P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Inquiry into UBDC scam being swept under carpet
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 6
The inquiry into the multi-crore UBDC scam is allegedly being swept under the carpet by the investigating agencies. After the registration of an FIR in the scam on July 7, 2003, at Pathankot police station, no further action has been taken in the case.

The inquiry in the case was initially being conducted by an IPS officer then posted at Gurdaspur. However, the “soft attitude” of the government towards the scam seems obvious from the fact that now the inquiry has been handed over to an inspector-level officer posted in CIA staff at Pathankot.

Despite serious charges levelled against the Irrigation Department officers, including chief engineers and superintendent engineers in the FIR under Sections 409, 418, 420, 466, 468, 471-A and 120-B of the IPC, no officer has been arrested till date by the police. The police sources said the accused officers were not arrested because they had fled abroad.

However, the sources told The Tribune that certain officers who were indicted in the inquiry report leading to the registration of FIR have joined back their duty and have even been given promotions by the Irrigation Department.

The FIR in the UBDC scam was registered on the basis of the inquiry conducted into the scam by the committee headed by the former adviser on Irrigation to the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Bhagat Singh Sandhu.

In the inquiry report it has been stated that after the construction of the Ranjit Sagar Dam, the need was felt for remodelling the UBDC system. A project was submitted to the Central Government to increase the capacity of UBDC canals in view of increased discharge from the Ranjit Sagar Dam. In January 2001, the Central Government passed a project of Rs 178.80 crore under the accelerated irrigation benefit program (AIBP).

The project was to be implemented in four years, with an expenditure of Rs 27.80 crore in first year, Rs 50 crore each in remaining three years. However, the inquiry revealed that irrigation officials spent 65 per cent of the project funds, i.e. Rs 120 crore within 22 months against the stipulated period of 48 months.

Committee noticed glaring anomalies in the implementation of the project. The Irrigation Department officials remodelled just 194 pucca structures of the canal against 913 recommended in the project. In contrast to that the entire estimate of Rs 1.44 crore provided in the project for earth works was exhausted in the first 22 months. Despite the exhaustion of the said budget, many works where earth works were required to carried were still pending.

As per the rules any estimate of more than Rs 50 lakh should have been discussed by technical committee constituted for the purpose. However, chief engineers concerned sanctioned the budget on their own without consulting the technical committee.

Besides, the inquiry committee also alleged that bungling in allotment of tenders, fixing of rates and tempering in records were committed by the executive engineers works and the chief engineer.

The SSP Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav, when contacted said the investigation in the matter was still on.


MoU with Canadian firm to develop biotech in state
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
What has hit Punjab hard in acquiring modern technologies such as biotech is political indecisiveness, lack of initiative and lack of concern for the state among politicians.

This is the collective view of experts, scientists and academicians who had gathered here today at a function where a memorandum was signed between a Canadian-based company known as Ag-West Inc Saskatoon and Punjab Biotechnology Park Limited, an off-shoot of the Punjab Government’s Department of State Council for Science and Technology.

Punjab, which spearheaded the green revolution, is now one of the most backward states as far as adoption of biotech is concerned. In fact Punjab is just making a beginning in this field. Today was a big day for the state when the Punjab Government’s Science and Technology Department signed an agreement with the Canadian company to promote biotechnology including a big biotech park near the City Beautiful.

Punjab was the first province in the country to propose the setting up of a centre of excellence in biotechnology in 1995. The Union Government had sanctioned Rs 61 crore for the project conceived by the state Council for Science and Technology.

The Punjab Government, which was to contribute Rs 10 crore for this project, did not release the money and thus consigned the project to the dust bin. But some other enterprising states copied Punjab’s project report and got the funds approved from the Centre to set up such Institutes in their respective states. Even neighbouring Haryana figure now on the world map in this field while Punjab is counted nowhere.

Mr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director of the council, said that if the initiative taken today got a good start, then Punjab can do well. “ We need to use biotech most to resolve our agriculture-related problems”, he added.

The biotechnology park was expected to attract an investment of Rs 200 crore. Already, a number of firms had given consent to start ventures. The extraction plant to be set up as a part of biotech incubator at the park by the council had already assured booking of 240 man days.

Meanwhile, an MoU has been signed between Mrs Romila Dubey, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology, Punjab and Mr Ashley O’ Sullivan, president of the Canadian firm to promote biotechnology.

Besides several eminent academicians, experts and industrialists, other present on this occasion were Mr Bill Mcknight, former Federal Minister of Canada, Mr David Mckinnon, Counsellor and Senior Trade Commissioner, Canadian High Commission, Delhi, Mr Gurbans Singh Sobti, Adviser, Consulate-General of Canada, Mr Kirpal Singh Aulakh and Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice Chancellors of PAU, Ludhiana, and PTU, Jalandhar, respectively, and Mr Rajan Kashyap, former Chief Secretary, Punjab, Dr S. Marwaha, Director, and Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora, Joint Director of the council.


Cong banking on PM’s image in Garhshankar poll
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Garhshankar (Hoshiarpur), October 6
In the absence of CPM support in this prestigious constituency, the Congress is heavily banking on the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, his clean image and his ability to change the face of the state for being the son of the soil and the Prime Minister of the country as well.

As the CPM has already announced its own candidate, Maha Singh Rori, the congress leadership is projecting the image of Dr Manmohan Singh as that of a saviour of the state.

The Congress leadership do not want to leave any stone unturned to win the seat.

During a tour of the constituency, the Tribune team found a team of senior Congress leaders, including Finance Minister Surinder Singla, PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Punjab Local Bodies Minister Chaudahry Jagjit Singh, Kewal Dhillon, Vice-President PPCC and senior Congress leader Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, holding “nukkad” meetings. They told people how Dr Manmohan Singh, his policies and his government could change their lot and how they could benefit “in more than one way” if they voted for the Congress.

“Dr Manmohan Singh’s name is making hell of a difference. People understand that being a Punjabi, Dr Manmohan Singh can effect development in the state. Moreover, they know that the Congress practises secularism and this is clear from the way a Prime Minister like Dr Manmohan Singh was chosen by Ms Sonia Gandhi,” said Mr Surinder Singla, while talking to the TNS.

“You have seen performance of so many others with the result that no development has taken place in the Kandi area for past about 17 years. Recently, Rs 4 crore was sanctioned for the installation of deep tubewells for providing drinking water in the Kandi area. Since, Dr Manmohan Singh is there in Delhi, we can get more and more developmental projects from the centre,” Mr Singla tells people.

