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Elections will be referendum on govt’s performance: CM
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 22
Giving a twist to the poll scenario, the Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, today asserted that the outcome of the byelection to the Kapurthala and Garshankar Assembly seats would be a referendum of people on the performance of the government.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister indicated that the Congress, which was holding parleys with the CPI with a view to forming a common secular front against the SAD-BJP, might not pull back from Garshankar where it has fielded its own candidate despite the fact that he had “all honour” for the veteran CPM leader Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet. “Workers feel that we should contest the Garshankar seat and the decision was taken in view of workers’ sentiments,” said Captain Amarinder Singh, who was talking to mediapersons at the PAP helipad here today.

“All elections are a referendum for any government. Same will be in case of outcome of the Garshankar and Kapurthala byelections. People judge a government on the basis of its performance and we have performed the example of which is the Waters Termination pact and that we are lifting the sixth crop successfully. This time too we are lifting paddy from September 27 instead of starting paddy purchase from October 1,” said a visibly upbeat Capt Amarinder Singh.

Asserting that his party was allout for the formation of a secular front against the SAD-BJP combine, Capt Amarinder Singh said dialogue to achieve this target was on between the Congress and the CPI, but, nothing had been finalised so far.

Talking about visit of Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh said Mr Mukherjee would be visiting the state only after the return of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh from his US tour.

Holding that the power crisis was neither of the Punjab Government nor of the PSEB as it was “nationwide crisis” which had its roots in monsoon failure. “Bhakra has witnessed an unprecedented 87 feet low level this time. Thermal plants’ working is satisfactory. However, hydropower plants have suffered due to low water levels. Strengthening of Lehra Mohabbat power plant with an amount of Rs 2200 crore and the setting up of a gas power plant near Doraha is already in the pipeline and this will result in more power in future. Moreover, we are planning to get 150 MW power from Rajasthan to overcome current power crisis,” said the CM.

Later addressing a meeting of senior officials, including the Divisional Commissioner Dr Swaran Singh and Deputy Commissioner Ashok Gupta, Capt Amarinder Singh and Punjab Food and Supply Minister, Mr Avtaar Henry, warned the procurement agencies and officials that harassment of farmers would not be tolerated at any cost.

Mr Henry said since the state was witnessing a bumper paddy crop this time, the arrivals were estimated to be around 128 lakh metric tonnes of the total estimated production of around 135 lakh metric tonnes.

Later the Chief Minister also addressed a meeting of senior police officers in which Jalandhar DIG Paramjit Singh Sarao and SSP Gurpreet Bhullar participated along with Jalandhar Division Commissioner Dr Swaran Singh and DC Mr Ashok Gupta.


Has CM violated poll code?
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 22
Has the CM violated the model poll code by using the Punjab Government helicopter? The answer is in affirmative if the circumstances are taken into account and negative if the explanation of the CM is to be believed.

Captain Amarinder Singh landed at the PAP helipad here at around 9.30 a.m. in the Punjab Government helicopter, which led to allegations that he had violated the poll code.

On the other hand, the CM, explained that he had not violated the poll code as it was not in force in Jalandhar and was confined to Garshankar and Kapurthala where byelections are to be held on October 13.

He further said that he had come to Jalandhar by helicopter to attend meetings of senior officials and was going to Kapurthala by road and hence, no violation had taken place.


Sukhjinder Rana files nomination
Husband’s assets Rs 27.22 crore
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 22
Is Rana Gurjit Singh’s family rolling in money? The answer may be in the affirmative if the assets of the MP’s brother and sister-in-law declared by them today during filing of their nomination papers for Kapurthala byelection are to be believed.

Ms Sukhjinder Rana, Congress candidate, declared assets worth Rs 20.33 lakh. But this is only a fraction of the amount that her husband, Mr Rana Ranjit Singh, has declared as the covering candidate for the party.

A whopping Rs 27.22 crore has been declared as assets, as he filed his nomination papers quietly before the returning officer, minutes after his wife, CM and other dignitaries had left after completing the formalities.

Mr Rana Ranjit Singh declared cash worth Rs 14 lakh, bank deposits worth Rs 1.15 lakh, shares worth Rs 16.74 crore, LIC policies worth Rs 10 lakh, three cars worth Rs 5.25 lakh, gold and diamonds worth Rs 7.43 crore, other assets worth Rs 1.06 crore, land worth Rs 63.84 lakh, a plot worth Rs 7 lakh, a residential house (half) worth Rs 1.45 crore and a farm house worth Rs 12.5 lakh.

Ms Sukhjinder Rana, however, had very little to declare vis-a-vis the assets of her husband. The list included Rs 1 lakh as cash, Rs 3 lakh as bank deposits, jewellery worth Rs 14.3 lakh, shares worth Rs 3,000 and other assets worth Rs 2 lakh.

While the party officials gave the details of Ms Rana readily, it was after much persuasion that information pertaining to the assets of her husband could trickle out.

“No one wants to know the details of the covering candidate. Such an information is insignificant,” they said.

As many as 4,000 persons, most of them urbanites, gathered during the rally that took off from Jagatjit Club this morning.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, Rural Development Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister of Local Bodies, Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Public Health, and Food and Civil Supplies, joined the rally inside the administrative complex.

Mr Raghbir Singh, SAD candidate, during filing of his nomination papers on Monday, had declared assets worth just over Rs 1.7 crore in his name and those worth Rs 19.61 lakh under the name of his wife.

The assets of the Akali candidate included cash worth Rs 40,200, bank deposits worth Rs 29,600, three cars worth Rs 7.4 lakh, land worth Rs 1.25 crore, non-agricultural land worth Rs 7 lakh and a house worth Rs 30 lakh.

The candidate, however, also owes loans worth Rs 23.2 lakh.

The assets of Mr Raghbir’s wife are Rs 12,100 as cash, Rs 99,000 of bank deposits, 20 tolas of jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh and a piece of land worth Rs 17.5 lakh.


Deploy paramilitary forces in Kapurthala: SAD, BJP
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Apprehending large-scale rigging in the Kapurthala byelection, a joint delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party today impressed upon the Chief Election Commissioner to transfer the Returning Officer and deploy paramilitary forces in the constituency for a “free and fair election”.

The delegation headed by former Punjab Finance Minister and general secretary of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Capt Kanwaljit Singh submitted a memorandum alleging that “the Returning Officer was hand-in-glove with the Administration and was carrying out all the directions of the Congress Government in violation of the election manual.”

