P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal alleges irregularities in voters’ list
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 21
Alleging large-scale irregularities in the enrolment of as many as 11,464 bogus voters for the Kapurthala Assembly segment during the revision of electoral rolls, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today approached the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), seeking transfer of the Deputy Commissioner, SSP and the returning officer for their alleged involvement in the bogus vote scandal.

CM to visit Kapurthala today

On the final day of filing nominations tomorrow a massive Congress rally is likely to be held as Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, ministers, MPs and MLAs of the ruling party will come to support Ms Rana, Congress candidate from the Assembly, as she will file her nomination papers tomorrow.

The party also demanded the deployment of paramilitary forces apprehending rigging in poll.

The SAD chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has demanded a high-level probe into it.

Stating this after addressing a rally in support of Mr Raghbir Singh at Brindpur village, Mr Badal alleged that the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, the SSP, Mr S.K. Asthana, and the returning officer, Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, SDM, were hand-in-gloves with the ruling party candidate as they were making efforts to influence the electorate.

Mr Badal further alleged that during the scrutiny of the proposed voters list by a SAD team it was found that though some factories had closed down long ago but hundreds of fresh voter applicants had applied from there. Similarly, the total number of voters at some polling stations had almost doubled, he alleged.

Mr Badal added that in most cases, names of colonies had been mentioned but sans house Nos. Moreover, father’s and husband’s names had also been wilfully avoided in many cases, he said.

Mr Badal has asked for polling staff from other states and appointment of more election observers. Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD secretary, said Mr Sukhbir Badal and some senior party leaders were likely to meet the Chief Election Commissioner in this regard.

During a round of the constituency by The Tribune team today, many pro-Akali voters complained of the cancellation of their votes on applications filed by “fictitious” complainants. During an interaction with the voters at Brindpur village, residents expressed resentment against the returning officer for not properly verifying before deleting names.

Mr Jaswant Singh, former sarpanch of the village, said he and his wife, Surinder Kaur’s names had been deleted on a complaint of a fictitious applicant from his village. Similarly, Mr Gurbachan Singh, nambardar, said his name too had been deleted and he was now filing an application for re-inclusion of his name.

Paramjit Singh, a college student, said his name had been deleted on the basis of a false complaint filed in the name of his uncle.

Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, SDM, electoral registration officer-cum-returning officer, said since he had received a number of complaints he would look into the matter. He said he was holding meetings with the complainants in this regard. He added that on the basis of these complaints a revised list of voters would be prepared tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mr Paramjit Singh, ADC (general) today marked an inquiry into the matter. He also held a meeting with SAD leaders yesterday.

Interestingly, Ms Sukhi Rana, Congress candidate, said all allegations levelled by SAD against their party workers were false as no one from her group was trying to woo the bureaucrats in this regard.


Plastic bunting being used in campaign
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Plastic bunting at Ramneek Chowk in Kapurthala.
Plastic bunting at Ramneek Chowk in Kapurthala. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Kapurthala, September 21
In utter violation of the election code of conduct, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has allegedly defaced public property by covering the entire Ramneek Chowk with plastic bunting and party flags made out of cloth.

During a round of the SAD (Badal) poll office situated on Sultanpur Lodhi Road here, it was found that the long strings of bunting had been hanging from the office towards the roundabout. A large number of such strings and flags were also put around the circumference of Ramneek Chowk, which is public property.

According to the code of conduct, no political party is allowed either to use any public property for election campaign or private property without obtaining prior permission from its legal owners.

Several residents of the district have also opposed the use of plastic bunting as they have said that these could pose serious environmental hazard. They have demanded that the administration and election observer appointed in the district must be strict with the parties responsible for such an act.

A shopkeeper, who wished not to be quoted, said such buntings were responsible for choking of sewerage pipes on several occasions. He said after the previous elections, the sewerage outside his shop had been choked. When he tried to get it cleared, it was found that the sewer passage had been blocked due to long strings of bunting that fell inside the drains and manholes.

Tinku, a manufacturer of such buntings, said he had received large orders for making the strings for elections. He said the parties were opting for plastic bunting owing to their long life and cost effectiveness. He said even though he was aware of the environmental hazards these could cause, he could not refuse orders for these were a good source of income for him during poll days.

Interestingly, Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said he had not seen any such buntings in the city. He said he was also not clear whether he had received any directions from the Election Commission pertaining to checking use of such items by political parties during elections. He, however, said that he would look into the matter and take suitable action if need be.

Mr Davinder Dhadawat, election observer, too, said he had neither seen any such defacement nor had he received any complaint from residents or opposition parties.


BJP, SAD elated over Uma Bharti’s visit
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Uma Bharti’s presence in Punjab barely three weeks before the by elections may just make a difference in the final results.

Though senior Congress members insist that her “Tiranga yatra” — reaching Punjab on September 24 — will not have any effect on the elections, the mood is upbeat among the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) workers.

The reason behind their enthusiasm is not very hard to see.

The former Chief Minister is “very popular” among the Sikhs putting up in the state. No wonder the workers believe that Uma Bharati will manage to strike an emotional cord with the Punjabis instantly.

Her participation in the 300-year celebrations of the Khalsa panth, besides frequent visits to the state, has made her “favourite” among the Sikhs. Then there is another reason. Uma Bharati is supposed to address the gathering in a language that is “dear to the Punjabis”. She talks about the “pride of Punjabis” and “the sacrifices made by them”.

This is not all. Senior Akali leaders insist that the former Chief Minister is a “victim of Congress party’s oppressive policies”. Such “suppressive policies” are likely to be highlighted during the yatra, affecting the elections in the process.

The President of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann’s opposition to the yatra may also create an effect contrary to the one expected. His action of opposing the yatra may result in a backlash among the Hindus in favour of the Akali-BJP alliance — at least this is what the senior leaders are asserting.

The yatra is scheduled to reach Rajpura in Punjab at 10.50 am before leaving for Sirhind and Mandi Gobindragh.

It is expected to reach Khanna at 12.35 pm before leaving for Sahnewal and Ludhiana.

After stopping in the state’s industrial hub, the yatra will leave for Phillaur before reaching Goraya, Phagwara and Jalandhar.

The next day the yatra will leave from Jalandhar and reach Kartarpur. From there it will reach Raiya before leaving for Jandiala and Amritsar. During its two-day visit to the state, the yatra will pass through Garhshankar where the elections are scheduled to be held on October 13. She is likely to address election rallies in Garhshankar and Kapurthala also after the conclusion of the yatra.