“Punjab is on the threshold of change as Punjab is getting more attention in Delhi now. It is all due to Dr Manmohan Singh. We have already requested Dr Manmohan Singh that Punjab needs justice as it was ignored during the tenure of Mr Vajpayee who focussed more on Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir. For the revival of industry and for more incentives, we have made a request to Dr Manmohan Singh. We will urge him to open trade with Pakistan,” says Partap Singh Bajwa while interacting with people of different villages.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh claimed that the Congress would win the Garshankar seat with a handsome margin.


Cong can win Garhshankar poll on its own: Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal addresses a press conference in Jalandhar
Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal addresses a press conference in Jalandhar on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Jalandhar, October 6
Asserting that the Congress could win the Garhshankar seat on its own, senior Congress leader and Punjab Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today said that it was her personal feeling that all secular forces, including the Congress, should have joined hands to give a fight to fundamentalist forces in Garhshankar.

Meanwhile, referring to corruption cases Ms Bhattal, who is also the Minister for Higher and Technical Education, sought people’s cooperation in the elimination of the vice of corruption and said she expected that investigating agencies would be fair while dealing with such cases.

Addressing mediapersons Ms Bhattal, who was accompanied by former Punjab Minister, Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal, Zila Parishad member Sandeep Sharma, and District Congress Committee (Rural) chief Baba Rajinder Singh Johl, said, “We are sure that we will win both the seats and I feel that we could win the Garhshankar seat on our own, but, still I personally believe that it would have been better had the secular forces joined hands at Garhshankar,” said Ms Bhattal. She said the Akalis were fighting a “lost” battle.

Choosing to be guarded about the case against her and about the inner party squirmishes, Ms Bhattal said she was satisfied with her position and the post at which she was serving. “I am fully satisfied. Stay by the Supreme Court in the case against me speaks so many things itself,” said Ms Bhattal.

Offering some hope to students, Ms Bhattal said a seven-eight member committee was busy rescheduling fee structure according to infrastructure available in different colleges and institutes.

Ms Bhattal also maintained that required staff in both the Higher Education and Technical Education Departments would be recruited immediately after elections. “Over 400 lecturers who were selected by the PPSC would also be inducted after completing some formalities,” said Ms Bhattal.


Bhattal tries to woo rural voters
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 6
To give impetus to the bypolls here, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, visited the Assembly segment today and held rallies in various villages in support of the Congress candidate, Ms Sukhjinder Rana.

Ms Bhattal started her rally at Ibban village and then went to Dhapai and Talwandi Mehma villages. In all her rallies, she projected various developments activities carried out by the party and spoke on issues including roads, electricity and water supplies.

The Deputy CM also criticised Mr Prakash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, for various anti-people policies adopted by him during his regime.

She also said to ensure proper working of the six important departments including health and education, the Congress-led government had handed over their reins to panchayats.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhbir Badal, general secretary of the SAD, who arrived in the constituency yesterday held rallies in seven villages including Sangojala, Bhandal, Bhullar, Khukhrain, Nawanpind, Kokalpur and Lakhan Kalantoday.

He would also hold rallies in villages including Bishanpur, Wadala Kalan, Khojewal, Dhapai, Brindpur, Saidewal, Kala Sanghian, Talwandi Chaudhrian, Nathuchahal, Balerkhanpur, Sidhwan Dona, Bhanolanga, Badial and Sandhu Chatha.


CPI to back CPM nominee at Garhshankar
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 6
Mr Bhupinder Sambher, a senior CPI leader and general secretary, Punjab Kisan Sabha, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday said that the CPI would support the CPM nominee, Mr Mahan Singh Rouri, for the Garhshanker assembly bypoll. He said the CPI had been working for the implementation of the common minimum programme by extending support to Congress-led UPA government at the centre.

Expressing concern over the depleting underground water, Mr Sambher said instead of adopting diversification in agriculture, stress should be laid on proper canal water management, which could provide irrigation facility to about 30 lakh hectares of agricultural land.

As many as six lakh tubewells could be done away with if proper canal water management was put into practice.

He lamented that a number of plans had been made for canal water management for providing irrigation facilities to the farmers but had remained un implemented.


SGPC to upgrade communication system
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 6
To ensure fast and effective mode of communication with the Sikh sangat settled abroad and in far off places within the country, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is all set to revive its e-mail service soon.

This was stated by Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC, during her interaction with a jatha of 13 Sikhs who had come all the way from Singapore to attend the 400th installation ceremony of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Amritsar. While the jatha could not meet her in the holy city, a meeting with them was fixed at Lyallpur Khalsa college here this afternoon.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said during her 20-month previous tenure as the president of the Sikh body, she had started an e-mail service, especially for the Sikhs settled abroad, so that they could send their queries to the SGPC members here. She said they had got tremendous response at that time but as soon as she quit the post, the service became defunct.

The SGPC chief said in the interest of Sikhs in far off places, the service was being given a fresh start. She said she was also planning to revive the old service of getting bookings done for akhand path as well as for parshad. She said the same service had evoked such a good response earlier that the service that cost the SGPC Rs 12 lakhs helped it in generating a collection of Rs 35 lakh in the first fortnight.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said presently the website of the SGPC was giving daily hukamnama of the Golden Temple, besides some details on Sikh rehat maryada and five banis.

Apprising the jatha of various developmental projects being undertaken, Bibi pointed out that the SGPC was soon planning to start Sri Guru Granth Sahib Vishav Sikh University at Fatehgarh Sahib by 2008.

Replying to their demand of training preachers fluent in different languages, especially English, she said she would look into the matter. The jatha led by Mr Dilbagh Singh, president, Central Sikh Gurdwara Board, had pointed out that since most of the Sikh children settled there could not comprehend Punjabi, they wanted that the preachers sent by the SGPC must be trained to impart lessons to them in English or any other foreign language.


Standoff between 2 IPS officers continues
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The standoff between two IPS officers — G.D. Pandey and D.R. Bhatti — continues.

More than a week has lapsed since Mr Pandey expressed unwillingness to join as Inspector-General of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Patiala. Still the matter is hanging fire.

