P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Mob goes berserk in Bhargo Camp locality
SSP suspends additional SHO for inaction
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 18
An agitated mob today went berserk and damaged two cars and a truck at the Bhargo Camp locality this evening following an alleged incident of firing, wherein, Bitti, an absconding murder accused along with his accomplices, allegedly fired shots in the air to terrorise the residents.

Meanwhile, the SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, has placed Additional SHO of the police station No 6 Mohinderpal under suspension for his failure to handle the situation promptly. Acceding to the demands of the residents, the SSP has entrusted the investigation into the Kala murder case to the SHO of the police station No 5.

Even as the district police denied occurrence of any firing incident in the locality, the sources maintained that Bitti allegedly fired shots to murder Sandeep, a nephew of Saudagar Ram, alias Kala, who was killed last month in a liquor mafia gang war.

As soon as the news of alleged firing spread in the locality, around 100 residents of Bhargo Camp and relatives of Kala assembled at the main chowk and moved towards the Model Town police station to inform the police about the incident. The police officials concerned, however, allegedly failed to redress the problem.

Subsequently, the mob reached Bhargo Camp police post and pelted stones on it. After this, the mob went berserk and pelted stones on the shops and other business establishments situated on the Nakodar road from main Bhargo camp chowk to Nakodar chowk. The panic stricken shopkeepers immediately put down their shutters to avoid any damage while the mob attacked the Pushpa Gujaral Nari Niketan with stones and caused damage to its building. Two cars and a truck also fell victim to the mob, however, their drivers managed to flee.

Senior police officials, including Mr Bhullar reached the spot and pacified the mob. After listening to the grievances of the residents, Mr Bhuular ordered suspension of Mohinderpal and shifting of investigation into Kala murder case from police division No 6 to police division No 5.

“According to preliminary investigation, no firing took place in the locality. The erring police official has been suspended. We are making all out efforts to nab the absconding murder accused,” Mr Bhullar said.


Govt considering action against two DCs
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Punjab Government is reportedly considering action against Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of Amritsar and Gurdaspur.

They had failed to produce record before the Gurdwara Election Commission despite clear cut instructions.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the commission had sought action against the two officers under the Service Conduct Rules.

In fact, Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections Justice Jai Singh Sekhon had reportedly shot of a comminnique to the Union Home Department in this regard. Justice Sekhon had reportedly recommend major penalty proceedings against them.

The sources in his office revealed that orders against the officers were likely to be issued within a day or so. They added that a decision regarding holding of byelections to Gurdaspur and Amritsar constituencies would be taken only after receiving orders against the two officers.

The elections to the constituencies were countermanded following government's failure to act against the DCs.

The sources in the Punjab Government's personnel department, on the other hand, claimed that files pertaining to the conduct of two DCs were currently in Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh's office.

Coming down heavily on the DCs for their failure to produce the record, Justice Sekhon had earlier directed the issuance of notices to them. Taking up petitions filed by three senior Akali leaders, the Judge had also asked the officers to show cause why proceedings should not be initiated against them for disobeying the commission's orders.

Accepting the petitions, the Judge had also quashed the orders passed by the DCs rejecting the candidature of the three leaders for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections. The candidature of the three leaders was cancelled as huge amounts were allegedly outstanding against their wards admitted under the NRI quota to SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Dental College

Amritsar DC was, subsequently, grilled by a Division Bench of the High Court during the hearing of petitions filed by the three leaders, challenging the decision of rejecting their nomination papers.

Taking up the matter, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, had come down heavily upon the DC for refusing to follow the Chief Commissioner's orders.

After asking him to file an affidavit explaining his actions and conduct, the Bench had also directed him to specify under whose instructions had he refused to follow the orders.

The Judges had observed that the DC had acted in a wrong way and he could not be allowed to go scot-free after committing the act.

The Bench had further questioned the DC if he knew the repercussions of acting in "such a manner".


Victory apart, CM should check divisions within party
PPS Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has described the two byelections in Kapurthala and Garhshankar as a referendum on the performance of his government. He has got a mandate in his favour, yet again.