Vajpayee, Badal to address ‘Tiranga rally’
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 21
The Punjab unit to the BJP is motivating its workers to make the ‘Tiranga Yatra’ of Ms Uma Bharti a success in the state. Mr Avinash Khanna, state president of the BJP, held a meeting of party workers here in this regard.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Mr Khanna said about 50,000 SAD and BJP workers were expected to attend the political rally planned on September 25 at Amritsar.

Besides others former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and SAD president Prakash Singh Badal will address the rally. Mr Khanna, however, declined to comment on SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann’s stand to oppose the rally.

Praising Ms Uma Bharti for resigning from the post of Chief Minister after Karnatka court issued a warrant against her, the state BJP president said she had set high standards in politics.


SGPC, Baba Budha Dal at loggerheads over gurdwara
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, September 21
Tension prevailed at the historic Gurdwara Patshahi Dasvi yesterday when a 10-member committee of the SGPC reached here to take control of it. A large number of nihangs belonging to the Baba Budha Dal armed with sharpedged weapons gathered at the gurdwara, forcing the SGPC team to return empty-handed.

Sources said the gurdwara was built in 1937 by the Maharaja of Faridkot, who handed it over to Baba Budha Dal in 1947. The gurdwara, which owes its historical background to a visit by Guru Gobind Singh, has about 172 acres in its name. The controversy over the gurdwara dates back to 1960. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had empowered the SGPC in 2003 to take over the charge of gurdwara.

Following the court orders, an SGPC panel, led by Ajaib Singh reached the gurdwara yesterday, but about 300 nihangs descended there, leading to the tension.

The SGPC members said they wanted to take the charge of the gurdwara with the help of the district administration. The local administration expressed helplessness as police personnel had been deployed at the ongoing Baba Farid Mela in Faridkot.

When contacted, Baba Kulwant Singh, in charge of the gurdwara, said Baba Budha Dal was looking after the gurdwara for the last 57 years and the question of handing over its charge to the SGPC doesn’t arise.


Ranjit Sagar water level falls
Power problem may worsen
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot September 21
In spite of the fact that the Centre has come forward to help Punjab and decided to provide 150 MW of power from the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, the power problem may worsen in the state as generation capacity of the Ranjit Sagar Dam (RSD), near here, has started to fall.

The water level of the multipurpose project has started decreasing and it was recorded at 500 metres today, while the same was recorded at 503.4 metres on August 10. The sudden decrease of about three metres was a matter of grave concern for the authorities, said a functionary of the project.

After a dismal monsoon, the level of water in the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutluj has been on a gradual decline.

The dam was earlier producing 50 lakh units of power per day. But due to the fall in the water level of the RSD reservoir, the production has now come down to 30 lakh unit per day.

The Tribune had recently highlighted the problem of declining water level and releasing of excess water, after the publication which the authorities concerned had swung into action and started releasing water scientifically.

According to the data, the authorities are now releasing 5,000 cusecs of water in the UBDC canal.

The Chamera project, a power project in Himachal Pradesh, is releasing about 4,200 cusecs of water in the RSD reservoir and is currently producing 360 MW of power using two units.

In the correspondent period last year, the water level of the RSD lake was 506.81 metres.

According to the official data, the RSD project produced 53,26,220 units on September 15; 52,09,756 units on September 16; 31,85,672 units on September 17; and 28,96,540 units on September 18 this year. The figures show a cut by half in the power generation.

According to experts, if the decrease in production due to unforeseen reasons continued, the RSD project might stop generating power altogether in the near future, which may force more power cuts for the people of the state.

Mr Bhalinder Singh, Chief Engineer of the RSD project, said the PSEB authorities were generating the power.

Mr G.S. Gill, Deputy Chief Engineer of the PSEB for the RSD project, said they had reduced power generation keeping in view the approaching winter season.


Duped by travel agent twice
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Raikot, September 21
The first reaction of persons, be it the victims, police, journalists or residents of this town to the sensational Kulbir Dhillon human trafficking case is a hearty laugh at the manner in which the travel agent duped 60 persons of Raikot and Barnala by promising them lucrative jobs in Japan but abandoning them in rocky mountains in Leh.

The victims smile when asked about it and their friends who have come to console them join in. Police personnel too do not miss laughing at the gullibility of the persons but the smiles soon fade.

The victims weigh the financial loss they suffered and how they would repay the debt. A doctor and his wife were duped of over Rs 3 lakh several years ago when they lived in Mansa. The lure of better earnings again got the better of them.

The victims include a photographer, a doctor and his wife, street vendors, small-time cloth merchants, rickshaw-pullers, kiosk owners and unemployed youths. They borrowed the money, pledged whatever jewellery they had and some even sold their household furniture and items thinking they would not be coming back.

Sixteen of the victims are in Raikot. Ask a passerby about them and he would say, ‘‘Japan wale bande (persons)’’ and point toward the house concerned with a smile.

The victims have become known in the city. Everybody spots them. They prefer stay indoors and are uncomfortable before the media. They were duped for the second time, in a way, by the same accused. Kulbir Dhillon had taken them to New Delhi on August 25 and had abandoned them there. His wife had claimed that he had been kidnapped. The victims had returned from the Delhi airport at that time.

As if it was not enough, the victims were taken for a ride once again. According to Baldev Singh, who runs a photo studio, the agent approached them again on September 14, assuring them that he would definitely take them to Japan. He was offering them a job of Rs 90,200 per month with a ‘‘Philips Industries’’ there. They were taken to Amritsar from where they flew to New Delhi and then to Leh. They were told by him that one of his friends would be waiting for them at the Leh airport to take them to Japan.

Reality dawned upon them as soon as they landed at Leh. ‘‘All flights return from here and none goes ahead’’ they were told. They still have some trust in the agent, ‘‘We don’t want media coverage’’ was the reaction of many victims. The accused, who was yet to be arrested, had offered to return them their money and had sought a compromise.

The victims believe that the agent would keep his word. The police disagrees, saying that the agent would only seek time.

The police is on the lookout for Kulbir Singh Dhillon, his wife Navjot Jyoti, mother-in-law Tej Kaur, sister Amni Rani and his PA Bittu.


QuarkCity may open window to job
opportunities in Punjab

Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 21
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today not only laid the foundation of an integrated township but also lighted a lamp of hope for Punjab.

The project promising world-class technology, when completed in three years is expected to open window to economic opportunities, enterprise, and to the presence of well-known companies like Dell, Shapoorji Pallonji group of companies and Quark Inc to the township.