The delegation submitted that both SAD and BJP brought to the notice of the Returning Officer registration of 11,450 bogus voters in Kapurthala and demanded scrutiny of the electoral rolls. “Our representation has remained unanswered,” the delegation said, holding that in one case where a flour mill was closed long time ago, 600 voters have been shown to be registered from that mill now.

Not only that, as many as 2,800 committed SAD-BJP voters have been deleted from the voters’ list.

“We have requested the Election Commission that all voters’ lists should be scrutinised and all bogus voters should be deleted. Of 11,450 bogus voters we are talking about, details given in the rolls are incomplete. In most of the cases, mandatory details like residential address, names of parents or spouses, age etc., are missing.

“The Election Commission was very sympathetic and promised to look into our complaint,” Capt Kanwaljit Singh told The Tribune over the telephone. “Since the district administration was acting at the behest of the Congress Government in the state, we strongly pleaded for deployment of paramilitary forces in the entire Assembly constituency of Kapurthala. The commission promised us action in this regard also,” he added.

The delegation also brought to the notice of the commission, claimed Capt Kanwaljit Singh, several other instances about the misuse of official machinery by the ruling party.

“We demanded that the entire district administration should be shifted out to ensure a free and fair poll,” he said, alleging that the role of the top administration of the district was not “impartial” as it was out to support the ruling party candidate.


Congress fields candidate from Garhshankar
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 22
Capt Amarinder Singh said that under the prevailing conditions the Congress would definitely contest byelection from Garhshankar even if the CPM do not withdraw its candidate from the fray. However, he said he would persuade national leaders of the CPM to withdraw their candidate and contest this byelection unitedly to defeat non-secular forces like the BJP and the SAD.

He was talking to mediapersons at Garhshankar this afternoon. He said the Congress high command had decided to contest Garhshankar byelection and had allotted party ticket to Mr Lub Kumar Goldy. He said the Congress candidate would certainly win this byelection by a big margin.

Replying to a question, Capt Amarinder Singh said that he had cordial relation with Comrade Harkishen Singh Surjit, but he would not ask him directly to withdraw the CPM candidate from Garhshankar byelection.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the good performance of his government was the major issue in this byelection. His government had saved Punjab by getting passed the termination of water agreement Bill. He had got sanctioned various industrial units worth Rs 10,000 crore for the state which would boost the economy. He had laid foundation stone of an integrated township project of Rs 3,700 crore at Mohali. This project would provide world class technology when completed in three years and is expected to open window of economic opportunities. This project would provide employment to 1.25 lakh unemployed youths in state.

He said that his government had tried to provide complete power during the peak season for irrigation of paddy. Punjab was purchasing power worth Rs 20 crore daily from the other states. Besides, procurement of wheat and paddy was done smoothly and full payments were made to the farmers without any delay and hindrance.

He said Ropar, Patiala and Sangrur districts were adversely affected by floods this year whereas there was a drought like situation in other districts of Punjab. The state government had already sent an interim report relating to floods to the Centre and had sought financial help. The state government had sought compensation of Rs 450 crore for drought hit districts of Punjab of which Rs 220 crore had been released for this purpose.

Earlier, Capt Amarinder Singh inaugurated the election campaign of Mr Lub Kumar Goldy and addressed a big election meeting.


Cong candidate violates election code
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 22
In the blatant violation of the election code of conduct, the official machinery was openly used by the ruling party during filing of nomination papers by Ms Sukhjinder Rana, Congress candidate for the Kapurthala byelection here today.

Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, accompanied the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, in the later’s official bullet-proof car for commuting from PAP Complex in Jalandhar to the district administration office of Kapurthala, where the office of the returning officer is situated.

Earlier, Mr Hanspal also accompanied the CM alongwith Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and Minister for Rural Development, Lal Singh, in the state government helicopter which landed at PAP helipad. As soon as Mr Hanspal came out of the helicopter, he avoided the mediapersons, waiting for the CM there.

On the other hand, Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Public Health and Food and Civil Supplies, reached the district administrative complex on his official car, which was a part of the convoy of the Congress supporters, led by the Chief Minister. Chaudhary Jagjit Singh also used a white ambassador official car to reach the venue.

Meanwhile, the SAD (Badal) strongly objected to the alleged misuse of the state helicopter by the CM for Kapurthala byelection. Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, Secretary, SAD (Badal), in a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner of India, alleged that the Punjab CM was using the state helicopter for election campaigning.

The CM came to Jalandhar by the state helicopter and then proceeded to the neighbouring district of Kapurthala by road to participate in the Congress candidate’s function. The CM is trying to circumvent the modal code of conduct, the complaint said.

The Akali Dal demanded that state helicopter should be grounded till the completion of the election process. Besides, all the expenses incurred upon the tour of the CM should be added into the election expenses of the Congress nominee, Ms Rana, he added.

Dr Cheema further said the party was also preparing a detailed report on the misuse of the official cars by several ministers for poll purpose.

When the CM was questioned about the use of official machinery by him and his ministerial colleagues, he said there was no violation of code of conduct as he used the helicopter for attending the meeting of officials of Jalandhar.

About the used of the cars by the ministers, he said, “If you have a picture, go ahead and publish the same in your newspaper.”

Interestingly, when mediapersons raised the questions pertaining to the use of official cars by the ministers, Mr Henry immediately left the venue.

Replying to the allegations of addition of bogus votes and deletion of genuine votes during the recent revision of the electoral rolls in the Kapurthala constituency, the CM said it was the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had been involved in such illegal practices during his tenure as the CM.

“We are going to win this election and Mr Badal is levelling baseless allegations out of frustration,” he added.


Rauri not to withdraw, says Surjit
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 22
CPM candidate Maha Singh Rauri has decided not to withdraw his nomination papers for the byelection from Garhshanker.

This was stated by Mr Harkishan Singh Surjit, National Secretary of the CPM, while talking to mediapersons at Garhshanker, 40 km from here today.

He said before announcing the candidature of Mr Maha Singh Rauri as the CPM candidate in this byelection, he had taken up this issue with Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, AICC, about a month ago. When she did not raise any objection, only then he had announced the candidature of Mr Rauri.

The Congress has announced Mr Lub Kumar Goldy as its candidate for this byelection.


