinery, utility vehicles, augmenting irrigation facilities, construction of cattle sheds, godowns and for meeting their consumption needs etc under its BoP Gold Card Scheme on attractive terms, he added.

Answering a question, Mr Tejbir Singh said Rs 25,000 per acre would be advanced to the farmers on this card. Besides, this they could also avail a loan of Rs 50,000 on 9 per cent interest. The loan above this amount would be given on 10 per cent interest rate, he added.


Punjab CM to open Quark City today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 20
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate the 45-acre Quark City in Mohali tomorrow. The clod-breaking ceremony would take place in the evening at the Quark City site in Phase VIII A, Industrial Area, here.

According to information provided by Quark Media House, Quark City would be an integrated township, an environment-friendly business-cum-residential park, expected to be one of its kind in the world. The city is expected to provide over 2.8 million square feet of income generating space in the business and technology park, and the generation of at least 25,000 direct jobs in the knowledge-based industry. As per the Indian Economic Indicators, it also aimed at assuring 100,000 indirect jobs in the related sectors. The total project investment was estimated at $ 500 million, including plant and equipment. This was complemented with approximately 700 residential units of different sizes and features, set in a landscaped and clean environment. Quark City would also be providing sports, recreational, learning, community and cultural centers.

The township is hoping to conform to the standards of the United States Green Building Council in an attempt to attain the Platinum level LEED certification for the entire township. Only six other buildings in the world have achieved the Platinum certification so far. A special team of engineers, architects, and project managers were being trained and equipped to accomplish this quality-controlled task in a systematic, phased manner, claimed Quark.

Quark City will house an office, commercial, and residential complex. The office space would offer world-class infrastructure for IT, ITeS, and other knowledge-based, pollution-free industries. The commercial complex will have a multiplex, shopping plazas and recreation facilities along with medical and educational centers. It is estimated that the government will collect more than Rs 250 crore per annum by way of taxes from the businesses established in Quark City. Companies like Dell, Shapoorji Pallonji Group of Companies, and Quark, Inc. have already occupied space in the integrated township. The expected increase of state GDP will be more than $ 500 million at the completion of the project.


Modi’s right to defence struck off
Defamation suit by Bajwa, Samra
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
The much publicised Rs 50 crore defamation suit filed separately by two Punjab ministers, Mr Amarjit Samra, and Mr Partap Singh Bajwa against former Gujarat Chief Minister Narinder Modi and the Gujarat BJP chief Amit Shah has taken a new turn with the court of Additional Civil Judge here Mr Jagnahar Singh, striking off the right of defence of Mr Modi and Mr Shah for their inability to file written statements within prescribed time of 90 days.

The two ministers had filed defamation suits of Rs 50 crore each against Mr Modi and Mr Shah following their statements on February 17 last year that the Gujarat police had enough evidence against Mr Bajwa and Mr Samra to prove that the two leaders were involved in a sex scandal during their Gujarat poll tour.

The ministers had not only vehemently denied the allegations against them but they had also filed separate defamation suits of Rs 50 crore each against Mr Modi and Mr Shah.

In their suit they had claimed damages from defendants on the counts of loss of reputation on account of libel (Rs. 25 crore), mental tension and agony (Rs 5 crore), loss of political career (Rs 10 crore) and results in ill health (Rs 5 crore) by the court.

In his decision on an application moved by the counsel of Mr Samra and Mr Bajwa under order VIII rule I of the CPC for not entertaining or accepting a time-barred written statement of the defendants and that if so tendered at any stage, Mr Jagnahar Singh, the Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division) ruled that “The defendants having failed to file their written statements within the said period of 30 days, were allowed to file the same on July 17 last year, but no reasons were recorded in writing by the court for granting them time to file written statement.

Extension of time for the filing of written statement by the defendants by this court was granted upto August 23, which could be granted only in aggregate 90 days from the date of service of summons upon the defendants, which, lapsed on August 20 last year.

On these premises, the defendants have lost the right to file written statement of their defence in this suit as the mandatory time period for filing the same under order VIII rule 1 of the CPC, as this court has no discretionary powers to extend time beyond 90 days.

As such written statement filed by Mr Modi cannot be accepted and the defence of defendants stands struck off,” said the judgement.


Ban ‘Tiranga yatra’ in Punjab: Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Urging the Punjab Government to ban the ‘Tiranga yatra’ of Uma Bharti in the state, the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal ( Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today said that his party workers would go all out to stop the march of Ms Bharti, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, to Jallianwala Bagh on September 25.

But on the other hand, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that everyone was entitled to express his or her opinion in free India and Mr Mann had no right to issue threats to create trouble with regard to the yatra.

Mr Mann said that he had directed his party workers to impede the yatra when it entered in the state. Mr Mann said that Ms Bharti was spreading communalism in the country. He said that he had got information that Ms Bharti would also enter the Golden Temple with her ‘Tiranga yatra’ to unfurl it there.

“It was not acceptable to us and my party would not allow it”, he added. Mr Mann said that Ms Bharti was coming to Punjab like an aggressor. “If she comes with her party’s flag, we would have no problem as in democracy every party had right to propagate his or her party programme. But there is a big conspiracy behind Tiranga yatra and it should be stopped immediately”, he added.

Hitting out at the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Mann said that it was the biggest shame that Mr Badal had been protecting an accused (SGPC member) in a rape case. He said that instead of seeking the CBI probe in the rape case, Mr Badal should himself conduct the inquiry.

“Mr Badal has virtually strangulated the akali thought, and has demolished all ethical and moral values associated with Akali Party by taking such a dubious stand on the rape issue”, said Mr Mann. He said that all mainstream political parties were defending criminals and rapists in their ranks and it was the worst period in politics of the country.

Mr Mann said that Akali leaders like Mr Badal should explain their secret meetings with the Congress leaders in “safe houses of the Intelligence Bureau at Chandigarh in 1982”. Mr P.C. Alexander had referred to such meetings in his recently release book, he added.


Political ‘love affair’ of Left, Congress ends in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
With the CPM, CPI and Congress announcing their respective candidates for the coming byelection to the state Assembly in Garhshankar constituency in Hoshiarpur district, the prolonged political “ love affair” among the Left parties and Congress has apparently ended, at least in Punjab, though even at the national level a lot of bad blood has been created among these parties on policy issues.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has ruled out the possibility to turn the decision to contest the byelection in Garhshankar. On the other hand, the CPM’s candidate, Mr Mahan Singh Rori, has already filed his nomination papers in the constituency. Taking a clear stand, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that there was no scope of any electoral alliance with the Left parties in Garhshankar now. “I am proceeding to Garshankar later this week to start the election campaign for my party”, he added.

During the last Lok Sabha elections there was a complete understanding among the Left parties and Congress in Punjab. The Congress had left the Hoshiarpur seat for the CPM and the Bathinda seat for the CPI in last Lok Sabha elections. In other constituencies, the CPI and the CPM had supported the Congress candidates. But that bonhomie among these parties seems to be a thing of past now.