The people have voted for the Congress hoping development was on its way. Capt. Amarinder Singh has promised just that in the remaining half-period. The people now expect the government will not belie their hopes. After all, they had elected the Congress with a massive vote of confidence in 2002. Political analysts say, at least now, the Chief Minister needed all the sincere support from his own party and the party High Command as also from the bureaucracy. He too must shed excess politico-bureaucratic and extra-constitutional baggage, which has weighed him down in the first half of his five-year marathon.

The first half of the Congress Government tenure can best be described as a political obstacle race. The hurdles in the race being a creation more of the ruling party itself than by the Opposition, which tried to become a ''whistle blower'' on a number of issues on several occasions but either did not succeed or was not allowed to either inside or outside the Vidhan Sabha.

The winning of the Kapurthala and Garhshankar seats may give some reprieve to Capt. Amarinder Singh, who has been constantly engaged in a political steeplechase race and court cases with his deputy, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, her team-mates as well as Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Hindrances in the governance were also created by the government's own men, insiders as well as outsiders. The omnipresent extra constitutional centres of power or power brokers seemed to call the shots all the time in all major policy-decisions, may these be in respect of postings and transfers, jockeying with police, lobbying for business and trade to extract tax concessions or arm-twisting for self-aggrandisation.

The beginning was good. The intentions were clear. The resolve was firm. The going was smooth. But when the government switched from trot to gallop, in came the anti-corruption drive with vigilance in the driver's seat. All normal administrative roads were bypassed. Confusion prevailed on the 5-year track.

he initial good initiatives taken by the government to improve housekeeping and governance were tripped by the Captain's Cabinet colleagues, and crafty bureaucrats began to either misguide or distance themselves from certain controversial decision-making. All this time, the Congress High Command fiddled and at times even meddled, albeit with a design.

Consequently, efforts to improve financial situation, shore up taxes, introduce user charges, provide quality socio-economic services to the people, discipline a string of delinquent departments, slowly, came to a knot.

Just when the government was sensing loss of stamina, recent orders of the Supreme Court and the High Court gave it yet another blow. The orders pertained to stay of proceedings against the Badals and other Akalis in Ropar court, ordering re-auction of liquor shops, quashing of selection of Deputy Superintendents of Police under the sports quota and issuing of contempt notice to the Media Adviser etc.

In this backdrop, the victory in Kapurthala and Garhshankar gets dwarfed. One stunning lesson that the Congress was given by the people in the last Lok Sabha elections was that divisions within the state party, the partisan role of the party High Command and non-performance had led to it being swept aside.

The win in the two Assembly constituencies now, say political analysts, was because the people still saw a ray of hope, howsoever forlorn, that in the remaining half-term, the government, perhaps, will focus on development and provide basic civic amenities, assure timely pensions, empower panchayats etc.


Treatment meted out to Gujral at Wagah condemned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
The Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood and the Punjab Sangeet Kala Manch have condemned the ill-treatment meted out by customs officials to former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral at Wagah border yesterday. They have demanded the dismissal of those responsible for the incident.

The issue was discussed with the former Prime Minister during the brief halt of the Shatabdi Express at Ludhiana railway station. The members welcomed Mr Gujral and journalist Kuldip Nayar, who had gone to Pakistan to attend the annual conference of the South Asia for Human Rights.

Mr Gujral said issues regarding the countries should be resolved amicable and a dialogue for improving relations should be continued. He further suggested that the visa regime should be eased to meet the growing demands of the people on both sides of the border.

Mr Nayar, who has always advocated for peace and cordial relations between India and Pakistan through candle lights vigils at Wagah border every year, said people of the two countries were coming closer and he was accorded a very warm welcome and reception in Lahore and Islamabad.

A copy of the activities and achievements of brotherhood and Kala Manch were presented to Mr Gujral.

Mr Gujral would be the chief guest on the occasion while Mr Tarlochan Singh, MP, and Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, would be the guest of honour.