The reason behind the stalemate is not hard to see. Acceptance of posting orders would have meant working under Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) Bhatti — something Mr Pandey was not willing to do because of opposite stands in the wireless scam, the sources in Punjab Police headquarters reveal.

In an attempt to solve the problem, the state Home Department has now decided to place the file before the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for necessary action.

Going into the background of the case, the sources disclose that Mr Pandey — earlier posted at Chandigarh as Inspector-General of Police in charge of security — was asked to join the IRB under an administrative order.

The entire process was termed as routine by senior Punjab Police authorities. But Mr Pandey asked the authorities to reconsider their decision.

In his application, Mr Pandey reportedly claimed that his son was studying in a high school and it was not convenient for him to move out at the current stage.

As such his case should be considered emphatically.

Mr Pandey, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue.

But sources close to him claim that wireless scam is the reason behind their differences.

In their petition, two advocates Ashok Chaudhary and R.K. Kwatra — members of social organisation Lawyers' Initiative — had sought "comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the embezzlement of approximately Rs 2.58 crore".


ASI approaches police, fails to give details
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 6
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) today approached the police to report the disappearance of three miniature paintings from a painted chamber in the “Ranwas” building of Quila Mubarak here even as the State Cultural Affairs and the Archaeological Department indicated that the paintings were stolen from the chamber.

ASI official Ashok Kumar Srivastav today approached the Kotwali police to lodge a report in this regard. However, an FIR could not be lodged, according to Inspector Harpreet Singh of the Kotwali police station as the ASI officials were unable to give details of the missing miniatures.

The Inspector said ASI had sought more time as it wanted to consult the Punjab Cultural Affairs Department on the issue. He added that when details were received a case would be registered.

Though the disappearance of the paintings was discovered on October 2, the ASI was reluctant to lodge a complaint. Its stand was that officials of the Cultural Affairs Department had not taken possession of the chamber from it despite numerous requests after the completion of restoration work.

Mr Srivastav has mentioned this fact in the complaint to the police. Besides this, the ASI official has claimed that the watch and ward staff of the Cultural Affairs Department was responsible for the security of the monument and that the chamber was in the possession of the ASI only for restoration purpose.

The official also reported to the police that a door of the chamber was found twisted from its hinges in such a manner to allow entry into it.

Meanwhile, Secretary, Cultural Affairs D.S. Jaspal said it seemed that the chamber had been broken into. He said he had ordered an inquiry into the issue.

The Cultural Affairs Department has also decided to approach the Finance Department for funds for taking security measures in the Quila Mubarak complex.

The officer said many security-related posts were lying vacant.

Meanwhile, the issue of how the members of the expert team gained entrance into the chamber has also come into limelight as the key to it was with the ASI.


Manmohan’s US visit successful, says Cong MP
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 6
Terming the recent US visit of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh as successful senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Ashwini Kumar, today said the visit would result in considerable increase in US investment in India.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Kumar said the UPA government had successfully presented its claim for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

“You see, it is for the first time that Brazil, France and Japan had also supported India’s claim for permanent membership,”he said, adding that the US visit of the Prime Minister had further boosted confidence of US investors.

Commenting upon the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) initiated by India and Pakistan, he said normalisation of relations between the two neighbours would definitely give a boost to trade, in Punjab particularly.

“The move to liberalise visa for business community on both sides will certainly benefit Punjab.

By allowing trade through Wagah border the Punjabi business community on both sides will be benefited immensely, he said.


Kanwaljit opposed to MLAs’ foreign jaunt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 6
Former Punjab Finance Minister and Akali MLA Capt Kanwaljit Singh today opposed the proposed foreign jaunt of as many as 40 MLAs, including those of the Opposition.

Talking to newsmen here, Capt Kanwaljit Singh declared that at least he would not join the jaunt as it would further drain the already depleted fiscal resources of the state. It was a bid of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to keep his flock together by pleasing them with foreign trips and silence the criticism by the Opposition by planning to include the latter in the jaunt, he asserted.

The economy of the state was in a shambles and the Punjab Government would crumble under its weight, predicted the former Finance Minister. The Central Government was unstable because its reins were in the hands of the Leftists. The Central Government would not last its full term, he remarked.

The much-publicised plan of the diversification of crops had failed as the government could not give proper alternative and marketing, he said. Wheat and paddy constituted economy of farmers and a viable alternative must be created before the diversification, he demanded.


SAD leader decries raids by MLA
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 6
Raids conducted by Kharar MLA, Bir Devinder Singh, in various government offices to check the attendance of staff adversely affected the work in the offices without bringing any positive results.

This was stated by Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, senior vice-president of the Ropar unit of the SAD, while talking to mediapersons here. He said that the MLA should devote his time to development works in his constituency and in helping industry.

He said that link roads in some villages were in a state of neglect and people in certain villages were facing water problems. The Kharar-Banur road for which more than Rs 4 crore were cleared had not been completed.


Pensioners seek implementation of national policy
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 6
The district unit of the Central Government Pensioners Association (Head Office, Jalandhar City), in a representation to the Prime Minister sent through the district administration, today demanded implementation of the national policy on older persons in five years with the necessary budgetary provisions every year. It also demanded 2 per cent additional rate of interest to senior citizens on their deposits with banks and post offices.

A memorandum containing demands of the senior citizens was handed over to Mr N.S. Walia, ADC, Sangrur, by a deputation of the association led by Mr Faqir Singh Titria and Mr Banarsi Dass Goyal, district president and secretary, respectively, here today.

The memorandum was submitted on behalf of 85 million senior citizens (plus 60) in the country. In the memorandum, it has been stated that the number of the senior citizens would be more than double in the next 20 years to reach 198 million in 2030 and 326 million in 2060 as per the United Nations (UN) estimates, but the Union and state governments are not serious about this problem.

The other demands include an increase in the central assistance in the national old-age pension scheme for the elderly destitutes from Rs 75 to Rs 300, time-bound disposal of cases of senior citizens in all courts, 50 per cent concession in fares in all state transport buses with reservation of four seats in each bus for senior citizens, and nomination of at least two representatives of senior citizens to the Rajya Sabha and vidhan parishads of every state.


Tussle blocks AK-47s’ supply to police
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
A tussle between Russia and Bulgaria has blocked the supply of Ak-47 rifles to Punjab Police.