Reacting to the Congress’ decision to contest the Garhshankar byelection , the Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPM, Mr Balwant Singh, said today that by naming the candidate for the constituency, the Congress leadership had proved that it was not serious to fight against the communal forces. Expressing his party’s anguish over the Congress’ decision, he said the CPM was unhappy over the development.

Asserting his party’s claim over the Garhshankar constituency, Mr Balwant Singh, said in the last Assembly elections, the CPM candidate had secured 10,895 votes and the Congress and the CPI’s joint candidate had got 6,582 votes. In view of this factor, the Congress should have supported the CPM’s candidate in the coming byelection there. He said if the secular parties — Congress, CPM and CPI — joined hands in Garhshankar, these could defeat the candidate put up by the “communal” parties- the SAD and BJP combine.

Mr Balwant Singh said he would urge the Congress to change its decision to put up a candidate in Garhshankar constituency. But Capt Amarinder Singh, said his party would contest the Garhshankar byelection on its own. The Congress had already decided to put up Mr Luv Kumar Goldy as candidate from Garhshankar, he added.

On the other hand, the CPI, has also expressed its intention to field its candidate in the Garhshankar byelection. Expressing his annoyance over the fielding of a candidate there by the CPM without consulting the leadership of his party, the secretary of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said his party had a natural claim over the Garhshankar constituency as it had put up its candidate, who was supported by the Congress, in the last Assembly elections.

He said his party lost the election there last time because of certain factors which were beyond the control of his party. He said the CPI would put up Mr Baljit Singh Lali as candidate from Garhshankar.

The BSP has also announced its candidate. The BJP-SAD combine had put up Mr Mohinder Pal Mann.

Two byelections are to be held in Punjab on October 13 and the last date for filing the nomination papers is September 25. The other byelection is in the Kapurthala Assembly constituency. The Congress and SAD have announced their candidates for that seat. The CPM and the CPI have not revealed their minds regarding that constituency yet.


Conductors seek ban on termination
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Demand: Put a blanket ban on termination from service even on detected and proven cases of fraud. For frauds up to Rs 25, there should be no termination. Also, those whose services were already terminated for frauds of less than Rs 25 should be reinstated.

Threat: If the demands were not accepted, the current agitation would be further intensified. There are several other demands as well.

This is what the Punjab Roadways Conductors’ Union has demanded in its August 30 charter of demands submitted to the Chief Minister and to the state Transport Department. In pursuance to that charter of 11 demands, the union is already holding protest dharnas and rallies at the depot-level in the state since September 16. It now proposed to start chain dharnas and rallies in front of the office of the Director, State Transport, in Chandigarh from September 22.

The union, in fact, has been agitating for the past some months but is reluctant to take course to legal remedy. Though they were explained that imposition of various penalties on erring conductors was within the quasi judicial domain of the competent authority, which did so under the relevant rules and an appeal rested with the appellant authority, this has had no effect on the union.

When contacted on the charter of demands submitted by the union, Director, State Transport, Mr P.S. Aujla, told TNS today that meetings had been held with Union representatives and appropriate comments on their 11-point charter of demands had been submitted to the Secretary, Transport.

Services of at least 30 conductors were terminated for committing fraud in the past five months. A score were awarded major punishment, while cases against 68 were dropped. Each conductor’s case was investigated, charge-sheet issued and only then termination ordered, he added. ‘’Majority of those whose services have been terminated were habitual offenders on whom effect of previous punishments, like stopping of increments was only incremental’’.

Sources in the department said that earlier when conductors were caught for not issuing tickets to passengers or were found to have short change in their bag, the only punishment to them was either suspension or stopping of their annual increment. In fact conductors preferred to the ‘’retired’’ form service because that enabled them to get all their retirement-dues and benefits. When asked about this retirement scandal, Mr Aujla said he was not aware.

The state roadways was overstaffed. The excess number of conductors alone was close to 900 out of 9,850-odd employees. The roadways had a fleet of nearly 1,700 buses .

Besides corruption, hike in diesel, spares parts, pay revision, merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance into pay etc. were also responsible for the losses. There had been no hike in the fares since February, 2003, when the government had hiked it by just one paise. It was raised by only 2 paise in May, 2002, after a gap of four years.

The department wrote to the state government on September 11, 2003, seeking 8 paise hike in fares. It is over one year, yet, there was no response from the government. In fact the plan resource committee in March last had made several recommendations on additional resource mobilisation in the transport sector. The government, however, has not even considered these yet.

One of the recommendations was that the revision of fares should be made automatic, based on the price of the diesel and also effecting change in the rate of special road tax. The government could also seek assured rebate from oil companies for fuel, oil, lubricants etc. for all its vehicles, as was in the transport department itself.

Commenting on operational costs and losses, Mr Aujla said that roadways earned a revenue of about Rs 142 crore annually. The operational expenditure was Rs 21 per km, loss was Rs 7 per km and receipt was Rs 14 per km. In the last financial year the loss was about Rs 90 crore. ‘’Apart from other factors, the major reason for this colossal loss is prevailing corruption in the department’’.

The state would shortly add 400 new buses to the existing fleet. A term loan of Rs 40 crore has been sanctioned and negotiations for chassis were under way.


Appointment of two retd SPs: cops resent action
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab Cabinet has approved of post-retirement appointments granted to at least two Superintendents of Police (SPs), leading to "resentment" among the cops waiting in queue for promotions.

Even though Punjab Government officers are denying the allegations of "favouratism" and "nepotism" in the matter, the bitter cops are claiming that the appointments have been granted because of extraneous reasons.

The same, they add, are against the service rules governing Punjab Government employees.

The raging cops claim that the two officers have been appointed even though re-employment of staff retiring after attaining the age of superannuation is not permissible under the relevant provisions of law.

Moreover, a ban on fresh recruitment is already in force in the state, the cops assert.

The two officers — Harminder Singh posted at Tarn Taran and R.L. Mongia based at Patiala — were re-employed by the Punjab Government, along with nearly eight officers.

They included at least six Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) and two other "junior" police personnel. The re-employment of the two officers was approved by the Cabinet at its meeting held about a week ago.

Reacting to the resolution, the cops say that the decision will adversely affect their promotion prospects.

Giving details, the officers add that they will have to wait for the SPs to retire before they can be elevated to superior posts.

Defending the government's action to re-employ the officers, senior authorities, on the other hand, claim that "proper procedure", had been followed.

They add that Cabinet's approval was taken as it was a must following ban on re-employment and fresh recruitment.

SP Harminder Singh, meanwhile, refuses to comment on the issue.

He adds that senior government authorities should be contacted for the purpose.

The sources close to him, however, assert that the SPs' service record was taken into consideration by the authorities before granting him re-employment on the basis of application submitted by him.

"He was found suitable on the basis of his performance, that is why he was granted re-employment," they add.

SP Mongia was not available despite repeated attempts.


Govt considering report to regularise illegal colonies
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 20
Zonal committees headed by the Additional Chief Administrators, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), would spearhead the process of regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Punjab.