Hopefully, Punjab is likely to collect Rs 250 crore of revenue per annum by way of taxes during and after the construction of project.

QuarkCity Chairman Mr Fred Ebrahimi, said "these businesses will have a compounding effect on the small-time entrepreneurs of the region in related businesses, who will now be able to take advantage of sunrise industries like IT, ITes, biotechnology and communication.

Since knowledge-based industry holds key to the future economic prosperity, the project is expected to generate 25,000-30,000 direct jobs, besides 1.25 lakh indirect jobs in related sectors for the highly-qualified professionals.

At least 40 names in knowledge-based industry will occupy the office space.

Talks are underway with a number of leading companies but the space being limited not all can be accommodated, he said.

Mr Ebrahimi hoped that the USA would review its outsourcing policies and bring out the desired Act also.

He expressed apprehensions that if Democrats came to power in the upcoming November elections, countries like India may face problems as Democrats may ban outsourcing since unemployment was increasing and jobs to people from other countries was being opposed.

The project, which will conform to the standards of the United States Green Building Council seeks to attain the Platinum Level Leed certification, by ensuring that natural resources and energy are used to the optimum capacity.

The township will make extensive use of landscapes and greenery to reduce heat and pollution besides maintaining high standards of indoor Air Quality ( IAQ). With emphasis on conservation of fast depleting sources like potable water and greenery, it will be one-of-its kind township in the world.

Most of the buildings will be suitably aligned to get most of the northern light, in turn reducing electricity consumption.

Mr Ebrahimi said the water and power crisis in the state would worsen in the times to come but they would depend more on their inbuilt arrangement for water, captive power etc. `

"We will have our own sewage treatment plant and 70 per cent of the recycled water would be used for air-conditioning make-up, horticulture and flushing,'' he explained as the focus will be on eco-friendly and sustainable garbage disposal system.

Talking about optimum utilisation of space Mr Ebrahimi said there would be no surface transport and all traffic movement would be underground.

The electrical shuttles and a motorable tunnel for maintaining air-conditioning, power, and other services will further reduce pollution.

The company also plans to set up a UGC certified deemed university that would award M. Tech and B. Tech degrees in order to churn out qualified engineers.

It plans to enroll another 600 engineers by March, 2005.

Another salient feature of the upcoming township will be its well-equipped sports, recreational, learning, community and cultural centres that would complete the requirements of a model neighbourhood.

Mr Ebrahimi said as part of a unique process of team architecture special team of architects, engineers and project managers would be trained and equipped to accomplish this quality control task in a systematic, phased manner.

The IT park will eventually comprise seven towers for offices and eight for residential areas, which will comprise 700 residential units of different sizes and features.

The first towers is to be built at a cost of $ 20 million.

Negotiations were also on with leading Hotel groups for setting up a 200-room five-star hotel in the park.

The total project investment of the project is estimated to be $ 500 million. The construction will entail the use of first generation technologies.


Govt to honour MoU with Malaysian firm: CM
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 21
The Chief Minister, Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, today inaugurated ‘Quark City’ in Mohali. The clod-breaking ceremony took place in the evening at the Quark City site in Phase VIII A, Industrial Area, here.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Fred Ebrahimi, Chairman, Quark City India, started his address with “Meri zindagi wich aaj khushi da din hai” in Punjabi. ‘‘I have been able to translate my idea into reality with the whole hearted cooperation of the state government,’’ he said. Mr Ebrahimi hoped that his efforts in revitalising the economy of Punjab would bore fruit. He recommended that any other multinational company which was considering investing in India should do so in Punjab. I would be glad if Quark proves to be the catalyst in encouraging investments into Punjab, he said.

Later, Mr Parminder Singh Sehgal, Executive Director, proposed a vote of thanks.

The Chief Minister today announced that his government had given final nod to a project undertaken by the Malaysian real estate developer, IJM, to develop an integrated township in Sectors 88 and 89, Mohali. Talking to mediapersons during the clod breaking ceremony of Quark City here, the Chief Minister added that the government would honour its MoU with the company signed in September last year.

According to the MoU signed by Mr Suresh Kumar, the then Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mohali, would house an ‘integrated township’ in Punjab, completely planned, developed and marketed by foreign investors. Spread over 500 acre in Sectors 88 and 89, the township will be a self-sustained unit having its own hospitals, living units, entertainment, education and recreation features. Mr Ng Chin Meng, Executive Director, IJM, had signed the MoU on behalf of IJM (India) Infrastructure Ltd. A final agreement had to be signed with the company to start the project.

In its proposal for Mohali, PUDA had offered development, marketing and implementation of a high-end residential-cum-commercial township with an equity requirement of $17.7 million.

In January this year, however, following a last minute shift in its policy, PUDA had shelved its MoU with IJM, “in the name of fair play”. Instead of the earlier policy of getting into a joint venture partnership with a single foreign direct investor, it was decided that PUDA float global tenders for FDI ventures in order to give equal opportunity to all international players to invest in real estate development in Punjab.

A visit of a state delegation to Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai from July 19 to 30, 2003, had received an overwhelming response from builders and infrastructure companies. The then PUDA Chief Administrator, Mr Suresh Kumar, who was a part of the delegation, had told TNS that five sites in Mohali, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar had been earmarked for the FDI, involving an estimated investment of $ 53.30 million by companies based in Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE.


Bizarre murder
Father, son die of rat poison after killing relative
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 21
A 58-year-old man, accompanied by his son, attacked his sister-in-law and her daughter, resulting in the death of the latter last evening at Rajpura, near here. The attack by the father-son duo created a sensation in the town as both of them made the attack after consuming celphos tablets. While the father died last night, the son died this morning.

Both the victims as well as the aggressors were taken to the same private hospital in the city. Dayal Chand and son, Bunty, entered the house of Dayal Chand’s brother in the city on the pretext of meeting Dayal Chand’s mother, who stays with his brother. There they attacked Dayal Chand’s brother Bansi Lal’s wife Sheela Devi, with long knives. When Sheela Devi’s daughter, Ranjita, tried to save her mother she was also severely injured by knife wounds.

Immediately after the incident, both the father-son duo ran out of the house even as the shrieks of the injured brought people rushing to the house situated in ward number 19 in the city. Both Dayal Chand and his son, Bunty, were not able to run far. They fell a little far from the house and started vomitting following which it became known that they had consumed celphos tablets.