Eminent Punjabi scientist dies in USA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
An eminent scientist, D r Jagir Singh Randhawa, has died at the age of 81 in the USA. He was suffering from bone cancer and he passed away in that country on September 7, according to his relatives in Mohali. He is survived by two daughters, both married and settled in the USA.

Dr Randhawa earned international fame for developing an instrument by which physicists can measure the effect on the ozone layer of the nitrous oxide released during supersonic flights. He got the patent for the device, which led the US Government under President Jimmy Carter to reconsider its plans for supersonic planes.

Born on November 1, 1922, in Vahila Teja village in Gurdaspur district, Dr Jagir Singh Randhawa graduated from Government College, Lahore, in 1946. After Partition his family settled at Kala Afghana. He taught physics at Khalsa College, Amritsar.

The college had refused him admission as a student because he could not arrange enough funds to pay the fee and other charges. Later, he took up government lecturership and taught at Ropar and Rohtak.

In 1957 he got a scholarship from the University of Colorado to do his masters. This was followed by Ph.D from New Mexico State University. Dr Randhawa's thesis on ozone attracted the attention of the authorities at the Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory and they did not want to lose this bright scholar. As Dr Randhawa had gone on a student visa, the US authorities changed the rules to grant him US citizenship. He joined the US Army as a research physicist and made his name in the world of science.

For 30 years Dr Randhawa worked in the USA. He travelled all over the world, participating in international conferences. When his wife died, he donated $30,000 to sponsor a Narinder K. Randhawa scholarship at California State University, Fresno.

Last year, when he came to India, he gave Rs 25 lakh to Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, to set up Baba Budhaji chair. In an interview he had said: "I don't plan to come back too many times. It is hard to travel".

His bhog ceremony will be held at Gurdwara Sacha Dham in Phase 3-B II of Mohali on Friday.


Punjab Transport Tribunal lacks facilities
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
The moment one enters the courtroom of Mr B.S. Mehandiratta, Presiding Officer, State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Punjab, one finds something amiss.

One can often find Mr Mehandiratta, who is a judicial officer of the rank of District and Sessions Judge, busy on his computer, slowly typing his orders.

Even the computer, though a second-hand one, is a new addition to the office.

Lack of infrastructure is plaguing the functioning of the Tribunal.

Lawyers and litigants, who come to the Tribunal for their work, often wonder why the Punjab Government does not provide adequate infrastructure to the Tribunal.

Consider this: When the Tribunal's steno-typist proceeded on long leave, the Presiding Officer, Mr Mehandiratta, had to write many letters to the State Transport Commissioner, Punjab, seeking a replacement.

However, it took many memos from the Presiding Officer for the Transport Commissioner to even acknowledge the letters.

In one such letter, the anguished Presiding Officer writes: ".. It is regretted what to talk to providing a substitute, my memos have not even been acknowledged. Despite a few telephone calls made by me personally, nothing has been done".

Presently functioning in a rented SCO in Sector 39, the Transport Tribunal deals with appeals against orders of the State Transport Authority, Punjab.

On an average, the Tribunal hears 150-175 cases every day.

"But, where are the facilities? We have been requesting the Punjab Government to provide at least the basic infrastructure.

But to no avail. Many posts are also vacant.

This affects the smooth functioning of the Tribunal. But, the government is simply not responsive," laments advocate Lekh Raj Sharma, Member, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana.

Incidentally, in an undertaking given to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on May 24, 2002, during hearing in a public interest litigation, the State Transport Commissioner, Punjab, had assured that all facilities as are provided to officers of the rank of District and Sessions Judge would be provided to the Tribunal.

"However, the government is still not extending all possible help to the Tribunal.

Its location is such that most people are not even aware of its existence. It is high time the Tribunal is shifted to a place near the bus stand," says a lawyer.


Names of 8 police officers from deputation list sent back
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
In less than a month after a list of over two dozen Punjab Police officers was forwarded to the Central Government for deputation with it, the names of at least eight officers have been sent back.

Terming the Central government communique as "confidential", senior Punjab Police officers today refused to divulge the names.

But sources in the Punjab Police headquarters here revealed that the names of at least two Directors-General of Police (DGPs) figured in the list. They were DGP P.L. Lal and S.K. Varma.

They asserted that the Centre was yet to take a decision in case of other officers recommended for deputation by the Punjab Police.

Their cases were still being considered, the officers maintained.

The sources revealed that the names were referred back earlier this week to the state's Home Affairs and Justice Department following objections by the Central Government.

Giving details of the objections, the sources asserted that some of the officers recommended for central deputation were due to retire in the coming few months. Then there were other officers not having necessary experience for being sent on deputation.

Controversy had shrouded the list ever since it was forwarded to the Central Government.

Describing the entire exercise as "farce", several senior police officers had all along been saying that the state government was not serious about sending officers on deputation. They were claiming had the state had deliberately forwarded the names of officers unfit for the purpose.

The sources asserted that the Punjab Government was always infamous for not sending enough officers on deputation with the Government of India.

Elaborating upon their contention, the sources claimed that as per the rules it was mandatory for the state to sent at least 31 police officers on deputation with the Centre. But the Punjab Police was sending a far less number of officers.


It is Europe that fascinates Punjab MLAs
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Guess which countries Punjab MLAs give top priority to visit! If you say the USA and the Canada, you are wrong.

It is the Europe that fascinates most Punjab MLAs. The USA and the Canada figure second on their priority list. Their third preference is Australia, Japan and New Zealand. Interestingly, among them there are no takers for visiting Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

As many as 73 MLAs of the Punjab Assembly have opted for trips abroad approved by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Seventythree means almost all MLAs are ready to go abroad. There are in all 114 MLAs of the state Assembly at present. Of these, 29 are either ministers or parliamentary secretaries and two others hold the office of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. One is a leader of the Opposition of Cabinet rank.

Recently, the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, had asked the MLAs of all parties to enlist their preference for the countries they wanted to visit. They were given four different groups of countries to opt for. In the first group were the USA and Canada. The second group was of Germany, England, Switzerland, Italy, France and Holland. In third group were Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and in the fourth Thailand, Singapore and China.

Nearly 30 MLAs have opted for Germany, England etc. About 25 have preferred to visit the USA and Canada. The remaining ones opted for Australia, Japan etc. However, no one has opted to visit Singapore and China etc.

Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, told The Tribune today that the MLAs would leave on the trip of group of countries of their choice after the Assembly byelections in Punjab. Most probably in the last week of October, he added. “We have started preparing accordingly and have also written to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to extend help to Punjab MLAs while on a visit to various countries.”