As part of the process to formulate a policy for regularisation of such colonies in the state, the government is now considering a detailed report submitted by a committee constituted in 2002 to suggest methods to bring illegal colonies within PUDA’s fold.

The report had recommended that all regularisation cases be received at PUDA’s zonal offices at Ludhiana, Mohali, Jalandhar, Patiala and Bathinda and examined by a committee consisting of the ACA of the zone, the senior town planner, the Superintending Engineer and the law officer.

In case the colony was within municipal limits, the town planner concerned of the local government would be an added member of the committee.

Detailing the regularisation process, the report stated that promoter of an unauthorised colony would have to get himself registered as a promoter with PUDA for securing a licence after paying a fee of Rs 5000 per hectare.

He would also be required to deposit Rs 5000 per hectare as one time compounding fee to absolve him of all criminal liability.

In addition, the promoter would pay the external development charges as prescribed for each city in which the colony existed.

Other than these, the promoter would pay internal development charges fixed by the zonal committee for each colony individually based on the extent of deficiencies that needed rectification in the colony.

The promoter would submit before the zonal committee, the level of development works and infrastructure provided in his colony in terms of roads, water supply, sewerage, electricity, parks, tubewells, sullage disposal plant and the cost incurred.

The zonal committee would then examine the colony in terms of inadequacy in the land use pattern, level of development etc. and consider the possibility of bringing the colony at par with the prescribed norms and standards and in the end make recommendations to the PUDA Competent Authority for its regularisation.

The zonal committee would also ensure that the extent of saleability of land is restricted to 60 per cent of the area of the colony and in case the existing land use has a higher saleable area, then the promoter would be given the option of bringing down the saleable area to 60 per cent by surrendering available vacant land or pay the cost of excess land used in plotting at a rate fixed by the Deputy Commissioner.

This money would be deposited in a special fund, to be used for the upgradation of infrastructure in the area.

It was proposed in the report that regularisation be limited to unauthorised colonies where construction on more than 25 per cent of the plots had already come up.

Colonies that did not have a clear title deed would not be considered for regularisation.


Badal promises houses for uprooted jhuggi dwellers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 20
The former Chief Minister and the President, SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said when his party came into power; he would give residential quarters to the jhuggi dwellers, who had been uprooted by the PUDA.

Mr Badal, who was here yesterday in connection with different social functions, made this promise when a delegation of the jhuggi dwellers, led by former Akali minister Chiranji Lal Garg, met him in the local Mahabir Dal Eye Hospital.

Talking to the members of the delegation, Mr Badal alleged that it was a basic character of the Congressmen to make promises with the poor people and to break the same after coming into power.

He said the welfare steps for the poor, initiated by the previous SAD-BJP combine government, would continue when it came back into power.

About three days ago, the PUDA demolished hundreds of temporary and permanent structures which had come up on the piece of land owned by it. Most of the occupants were considered supporters of the Congress Party.

The occupants, whose Jhuggis were demolished, alleged that a section of the Congress leaders had promised not be uproot them during their campaign for Mr Surinder Singla, who contested the last Assembly elections.

But a few Congress leaders, who tried to stop the PUDA officials from demolishing the Jhuggis, were maltreated, they alleged.


BJP seeks inquiry into fraud case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, state vice-president of the BJP, in a letter to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and DGP A.A. Saddiqui, has demanded a high-level inquiry into a fraud case in which a Congress leader allegedly defrauded three persons after promising them jobs.

The letter, copies of which were released to the press today, said a senior police official should be appointed to inquire into the matter.

Three persons, Gurdip Singh, Avtar Singh and Rajinder Singh, all residents of Amritsar district, had alleged that Mr Harjinder Singh Chohan, general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress (Beopar Cell), had taken money for getting them employed in the local municipal corporation.

However, Mr Harjinder Chohan, in a press conference held here today, refuted all allegations. He said it was a political conspiracy to tarnish his image. He threatened to file a defamation suit against the persons who were levelling allegations against him.


SAD, BSP candidates file nominations

Kapurthala, September 20
Former minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Raghbir Singh today filed his nomination papers for the Kapurthala Assembly byelection to be held on October 13.

Mr Tarsem Thapar of the Bahujan Samaj Party and Independent Sunil Kumar Nahar also submitted their nominations to Returning Officer Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia.

Mr Raghbir Singh, who was Cabinet minister in the previous Badal government, had lost the February, 2002 elections to Mr Gurjit Singh Rana by over 10,000 votes.

Besides hundreds of Akali workers, Mr Raghbir Singh was accompanied by former SGPC President Jagir Kaur and his erstwhile ministerial colleague, Mrs Upinderjit Kaur, at the time of filing his nomination papers. — UNI


80-member Sikh jatha leaves for Pakistan
Pawan Kumar

Attari, September 20
An 80-member jatha of Sikh pilgrims — 45 members from Amritsar and 35 from New Delhi — today left for Pakistan by the Samjhauta Express to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Narowal district on the occasion of the 465th ‘jyoti jot divas’ of Guru Nanak Dev on September 22 as per the Nanakshahi calendar.

This is for the first time since Partition that a jatha is going to pay obeisance at Kartarpur on Guru Nanak’s ‘jyoti jot divas’.

Since Partition, Sikh jathas have been visiting Pakistan on Baisakhi (April), birth anniversary of Guru Nanak (November), martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev and death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the month of June.

The jatha, led by Baba Amrik Singh of Dera Baba Jagtar Singh Tarn Taran, included 45 pilgrims from the holy city and 35 owing allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal, New Delhi. A total of 150 pilgrims will visit Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur. The remaining pilgrims will join the jatha later at Kartarpur.

A ‘kirtan darbar’ will be held after bhog of Akhand Path which was started today at the historic gurdwara. The pilgrims, invited by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, will return on October 1.

Baba Amrik Singh said the pilgrims would also visit Panja Sahib (Hasan Abdal), Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sachha Sauda (Farookabad), Gurdwara Dera Sahib and various other Sikh shrines situated in the neighbouring country.

He said they would also study the present condition of the Sikh shrines, in Pakistan. He said he, on behalf of Baba Jagtar Singh, would urge the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the Pakistan Government to allow them to do ‘kar sewa’ of Sikh shrines there. He said they were ready to do ‘kar sewa’.

It may be mentioned here that Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has allowed SAD, New Delhi, led by Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna to carry out ‘kar seva’, of ‘gurdwara Guru Ram Dass’, Chuna Mandi , Lahore from September 22. In the ‘kar seva’ the entire building of the gurdwara, which is in bad shape will be demolished for constructing a new building. The ‘kar seva’ will be launched by ‘Panj Pyaras’ as per ‘Maryada’.

It is pertinent to mention here that The Tribune had highlighted the pitiable condition of the gurdwara, named after Guru Ram Dass.