Both Dayal Chand and Bunty as well as Sheela Devi and Ranjita were taken to the APJ hospital in the city. While Ranjita was declared dead on arrival, Sheela Devi was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. Dayal Chand succumbed to internal wounds late last evening while Bunty died this morning.

Though Dayal Chand’s parents and even his sisters and other relatives live in the town, none came forward to claim his as well as Bunty’s body. The hospital authorities then decided to hand over the bodies to the local municipal committee for conducting the last rites.

Dayal Chand had left his wife and children around 23 years ago to marry again. Following this act of his, he was disowned by his father but was given a small house as a kind of settlement so that he could live separately. Fate, however, had something else in store for the man as his second wife left him following which he started living alone with his son, Bunty. Not able to make both ends meet, he sold off his house and goods following which both father and son started living in the open near the Shiv mandir in the city.

Sources said recently Dayal Chand had appealed to his brother to allow him to live in one room of the erstwhile family home. This wish was, however, not granted by the brother, Bansi Lal, which then resulted in the murderous attack on members of the latter’s family. Dayal Chand had also attacked his first wife with a knife some years ago.


A cultural extravaganza of 2 Punjabs on the cards
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
For the past 57 years the Punjabis of Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab have witnessed several inglorious chapters being added to the history of this subcontinent. But now Chief Ministers of both East and West Punjabs, obviously with concurrence of their respective national governments, are trying to add a glorious chapter to that bleeding history.

Almost the entire Council of Ministers of West Punjab led by the Chief Minister, Mr Parvaiz Elahi, will walk into East Punjab via Wagah border on December 4 to witness the biggest cultural and sports carnival being first time organised after the Partition between two Punjabs. The Council of Ministers of East Punjab led by Capt Amarinder Singh will play host to them.

In fact not only will the Council of Ministers of both Punjabs be assembling at Patiala but also the best sports persons, men of letters, academicians and classical and folk singers of both Punjabs will be participating in the carnival. The carnival will begin with a bit of serious activity — that is a three-day Punjabi conference scheduled to start on December 1 on Punjabi University campus at Patiala. In that conference scholars of both Punjabs would take part. On December 4, Mr Parvaiz-Elahi, will arrive along with his Council of Ministers at Patiala. On December 5, the sports festival would start.

Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, who is holding the portfolio of Sports, told The Tribune that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has invited the entire Council of Ministers of West Punjab. Besides, the Military Secretary of Pervez Musharraf President of Pakistan, has also been invited because he is the president of the Pakistan Olympic Association. The president of West Punjab Olympic Association has also been extended an invitation.

Famed singers such as Gulam Ali, Abida Parveen and other Sufi singers have also been invited. In all about 800 guests, including 350 sportspersons, are expected from West Punjab. Obviously, ministers from that part of Punjab would be accompanied by their family members, officials and friends etc. Besides, good number of writers and academicians are expected to attend the Punjabi conference.

Capt Amarinder Singh has taken the Union External Affairs Ministry into confidence with regard to the organisation of the festival. He has discussed the matter with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. There is a programme to request the Prime Minister to declare the sports carnival open on December 5. At the closing ceremony efforts are being made to invite Mrs Sonia Gandhi, president of the All India Congress Committee.

The estimated budget for the carnival is about Rs 10 crore. “We are in the process of approaching the Union Human Resources and Cultural Affairs Ministry for funds. There is also a proposal to sell the rights of the carnival to Doordarshan for raising the funds.”

“By all means, it will be a historic event in the history of the subcontinent when hearts will meet and arms will open to embrace each other. The event is obviously being organised to give a further push to the ongoing process of Indo-Pak friendship,” said Mr Sodhi. A few months ago, Capt Amarinder Singh had visited West Punjab. He was given a tremendous reception there by his counterpart Parvaiz Elahi.

“We would go all out to make it one of the most majestic events of the post-Independence period,” said Mr Sodhi. A high-level meeting was held here today to make arrangements with regard to the carnival.


Cong MP’s ‘secret visit’ surprises local leaders
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
The ‘secret visit’ of Mr Eduardo Faleiro , a senior Congress MP from Goa, to the city and holding in camera meetings with local intellectuals at their houses has come as a surprise for the local party leadership here today.

Mr Faleiro reached here yesterday by air along with Dr Mohinder Singh, secretary, Bhai Veer Singh Sadan (Amritsar), without giving any intimation to the local Congress leadership and district administration . He also paid a quiet visit to the house of Mr Gunbir Singh, a close confidant of Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister.

Mr Faleiro also held meetings with certain senior professors of Guru Nanak Dev University, apart from visiting the Golden Temple twice. He then visited the ancestral house of Bhai Veer Singh, and also the Museum at Ram Bagh.

It is believed that Mr Faleiro was deputed by the party high command to collect feed back on certain specific issues . However, Mr Gunbir Singh claimed that Mr Faleiro did not discuss state politics at the dinner meeting.


Derecognise SAD, says Khera
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 21
Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission and member of the National Executive Committee of the Janata Dal (S), has urged the Election Commission of India to cancel the registration of the Shiromani Akali Dal and remove it from the list of recognised registered political parties for Punjab.

In a representation to the Election Commission of India, Mr Khera stated that while complying with the provisions of sub-section 5 of Section 29-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1952, SAD had put a clause in its constitution regarding adherence to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy.

It had violated the above mentioned provision in its constitution by contesting elections to a purely religious body i.e. the SGPC under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. 


Heritage Walk in Faridkot
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 21
A large number of school children today participated in Heritage Walk, which took them to a guided tour of the historical monuments in the city. Mr P.P. Gupta, DIG, BSF, flagged off the march that began from the historic Nehru Gate and culminated at Quilla Mubarak.

The first destination of Heritage Walk was Raj Mahal, which was built by the Late Raja Balbir Singh. It is now serving as the residence of the descendants of the royal family. The school children paid obeisance at Tilla Baba Farid where the great Sufi saint meditated for 40 days before proceeding to Pakpattan (Pakistan). Devotees from various parts of the state visit this sacred place every Thursday.

At Quilla Mubarak, which houses the royal palace, tosha khana, modi khana, and treasury building, Maharani Deepinder Kaur Mehtab, chairperson of Maharawal Khewaji Trust, welcomed the students. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, was also present on the occasion.

He inspected the renovation work being carried out at Sheesh Mahal. Rare photographs of the Royal family of Faridkot were also put on display. A painting and essay writing competition was organised at Quilla Mubarak, while a quiz contest was held at Amar ashram.