“It would a study tour. MLAs would see the functioning of the governments of countries to be visited by them”, Dr Kewal Krishan said. “It would give them good exposure”, he added. When asked whether there would be any problem to fund the visit, Dr Kewal Krishan said the state government had given sanction in advance to this proposal.

“I have just returned after attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s conference in Canada. Later I visited Germany and Switzerland. It was a good experience for me as I interacted with the presiding officers of various democratic countries during the conference and later while visiting other countries”, said Dr Kewal Krishan. He said that delegates from Pakistan were also allowed this time to attend the conference.


Minor girl kept nude in illegal custody
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 22
A minor girl was allegedly kept in illegal custody by the B-Division police station. She was allegedly kept nude for hours and was abused by policemen during her illegal custody.

These startling facts were given by the family of the girl at a press conference held here today. They were accompanied by Mr Amrik Singh Mardi, Director, Social Welfare Advisory Board, Punjab and chairman, Punjab Pradesh Dalit Council.

While giving details, Ms Harbhajan Kaur, mother of the victim, alleged that her son Baldev Singh, a resident of Haripura, was arrested by the police during a quarrel in the area. However, later the police registered a false case of theft against him. She said the police pressurised them to bring some material for showing as recovery from her son which the family could not give them. However, on September 11 the police picked up her 13-year-old daughter and kept her in illegal custody. The girl was also present at the press conference.

She said when the family failed to get their daughter released, they approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court where a writ petition was filed on September 15. On the same evening, a warrant officer got the girl recovered from the police station, she added.

The victim revealed that she was kept nude for hours and policemen used filthy language and abused her. They used to force her to reveal the whereabouts of family members who were on the run after registration of a false case against Baldev Singh. Ms Harbhajan Kaur alleged that they were getting threats from the SHO and other policemen posted in the police station.

Mr Mardi alleged that when he approached the police station they demanded Rs 2.50 lakh from him to release the girl and her brother as they were “ordered by the high-ups”.

He said the family would approach the DGP, the Chief Minister, the ADGP and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission seeking justice from them. They demanded immediate termination of SHO Baldev Singh and SI Kashmir Singh of the B-division police station.

When contacted, Mr P.K. Rai, SP (city-I), under whose jurisdiction the police station falls, expressed his ignorance about the case. He, however, asserted that stern action would be taken against the culprits if he got a complaint in this regard.


No-trust motion against MC chief defeated
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 22
The no-confidence motion moved against the Municipal Council president, Mr Joginder Pal Jain, was defeated today. The dissident group needed the support of 22 members in the 31-member House, but they fell short by a single vote.

Interestingly, Mr Jain kept his supporters away from today’s MC meeting. This way he nullified the possibility of last minute manoeuvres by the rival camp. However, the rebel leader, Mr Naseeb Bawa accused Mr Jain of “kidnapping” a couple of women councillors.

The rebels had raised the banner of revolt last month following a theft at Mr Jain’s home and startling revelations about the contents of suitcases by the ‘prime accused’. The dissident group was of the view that the party’s image had suffered a setback in wake of the theft and speculations about stolen goods after the incident. They had handed over a letter signed by the 22 councillors to the executive officer expressing their intent to move the no-confidence motion against him.


CPI nominee files papers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Mr Manjit Singh Lali of the CPI today filed his nomination papers for the Garhshankar byelection.

Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the state unit of the CPI, said he asked the Congress leadership today to review its decision to put up a candidate from the Garhshankar constituency.

The CPI leader said last time the Congress had allocated this Assembly seat to his party. It was because of non-cooperation of certain Congress leaders that the CPI lost in this constituency last time, he added.

He said he was contacted by the president of the Punjab unit of the Congress, Mr H. S. Hanspal, today. “ I made it clear to Mr Hanspal that the CPI’s claim over this constituency was rational and the Congress should withdraw its candidate and extend support to the CPI. He claimed that Mr Hanspal had taken up the matter with the Congress high command, which was expected to contact the CPI general secretary, Mr A.B. Bardhan.

The CPM has fielded Mr Mahan Singh Rori from the constituency.


India, Pakistan opening up, says visiting MP
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 22
Positive attitude, flexibility over various issues, and some bold steps hold the key to meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan, said Rai Aziz Ullah Khan, Member Parliament, Pakistan, here today.

Mr Khan is in the city to participate in the ongoing Baba Farid Mela.

Speaking to The Tribune, Rai Aziz Ullah Khan said relations between the two countries had improved in the past few months.

He lauded the Vajpayee regime’s efforts towards strengthening Indo-Pak ties, besides praising the recent confidence building measures initiated by India, including hassle-free visas for journalists.

He said during the last cricket series between the two nations in Pakistan, the country issued 8,000 visas and there was no police reporting or restrictions.

He said it was encouraging to see some positive developments in the ongoing talks between the two countries.

He said people-to-people contact should be promoted through all means possible.

He added that sports events between the two countries and visits by delegations across the border gave people an opportunity to visit each other’s country.

Rai Aziz Ullah Khan also expressed his wish to visit his ancestral home at Raikot and said he wanted to spend a few minutes there.

He is the descendant of Rai Kalla, who gave shelter to the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, at Raikot in 1705.

He said earlier too he had a great experience in India when he visited Anandpur Sahib for tercentenary celebrations of Khalsa Panth.

He has been to India many times, mostly during cricket matches and other sports events, and once as the member of a golf team in 1992.

Earlier, he paid his obeisance at Tilla Baba Farid where he was accorded a warm welcome and presented a “siropa” (robe of honour).

Another Member Parliament, Pakistan, Mia Aslam Godhla, whose ancestral village is near Muktsar, accompanied him.

Gurdwara Godri Sahib Baba Farid Society chairman Inderjeet Singh Khalsa was also present.


Ex-servicemen for setting up airport in city
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The issue of setting up an airport here has again come into focus with former soldiers of the city claiming that Patiala, not Phillaur is most suitable for establishment of such a facility in the state.

The soldiers, including Mahavir Chakra awardee Col Harwant Singh, Brig Dalip Singh Sidhu and Capt Amarjit Singh Jaijee, while talking to TNS said though the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had recently met the Civil Aviation Minister and demanded that another airport be set up at Phillaur, they felt the facility should be established in the city. They have also requested the Punjab Government to give a fresh thought to the issue.