Pak artistes to take part in Harballabh festival
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
After the gap of more than 10 years, Pakistani artistes will participate in the 128th Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan, scheduled to be held from December 24 to 26 at the ‘samadhi’ of Baba Harballabh on the premises of local Devi Talaab Temple.

No Pakistani artiste has been participating in the Harballabh sammelan for the past 10 years for the bouts of tension between the two countries. Earlier, Peshawar-based vocalist Sarhang, who is now settled in the USA, and Nazakat Ali and Salamat Ali were almost regular participants from the neighbouring country.

With the improvement in bilateral ties, vocalist Hussain Baksh and tabla maestro Taafu Khan are likely to participate in the prestigious musical event, known as the “kumbh” of the classical music. “We have received photocopies of passports of Ustaad Hussain Baksh and Taafu Khan and they are undergoing the visa process. We have already extended invitation to the two artistes,” informed Mr S.S. Ajimal, the Secretary of the Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Mahasabha.

The Indian artistes, who are likely to participate in the sammelan, include T. Majoomdar, Kalpini Komkali, an ace vocalist and daughter of Kumar Gandharva, flute player Ronu Mazoomdaar, vocalist Ghulam Mustafa Khan, vocalist Anjana Nath, vocalist Madhav Gudi, sitarist Shahid Parvez, vocalist Meeta Pandit and vocalist Ajoy Chakarvorty.


Siropas to political leaders opposed
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 20
Mr Gurdev Singh, president, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, has appealed to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht not to allow any political body to use the institution for meeting its political ends.

It was the responsibility of the Jathedar to maintain the sanctity of the institution, said Mr Gurdev Singh.

He also opposed the presentation of siropas to political leaders.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, he criticised successive Central Governments for failing to protect the interests of Punjab.

He demanded that the UPA government led by Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh should determine the case of the SYL canal “legally, scientifically and constitutionally.” Being a riparian state, Punjab had the upper hand, he emphasised.

He also demanded adequate funds for the overall development of this border state which was facing a financial crunch. Mr Gurdev Singh, who was the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, during Operation Bluestar, assailed the Congress government and its senior leaders for not opologising for the Army action.

To a question, he said imparting qualitative school education up to matric with proper infrastructure was a must to safeguard the interests of the future generation. The mushrooming of professional colleges, particularly in medical and engineering field, should be controlled, he added.


Dhar subdivision sans SDM
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dhar (Gurdaspur), September 20
It can easily be termed as the most backward area of the state. The backwardness of the Dhar Kalan area of the district is illustrated by the state of the sub division of the area.

The subdivision in the area was created in 1996. However, none of the SDMs stayed here for more than six months. For the past two years, no SDM has been posted in the area. The charge of the subdivision is either with the SDM Gurdaspur or Pathankot who marks two days for Dhar area in the week. The two-day presence is also not certain due to heavy workload in Pathankot and Gurdaspur subdivisions.

The basic reason for officers shunning the area is poor infrastructure. Though the government has created the office of the SDM in Dhar, no infrastructure has been provided.

The office of the SDM, has been set in a ramshackle, unsafe building. The building housing the SDM’s office is old and has developed cracks. Moreover, there is no residential facility for the SDM or any other officer.

At present even a regular Tehsildar has not been posted in the area. Due to this, people of the area have to go either to Pathankot or Gurdaspur for petty revenue and other works.

People of the area allege that since there is no administrator, even the development and regular works of the area have been hit. About 25 out of the 49 primary schools of the area have no teachers. Sarpanches have arranged for semiliterate girls from villages to keep the schools functional. These part time teachers are paid about Rs 500.

The entire Dhar area is surrounded by forest area. Wild animals, including monkeys, destroy whatever is grown by farmers. To save crops, farmers here keep arms to scare away the wild animals. However, now they are facing problems in getting their arms licenses renewed due to the absence of a regular SDM in the subdivision.

Similarly the block level hospital in the area is without a single doctor. The ANM nurse and a pharmacist are the only staff in the hospital. People also complain of erratic supply of cooking gas and drinking water in the area.

Recently, people also organised a protest against the poor supply of drinking water in the area. However, they maintain that had an SDM been posted in the area he could easily have redressed most of their problems.


Intelligence worried over rise in number of ‘mazaars’
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, September 20
The spurt in the number of “mazaars” in border areas have set the alarm bells ringing. According to a survey carried out by intelligence agencies, there are 408 “mazaars” and another 203 mosques situated within a 10-km radius in Ferozepore and Amritsar districts. Of these 103 mosques and “mazaars” are located in sensitive border areas. Not only this the agencies are concerned about the significant increase in the population of a particular community in these border districts.

In Ferozepore district there are 26 “mazaars” which have no caretaker, another 96 are being looked after by migrants from other states whereas 363 have local attendants. In Amritsar there are 86 “mazaars” situated within 10-km of the international border. In the entire state there are around 148 such worship places which are unmanned and there are 154 which have no record regarding their construction. Security agencies contend that if this process continues then it could have far reaching implications.

The Home Ministry had sought a detailed report on the matter some time back, which has been sent to the Union Government. Senior intelligence officials said there was a probability that these unmanned religious places could be used as a haven by anti-national elements. The officials stated that the Central Government was also contemplating enacting a law in this regard.

Another concern has been the increase in the number of Bangladeshis which have been arrested in recent times in border areas. In 2003 the BSF nabbed 13 Bangladeshis while in 2004 16 have been arrested.

Officials reveal Bangladeshis, in search of greener pastures, easily get lured by anti-national agencies. These people are assured of incentives by these agencies they fall prey to it.


4,502 fake pension cases in Mansa
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 20
Punjab Forest Minister Hans Raj Joshan today said that about 4,502 cases of fake pension under the old-age pension scheme were found in this district and the same had subsequently been cancelled.

Mr Joshan, who was here today to preside over a meeting of the District Planning and Development Board, said that for this district more than Rs 2.5 crore had been given for disbursement of pension under the old-age and widow pension schemes. He added that under the women and child development scheme, the district had been given more than Rs 48 lakh.

He said that he had instructed all the officials, who had been heading different departments of the state government, to submit their fund utilisation certificates within two months, and to solve audit problems within three months failing which a legal action would be taken against them.

He said that in the district grievances removal committee, 14 complaints were received, of which six were solved on the spot. He said that officials concerned had been instructed to hold a meeting of district grievances committee every month and the officers, who would keep themselves absent from that meeting, would face the music.


Sikh body to hold protest in New York
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 20
A demonstration against a French law banning turban will be held in front of the UN office at New York on September 22 to seek the intervention of Un General Assembly on the opening day of its session.

Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa, President, Sikh Nation Organization, disclosed here today that the organisation would hold a token protest in New York to draw the attention of the Un General Assembly towards the issue. The French Government was adamant on the issue though a petition regarding this was pending with the UN Human Right Commission.

The organisation has given a call for a two-day protest on Wednesday to focus attention of the world body on the issue of violations of rights of school-going children who have been forbidden by law to wear religious dress and symbols in public schools of France.

The organisation claimed that token protests will also be held in Canada, Britain, Australia and France.