These contests were based on the city’s heritage to enrich their knowledge about the same. Students from Mahatma Gandhi Senior Secondary School, DAV Public School, Ashoka Model and other schools participated in Heritage Walk.

Earlier, a mushiara was organised at Darbar Ganj Complex last night in which a number of Urdu poets participated. The mushiara was organised by the Sufi Foundation India in association with the District Sabhyacharak Society. 


Pitchers smashed against council’s apathy
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 21
Much to the chagrin of the ruling party here today, Congress Councillor-cum-PPCC organising secretary Kusum Sharma led a “ghara bhann” (pitcher-breaking) march here today.

The march was held to express resentment against drinking water problem in ward No. 19, rampant corruption in the Nagar Council run by the Congress, lopsided development and discrimination in allocation of funds for undertaking different projects.

However, Nagar Council President Malkiat Singh Ragbotra denied the allegations. He even offered to step down if Ms Sharma proved the allegation of corruption in the council.

The march began from the councillor’s office, near Prachin Shiv Mandir, on the Hoshiarpur road and reached the Nagar Council office at Town Hall on the GT road.

Women protesters had placed empty pitchers on their heads to symbolise the problem of potable water, while male protesters wielded placards carrying messages like “Dekhya shehar nagina, minh ik din chikkar mahinan” (what a pearl of a town is this where one day rain causes muddy conditions for a full month).

The pitchers were later smashed in front of the Nagar Council office.

A rally was also held where speakers flayed council authorities for discriminating against ward No. 19, which is represented by Ms Sharma.

A memorandum was submitted to local SDM Pritam Singh at the site of protest.

A demand was raised to install a submersible water pump in the ward as the ward was located at a higher level and water did not reach houses.

Mr Ragbotra, when contacted, claimed that there was no water problem in the ward, as two tubewells already existed.

However, a four-member committee of councillors — comprising Manmohan Sharma, Ramesh Jordan, Sushil Maini and Surinder Singh — had been constituted to conduct a survey in the city to ascertain any such problem, he said.

He also refuted allegations of corruption in the council.

It may be mentioned here that the Nagar Council is run by the Congress and today’s protest by a Congress councillor and her supporters pointed at brewing dissent withing the party at a time when two byelections are round the corner.


Punjabis must change mindset for development :Verma
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Just when the government should be concerned more about important, yet less developed socio-economic areas in Punjab, its bureaucracy was more concerned whether there should be a red light atop their vehicles or not.

''It is time that those at the top must act to free the bureaucracy from such official trappings and make them do what they are supposed to do—work in public interest and for the people's welfare''.

These views were expressed by Punjab Governor O P Verma while sharing his experience of Punjab with TNS at Raj Bhawan here today.

Since he frequently travels in the state, interacts with cross-section of the people, gets first-hand feedback on their needs and problems, he, thus, has a clear view of Punjab society, its trappings, failings of the system of governance and where the state is headed for.

Justice Verma believes that politicians and bureaucrats shall have to shift from rhetoric to implementing the socio-economic policies and mitigating the sufferings of the people. Aware of the midset of the Punjabis, he is convinced that unless this is changed and correctives are applied to emerging social negatives, Punjab could be in serious trouble.

Giving an example of ''self-help'' groups that people and panchyats have formed on their own in four villages near Morinda, which he had visited on September 11, Justice Verma said the poor, landless labourers there had proved what all can be achieved if the mindset was changed. Their net-working with the Shivalik Kshetriya Gramin Bank has virtually transformed the incomes and economies of those poverty-stricken poor people and saved many a farmer's life who, burdened by debt, was on the edge of committing suicide.

Such efforts, he stressed, needed to be replicated all over rural Punjab. Yet, despite being a live example, babus and bureaucrats had remained oblivious of this social change. There are 31 groups and 370 members. The Governor had visited the villages at the invitation of Doomcheri sarpanch Gurmail Singh.

Justice Verma is concerned over the lack of education, more so quality education, that was available only in some of the districts. Neither was universal primary education available nor was the play field for all students alike. The gap between the rich, educated, urban parents and poor, uneducated and rural parents was widening. This was a disquietingly worrisome social aspect.

Another observation he shared was about the creeping in of social evils in the Punjab society. He identified these as gender discrimination, practice of sex determination to get rid of the female foetus, resulting in skewed sex ratios, prevalance of cult of dowry, torture, burning and desertion of brides, particularly by NRIs, child abuse, and now caste conflicts in villages.

Justice Verma wondered if such was the mindset of society, how could Punjab be called a developed state? Is the picture of a developed Punjab a mirage, one wondered, listening to him. If individual Punjabis were individually rich, it did not mean Punjab was prosperous. His study of the situation and operative system of governance showed that love for materialistic possessions, hoarding of latest gadgets had made people greedy and corrupt.

Punjab also lacked infrastructure to fulfill ''our needs'' and needs were no longer limited. Needs should enable one to live a decent life, as he put it. There was lot of waste as well in society, and also in government expenses. Both power and individual prosperity were operative in the government machinery, giving rise to corruption.

Today, politicians and bureaucrats were not doing their duty. They were engaged in ''extra curricular activities'', rather than serving the people. ''All states must emulate Kerala as a role model in governance, development, austerity and collective efforts to change'', he added.

Justice Verma said Guru Granth Sahib was a repository of the ''guidelines'' to help an individual to lead the entire life span. Its preachings were presented in precise, concise and cogent manner. But how many have actually read it? Only if one would care to read and practice the preachings of the Gurus and saints included in the holy book, things would be much better and easier for society.


CM tells SGPC to set up centre of classical music
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today called upon the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Sikh clergy to establish an institution of excellence in classical music to enable the ragis and preachers to perform Gurbani kirtan based on the original ragas as enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib with maryada.

He was addressing a galaxy of intellectuals at a seminar on “Relevance of Guru Granth Sahib in the 21st Century” on the completion of 400 years of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at ICSSR auditorium of Panjab University here.

“I have already asked the Vice-Chancellor to set up a centre to carry out research on devotional music so that the original ragas are not lost with time,” he said.

Captain Amarinder Singh further said that he was really anguished to note that several ragis amongst the new generation had no knowledge of classical music and some of them even performed Gurbani kirtan on popular film tunes, thereby undermining the very sanctity of Gurbani.

The Chief Minister pointed out that he even referred to this growing malady in his address on the quadricentennial celebrations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Amritsar in the presence of the stalwarts of the Sikh Panth. Captain Singh further said that Sikhism was not only the youngest and the most modern religion of the world but also the essence of all the religions. He urged the people to shun rituals as abhorred in the Sikhism.