As many as 3,000 acres of land was required for such a venture, they said, adding that land around Phillaur was of extremely good quality and a large number of farmers would be displaced in case an airport was established there. Captain Jaijee said on the other hand, land on the Patiala - Sangrur road on the outskirts of the city was lying barren and unproductive.

He said this land, which was at present under the occupation of the Army, could easily be exchanged with the Army authorities who could be given the present small Civil Aviation airstrip which was surrounded by Army land. They said this made sense as at some time or the other the Army authorities would object to the presence of this airport and want it for themselves as was the case of the Jalandhar Flying Club. The club stood closed and at present functioned from Patiala.

The former Army officers said Patiala was becoming a tourist centre and a good airport would further boost tourism in the city. The city had a good network of roads linking all parts of the state and could also help people of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan whose boundaries were not very far away.

They said having an international airport at Phillaur would of no help to the state as Ludhiana already had an airport and having another such facility in close neighbourhood to it did not make sense. Besides, Punjab already had an international airport at Amritsar and having another one so close to Amritsar would not help the region in any manner, they added.

Though the former soldiers seem to have made out a case for the establishment of an airport in the city, the administration feels it may not be very feasible from the commercial angle. Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh said the matter had been discussed at the Civil - Military Liaison conferences. He said, however, following this a preliminary survey had revealed that it might not be commercially viable.

He said it was felt that the airport in Chandigarh could be upgraded to cater to Punjab travellers. No further progress had been made in the matter after that, he added.


Breaking myth through entertainment
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 22
A boy “eating” fire, a man swallowing a sword, turning burnt piece of paper into a pigeon....

To shatter the myths and superstitions existing in society, members of the Tarksheel Society displayed these tricks at an exciting Natak Mela, organised as part of Baba Farid Mela, here yesterday.

The programme showcased a magic show and a series of dramas. SSP Kulchhinder Singh was the chief guest of the programme.

The programme began with a magic show in which the society members unveiled how roadside fortunetellers and sadhus duped people of their hard-earned money.

Lakhwinder Hali displayed how these deceptive sadhus take three unequal pieces of rope representing different planets and turn them into those of “equal” length using a simple trick and claim that they have set an individual’s planetary position right.

He also stunned the audience by making smoke emanate out of a coconut after sprinkling water on it.

He revealed that pieces of sodium metal were concealed in the coconut hair, which produced smoke on coming in contact with water.

He also inserted a sword in his mouth, which seemed as if it went down his throat, and took it out moments later.

Volunteers of the Lok Kala Manch stole the show with their magic tricks.

A volunteer “ate” fire with spoon, while another turned a burnt piece of paper into a pigeon. Another member of the society, Balkar Singh, drove a scooter on the city roads blindfolded.

Later, Meghraj Ralla of the manch said their purpose of holding such programmes was to open the eyes of people who were being deceived by sadhus.

Later, a series of dramas was presented with the first one — “Te Devpurush Haar Gaye” — based on the life of a man who goes into depression owing to some family problems and starts behaving in a strange manner.

But instead of taking him to a doctor, he is handed over to a “tantrik” who claims that he will drive the “evil spirit” out of him.

A drama highlighting the need to curb female foeticide was also staged. Another drama focussed on sensitising younger generation about the drug menace.

Senior members of the society, including Avtar Gondara and Jaswant Jas, were present.


No action in land grab case despite inquiry
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, September 22
No first information report (FIR) has been registered against certain persons who tried to grab land belonging to a widow, even as more than a month has passed since the completion of inquiry, which indicted them

The inquiry was conducted by Mr P. K. Rai, SP City-I, on a complaint of Ms Surjit Kaur, a resident of Ranjit Avenue here, to the IG. Another inquiry in this regard was conducted by the Tehsildar-II, which also held the culprits responsible for attempt to grab the land.

Ms Surjit Kaur in her complaint to the Inspector- General of Police, Jalandhar Zone, had alleged that the authorities concerned has failed to protect her property and no action has been taken against the guilty till date. Her family members were being threatened by Dalip Singh, a resident of Mahal village, Sharanbir Singh of Thathian Mahanta, Davinder Singh of Tarsikka, and Sukhjot Singh of Ranjit Pura area here.

She allege the four armed with dangerous weapons, had tried to grab her agricultural land in Gumtala on the outskirts of the city on May 22.

Mr Rai in the inquiry submitted to SSP Kultar Singh on August 4, a copy of which is with ‘The Tribune’, had concluded that the culprits fabricating false documents had tried to grab the land a number of times. The accused had also tried to install an electricity meter on the disputed land.

The tehsildar in his inquiry submitted to the District Magistrate had corroborated the facts and recommended a case under Section 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against the culprits.

While Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, could not be contacted after repeated attempts Mr Rai said he did not know whether a case had been registered or not as the area did not come under his jurisdiction. 


Punjab cops being sent to UP, Maharashtra on poll duty
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Punjab Police personnel are reportedly being sent to Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh for maintaining law and order situation in the two states during the elections. As many as 25 companies are being sent following demand for additional forces by the two states.

In another election related development, Punjab Election Department officers reveal that in all 34 candidates filed nomination papers for Kapurthala and Garhshankar assemblies in Punjab. Today was the last date of filing papers.

As many as 18 candidates filed papers for Garhshankar, while 16 submitted papers for Kapurthala seat. Fourteen nominations were filed today. Scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on Thursday. The last date of withdrawal is September 25.

The sources in the Punjab Police headquarters, meanwhile, reveal that the companies have already started moving out of Punjab for the two states. They will remain on the election duty till the conclusion of polling. The elections are commencing from October 13.

They add that as many as five companies of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), besides 10 companies each of Punjab Armed Police (PAP) and other commandoes are being sent. An officer not below the rank of Inspector-General of Police will be the nodal officer, they claim.

Giving details, the sources say that the cops are likely to be deployed at sensitive polling booths for ensuring law and order situation in the two states. They add that election process in Punjab will not suffer due to their departure as the state had enough cops to take care of law and order situation during the bye-elections being held in Kapurthala and Garhshankar on the same day.


Was admn aware of ban around ammo dump?
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 22
The Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Union claims that the district administration was aware of the ban on construction in a 1000-metre radius around the ammunition dump spread over 120 acres .