Seminar on TB control organised
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 20
All the 130 Lions Clubs, falling in District 321-F of the International Association of Lions Clubs, should wholeheartedly spread the message of government’s revised national TB control programme (RNTCP) so that people can take advantage of the free diagnosis and treatment facilities to get themselves cured from TB disease.

This was stated by Mr Jaswant Rai Garg while addressing a regional seminar on “Mission-TB Control of Lions Clubs of District 321-F” at Sunam last evening.

Mr Garg asked all the clubs to organise public awareness seminars about TB in their respective areas on a war footing. He urged the gathering to educate masses about the ill-effects of drug abuse and use of tobacco products.

Dr Surinder Singla, a chest and TB specialist and district chairman, Mission-TB Control of Lions Clubs District 321-F, appealed to the gathering to help in motivating the defaulter TB patients and compel them to complete their treatment of TB for controlling the spread of the disease.

The District Governor honoured participants of a declamation contest on the topic, “TB control and drug abuse — a threat to society”. Those honoured included Mr Sukhvinder Verma from Sunam, Mr K.C. Arora from Samana, Mr Satish Garg from Moonak and Mr Surjit Singh Ghumman from Dirba.


‘Sibo in Super Market’ captures yearning for homeland
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, September 20
The third day of the National Theatre Festival presented Ramanjit Kaur’s play “Sibo in Super Market” at Urvi Auditorium in BBK DAV College, here last evening. The play was presented by Chandigarh based theatre group “The Company”. Written by Surjit Pattar and directed by a noted theatre personality Neelam Mansingh, the play showcased the traditional culture of Punjabi villages.

The play, a soliloquy, was made livelier with Punjabi folk songs and folk instruments. The drama unfolded in a narrative form through the main protagonist Ramanjit Kaur.

The story revolves around a woman, who goes to a foreign country after marriage. Her struggles to adjust herself in the alien culture and surroundings comes across through scenes staged in the impersonal environment of a supermarket. Her yearning to be back to her roots comes alive as she associates each product of the market with her memories from back home.

The story also indirectly refers to the black days of Punajb as Sibo recalls that how she opted to marry outside the country after seeing her father and brother being gunned down.

The play was based on Moria Crosbic Lovell’s short story ‘Super Market Soliloquy’.

The theatre group presented the story in the backdrop of a Punjabi village and the super market, successfully bringing in both east and western flavours.

The cast included Vajinder Kumar, Hitender Kumar, Amarjit, Bahadur Chand, Desraj and Payal Chaudhary. Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry, director of the play, was bestowed with the lifetime achievement award.


‘Bakhshish Divas’ fete concludes
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, September 20
Thousands of devotees and several Sikh leaders, including former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, today took part on the concluding day of the three-day celebrations of the 300th “Bakhshish Divas” of Bhai Kanhaiya here today.

The main attraction of the celebrations was a “sarv dharam sammelan. The saints from various religions participated in a sammelan. They stressed the need to spread the message of brotherhood among the different communities. They said in 1704 in Anandpur Sahib, Bhai Kanhaiya offered water even to the wounded enemy soldiers. Those who participated in the sammelan included descendants of Baba Farid Gachhinasheen Hafjal Nijamudin Auliya, Kasturi Muni of Jain religion, Ahmad of Jamyete Islamia, and former Jathedar Manjit Singh.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said that the SGPC would name “Bolian” in Mohiwada village after Bhai Kanhaiya. She added that for the higher education of the Sikh religion, the SGPC would soon establish an institute in Mohali and several schools in the state.


Khadi board chief supports employees’ demands
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, newly appointed Chairman, Khadi and Gram Development Board, stated that he would press for the Fifth Pay Commission in favour of fulfilling the demands of government employees.

In a press conference here today, the former MP Lok Sabha, stressed on the need to address workers’ long pending demands of regular promotions, filling of vacancies, jobs for the kin of deceased in harness employees etc.

He said the needs would be uppermost in his agenda as President of the Punjab State Services Federation, the PSEB Employees Federation and the Kisan Mazdoor Dal.

He announced a state level conference on November 1 in Patiala of workers associations and unions.

Answering a query, Mr Walia, who had defected from SAD to the Congress, said he would remain in the government and continue to fight for the rights of employees.

He said a meeting of the Board of Directors would be held on October 8 to take stock of the performance of the board.


Tohra’s birth anniversary
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 20
The birth anniversary of the late Jathedar G.S.Tohra will be celebrated at Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, on September 24. A state-level function will be organised in the college premises and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president SAD (B) will be the chief guest.

All senior leaders of SAD (B) will attend the function, according to Mr Ranjit Singh Libra, secretary of college managing committee.


Pakhoke honours journalists
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
Close on the heels of the SGPC’s first General House meeting to be held on September 23 to elect SGPC president and other office-bearers, Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, working president, SGPC, wooed mediapersons today by presenting them siropas and mementos.

Mr Pakhoke said mediapersons were being honoured for covering the celebrations on the occasion of 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.


Two bodies recovered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 20
Two bodies were recovered from different places in this district by volunteers of Sahara Jan Seva today.

In a press note issued here, Mr Vijay Goyal, president, Sahara Jan Seva, said the first body was recovered from a place near Dabwali town of Haryana bordering Punjab.

The body was of about 50-year-old person and it could not be identified. The body was cremated after a post-mortem.

He added that the second body was of 60-year-old person, identified as Kadedin Patel, who had come to this city from Uttar Pardesh. The body was cremated by volunteers of Sahara Jan Seva.


Another bull dies while in police custody
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 20
Deaths of two bulls in three days has put a question mark on the functioning of the police, and veterinary employees deployed at the Ghaggar railway station at Mubarikpur village to guard and provide necessary medicare to a herd of 465 bulls under police custody.

Close on the heals of the death of a bull under mysterious circumstances yet another animal died at the Ghaggar railway station late last night.

The animal was found dead by the transporter’s men who have been camping adjacent to the railway station and waiting for the release orders. With the death of the animal, the number of bulls has reduced to 463.

Mr Amarjit Singh Ghuman, SHO, Dera Bassi, said a team of veterinary doctors had conducted a post-mortem examination this afternoon.

They had sent the postmortem report of the bull, which died on September 17 morning, for the experts opinion, the SHO revealed.


Hearing on Ajnala byelection today
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 20
Hearing in the application filed by Mr Harpartap Singh, who lost the Assembly election from Ajnala, seeking to be impleaded as party in an ongoing writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will start tomorrow.

In his application, Mr Harpartap has sought permission of the court to oppose the contentions of Dr Amarpal Singh, a son of former MLA and current MP Rattan Singh Ajnala.

Dr Amarpal and some other persons have moved the High Court seeking directions to the Election Commission to hold elections for the Ajnala seat in Amritsar, which fell vacant after Mr Ajnala’s election to the Lok Sabha, along with the by-polls for two other seats in Punjab.