He asserted that there was no place for casteism in Sikhism. Even then we were divided over petty considerations of caste, colour, creed and religion, contrary to the fundamental principles of Sikhism. He impressed upon the people to imbibe the teachings of Sikhism as preached by our great Gurus to seek solace to lead a happy, contented and ideal life that was the order of the day.

Captain Singh said that Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Guru eternal of the Sikhs, has universal appeal and validity. “We are fortunate enough to commemorate three mega events during the year 2004, that is the 500th years of Parkash Utsav of Sri Guru Angad Dev ji, 400 years of the Parkash Utsav of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Harimandar Sahib and 300 years of Martyrdom Day of the Sahibzadas of Sri Guru Gobind Singh in our life time”, he added.

In his welcome address, Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, said that the university had planned to celebrate a year-long programme in the context of quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib beginning today.

“He said that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib lecture series and a kavi darbar on Sri Guru Granth Sahib would be organised in the coming months besides publishing a journal containing the writings of eminent scholars. We are also planning to construct Guru Nanak Bhavan on the campus which will house all the chairs related to Sikhism and Sikh studies and have library facilities as well,” he added.

Later, Captain Singh honoured Dr Harnam Singh Shan, Dr Jasbir Singh Sabar and Prof Darshan Singh, all eminent Sikh scholars, with shawls for their outstanding contribution in the field of Sikh studies. These scholars also presented their papers in the seminar on the occasion.


Vedanti calls meeting on molestation issue
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
In a significant development, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has called a meeting of Sikh clergy on October 4 to discuss the charges of molestation against Baldev Singh, an SGPC member.

On his return from England, Jathedar Vedanti said the Akal Takht Secretariat has received a number of representations regarding the case.

He said some of the representations had sought action against the SGPC member while some of them pleaded that he (Mr Baldev Singh) was innocent.

He, however, suggested that Mr Baldev Singh should avoid holding ‘Dhadi Darbars’ till he got a clean chit.

The issue was likely to storm the general house of the SGPC, proposed to be held on September 23 here, to elect president, office-bearers and executive of the Shiromani Committee.

Jathedar had already received flak from a section of the Sikh Panth for maintaining ‘studied silence’ on the matter. 


Minister assures 24-hr power supply in rural areas
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
The Punjab Government spent Rs 1450 crore for regular eight-hour power supply to the agriculture sector during the paddy season and only Rs 300 crore had been collected from the farmers through bills by the Punjab State Electricity Board. This was stated by Mr Lal Singh, Irrigation, Power and Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, while addressing a public gathering at Nandpur Kalaur village. He inaugurated a 66 kv grid sub-station on the occasion.

Mr Lal Singh said by December 31, 24-hour power supply would be provided in rural areas, which would cost Rs 261 crore. He said the government had been charging Rs 2.50 per unit from the public and it cost the government Rs 6 per unit. The government had purchased 150 mw power, which would end power cuts in the state.

The minister announced a grant of Rs 60 lakh for the development of Bassi Pathana block. He presented a cheque worth Rs 3 lakh to the village panchayat for development. He assured the village panchayat of 24-hour power supply within a month. He said the new power grid sub-station would help more than 60 villages in the district.

He further said that the government was making efforts for the 300th martyrdom year of younger “Sahibzadas” Baba Zorawar Singh Baba Fateh Singh and Mata Gujri ji, and adequate funds would be provided for the overall development of the area.

Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, welcomed the minister. Devinderpal Singh Walia, ADC (D), Gurwinder Singh Dhillon, Chairman, Bassi Pathana block, Harinder Singh Kang, Om Prakash Tangr, Hari Om Garg, Chief Engineer Centre, Sukhwinder Pal, Deputy Chief Engineer, Ravinder Kaur, BDPO, were also present on the occasion 


PSEB union lambasts Finance Minister for privatisation
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 21
Blasting the Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh for the privatisation of boards and corporations in the state.

The Technical Services Union of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today burnt an effigy of the minister here at sub division number 2.

Mr Gurmit Singh, Mr Baljit Sharma, Mr Shiv Sharma, Mr Ratan Lal, Mr Rajesh Kumar and Mr Jugnu Singh made a scathing attack on the Finance Minister describing him as a “blue eyed chap” of the Chief Minister.

They accused him of misleading the people on economic reforms.

They alleged that the Congress government had initially conspired to abandon the PSEB but owning to the increasing opposition the govt had resolved to break it into small regional corporations.

The PSEB employees exhorted the employees of other corporations and boards also to struggle against introduction of the contract system in 29 departments.

They regretted that though many employees had retired on superannuation of service or were forced to leave the job on the pretext of physical fitness problem, no effort to fill the vacancies had been made.

The dependents of those employees who had died during the service were denied job, they rued.


PSEB employees burn Singla’s effigies
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 21
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), who constantly fear privatisation of the board, today directed their anger against Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla who has recently advocated unbundling of the board into several corporations.

The employees burnt effigies of the Finance Minister in front of the local head office of the board as well as at subdivision levels under the aegis of the PSEB Employees Joint Forum. The employees said they would not allow the state government to impose on Punjab a model prescribed by the World Bank as it had already failed in seven other states.

The forum claimed that policies in the power sector had been framed without any consultation with power sector professionals whereby they had failed miserably and led to higher traffics and enhanced cash subsidies. It said unbunding of the board into different companies would lead to serious problems of coordination between the generation, transmission and distribution wings and result in multiplicity of top management posts.

Mr Davinder Singh, general secretary, Council of Junior Engineers, said the PSEB management had misrepresented to the Special Punjab Vidhan Sabha Committee that the Electricity Act 2003 mandated the separation of generation, transmission and distribution functions. He said due to serious contradictions between the policies of the UPA government and the Electricity Act, 2003, the Central Government had decided to review the Act itself. He said besides this, the Central Government had given a year’s time to the states to implement the provisions of the Act adding that in such a situation the statement of the Punjab Finance Minister had caused apprehensions about whether he was speaking for the people of the state or big business houses.

Meanwhile, the circlewise dharnas in front of the PSEB head office here entered the 10th day today with hundreds of forum leaders from all the three thermal plants in the state sitting on dharna.