Prominent persons would be honoured at the function for their meritorious services towards art, literature, culture and social services.

Mr Gujral also appreciated the laudable work being carried out by the brotherhood and suggested that the outfit continues its efforts in this regard.


Probe ordered into humiliation to Gujral
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 18
Many heads are likely to roll even as the Government of India has ordered a high-level inquiry to probe the charges of former Prime Minister I.K.Gujral and noted journalist Kuldip Nayar that they were humiliated by immigration officials at Wagah on their return from Pakistan yesterday.

High officials of the various sister intelligence agencies gathered the reports regarding the circumstances under which protocol was not observed which earned the ire of Mr Gujral . The district administration has reportedly sent its separate report to the appropriate authorities which allegedly indicted certain officials for showing disrespect to the former Prime Minister .

However, a spokesman of the district administration said that SDM, Gurwaryam Singh was deputed to receive the former Prime Minister .

When contacted, Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, confirmed that the former PM was meted out humiliating treatment by the immigration authorities at Wagah. He said this was not for the first time that such complaints of misbehaviour were reported . He alleged that earlier senior officials of the Singapore Airlines had met with the similar shabby treatment on the pretext of security. He said he would submit his report to the Chief Secretary tomorrow.


Bhai Mardana’s descendants visit Golden Temple
Rashmi Talwar

Wagah (Amritsar), October 18
The 17th generation descendants of Bhai Mardana, a Muslim, who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev throughout his journeys arrived here from Pakistan via the Indo-Pak joint check post, here today.

Ashik Ali, Bhai Lal ji (76) and his elder brother Bhai Irshad Ahmed (85) the 17 th generation descendants of Bhai Mardana were accompanied by Bhai Lal Ji’s sons , Bhai Mohammed Hussain and Bhai Nayim Tahir (18th generation ).

Expressing anguish over attitude of the SGPC in not inviting ‘rababis’ from Pakistan on the quadri-centennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib, the ‘rababis said “perhaps they were left out because they were poor and had no say.”

Mr Harpal Singh Bhuller, president, International Bhai Mardana Yadgar kirtan Darbar Society, who came to receive them said the group was first denied visa for nearly eight months before being granted permission for today .

Bhai Lal Ji who was here earlier in 2001, said his wish was to perform ‘kirtan’ at Harmandir Sahib even as all these years the SGPC had been adamant about not granting him permission. A resolution in 1945 banned all ‘rababis’ to perform kirtan at Darbar Sahib and imposed that only Amritdhari Sikhs could perform.

However Bhai Lal the ‘rababi’ claims he knows all 31 ‘raagas’ by heart. Invited earlier this year by Gurdwara Khalsa Diwan in Hong Kong and been twice to the UK invited by Nanakana Sahib Foundation, Bhai Lal who has collected 84 awards and won kirtan competitions in England, India and Pakistan said “We can understand when countries like the USA , Canada, Germany and Malaysia refuse us visas eyeing us with suspicion about being “Muslims invited by Sikhs” there, but the SGPC cannot ignore the contribution towards their sacred bani by our forefathers” .

The four who have been especially invited by Sant samagam for its 10-day quadricentennial celebrations, would also perform in Ferozepore and Delhi.

About earning their livelihood, Bhai Lal and Bhai Irshad said they were dependent on the offerings by various Sikh jathas which come to Pakistan and also some ‘shukeen’ Sindhis in the off-season.

While Lal Ji’s two sons trade in garments and polish utencils his two other sons are electricians and don’t perform kirtan .

The descendants rued the recent demolition of Bhai Mardana’s ancient house that was the only concrete memorial (of Bhai Mardana) at Nanakana Sahib to widen the gurdwara gateway. However they said the Pakistan Government had assured to place a plaque in the name of Bhai Mardana there.