Producing documentary proof, the union's general secretary, Mr Harish Taneja, said the Ministry of Defence had confirmed that when the district administration acquired 104 acres of land for New Sabzi Mandi at Vallah, near the dump in 1972, it was aware of the prohibition to civilian construction in the sensitive area as the Army had already acquired the land for dump a year before.

According to the document, the Army authorities “were neither ‘approached’ nor ‘consulted’" when the acquisition of land was being planned or executed for relocation of the new mandi.

Prohibitory orders were first issued in 2002 for banning construction through the Deputy Commissioner and thereby renewed regularly till October 23, 2003.

According to the MoD document, the ammunition was of a ‘sensitive nature’ and could jeopardise the safety of public and security of dump in case of civilian construction in the demarcated area.


Doctor absolved of negligence charge
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 22
A Board of doctors, headed by Dr H.S. Dhillon, Assistant Civil Surgeon, has exonerated Dr Karamjit Singh, an orthopaedician in the local Civil Hospital, from the charge of alleged “negligence” on his part during the operation of Pankaj Kumar Sharma (35), a migrant labourer from Begusarai district in Bihar, on September 6.

Pankaj Kumar Sharma died allegedly while being operated upon at the Civil Hospital. Following his death, protests were held and slogans raised against the doctor, holding him responsible for the death.

Later, Mr Tilo Sharma, a maternal uncle of the deceased, submitted a complaint to the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner, alleging that before being taken to the operation theatre his nephew was in high spirits but died during operation because of negligence on part of Dr Karamjit Singh. In his complaint, Mr Tilo Sharma also demanded an inquiry into the death of his nephew and action against Dr Karamjit Singh.

In its report, the Board of doctors said the patient died due to pulmonary embolism which can be there when there are multiple fractures of lower limbs. Hence, there was no negligence on the part of the doctor who attended to the patient.


Indicted SGPC member meets Vedanti
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 22
Beleaguered SGPC member Baldev Singh, who was booked on the charge of molesting the wife of a visually challenged raagi, today held a closed-door meeting with Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht at the latter’s residence.

Though what transpired at the meeting could not be ascertained, yet it is believed that Baldev Singh urged Jathedar Vedanti not to impose any restriction on his religious activities . It may be mentioned here that Jathedar Vedanti had suggested that Baldev Singh should avoid performing “dhadi darbars” till he got a clean chit.

A meeting has been convened October 4 to discuss the matter. The Akal Takht secretariat has been receiving a number of representations in favour and against Baldev Singh. Earlier, a two-member committee, constituted by the SAD (Amritsar) had indicted Baldev Singh in its report submitted to the party high command. However, Baldev Singh had threatened to file a defamation case against both the members who had conducted the inquiry.

Baldev Singh had alleged that he was a victim of political conspiracy to prevent him from becoming senior vice president of the SGPC in the general house proposed to be held here tomorrow.


Khadi Board chief for 5th pay commission
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 22
The Punjab State Services Federation (Walia) will make all efforts to get the Fifth Pay Commission constituted. An employees’ rally will be organised in November in Patiala in which Capt Amarinder Singh will announce the constitution of the Fifth Pay Commission, said Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, newly appointed Chairman of the Punjab Khadi Board, while addressing function organised by the District Congress Committee and the Punjab State Services Federation here today.

Hundreds of employees and Congress workers, led by Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, and Vaid Hari Krishan, president, DCC, attended the function.

Mr Walia said his federation was committed to get the benefit of 4,9,14 grades for all employees, regularisation of services of daily wage employees and recruitment on compassionate grounds. He said he was confident that he would get it done from Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Walia, said he would make all efforts to work as per the Gandhian economy and philosophy, with emphasis on rural development. He said the Khadi Board would try to develop and strengthen the rural economy. Migration of rural people to urban areas was a matter of concern and we have to stop it by providing facilities available in urban areas in rural areas.


Major tragedy averted
Tribune News Service

Pathankot September 22
The bravery and presence of mind of Mr Ravinder Singh, a teacher of the Army School, Madhopur, today saved Pathankot from a major tragedy. The incident happened in the afternoon when an oil tanker caught fire at a petrol station near the Eagle Crossing.

Sources here said just after unloading fuel at the petrol station when the driver of the tanker used the self-starting button the tanker caught fire.

The driver and the staff at the petrol station ran away leaving a burning vehicle at the petrol station. Nobody came forward to put out the fire in the tanker.

Mr Ravinder Singh who was passing by noticed the fire and rushed to the burning vehicle. He tried to douse flames with the fire-fighting equipment at the petrol station. He noticed a crane passing by on the main road. He rushed to the crane driver and sought his help. With the help of the crane he then pulled the burning tanker away from the petrol station to a safe distance.

By this time fire tenders of the municipal council arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire. Residents of the area lauded the courageous act of the teacher who saved a certain tragedy.

The cause of the fire in the tanker could not be ascertained till the filing of the report.


MP announces mass contact programme
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 22
The Rajya Sabha member from Gurdaspur, Mr Ashwani Kumar, has decided to hold a state-level mass contact programme.

At a press conference here yesterday, he said to begin with he would meet people of Dhariwal and Kalanaur area to know their grievances.

During the programme he would focus mainly on primary education and health problems of the people. After enlisting suggestions, he would write to the Centre and the state government for policy changes in the health and education programmes.

He said recently the Planning Department of the Punjab Government had got a study conducted by the Institute of Development and Communication on cost, benefit analysis of primary education in Punjab.


Outstanding Engineer award for K.C. Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Mr K.C. Verma, who retired as Chief Engineer from the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), has been honoured with the Outstanding Engineer award for 2004 by the Institution of Engineers (India), Haryana Centre.

The award was presented to Mr Verma on the occasion of Engineers Day by Dr R.K. Jain, former Chairman of Coal India.

Mr Verma has made his contribution towards the development of power in Punjab. He has 27 years of experience of hydro power houses and six years of thermal plants.

In addition, he has to his credit about 30 published technical papers on hydro power houses at the international and national levels. Three papers have been published in the USA and one each in France, Germany and Mexico. His latest paper was accepted for a conference held at Montreal, Canada, in August, 2004.


Arhtiyas to stage dharna at SSP office
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
Commission agents in the area will stage a dharna in front of the office of district police chief on September 28 to lodge their protest against the failure of the Talwandi Sabo police to arrest those farmers against whom two criminal cases were registered in June and July, 2004.