Haryana-based sabha allowed to visit Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 21
In yet another instance of improving Indo-Pak relations the Pakistan Government gave permission to Haryana-based Baba Bhuman Shah Seva Sabha to visit Pakistan for the first time after Independence. The jatha led by Mahant Baba Brahm Dass and Baba Dayal Dass Gumani-Walley, will comprise nine members

The jatha will leave on September 23 for Baba Bhuman Shah ji , Pakistan .


High Court
Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi impleaded as party
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 21
A Bench comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today impleaded Mr Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, as party in an ongoing writ filed by a suspended sarpanch.

In his application, Gopal Singh, ex-sarpanch of Gudad Dhandi village, who was suspended allegedly at the behest of Rana Sodhi, had sought impleading of Rana Sodhi as party to the writ filed by him against initiation of false case of embezzlement of panchayat funds.

The petitioner, who claims to have opposed Rana Sodhi’s supporters from bogus voting during the 2002 Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections, was first suspended and later, through a fresh order, asked to pay Rs 11.71 lakh on the ground that he had embezzled the same.

While his suspension was stayed on an appeal by the Director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department, the allegation that he embezzled funds was made by the Director himself.

He challenged the same in the High Court. In his application, he said that his main allegations were against Rana Sodhi, but he had not been made party to the writ.

While impleaded Rana Sodhi was party to the case, the Bench noted that prima facie the action of the respondents appeared to be without jurisdiction and law.

It said that the right to appeal and revision had been taken away from the petitioner.

The Bench stayed the recovery of the amount alleged to have been embezzled by the petitioner and issued notice to Rana Sodhi for January 11, 2005.


21 nabbed for assault on patient
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September, 21
Panic gripped the local Civil Hospital today when a mob of about 50 persons armed with lathis, rods and leather belts swooped on the hospital and assaulted one of the patients.

The timely action taken by the Model Town police averted the bloody clash but four persons, including a lady, were wounded during the assault.

The police had arrested 21 persons, including a Managing Director of a private ITI.

The incident is said to have occurred when about 50 persons, occupying Indica car (HP-20A-0927) and a bus (PB-07F-8161), came to the hospital at about 12 noon. The assaulters rushed to the ward no 7, located on the first floor.

Meanwhile, Mr Jiwan Kumar Kalia, in charge of the Model Town Police Station, reached the spot along with a police contingent.

Some of the assaulters succeeded in fleeing while others rushed to the bus for making good the escape.

The people of the locality along with the police cordoned off the bus, thus, foiling their escape bid.

In the ensuing melee, two assaulters, who were able to reach the ward no 7 to assault a patient, were locked inside by the police and hospital staff.

DSP Ram Parkash and SI Jiwan Kumar Kalia said the reason behind assault was a land dispute between Balwinder Singh, Managing Director of Desh Bhagat ITI, and local resident Kishan Singh.

There was a clash between both groups on September 20, which saw persons from both sides being admitted to the Civil Hospital last night.

The police officials added that both parties were called to the Model Town Police Station at 10 a.m. today to settle the dispute.

But Balwinder Singh, along with his accomplices and students of the ITI, instead of coming to the police station attacked the shop of Kishan Singh at Fatehgarh road.

Darshan Kaur, wife of Kishan Singh, was mercilessly beaten and the goods lying in the shop were broken. A boy who came for the rescue of Darshan Kaur was also beaten by the assaulters.

Great resentment prevails among the employees, including doctors of the Civil Hospital, over this incident.

To make matters worse, this was the fourth incident of assault on the patients of the hospital.

Mr Kuldip Raj, president of the Karamchari Sangh of the hospital, rued that despite repeated attacks on the patients, no police chowki had been set up in the hospital premises.


Cop arrested for posing as DSP’s gunman
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 21
Nemesis came for constable Avtaar Singh after six years after he had got arrested a Kapurthala DTO, with whom he was a gunman, for allegedly “taking” Rs 4,000 as bribe from him in lieu of giving the last pay certificate (LPC) to him. Constable Avtaar Singh was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau here today for allegedly posing as a gunman of a Jalandhar-based DSP of the bureau.

J.S. Sandhawalia, the then DTO Kapurthala, with whom Avtaar Singh was attached as gunman, was arrested by the bureau on a complaint of Avtaar Singh. He had even been awarded a cash prize of Rs 50,000 for getting the officer arrested under a scheme launched by the then SAD-BJP government. Later, he had turned hostile in the case. For this, the bureau had booked him under Section 420, IPC.

Avtaar Singh, currently posted with the IX battallion of the PAP at Amritsar, was arrested when he was allegedly posing as the gunman of DSP Jagdish Mittar and was exerting pressure on officials of the tehsil complex for some favour.

He was booked on the complaint of a person, whose identity was not revealed.

“We had got numerous complaints against Avtaar Singh. It is today that we finally caught him while posing as the gunman of the DSP,” said the bureau’s SSP.


Man murders wife, arrested
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 21
A man allegedly murdered his wife, Sarita, at their Gali No. 10 residence on the Zira road here today.

Sources said that the accused, Naresh Kumar, was reportedly having an affair with a girl working at his pathology lab and had developed illicit relations with her. His family members came to know about the affair and his wife resisted the same. She also had an altercation with him over the issue a few days back.

The accused also had a dispute with the person who had rented his shop to him. Sources said that he hatched a conspiracy and lodged a complaint with the police that his shop owner was threatening him of dire consequences.

Interestingly, the accused himself reported the matter to the police and said that his shop owner killed his wife, while he barely managed to save his life.

But, when the police interrogated him he spilled the beans and admitted that he killed his wife, as she was objecting to his relationship with his employee.

Sources said that the accused had been arrested, but the police was yet to confirm the same.

However, a case has been registered in this connection.


3 of family killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 21
Three members of a family were crushed to death by a truck near Nurpurbedi this evening.

The accident took place around 4 pm when Ram Sharan, who was on his way to Nawanshahr with his wife Geeta Rani and niece Puja on a scooter, was hit by a truck going towards Vibhor Sahib.

The three, hailing from Nawanshahr, died on the spot.


Book stall raided
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 21
The police here today raided a book stall at the bus stand in the city on Tuesday. A few stall owners were found displaying and selling pornographic material. 

A few hundred books and magazines having pornographic pictures and writings were seized and a case has been registered.


DEO post vacant, teaching hit
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 21
Teaching in a number of government-run elementary schools in the district has been adversely affected as the authorities concerned have failed to post any district education officer (DEO) after the post fell vacant about 34 days ago.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Palwinder Singh, who was working as DEO (Elementary), Mansa, was caught by the Vigilance Bureau about a month ago. Since then no new DEO had been posted in his place.