They have said that it was the duty of the EC to fill the seat within six months of its getting vacant. However, since an election petition is pending in the High Court against the elections of Mr Ajnala to the Vidha Sabha from the seat, the election is not being held.

The election petition was filed by Mr Harpartap, who had lost by just 356 votes.

Earlier, a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Swantanter Kumar and Mr Justice Surya Kant had issued dasti notices on the petition.

Notice issued

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Amar Dutt on Monday issued notice for September 23 on a public interest litigation filed by Mr Sudershan Batra, seeking banning of lottery trade by a private player in Punjab.

The petitioner’s contention is that the lottery operator is openly flouting the Lottery Regulation Act, 1998, which prohibits single-digit lotteries.

He has also said that the Act stipulates that only the State can conduct, promote and organise lottery, but a private company has been given the right to operate lottery in Punjab.

While issuing notice, the Bench said that the issue of banning of the lottery would be taken up later.

Writ admitted

The High Court on Monday allowed a law officer in Punjab to continue in his post.

Taking up the petition filed by Deputy Advocate General Sushant Maini, in which he had challenged his termination on the grounds that his appointment was not contractual, the Bench of Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang admitted the petition.

In his petition, Mr Maini has said that he was appointed as a law officer in 1997 and his appointed was not to be renewed every year as is the case with most other law officers.

This time, the petitioner says, while he was under the impression that he was still in the post, the AG has not given him any legal work, nor is his name present on the duty roaster of law officers.


Accused in molestation case gets bail
Our Correspondent

Amritsar September 20
Mr Baldev Singh, SGPC member, charged with molestation of the wife of a visually impaired “raagi”, was released on bail today.

Sitting in the Golden Temple’s Information Office, Mr Baldev Singh threatened to file a defamation case against Mr Daya Singh Kakkar and Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa if they failed to publicly apologise to him till October 1. Charging both members of giving a lop-sided report on the molestation issue, he claimed that he was neither approached nor asked to join the investigation by them.

He accused the police of playing dirty game with him by calling him for interrogation and arresting him.

The SGPC member, when questioned over a CBI inquiry into the episode as suggested by SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, said he was ready for it.

Mr Baldev Singh would hold an “akhand path” on September 23 at Akal Takht — the day coincides with the first meeting of the first general house of the SGPC to elect its President and other office-bearers.


Judicial remand for Principal

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 20
The police here today produced Mr Alok Agnihotri, Principal of Homoeopathy College and Medical Education Research, Chunni, in the court of Mr G.S. Dhillon, CJM, who remanded him in judicial custody up to October 4. He was taken to Nabha Jail.

Mr Agnihotri was arrested by the Bassi Pathana police on the complaint of Ms Parabhjot Kaur, a student of the institute, who had completed her internship in the college and had been demanding her certificate of completion of course. But she alleged, the college principal had demanded Rs 20,000 from her for handing over the certificates and she lodged a complaint with the police. OC


‘Excellent’ procurement mars diversification
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Rakhra, September 20
If farmers are to be believed, the excellent procurement of paddy and wheat during the past two years has dealt a big blow to government efforts to encourage farmers to diversify into other crops. Farmers do not want to venture into other crops and are happy with the wheat — paddy rotation cycle.

The situation is such that farmers do not even want to sow ‘basmati’ paddy variety which traditionally used to give them good profits. Farmers while talking to TNS at the Kisan Mela organised by the Young Farmers Association here, said they had planted PUSA Sugandh one and two varieties last year and even got a good yield.

“However, as there was no support price our produce sold for around Rs 700 per quintal”. This, they said, did not compare well with the ordinary higher yielding coarse grain which had sold for Rs 600 to Rs 625 per quintal last year. “Unless there is marketing for the produce there is no use in going in for alternative crops”, said Mr Kuljit Singh of Rajputan village near here.

Even where diversification has taken place, the neccessary research is lagging, says Mr Bhagwan Das Gupta of the Young Farmers Association. He said the Punjab Government had tried to diversify and export its ‘kinnow’ fruit. “This failed drastically as the fruit was neither graded nor packed properly resulting in spoilage”.

He said efforts could be made in opening agro industries based on kinnow as well as grapes to enable Punjab farmers to reap a profit from production of these fruits.

Mr Gupta said the Punjab farmer was not being made aware of the latest advancements in the field of agriculture.

“He is just given information about the best wheat and paddy varieties which he sows and is happy that they are procured without any hitch,” he added.

Mr Gupta said such a situation would only result in the pauperisation of the Punjab farmer. He said a sustained diversification effort along with a support price and an awareness campaign was the only way out of this rut.

Meanwhile, the mela saw mutual discussion with farmers on zero tillage technology, reducing cultivation expenses and maximising crop returns. Mr Gupta said seed replacement rate should be improved as it was low as compared to other States. About 2,000 bags of foundation seeds of high yielding wheat varieties of HD 2687 and HD 2643 varieties were distributed among farmers on the occasion.

Association president Jagdeep Singh Cheema while speaking on the occasion laid stress on training women with a view to involving them fully in agriculture and allied work.

He said women should be invited to all training programmes. Mr Cheema also welcomed the setting up of new agro-based projects in Punjab and dwelt on involvement of NGOs in this field.

Mr Ajmer Singh, Director of Agriculture, Punjab, was honoured for his outstanding performance in the field of agriculture on the occasion. Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai and Zonal Inspector General of Police Rajinder Singh also spoke on the occasion.


Chatha is Chairman of Third Punjab Finance Commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Former Punjab Chief Secretary A.S. Chatha today took over as the Chairman of the Third Punjab Finance Commission for panchayats and municipalities.

Mr Chatha said that the commission would examine all aspects to improve the financial position of panchayats and municipalities in the state. He said he would submit his report to the government on December 31.

Mr Chatha, who started his career as Assistant Professor in electrical engineering at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, served as Secretary in various departments of the Punjab Government, namely Cooperation, Industries, Home and Irrigation and Power, before assuming the charge of Chief Secretary in 1992.

As Chief Secretary Mr Chatha was instrumental in restoring development programmes in the state which had suffered setbacks during terrorist activities.


Auction cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The auction of minor mineral quarries scheduled for September 21 in the office of the Mining Officer, Punjab Tent House, Ludhiana, has been cancelled till further orders.

According to a spokesman of the government, the auction was cancelled due to a writ petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh in this regard.


Four booked in fraud cases
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 20
Four persons have been booked in separate fraud cases.

A travel agent duped a person of Rs 8 lakh, while in the other case, a woman was duped on the pretext of getting a bank loan sanctioned.

Three persons, including the travel agent and his mother, belonging to Jalandhar, were booked for usurping Rs 8 lakh by promising one Harnand Singh of Talwandi Baghera to send his son abroad.

According to the complainant, he paid the amount to the accused in 2003, but they neither sent his son abroad nor returned his money.

On the basis of his statement, the Dharamkot police has registered a case against Dileep Kaur, Chhinder Singh and his mother Swaran Kaur under Section 420 of the IPC.