The commission agents of this district under the banner of the District Arhtiya Association had held a demonstration and blocked traffic for a few hours near the local bus stand on September 10 in that regard.

Mr Bhagwant Rai Jain, president, District Arhtiya Association, Bathinda, told TNS that a decision to launch an agitation was taken at a meeting of commission agents after the police authorities failed to arrest the accused involved in two criminal cases.


Judicial officers shifted
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has transferred some senior judicial officers.

According to information, Patiala Additional District and Sessions Judge K.C. Puri has been posted as Bathinda District and Sessions Judge.

Others who have been shifted are Nawanshahr Additional District and Sessions Judge Ms. Sabina as Fatehgarh Sahib District and Sessions Judge; Barnala Additional District and Sessions Judge J.S. Chawla as Ferozepore District and Sessions Judge; Barnala Additional District and Sessions Judge Jora Singh as Gurdaspur District and Sessions Judge; Ferozepore Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurdev Singh (II) as Amritsar District and Sessions Judge; Faridkot Additional District and Sessions Judge Fateh Deep Singh as Barnala Additional District and Sessions Judge and Fatehgarh Sahib Additional District and Sessions Judge Bua Jee Sansi to Barnala on the same post.


Warrants against Vinod Khanna
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 22
Mr Raj Kumar Garg, Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, today issued bailable warrants against Mr Vinod Khanna, former Union minister and Member of Parliament, for not attending the court in a criminal case in which Mr Khanna was cited as a prosecution witness.

According to police sources, on August 31, 1999, Mr Jang Bahadur Bedi, Congress Municipal Councillor, along with 10 other persons allegedly attacked Mr Khanna and damaged his vehicle.

All the 11 accused were charged under Sections 147, 160, 341, 149, 353, 140, 323, 427 and 332 of the IPC.

Mr Khanna sought personal exemption from appearance, which was allowed by the court. 


High Court
Two fined
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar of the High Court on Wednesday fined two persons, including Mr S.N. Sinha, Executive Director of National Institute of Sports, Patiala, Rs 2,000 each for traffic violation.

During hearing in the ongoing case about misuse of red light and black film on windows of vehicles, the court also gave time till September 29 to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Sangrur, to explain his position regarding use of beacon light on his car while on a private visit to Ludhiana.

The SSP had also allegedly misbehaved with some mediapersons when they tried to photograph the car with the red light.

The Bench also gave time till Friday to the son and gunman of SHO, Gharainda in Amritsar, to file their replies to the charge of having been caught smuggling liquor in a car having black film and red light without permission. While the son of the SHO claimed that the liquor was being transported to Jalandhar by the gunman of his father, the gunman said he had no knowledge about the same and that the car belonged to the SHO.


Low paddy prices worry farmers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
A major section of farmers, who have unloaded their paddy produce in the grain markets and purchase centres of this and surrounding districts, today suffered a major setback after the paddy prices fell sharply following the “virtual withdrawal” of private purchasers from the markets.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that paddy, which was fetching the price ranging from Rs 590 to Rs 610, was sold at Rs 570 today, which was Rs 20 less than the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 590 fixed by the Centre.

Information revealed that the prices of paddy came down sharply after the private purchasers, who were purchasing the crop in bulk, became selective following an announcement by the Punjab Government that its agencies would enter the market only on October 1.

Apart from it, the private purchasers, including the rice mill owners, had been fearing that the government would not include the stock of paddy purchased by them till October 1 while it would allocate stocks of paddy to them under its levy quota.

A large section of farmers who had unloaded their paddy crop remained disappointed as they found little number of purchasers at the MSP or more than that. Heaps of paddy remained unsold in various markets.

The commission agents said that if this trend continued, the grain markets would face glut like situation that would hamper the procurement operations even after October 1.


PUDA demolishes showroom
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today demolished a showroom, spread over 3,000 square feet, near the Ravi Hospital in Urban Estate even as the owners claimed the action was taken despite the fact that they were in possession of valid registries of the land.

The showroom is owned by three partners — Mr H.S. Walia, Mr Pawan Kumar and Mr G.S. Sharma. They said they had documents in their possession to prove they were bona fide owners of the site. They claimed the demolition exercise had been conducted out of ulterior motives and this had been done despite the fact that the matter was already in court.

The PUDA Estate Office, however, said the three persons had taken over part of the PUDA land which it had bought from the YPS School management. It said manipulation had been done in papers to get the land registered. The Estate Office said the demolition had been conducted after taking necessary permission from the office of the Deputy Commissioner. Cases would be registered against all three persons, he added.


Punjab postings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Punjab Government today posted Mr Jagpal Singh as Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs in place of Mr V.K. Singh, who has gone on study leave.

A government press note said Mr Prem Chand will be now Subdivisional Magistrate, Raikot, against a vacant post. No one has been posted in their places as Managing Director, Punjab Alkalies and Chemicals and SDM, Rampura Phul, respectively.


Two held under Arms Act
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 22
The Dhar Kalan police has arrested two persons and seized one revolver and three live cartridges each from their possession.

The accused have been identified as Vinod Kumar, a resident of Ramanpur village, Nakodar, and Yam Raj of Mahitpur village, Jalandhar.

A case has been registered against the accused under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. Both were produced before the magistrate, who remanded them in police custody.


Farmer commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 22
In less than 24-hours another farmer reportedly shot himself dead in this sub-division.

Rajwant Singh Jakhar, a farmer, fired from .315 bore rifles inside his palatial house in Killianwali village on the Abohar-Hindumalkot Road today.

The family said he had been facing serious health problems for quiet some time. The residents of the village said the victim had left behind a handwritten note making it clear that only prolonged illness had forced him to take such a decision.


Rajpura attack: girl dead
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The tragedy which struck Bansi Lal's house in ward 19 in Rajpura two days back deepened today. Bansi Lal's wife Susheela Devi, who was attacked at her house by her brother-in-law and her nephew, succumbed to her injuries at the PGI today. Bansi Lal's daughter Ranjita, succumbed to knife injuries day before yesterday.

With today's death, all four persons — aggressors as well as victims — lost their lives. The father-son duo of Dayal Chand and Bunty, who attacked Susheela Devi and her daughter Ranjita, collapsed soon after the attack as they had consumed sulphos tablets before venturing into the house of Bansi Lal.