In the absence of the DEO (Elementary) the teachers who had got themselves transferred to this district, could not be posted in their respective schools. The number of such teachers is 70.

Apart from it, certain other schools have been facing an acute shortage of teachers.

As per the official figures, about 192 posts of teacher in the elementary schools in the district of the total sanctioned strength of 979 have been lying vacant. Besides, 65 posts of headteachers of the total sanctioned strength of 184 are also lying vacant in these schools.

The administrative work of the elementary education office in the district has also been affected on account of the fact that a number of posts of clerk and block primary education officer (BPEO) are vacant. Only one BPEO had been posted against the sanctiond strength of five.

Official sources said due to the absence of the DEO (Elementary), the volunteers who had been working in schools opened under the Education Guarantee Scheme of Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan could not get their monthly wages.

Apart from it, teachers who had been recruited on wages of Rs 5,000 per month also could not get their payments despite the fact that state government had released a grant for the same. 


VC motivates people to sponsor rural students
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 21
Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, while expressing concern over the widening gap in the matter pertaining to the availability of education opportunities to rural and urban students, said that Punjabi University had started making efforts to bridge the gap.

Mr Boparai, who was here today to address a meeting of eminent citizens to motivate them to contribute to this noble cause, said that after realising the need of dissemination of contemporary technical education amongst the rural and educationally deprived sections, the university authorities had started making efforts in that directions.

He added that by opening up Yadvindra College of Engineering at Talwandi Sabo for the rural students, the university authorities had made efforts to offer equal opportunity to rural students in the field of technical education and information technology so that they come up and give way to a balanced social growth.

Not only this, the university authorities had been making efforts to set up a rural university at Talwandi Sabo so that all the education needs of rural students and those belonging to the deprived sections of society could be taken care of by offering them the best education at highly subsidised rates.

He pointed out that equal distribution of knowledge could function as important instrument to bring about socio-economic reforms and to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. It had been felt that there was a need to tap budding talent trapped in difficult situation where poverty prevented acquisition of quality education.

He added that there was the biggest flaw in the education system which was based only on merits. He said that this had been resulting in the fact that a majority of the students coming from rural background, who had received their education in disadvantageous circumstances, failed to get seats in premier courses of higher education.

He urged the noted academicians, advocates, industrialists, representatives of political parties, social workers and others to contribute funds so that education could be provided to the rural students at subsidised rates.

A section of those who attended today’s meeting gave prompt response to Mr Boparai’s appeal by announcing scholarships for rural students.

The Baba Farid Society announced that it would give at least eight one-year scholarships to the rural students. Dr Mohan Lal Garg, eminent physician, announced that he would institute a gold medal for the topper in the law faculty from the local Punjabi University Regional Centre.

A number of academicians from Patiala and staff members of local Punjabi University Regional Centre attended the function.


Students gherao mini buses
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 21
A large section of activists of the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) and members of the BKU (Ekta) today gheraoed a number of mini-buses at the Sivian village in the district for whole of the day to lodge their protest against the thrashing of two students by a section of mini-bus operators a few days ago.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Roop Singh, spokesman of the Affected Students Committee, said that bus operators had been harassing the students and were not allowing them to travel on their buses despite the fact that they were having passes in connection with the facility of concessional travel.

He said that though a report was lodged with the police after two students, Amandeep Singh, and Rajinder Singh were beaten up by mini-bus operators a few days ago, no case against the guilty had been registered.

He said that mini-bus operators had snatched the identity card of one of the students even after a report was lodged against them with the police.

He said that all these things reflected that mini-bus operators had been getting patronage from the district civil and police authorities. 


CSI opens student chapter at BBSBE College
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
The Computer Society of India (CSI) today opened a student chapter at the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering (BBSBE) College. With this chapter BBSBE College has become the only college in Punjab Technical University (PTU) having four student chapters of leading national professional bodies.

A function was held today at the college, which was presided over by Dr B.S. Sohi, Director, University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, Chandigarh. Mr Sanjeev Dixit, Deputy Manager, HR Philips India Ltd, Panchkula, was the guest of honour. Prof Gurpal Singh, Head of the Computer Science Department welcomed the chief guest and other guests.

Dr Sohi said as far as the IT scenario was concerned, “we are still lagging behind our southern counterparts and concrete steps need to be taken in this direction to bridge the gap.” He said platforms like the CSI chapter would serve the needs of the students. They could interact with the people from the industry and their peers across the country.

Dr D.S. Hira, Principal of BBSBE College, said the CSI started in 1965 and it was a non-profit, professional body where IT professionals met to exchange views and information, to learn and share ideas. He said the CSI had over 20,000 members, including professionals, students, academicians, scientists, corporate bodies and other institutions.

Mr Dixit told the students about recruitment procedures in various companie. He shared his experience of being an HR manager.

Mr Rahul Gupta, GM, IT, Spice Telecom, Mohali, said the IT industry in India was looking up once again and a lot of opportunities were there for young and experienced IT professionals.


6 students to take part in yoga championship
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
Students of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, won the Punjab Technical University Inter-College Yoga Championship.

Six students of the college got selected for inter-university competition. The members of the girls and boys yoga team were yesterday honoured by the Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, and the member secretary, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra.

Talwinder Singh (first year student of the Electronics Department), Rajandeep Singh (first year, IT Department), Ashwani Dang (first year, IT Department), Harpreet Singh and Gurwinder Singh (second year student of the Computer Science Department) bagged the second position in boys category.

Monika Verma of the Computer Science Department said six students were selected for the inter-university competition. She said Sarabjit Kaur, Ashima Anand and Sumandeep Kaur were selected in the girls’ category and three boys, including Manjeet Singh were selected for the inter-university competition.


PCMS appeals for extending date of registration
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 21
The PCMS Association Punjab has appealed to the Punjab Medical Council to extend the last date for the registration of additional qualifications and updating of medical register, by one month as a number of doctors were yet to submit the forms due to communication gap here today.

The Association urged to all PCMS doctors working in the state to get their registration with the Punjab Medical Council updated as per rules to safe guard their professional rights and to practice as specialists to avoid any legal competitions.


Netone facility launched
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 21
The BSNL subscribers can now use Internet on a dial up connection without having to buy a package for the said purpose, as BSNL launched the Netone facility in the city here on Tuesday. The facility was inaugurated by the chief GMT, Punjab Circle, Chandigarh, Mr G.S. Bhatia. Mr Bhatia said it could not be misused as the CLI of the phone connection is tallied against its username.

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