Informed sources said that the Punjab Government had placed the order for the supply of 5000 AK-47 rifles to a Bulgarian company through proper channels — the Union Home Ministry. However, the Russian authorities concerned, according to sources, have prevented the Bulgarian company to supply it to Punjab Police. Russians have argued that the Bulgarian company is not authorised by Russia, which transfered its technology to Bulgarian firm, for rifles. international trade.

The rifle was invented and manufactured by Russia. In fact it has been named after its Russian inventor, Mr A. Kalashnikov.

The AK-47 rifle, a rapid fire short-range assault weapon, that is easy to handle, use and manage, had hit the headlines when terrorism was at its peak in Punjab. In fact it made its entry in Punjab through militants in the 1980s. A large number of AK-47 rifles were seized from militants killed in encounters or arrested by the police. At that time Punjab police was armed with .303 rifles, a weapon of old vintage, very difficult to handle and cumbersome to use in operations.

Later, the state government handed over the seized AK-47 rifles to Punjab Police’s operatives to fight militancy. Though militancy is a thing of the past in the state now, Punjab police has developed a strong liking for this rifle and hence the order for equipping the policemen with it, says sources.

Sources said that the Bulgarian company had offered this rifle to Punjab police for $ 163 per piece whereas Russia offered it for Rs $237 per unit. Punjab Police opted for the Bulgarian rifle as it was cheaper, though said to be of little inferior quality compared to the Russian make.

But now Russia has asked the Bulgarian company not to supply rifles to Punjab. Russian authorities concerned have argued that they have transferred the gun manufacturing technology to the Bulgarian company for catering to internal needs of that country and had not given rights them to sell it in the international market. Russia says it has the right to sell it to various client countries because it developed and manufactured the rifle, source say.

The Union Government had reportedly taken up the matter with the Russian authorities concerned to resolve the issue. The Russia company was asked to reduce the price. In fact, the Russian company brought the price down to $ 217. However, even after reduction in the price, there is a huge difference of the price of the Russian and Bulgarian AK-47 rifles. As the tussle between Russia and Bulgaria is going on in this regard, obviously, Punjab Police continues to wait.


Row over aanganwadi recruitment
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 6
The recruitment of anganwadi workers by the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) here about a month back has kicked off a controversy.

According to sources, some women candidates from the Kotkapura block had complained about the recruitment process, saying that ineligible candidates were being appointed at villages at the cost of eligible ones.

The complainants said the Punjab Government had fixed marks for matriculates, graduates and postgraduates to make the process transparent. But at Behbal Kalan village a postgraduate candidate, Sarabjit Kaur was declared ineligible and a plus II-pass candidate was appointed on the same post.

Similarly, the department had ignored a candidate with higher qualification for a post at Chand Bhan village.

A resident of Nawa Nathewala village, Manjit Kaur, in her complaint said that despite she being eligible for the post an outsider was appointed on the post.

Reports of anomalies have also been received from some other villages too.

On the basis of complaints received from villages, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, has asked the Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Mr Darshan Singh Garewal to look into the matter.

When contacted, the local CDPO, Ms Amarjit Kaur, denied allegations of anomalies and said the recruitments were being done as per the instructions of the state government.

Meanwhile, a member of the District Grievances Committee, Mr Pawanpreet Singh, has alleged that candidates were recruited for various posts by violating the notification issued by the state government in this connection.

He said according to the notification candidates had to send their applications to the CDPOs through village panchayats and the CDPOs had to seek the approval of panchayats after selecting the candidates.

He has also written a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission in this regard.


Dept of posts to launch new schemes
Our Correspondent

Batala, October 6
The Chief Postmaster General, Punjab and Chandigarh circle, Mr L.K. Puri inaugurated a post office in Star Hotel building, on Dera Baba Nanak road here today.

Mr D.S. Jammu, Senior Superintendent, Posts, Gurdaspur district Mr J.R. Saini, Asst Superintendent Posts, Batala, Mr Parneet Bhardwaj, SDM Batala Mr Jagdhish Sawhney and former BJP MLA attended the function.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr Puri said the post office was launching several schemes for the convenience and welfare of people.

Mr Puri said the Department of Posts, would soon start distributing forms of various universities of Punjab and Chandigarh. The department had already made an arrangement in this regard with the authorities of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjabi University, Patiala and Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Mr Puri said the department was making arrangements for the payment of electricity bills at post-offices. Talks were on with the authorities of the Punjab State Electricity Board to work out the modalities for making this facility available to people. Mr Puri further said all post offices in Punjab and Chandigarh would be fully computerised by March 2007. A sum of Rs 9.50 crore had been sanctioned by the centre for this.


Where boats are still the lifeline of people
Lalit Mohan and Bharat Bhushan Dogra

Gurdaspur, October 6
The status of Punjab as a developed state seems a utopia when you visit the Narot Jaimal Singh and Bamial blocks of this district. Even after 57 years of independence a population of about 50,000 residing in 100 villages of the said revenue blocks is cut from the rest of the state.

It is easier for them to go Kathaua district of Jammu and Kashmir rather visiting Gurdaspur or Pathankot. As one resident of the area put it “Gurdaspur district administration helps us only when they have to take us to jail. For all other purposes we have to depend on nature or J&K”.

The lifeline of the people of the area is boats that carry them across the Ravi only during the day time. At night once again the area is cut from the main land, as private contractors suspend the boat service. The area at night becomes an island between India and Pakistan. If people of the area face medical or any other kind of emergency during night they still have to depend upon nature.

Essential items are supplied to the area through boats daily. The boats that are used to ferry vehicles carrying essential items to the area as gas cylinders or edibles are in poor state. When The Tribune team visited the area it found that boats used to carry vehicles and material across the Ravi were in a poor shape. Without any security measures the boats were being used ferry men and material much more than their capacity.

The area of the Ravi over which men and material have to be carried by boat measures just about 80 feet. Despite the fact that there are two members of the Rajya Sabha and one member the Lok Sabha representing the area, there is not even a temporary bridge. All these MPs get a grant if Rs 6 crore per annum for the development of the area.

The condition of people living in the area is no better. Broken roads, closed hospitals and schools are a common sight. Sources available here said there were just four government doctors posted to cater a population of about 50,000 people there. The medical services in the block-level hospital of Narot Jaimal Singh are crippled due to the shortage of doctors. There is no facility for emergency medical services or any qualified private practitioner in the area.

Most of the primary schools are either without teacher or with single teacher. Five posts of patwaris and one Naib Tehsildar are also lying vacant.