In another cheating case, a man was booked for duping a municipal council employee of Rs 20,000.

According to the complainant, Surinder Kaur, one Dinesh Singla promised her to get a bank loan worth Rs 3 lakh sanctioned and demanded Rs 32,000 for the same.

She paid him Rs 20,000, but he neither got her the loan sanctioned nor returned her money.

A case has been registered against the accused under Section 420 of the IPC.


Bank official held taking bribe
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, September 20
A team of the Vigilance Bureau (VB), Punjab, caught an employee of the Patiala Central Co-operative Bank Limited-red handed while taking bribe from a Chhat village-based grocery shop keeper, here this evening.

Working as a Field Officer with the bank, Kuldeep Khanna, was nabbed by the VB team in front of Hotel Mayur located along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, at 6 pm. The VB team has also recovered Rs 4,000 from Kuldeep Khanna which he had allegedly taken as bribe.

Earlier, Mr Naresh Kumar, a resident of Chhat village had complained to the VB saying that the bank officer had been harassing him and demanding money for re-fixing the credit limit from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for his shop. The complainant had also said that Kuldeep Khanna had also threatened him saying that his work would never be done if he disclosed the deal to any other bank employee.

Taking a serious view of the complaint, Mr Johra Singh Brar, DSP of the VB constituted a team and laid a trap to nab the bank employee red handed. He treated Rs 5000 currency notes with some chemical and asked Mr Naresh Kumar to fix time and venue with Kuldeep Khanna for the deal.

Mr Brar, DSP, and his team members including Mr Major Singh, Sub-Divisional Officer of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Dera Bassi, who were in civil dress took a hide at some distance.

While heading from Patiala to his residence in Sector 16 of Panchkula, Kuldeep Khanna asked Mr Naresh Kumar to meet him in front of the hotel. As soon as Mr Naresh Kumar handed over Rs 5000 to Kuldeep Khanna, the DSP caught him red handed.

After completing the formalities, the VB team sought help from the Panchkula police and raided Khanna’s house located in Sector 16, Panchkula. Kanna was taken to the VB office in Chandigarh at about 9.30 this evening.


Bank manager held in fraud case
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 20
In a fresh twist to the fraud-cum-havala case, the police had also arrested Suresh Chander Makkar, Branch Manager of the UCO Bank, under FEMA and various sections of IPC. After expiry of his police remand, Makkar was today remanded to the judicial custody.

Sodhi Ram, PA of former Punjab Minister and BJP leader Ch Swarna Ram, was also arrested under Sections 420, 466, 467, 471 IPC on June 27 for defrauding the local UCO bank of Rs 2 crore.


Youth kills mother
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 20
A youth killed his mother over an alleged illicit relationship at Sadik here yesterday.

The deceased, Hardeep Kaur, reportedly had illicit relations with a person for long.

Her family members were against this relationship, but she didn’t pay any heed to them.

On Sunday, her son, Jaskaran Singh, along with his uncle and a cousin killed her with a sharpedged weapon.

The police has registered a case against the accused under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC.


Thapar institute to fill vacant seats
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology today recapitulated on the issue of filling vacant seats in its various engineering courses following a government directive on the issue last week.

The management has announced that a third counselling session will be held on September 25 to fill around 70 vacant seats.

The Punjab Government had directed the Thapar management to hold third counselling to fill seats that had fallen vacant after a number of Chandigarh-based students shifted to the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh.

Many Chandigarh-based students had taken admission in the Thapar institute following confusion on whether the 85 per cent reservation for the UT students would continue after the declaration of PEC as a deemed university.

However, when the Punjab and Haryana High court upheld the reservation, Chandigarh-based students preferred to shift back to PEC from Thapar.

Registrar of the institute Brig Paramjit Singh (retd), said the counselling would be held only for those students who had applied for admission to the institute up to July 20, the last date for receipt of applications for admission to first year BE and B Tech courses.

He said the management had taken a one-time decision to go in for the third counselling session for the vacant seats.

He said the decision had been taken keeping in view the interests of the people of Punjab in particular and others in general. He said the third counselling was being held under a special consideration and would not be a precedence in any way in future.

The Registrar said though the institute would have to face problems in bringing new students, to the level of students who had joined the courses on August 3, the institute would make special efforts in that regard.

Sources said extra classes were being planned for the new students.

Earlier, the institution was not filling the vacant seats on the plea that one-and-a-half month had passed since the start of the session and that it had already held a mid-term examination.

The authorities also apprehended that the results would be affected in case the new students did not do well in the first semester. Meanwhile, parents of wards who were constantly visiting the institute to request it to hold third counselling session heaved a sigh of relief. They said the interest of students from Punjab had been saved by the decision.


High-level committee on quality education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Yet another ‘high-level’ committee was today constituted to impart ‘quality’ education at school-level in Punjab. As is the usual practice, the committee would be headed by the minister in charge, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. There will be two other ministers, Deputy Speaker and three bureaucrats, including the Chief Secretary, as members.

The committee has been assigned the stupendous task of suggesting ways and means to “streamline” working of the elementary and secondary level education to improve “quality”. In addition the committee was expected to work out “modalities” to overcome shortage of teachers, finances and infrastructure.

The meeting to “revamp” school education, chaired by the Chief Minister also decided that the committee help the state to make school education “self-sustaining”.

The Tribune had recently reported on “abhiyan” sans “sikhsha” in Punjab and the meeting today decided to release Rs 16.50 crore for this “sikhsha abhyan”.

There is no time-frame mentioned in the government press note when the committee would submit its report. The issue of vacant posts of teacher in 20,000-odd in schools has often cropped up. Yet no concrete decision had been taken on how to go about.

On any given working day, the report says, 36 per cent teachers in primary schools remained absent from duty. A bureaucrat, who attended the meeting, said much could be done within the service rules to discipline school education,

rationalise the existing strength of teachers and improve infrastructure, rather than forming a committee of “busybees”!


129 cases of unfair means detected 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
As many as 129 cases of "unfair means of cheating" were detected by Punjab School Education Board's flying squad during the Class X and XII supplementary examinations conducted by it.

The exams had commenced on September 9 and concluded this afternoon.

Nearly 174 centers were set up all over the state for the convenience of the candidates.

The sources in the board revealed that the maximum number of cheating cases were detected from Gurdaspur district.

On the very first day, as many as 80 students were caught cheating by the vigilant staff.

On the last day of examination, just one student was apprehended by the flying squad.

Gurdaspur and other sensitive areas remained "peaceful", the sources added.

For ensuring the smooth conduct of examinations, the board had taken the help of the police.

Its authorities had earlier written letters to the Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Police to ensure the maintenance of law and order situation outside the booths. They were requested to impose Section 144 CrPc for preventing the assembly of four or more persons.

The sources added that a report giving details of the examination process was submitted this evening by the Board's Controller of Examinations Sukhvinder Kaur Saroya to the Chairman.

They added that no report had so far been submitted by as many as 75 "educationists" asked by the board to go around the schools for detecting cheating cases.