Thousands to take part in inter-school competitions
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 22
Thousands of school students would participate in the three-day zonal inter-school educational competitions organised by the Punjab School Education Board from September 28. The competitions would be simultaneously held in four zones across Punjab among students within three categories — primary, elementary and secondary.

According to the information given by the board, students in classes first to fifth would participate in primary-level competitions while students in classes sixth to eighth would participate in the elementary-level competitions. Students in classes ninth to twelfth would take part in the secondary-level competitions.

All competitions would be held simultaneously in four zones across the state with two centres each in every zone acting as the venue for the competitions. Competitions for teams from Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Gurdaspur would be held at Khalsa College Senior Secondary School Amritsar (Centre number 1) and Government Senior Secondary School, Mall Road, Amritsar (Centre number 2). Competitions for teams from Faridkot, Ferozepore, Bathinda, Moga and Muktsar would be held at Government Senior Secondary School for boys, Kotkapura (Centre number 1) and Gandhi Memorial Collegiate Senior Secondary School, Kotkapura (Centre number 2). Competitions for teams from Patiala, Sangrur, Ludhiana and Mansa would be held at Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, (Centre number 1) and Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School, Millerganj, Ludhiana (Centre number 2). Competitions for teams from Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Navanshahar would be held at Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 69, Mohali (Centre number 1) and Green Field Senior Secondary School, Phase V, Mohali (Centre number 2).

On September 28 students of primary classes would participate in their respective centre number 1 for competitions in shabad gayan, oration, fancy dress, geet/lok geet. Simultaneously, in centre number 2 students would compete in one act play competitions for secondary classes. On September 29, students of elementary classes would participate in centre number 1 for competitions in bhangra, shabad gayan, geet/ lok geet and vaar gayan. Simultaneously, in centre number 2 students of elementary classes would competitions in gidha, oration, poetry recitation and kavishree. On September 30, students of secondary classes would participate in centre number 1 for competitions in bhangra, shabad gayan, geet/ lok geet and vaar gayan. Simultaneously, in centre number 2 students of secondary classes would competitions in gidha, oration, poetry recitation and kavishree.

Those winning these competitions would be chosen to compete for the state level events that would be held at Chandigarh in the last week of October.


Jubilation marks Senate results
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 21
The DAV campus here will have two Principals in the Panjab University Senate, results of which were declared yesterday.

Dr B. C. Josan, Principal, DAV College, has won from the constituency of Principals of Arts Colleges whereas Dr R. P. Asija, Principal, DAV College of Education was declared elected from the constituency of heads of professional colleges .

Dr Josan contested the election for the first time Dr Asija had been a member of the PU Senate and its Syndic earlier.

The news of Mr Josan having won during the first hour of counting of votes marked jubilation here by then four candidates had been declared elected, two of them were nominees of the D.A.V. Managing Committee.

In fact, the committee had spearheaded a campaign to “purify” the Senate by making unprecedented efforts to mobilise voters all over the region. Padamshri Gian Parkash Chopra, president of the committee, had visited Abohar in Ferozepore and Malout in Muktsar districts to tell graduate voters that non-educationists had no business in the Senate.

Mr H. R. Gandhar, former Principal, DAV College, with a stint in the Senate, had been camping here to inspire old contacts in favour of the candidates nominated by the managing committee.

Mr Gandhar is working as Director DAV Public Schools, Zone III New Delhi.

Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, Irrigation and Horticulture has congratulated the Principals on their victory and hoped it will help maintain the status of DAV institutions in the field of qualitative education.


College students go on strike
Allege embezzlement by Principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 22
Students of Khalsa College went on an indefinite strike against alleged embezzlement of students’ fund by the Principal, Dr J.S. Dhillon, and his attitude towards them here today.

The students, led by Tajwinder Singh Sidhu, Students Welfare Association (SWA), Khalsa College, and Navdeep Singh Navi, state general secretary of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), raised slogans against the Principal and sought his removal.

Talking to The Tribune, Tajwinder Singh alleged that the Principal had misused the students’ fund for his personal benefits.

He alleged that the Principal had transferred the money from the students’ fund to his personal account vide cheque No. 455938/k4 dated June 11, 2004.

He said as per university rules, the presence and signatures of two representatives of teachers and students each were necessary while drawing money from the fund.

Navdeep Singh further alleged that the Principal had misused students’ fund for the construction of his house.

He said the college had been charging Rs 600 from each student per year for the past five years for the construction of an auditorium, which had still not been constructed. The college should refund the amount to the students immediately, he demanded.

Dr J.S. Dhillon, when contacted, refuted the allegations and said he had taken a loan from the management and it was the management’s decision to give the loan.

He said his house was part of the college premises and the construction was being carried out with the management’s approval.

This is second strike in one month by students against the Principal. Earlier, they had gone on strike over beating up of a student by the driver of the security in charge of the college.

The students said earlier too the Principal had assured to take action, but nothing happened.

The student leaders said classes would not be allowed to resume until the removal of the Principal.

They urged the management to take action in this regard at the earliest so that studies did not suffer.

They also demanded cancellation of examination announced by the college in October.

They said it was for the first time that the college was conducting examination in October and that too on such a short notice. The examination was earlier held only once a year i.e. in December.

He said it would put those students in great difficulty who were preparing for supplementary examination and were to sit in this examination as well.

They rued the decision of the Principal to appoint Lakha Singh as the security in charge. Lakha Singh was transferred to another department after his driver beat up a student.

Dr Dhillon, however, said it was the management’s decision and that students had no authority to question it.

He said if they had any demand they should sit at one table to sort out their grievances or bring it into the notice of authorities concerned.


College teachers’ strike tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 22
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), has decided to give a call to strike work on September 24 after the second period in private colleges all over Punjab.

Through this decision, the union wants to express resentment against the Punjab Finance Department’s inordinate delay in clearing grant-in-aid bills of private colleges.

Prof R.S. Brar, president of the PCCTU, said the decision was necessitated as two bills of around Rs 33 crore pertaining to grant-in-aid to private colleges had not been cleared by the Punjab Finance Department.

He said thousands of college teachers were suffering due to non-payment of their salaries for months together.


Magazine launched

Patiala, September 22
The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication has launched an on-line magazine ‘Budding Journalist’ and the print edition of ‘Campus Times’ here today. The paper was released the Vice Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai. The Vice- Chancellor also honoured the students of the Department including Manas Goswami, Archna Sharma, Raghaw Ohri, Anshul Seth for their academic achievements. — OC

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