Political leaders of the area instead of solving the problem of the area are playing the blame game. The former MLA of the BJP from the area, Mr Ram Lal, when contacted said the Congress had been representing the area for more than 40 years. However, none of the Congress leaders ever cared for the development of the area.

During his stint as an MLA a temporary bridge was at least built for the area by the government. Now people have to face the problem only during monsoon, he claimed.

The sitting Congress MLA was not available for comment despite repeated claims to contact him on the phone.


Martyr’s widow battles it out over land
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Indergarh (Moga), October 6
Her husband laid down life for the country 10 years ago and today she is fighting a lone battle for justice. Jasbir Kaur's in-laws have "illegally" occupied her 4 acres by force and to retain the same she is spending a part of the pension she is getting, which is her only source of income, on the court case.

Jasbir's husband, Havildar Balkar Singh, achieved martyrdom in an encounter with terrorists during Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir on July 6, 1994, leaving behind his wife, two daughters and a son.

Talking with The Tribune, she said she received Rs 3.65 lakh from the Army as her husband had rendered 15 years of service.

But the ill treatment meted out to her by her in-laws compelled her to move out and she had to spend most of the money for securing a roof over her children's head.

Jasbir Kaur said Balkar had two brothers and each got 4 acres.

"I can bring up my three children through pension and whatever little I was able to earn from agricultural land," she adds.

Her in-laws had been eyeing her land after her husband's death.

She was able to get a stay order from the court in this connection. She said as soon as the stay got vacated her in-laws ploughed her land.

This added to her woes as, she had to sell her cattle as she could not feed them properly.

Her two children are studying in Ferozepur at their grandparents' place while she is staying along with her elder sister in the village.

"I have been attending court hearings for the past two days, leaving my daughter alone, who gets anxious even if I am half an hour late," she added with tears in her eyes.

Lamenting the indifferent attitude of the police, she said when she went to the Dharamkot police station to lodge a complaint following occupation of her land by her in-laws, the police men said, "We are not sitting here for you." She also reported the matter to the Kishanpura police post, but to no avail.

She alleged that a certain post office staff member was hand in glove with the police and her rival party. She stated that the employee used to open letters related to the enquiry and showed it to the SHO concerned and her in-laws before delivering it to her.

She has lodged a complaint in this regard with the Postal Department. Jasbir Kaur has also complained to the Moga SSP in this regard.

When contacted, the SSP, Mr M.S. Chhina, said he had received the complaint and the police was looking into the matter.

He said if Jasbir Kaur had any grievance she could meet him.


Son reunited with family after eight years
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 6
The joys of Mr Ram Chander, a resident of Maniappa village of Bihar, knew no bounds when he along with his family members came to know that his son, who was being taken as dead about eight years ago, was still alive.

After getting this news from the policemen of this district, Mr Ram Chander and his kin did not wait for a minute and marched towards this town from Begusarai district of Bihar to meet his beloved one.

Mr Ram Chander met his son Murari today, eight years after he went missing.

The district police authorities and the Community Policing Resource Centre (CPRC) took lot of pain to reunite Murari with his family members living thousands of kilometres away from this town.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the CPRC, which was running under the supervision of SP (H), Mr Shiv Kumar, had been handling cases pertaining to stranger verification.

After verification of strangers, the CPRC had also been issuing identity cards to them.

He added that Murari was working as a labourer in this town.

Earlier, the CPRC had succeeded in making two reunions, one pertaining to mother and son belonging to Madhya Pradesh and other pertaining to father and son belonging to Uttar Pradesh.

The SSP said that Murari managed to meet his family due to relentless efforts made by a Punjab police team comprising ASI, Mr Gurdev Singh, head constables, Mr Harpal Singh and Gurmel Singh, and constable Mr Lachhman Singh. Murari was handed over to his parents today.


Sikh clergy to attend NCM meet on female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
The Sikh high priests including, Jathedars of Akal Takht , Patna Sahib and Kesgarh Sahib would attend the first ever joint meeting, convened by Mr Tarlochan Singh ,Chairman National Commission for Minorities (NCM), on October 19, at Delhi to discuss the issue of female feticide.

Earlier, Jathedar, Akal Takht, had issued directives against pre-natal tests, which led to female foeticide.

The invitation said that the ‘first report on religious data’ brought out by the office of Registrar-General and the Census Commission of India highlighted the declining male-female ratio amongst Sikhs.


Ease norms for hill people: MP
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 6
The Rajya Sabha Member from Gurdaspur, Mr Ashwani Kumar, has written to the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukerjee, seeking relaxation in the height criteria for the persons hailing from hilly areas of Punjab for recruitment in the armed forces.

In the letter, a copy of which was released to the press today, Mr Ashwani Kumar stated that during his tour to such areas, he was informed that the number of youths recruited from hilly areas of Punjab was reducing.

The reason for it was that earlier the people of the hilly areas of Punjab were given relaxation in height limits at the time of recruitment in services. However, that relaxation had been discontinued.

He apprised the Defence Minister, through his letter, that going to the Army had been a tradition in the Dogras hailing from the hilly areas of Punjab. Besides, these people hardly had any other source of income. The recruitment in the Army was their primary source of livelihood.

So, the relaxation in height criteria should be restored for the people residing in the hilly areas of Punjab, Mr Ashwani Kumar urged the Defence Minister.

He had also written to the Ambassador of France in India, Mr Dominique Girard, on the Sikh turban issue.


MC removes extensions erected by shopkeepers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 6
The Municipal Corporation today conducted a drive to remove extensions made by shopkeepers in the market adjoining the bus stand.

Besides Municipal Corporation workers, who brought down the extensions, a crane was also requisitioned for the purpose. Mayor Vishnu Sharma disclosed that the drive had been undertaken after the shopkeepers, who were asked not to extend their areas, failed to remove the old structures.

Mr Sharma said concrete extensions which had been erected by 30 to 40 shopkeepers had been removed during the drive. He said this was done to decongest the road adjoining the bus stand. He said anyone going in for extensions at the same site in future would be challaned and encroachments demolished.

The Mayor said other steps were also being taken to decongest the area around the bus stand. This he said included shifting the ‘rehris’ which were conducting business adjoining the outer wall of the bus stand. He said the corporation would also target extensions created by shopkeepers in other important markets of the city in the coming days.