Students of GGS College of Technology protest
Kulwinder Sangha
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 20
Students of Guru Gobind Singh College of Modern Technology held a protest here today against the management for not allowing them to go out of the institution during college hours and also against lack of various facilities.

Students who gathered outside the gate raised slogans against the college authorities. They did not allow anyone to enter the institution Principal, J.K. Sharma, however, managed to enter college but chairman, Surinder Pal Sachdeva, who came later, was detained for sometime. The students also boycotted classes.

The protesters said that the college gate was closed after 9 a.m. and nobody was allowed to move out of the institution till 4 p.m. They said that as the college canteen could not cater to the needs of all students, they had to move out of the college to have food. They said that the college did not have proper playgrounds and hostel rooms were also overcrowded. The college authorities were charging Rs 1,000 per student annually for providing Internet facility. They alleged that every student did not get time to avail himself of the Internet facility because of inadequate number of computers. They said that if a student missed a class, heavy fines were imposed.

Protesters said that girl students were provided hostel facility in a rented accommodation in Mohali which was far away from the college. Moreover, the landlord had rented out a part of the accommodation to someone else which led to inconvenience.

The students said that problems being faced by them were brought to the notice of the authorities in writing but no action had been taken by them in this regard. They said that they would intensify the agitation in case their demands were not conceded to.

The chairman of the college told The Tribune that the college gate was closed after 9 a.m. to stop students from entering or leaving the institution whenever they felt like because such an attitude adversely affected studies. He said he had held a meeting with some parents today and they, too, wanted that the gate should remain closed during college hours. Students have been demanding that it should remain open.

The Principal said a meeting with students was held and a viable solution to the problem was being found out. He said some students wanted to go out for lunch and at time girl students also accompanied them which created problems. He said work on the canteen was nearing completion and it would become fully functional in about 15 days time. He said in order to provide sports facility, the grounds on the college premises, which were low lying, were being filled. He said that some shortcomings were always there in a new institution but efforts were being made to provide various facilities at the earliest.

Mr Sachdeva said that students were being given adequate time to avail the Internet facility. He said there 125 computers for a strength of nearly 400 students. He said that girl students were shifted to a hostel in Mohali only after a request for the same had been made by them. He said the landlord was staying on the ground floor and students on the first floor. He denied that he was detained by students during the protest.


Seminar on Baba Farid held
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 20
The Sufi Foundation India and the District Sabhyacharak Society organised a seminar on Baba Farid’s life and teachings at the Sabhyacharak Kendra here today.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Dr J.S. Gujral, was the chief guest, while the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, presided over the programme.

Addressing the seminar, Dr Gujral said, “Even after seven centuries, Baba Farid’s philosophy leaves an indelible impression on everyone’s mind and people should renounce evil thoughts and work for the progress of society.’’

The DC said Baba Farid’s philosophy stresses on public welfare and people should follow it.

Speakers at the seminar said Baba Farid gave the message of love and peace and people across the globe should follow the path shown by him Baba Farid penned the experiences of his life in Sufi style, they said.

The Nawanshahr SSP, Mr M.F. Farouqi, Dr Azeem Amrohi, Prof Azeez Parihar from Government College, Ludhiana, Dr T.N. Raj from Panchkula, Dr Dharam Singh from GND University, Amritsar, Prof Dalbir Singh, Prof Brahmjagdish Singh and Pritpal Kaur Sarai participated in the seminar.

Earlier, Bhagwant Maan nite was organised at Darbar Ganj Complex yesterday.

The Secretary of Punjab Mandi Board, Mr A. Venu Prasad was the chief guest.

The Deputy Commissioner, Alok Shekhar and the SSP, Mr Kulchhinder Singh, were also present. Bhagwant Maan entertained the crowd with his rib-tickling satire on social evils.


Computer Society of India to set up student chapter
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 20
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering (BBSBE) College has decided to set up the student chapter of the Computer Society of India (CSI). The Principal of the college, Dr D.S. Hira, said the inaugural function in this regard will be held on September 21. Dr B.S. Sohi, Director, UIET, Panjab University, Chandigarh, will be the chief guest at the function while Mr Sanjay Dixit, Human Resource Head, Philips India, will be the guest of honour.

Dr Hira said Mr Tapas Acharya, IT Head of Spice Telecom, and Mr Rahul Verma from the Human Resource Department, Spice Telecom, Mohali, will deliver lectures on the recent trends in the field of information technology. He said Mr Jasmeet Tandon, a human resource and educational consultant from New Delhi, will deliver a talk on future avenues for the computer and IT professionals.

Dr Hira said the CSI esd started in 1965. It is a non-profit, professional body where IT professionals meet to exchange views and information to learn and share ideas.


Talent hunt contest organised
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 20
A talent hunt competition was organised at Mata Gujri College Fatehgarh Sahib, today. Dr Daisy Walia, Head, Department of Dance, Punjabi University, was the chief guest. Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, principal, presided over the function. More than 100 students took part in various competitions.

Addressing the students Dr Walia said youths particularly students should come forward to preserve our rich culture and heritage. She said it was a matter of great concern that western culture had started influencing the youths as well as our culture. She called upon the youths to indulge in cultural activities as these activities boost their overall and develop their overall personality.

Harmandeep Kaur of bio-technology, got the first prize, Divya Softa of BA (final) got the second position, while Harman Sonia got the third position.


Netone service launched
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 20
The Chief General Manager, BSNL, Punjab circle, Mr G. S. Bhatia, today admitted that anti-national elements have been using telephone exchanges manned by the department.

Mr Bhatia, who today launched Netone service in the town and also released the new telephone directory here, stated that he had been facing lot of embarrassment on this account and due to the involvement of department employees.

Addressing a press conference, he said action was being taken against these employees, for indulging in anti-national activities. He, however, declined to disclose the number of employees who had been facing charges in connection with the misuse of telephone exchanges.

He said the BSNL had taken up the matter pertaining to providing mobile phone services in border areas with the Union Ministry and if it got the permission then it would take the mobile services upto the border.

Mr Bhatia said the BSNL in, Punjab circle was to recover defaulted amount to the tune of Rs 140 crore. He added that he did not know amount due against the Punjab Government.

He pointed out that in Punjab circle the staff ratio per hundred connections was second lowest in the country. He that a number of exchanges set up in border areas had no staff and hence the subscribers were facing problems. He added that it had decided to post one person at each exchange within three months.

He further said due to increase in number of cellular connections about 20,000 landline connections had been surrendered to the department in the past one year.


Merger of GTB, OBC flayed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 20
The India Oriental Bank Employees Federation and the All-India Oriental Bank Officers’ Association condemned the hasty decision of RBI and the Government of India for merging the ‘failed’ private sector, Global Trust Bank under moratorium with the Oriental Bank of Commerce here today.

General secretary of the association U.K Mukherjee said that the merger would have negative impact on the Oriental Bank and its entire workforce.

He added that the merger had created mis-match in salary conditions in respect of merged bank staff.

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