Baby girl found abandoned in fields
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 6
Abandoned by her parents, a one-and-a-half-year old girl was found lying in the fields of Devi Nagar village, about 2 km from here, early this morning.

A milkman, Mr Barkha Ram, who was on his way to distribute milk in the village, noticed something wrapped in a cloth in the fields adjacent to a tubewell along the village link road at about 6 am.

Suspecting that some villager might have forgotten his articles, Barkha Ram walked to the tubewell but was shocked to see a girl in the cloth. The girl had injury marks on her forehead and boils on the head and body.

The milkman informed the village sarpanch, Mr Gurnam Singh, about the matter, who along with other villagers reached the spot and offered a glass of milk to the girl. Subsequently the police was informed by the villagers at about 7.30 am. The Punjab Police personnel at the local police station, however, took more than three hours to reach the spot, which is hardly 2 km from the Dera Bassi police station.

The police got the girl medically examined at the local Civil Hospital in the evening before moving an application before the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), seeking permission to send the girl to SOS Children in Rajpura village. Since the SDM was on leave, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, Tehsildar, granted permission to the police.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Gurnam Singh, said that the girl was shivering with fever and was unable to move. The girl seemed to belong to some migrant labourer couple.

Mr Amarjit Singh Ghuman, Station House Officer, Dera Bassi, said the girl was fed biscuits and milk and was given medical treatment. “Prior to taking a decision to send her to the SOS Children Village at Rajpura, we were hoping that her parents would approach the police. We have already sent messages regarding the girl to nearby villages and slum areas,” he claimed.


Conference of Ahmadiyya youth
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur October 6
The 35th annual conference of the Ahmadiyya youth wing began at Qadian yesterday. Hadhrath Mirza Waseem Ahmad, the chief secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in India, was the chief guest on the occasion.

He formally inaugurated the function with the recitation of verses from the Quran. The Livaye Ahmadiyyat (Ahmadiyya flag) was hoisted on the occasion. In his address he urged the Ahmadiyya youth to develop their character by indulging in humanitarian activities.

The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Harjit Singh, who was also present on the occasion, lauded the efforts of the youth wing of the Ahmadiyyas in saving the young from taking drugs and other intoxicants.

About 5,000 Ahmadiyya delegates from across the country are participating in the three-day conference. The spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya youth wing, Mr Maqbool Ahmad, said the delegates would exchange views on various issues and the problems being faced by them.


Two SGPC employees suspended
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today placed two of its employees, Satnam Singh and Rachhpal Singh, under suspension on the charges of misbehaving with a couple, who had come here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple.

According to Manager of Darbar Sahib, Major Singh, the inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the matter.

However, the victim alleged that her clothes were torn during the scuffle. Mr Major Singh, who had immediately rushed to the spot on hearing, about the incident, claimed that the trouble arose when the couple demanded a room in the serai which was already occupied.


SGPC team to visit Nankana Sahib
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
An SGPC delegation led by its general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur will visit Pakistan on October 8 to have first-hand information of the situation there after the Nankana Sahib incident.

According to a press note here today, the delegation will meet the Waqf Board (Evacuee Trust Property Board) authorities and Chief Minister of West Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Ellahi. The delegation will return next week.


Pulse Polio programme drawn up
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 6
A meeting of doctors and representatives of the local Rotary Club in connection with Pulse Polio campaign was held at the Civil Hospital here today.

At the meeting, which was attended among others by the SMO in charge of the Civil Hospital, Dr Maninderjit Singh, and Mr Amrish Shukla, president of the Rotary Club, it was decided to set up 15 booths in the town on October 10 to give polio drops to children below the age of five years. Dr H.S. Oberoi has been made the nodal officer in this regard.


Truck driver electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 6
Joginder Singh of Mehatpur Auldani village near Balachaur in Nawanshahr was electrocuted while he had climbed the tool box of a truck parked near a hotel along the Kalka-Ambala highway near here this afternoon.

According to the police, Joginder Singh had climbed atop the truck (PAT 8076) to locate some tools when his head touched a high-tension power cable.

He was noticed by an other trucker and rushed to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, where doctors declared him brought dead.

The police took the body into its custody and will send it to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post-mortem examination tomorrow. Inquest proceedings were initiated by the police.


Hearing in Badal case on Nov 19
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 6
Following the Supreme Court orders, the Special Court here today adjourned the hearing of a case of disproportionate assets against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Badal and wife Surinder Kaur Badal, for November 19.

The defense counsel submitted a copy of the Supreme Court orders staying the proceeding of the case in this afternoon before the Special Court Judge, Mr S.K Goel. The judge said in the view of the Supreme Court order, the case was adjourned for November 19.

Later the SP Vigilance, Punjab Bureau, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, organised a press conference at his office.

He said the Supreme Court had stayed the proceeding of the Badal case here to decided the law point of seeking sanction to prosecute any minister, former minister or public servant and notification about the jurisdiction of the court.

He said the defense had not asked for the quashing of an FIR in the case. After the Supreme Court orders, the case will continue here.


No salaries paid since May
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
A large number of contract staff of the office of the Punjab Advocate General has not been paid salaries for the past almost six months.

According to sources, the number of such employees is over 40 and they have not received their salaries since May.

Despite repeated requests to the Home Department, which is responsible for paying their salaries, these employees have yet to receive a single penny from government for services rendered to it.

The employees who fall in this category include 22 clerical staff and 18 peons, all of who are on contract. Sources also said that the Punjab Government was also not very punctual when it came to releasing salaries for its law officers.

But, the case of these Class III and IV officials is causing concern among the other staff of the AG’s office also.

Sources said that the necessary sanction had not been given by the Finance Department so as to enable the Home Department in releasing the salaries of these employees. The file in this regard is still pending with a joint secretary-level officer in the Home Department.

When contacted, Advocate General Harbhagwan Singh said that the issue would be resolved soon.


10-yr term for woman in poppy husk case
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 6
The local court sentenced a woman to 10 years’ imprisonment and fined her Rs 1 lakh in a case of smuggling of poppy husk and acquitted five others.

In case of non-payment of the fine, the imprisonment will be exceeded by one more year.

As per the details, a police party led by SHO Surinder Pal Singh intercepted a jeep at bypass of Karmgarh-Jhaloor village on September 27, 2001.

Five persons, along with the driver fled, while Paalo, wife of Amarjeet Singh, resident of Barnala, was arrested with two quintals of poppy husk in the jeep.

The police registered a case.

It also arrested five others, Jeeto, Aalow, Lakha Singh, all residents of Barnala, and Suresh and Yassen of Hanumangarh (Rajasthan).

The court after hearing the arguments of both counsel sentenced Paalo to 10-years’ rigorous imprisonment.


Murder accused cop’s plea dismissed
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr R.S. Baswana, today dismissed the application of Gurmeet Singh alias Pinky, a Punjab Police Inspector, seeking discharge in a murder case.

In his application under Section 197 of the CrPC, counsel for the accused had pleaded that since prior sanction of the Police Department was not taken before his prosecution, he should be discharged in the case.

Pinky is the prime accused in the murder of the 21-year-old Avtar Singh alias Gola, a resident of Ludhiana. He is alleged to have shot dead Gola at point blank range in Ludhiana on January 7,2001.

However, opposing the application, counsel for the complainant contended that the crime had nothing to do with the performance of official duties. The accused’s application had come at a wrong time as 12 witnesses had already deposed in the court, he added.

Quoting the judgements of the Supreme Court, counsel claimed that there was no need for obtaining prior sanction as the crime was committed when the official was not on duty and allegedly in an inebriated state. Ultimately the Judge went with the arguments of counsel for the complainant while dismissing the application.


38 lakh tonnes of paddy arrive in mandis
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
The state procuring agencies have saved nearly 3 lakh tonnes of paddy which was damaged by rains. The paddy was lying in the mandis when rains lashed the state.

According to official information available here today, the state procuring agencies dried the paddy stocks and sent them to the rice millers for further drying and shelling.

Meanwhile, the Central Government has announced the levy price for levy rice for the current year. The government has not increased the price of levy rice but retained the price which was set last year.

Accordingly, the price of raw rice, which is also known as sela price, has been fixed at Rs 1008 per quintal and for par boil, the price is Rs 988.30 per quintal.

The price for grade A raw rice has been fixed at Rs 1053 per quintal and for Grade A par boil rice it is Rs 1038.20 per quintal.

The Union Government has not announced any subsidy on the export of rice this year. The government does not seem to be interested in encouraging the export of foodgrains this year due to fall in the production because of drought like conditions in some states.

Meanwhile, the arrival of paddy has picked up in the mandis of Punjab. The mandis of the state are receiving more than 5 lakh tonnes of paddy daily. The total arrival of paddy in the mandis till today was to the tune of 38 lakh tonnes against 23 lakh tonnes last year.


Change in crop circle
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 6
To bring diversification as well as change in the crop circle, a seminar was organised in here on Tuesday by the Block Development and Agriculture Department. Mr Zora Singh Thind, SDM, was the chief guest. He called upon the farmers to bring a change in the crop circle.

He impressed upon the farmers to sow such crops as could offer more yield with minimal use of water. Mr Sanjeev Sharma, Block Development Officer, Dr Darshan Singh, Dr Hardial Singh and Dr Karnail Singh Sandhu also spoke on the occasion.


6 jail officers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Punjab Government has transferred six jail officers, including a DIG and DSPs. The transfers were routine.

DIG Jagjit Singh has been posted as Superintendent of Jalandhar Central Jail. DSP Chetan Parkash was posted as Superintendent of Central Jail at Gurdaspur. Superintendent Nirmal Chand was posted as Superintendent of Central Jail at Ferozepore.

Chief Welfare Officer Vijay Kumar was posted as Superintendent of the district jail at Nabha. District Probation Officer Avinash Chander was posted as DSP of Central Jail at Amritsar. Ferozepore’s District Probation Officer Kuldeep Singh was posted as DSP of Central Jail at Ferozepore.


High-profile gangs of vehicle lifters busted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
The district police has busted to inter-state gangs of vehicle lifters and arrested 10 persons, including two girls. The gangs used to steal brand new vehicles from various districts of Punjab and sell them in other states, including Jammu and Kashmir after forging the documents.

Mr Kultar Singh, district police chief in a press conference here today, revealed that the names of four Sub-divisional Magistrates, two District Transport Officers and a journalist had figured in the preliminary investigations. However, he refused to reveal their identity adding that further investigations were on in this regard.

The police has recovered two stolen cars, one .12 bore pistol with five live cartridges, a country made pistol and a mauser with five rounds.

He said on a specific information, the police laid nakas at Medical Enclave and Ranjit Avenue areas. The police intercepted two cars and arrested Sohan, Lovely, Mattu, Sabi and Neelam. From second car, the police nabbed Banti and Sonia, a government employee, in the irrigation department. Later, the police arrested Mukesh, Romy and Pannu from the Basant Avenue area.

The SSP said earlier the both gangs were together and were later separated a few months back after some dispute.

About their modus operandi he said they used to steal new vehicles and sell them to Atil and Saba of Jammu and Javed of Srinagar.


CBI to probe missing Sikh library books case
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
The Union Government today agreed to order a CBI inquiry into the disappearance of invaluable books from the Sikh Reference Library, allegedly taken by the Army during Operation Bluestar.

The decision was taken at a high-powered meeting held in New Delhi to discuss the incomplete “galliara yojna” (beautification of the surroundings of the Golden Temple). Both cases were presented by the SGPC secretary, Mr Dalmegh Singh, at the meeting, attended by senior officials of the Central Government, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, Mr K.S. Kang, and representatives of various departments of the state government. He said CBI officers, including Mr Shabdal Singh and Mr Ranjit Singh Nanda, had already stated that the invaluable manuscripts were in the possession of the CBI.

The repository of over 1,500 invaluable rare manuscripts, including copies of the Adi Granth, Damdami Bir (dated Bikrami 1739) and portraits got destroyed during Operation Bluestar. Even after two decades what exactly happened at the library is not clear. Conflicting statements of the then Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, had complicated the situation.

Mr Nanda, former CBI Inspector, had made a startling disclosure that the rare manuscripts, hukamnamas, books and other materials were taken in gunny bags and big trunks to an unknown place after the operation. Although President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his first visit to the Golden Temple had assured the SGPC chief that he would take up the issue with the department concerned, the latter has not been able to get the “treasure” back so far.

While the Army authorities maintain that the library had caught fire during the exchange of fire with the militants, the SGPC says that the Army deliberately put the “empty library” on fire after taking away rare and invaluable material.

Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, at the quadricentennial centenary of Guru Granth Sahib had also promised to order an inquiry into the whole affair.


Patwari arrested on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 6
The vigilance wing of Gurdaspur today arrested Ravinder Kumar posted as patwari in the Daulatpur area near Pathankot on the charge of corruption.

The DSP (Vigilance), when contacted, said that the patwari had been arrested on the complaint of Baldev Kumar, a resident of the area.

Baldev Kumar in his complaint alleged that the patwari was demanding Rs 1,000 from him for effecting the mutation of his house. The vigilance team today laid a trap and arrested the accused while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the patwari.


Gold chain snatched
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 6
An unidentified person snatched a gold chain from Ms Manjeet Kaur Gat, a resident of Partap Nagar, here on Wednesday.

The incident took place when she was on the way to her house. A case has been registered.


Pbi varsity suspends teacher, assistant on charge of bribery
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 6
Punjabi University today suspended a senior economics teacher in the Department of Correspondence Studies for demanding a bribe from a girl student for approving her M. Phil thesis. The girl’s charges that the teacher had been harassing her have also been upheld by the committee which conducted on an inquiry into the charges.

A university release here said vice-chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai had taken such a hard step to ensure the maintenance of academic culture in the top-most order in the university which it said had suffered from a deep malady in the past.

The student, who had been pursuing her M.Phil degree under Dr Partap Singh of the Economics Department of the Correspondent Studies Department, had filed a complaint against him two months ago. The complaint had alleged that Dr Partap Singh had demanded Rs 25,000 from her to approve her M.Phil thesis through an employee in his department.

A three-member committee comprising the Dean Colleges, Prof R.S. Ghumman, the Dean, Research, Dr T.A. Sarma, and Dr Vandana Sharma convener of the cell looking into sexual harassment cases, said during the inquiry it was revealed that there was a nexus between Dr Partap Singh, department assistant Rajesh Kumar and a retired Professor of the Economics Department, Dr O.P. Sharma. According to the complainant Dr Partap Singh had told her to meet Rajesh Sharma who took her to Dr O.P. Sharma so that her thesis could be “corrected properly”.

During the inquiry the committee observed that the behaviour of Dr Partap Singh was intimidatory towards the complainant. It said the statements of other non-teaching staff whose names had been mentioned by the complainant as co-accused had established the guilt of Dr Partap Singh beyond doubt.

The university has decided to give immediate relief to the student by changing her supervisor. Besides, Rajesh Kumar has been placed under suspension and it has been decided to disassociate Dr O.P. Sharma from post retirement teaching assignments in the university. Dr Sharma used to take classes in the IAS Training Centre on the university campus.


Varsity official’s son involved in brawl?
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
The name of a son of a top official of Guru Nanak Dev University has figured in a brawl that took place day before yesterday out side the university. He is a student of the Computer Department

Students of the Architecture Department have complained to the head of the department concerned in this regard.

In the complaint the students have alleged that Swarpreet Singh, son of a top official of the university, along with other students thrashed Architecture Department students over a personal grudge.

The students pleading anonymity alleged that the dispute started when the Computer Department students, including Swarpreet, got drunk and abused girls of the department when they were cheering for the boys in an inter-departmental football match.

When the Architecture Department boys objected to it, the students of the Computer Department started the brawl. However, the matter was resolved when they apologised in written in presence of the Dean, student’s welfare, head of the Department of Architecture, claimed the students.

The students alleged that on October 5 the students of the Computer Department again gatecrashed into one of their party and thrashed the boys of the Architecture Department.

However, Swarpreet refuted the allegations. He said at the time of incident he was with head of their department. He also denied having given any written apology to the students of the Architecture Department.


Education officers told to up the tempo
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 6
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, today held a meeting to review the progress of Sarb Shiksha Abhiyan, a centre-sponsored scheme to check school -dropout rate and improve school infrastructure.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Neelkanth Ahvad, the DEO, BEOs and members of various NGOs discussed the ways and means to make the scheme a success.

The DC directed the DEO (Secondary) and BEOs to complete the pending work till October 31. The DEO told the meeting that 29 rooms out of 72 and 30 sanitary blocks out of 95 were completed and work on the rest was in progress.

The DC also told the BEOs that they would be held personally responsible if any negligence was reported on their part.

He also directed the education officers present to immediately sort out differences, if any, over the location of rooms or sanitary blocks among the village committee members.

Mid-day Meal Scheme was also discussed in the meeting. The DEO told the meeting that under the new guidelines only Rs 1.7 per child had been sanctioned as compared to Rs 3.5 earlier. Ways to provide cooked meals to children also came up for discussion.

The DC directed the DEO to get in touch with the contractor concerned and report to the ADC till Monday.

The DEO gave the details of grants spent under various heads, including school grant, teacher grant, Education Guarantee Scheme, research and education, additional classrooms, and sanitation blocks etc.

It was also decided in the meeting that NGOs should be more actively involved to make this scheme a success. The DC expressed his willingness to hold a review meeting every month.


Irate students block traffic
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 6
Hundreds of irate college students today staged a demonstration near the local bus stand and block traffic in protest against alleged misbehaviour of drivers and conductors of Punjab Roadways buses.

The protesters led by Mr Sardul Singh Sra, district president, Sikh Students Federation(Mehta group), raised slogans against the roadways authorities.

They alleged that yesterday a bus conductor of a Punjab Roadways bus of Ropar depot not only forced pass-holder students to buy tickets but also took them to Nawanshahr and dropped them 35 km away from their destination. Mr Sra alleged that the bus conductor even misbehaved with them.

The blockade, which continued for more than an hour was lifted only after the assurances given by DSP Jaspaul Singh and Tehsildar Hardip Singh Dhaliwal, who reached on the blockade site to resolve the tangle.

The DSP said he had held a meeting with the Punjab Roadways officials of Phagwara, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Nawanshahr to solve the problems of students, who were being harassed by the roadways staff. He claimed that the roadways officials had assured stern action against the guilty staff.


Amritsar NCC Group win trophy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Amritsar NCC Group bagged the overall trophy, while the Chandigarh Group was declared runners-up at the 12-day Pre-Nau Sainik Camp, which concluded at the Air Force Station, High Grounds, near here, today.

About 150 boys and 50 girl cadets of the NCC Directorate of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh participated in various competitions.

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