Sikh leaders clash in USA
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 18
An unsavoury situation arose when two groups of Sikh leaders of the USA clashed in the Tri City (New York) in the presence of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedars of Akal Takht and Kesgarh Sahib, respectively, at a function yesterday. The function was organised in connection with quadricentennial celebrations of installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

Senior office-bearers of American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) told this correspondent on telephone that the Sikh leaders exchanged blows when Manjit Singh Calcutta, an SGPC member, was asked to address the gathering. The function was organised by various organisations of the USA, including the AGPC .

Some of the Sikh leaders sustained injuries in the clash, it is learnt.


Kapurthala Heritage Festival
Radha was an illusion, not reality, says Uma Sharma
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 18
Kapurthala came alive with its old world charm this evening. As the yearly ritual of Baba Jassa Singh Sharad Utsav was performed against the backdrop of the majestic Jagatjit Palace, it was time to revisit fine musical and dance traditions with the celebrated kathak dancer Uma Sharma who lent a special touch to the show. Her classic Raas Leela sequence drawn from Shrimad Bhagwad brought home her genius as the creator of new forms for artistic expression.

Credited with having evolved a fresh style by merging Raas Leela of Brindavan with the North Indian classical dance tradition of kathak, Uma Sharma is now preparing to enter hitherto unexplored realms. Recently commissioned by Doordarshan to direct two television serials based on Indian mythology and literature, the artiste is confident that her latest creations would fascinate art lovers more than her recitals ever did.

Both the projects are unique and challenging in their own right and both are close to Uma Sharma’s heart. Titled “Sri Radha” and “Meghdootam”, the serials are based on themes that have never before been chosen for portrayal on television. As the creator-choreographer-director for both the “difficult” serials, Uma Sharma realises her responsibilities well. In an exclusive interview with The Tribune today, she promised to surprise everyone with her interpretations of Radha.

“Radha was an illusion, never a reality. Lord Krishna created her with the power of his imagination so that he could draw eternal inspiration from her. I have studied the entire literary text ever written about the spiritual bonding of Radha-Krishna and have discovered that Krishna was nothing without Radha. That was why he accorded utmost respect to her and ensured that people offered their first prayers to her. Because Radha was His creation, no one questioned her credentials even though she was said to have been elder to Krishna; even married to someone else,” said Uma Sharma, already ready to handle controversies that will arise once the serial is put on air.

In her pursuit of Radha, Dr Vidya Niwas Mishra, an eminent Sanskrit scholar from Varanasi, is helping Uma Sharma. Predominantly dramatic, the serial will also feature choreographies from Uma Sharma’s repertoire. As she says, “I will employ all forms I can to offer the audience an insight into Radha, who has been the most powerful woman of our times,” said Uma, moving on to introduce her second project “Maghdootam”.

Unlike “Sri Radha” which addresses philosophical questions about the Radha-Krishna bond, the second project draws primarily from poetry. Says Uma Sharma, “No one has understood Meghdootam in true light. My attempt is to trace the mysticism of Kalidasa’s poetry and make it easier for people to understand. I am studying the treatment the poet gives to a cloud in his attempt to create romantic imagery. The idea is to introduce contemporary India to the treasures of Indian literature.”

Both the serials will be on air shortly.


Ex-district chief of BJP suspended
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 18
The infighting between two factions of the district BJP unit of Hoshiarpur further intensified today when state the state BJP chief, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, suspended a former district president of the unit, Mr Bhagwant Kishore Gupta, for his “anti-party” activities.

Mr Khanna stating this here today that a show-cause notice was served to Mr Gupta in May but he had not given reply in this connection so far.

Mr Khanna alleged that Mr Gupta had created indiscipline in the party by lodging an FIR along with expelled party worker Gian Chand Bansal against two senior party leaders.

Mr Gupta is a close associate of BJP legislatures group leader Tikshan Sud.

Meanwhile, Mr Gupta claimed that he had not received any show-cause notice and he is still the president of the district unit. However, he denied the allegations of lodging the FIR.

He said he was unanimously elected president and Mr Khanna had no right to remove him. Mr Khanna was acting like a dictator and was functioning unconstitutionally, he alleged.

He alleged that Mr Khanna had created groupism in the district unit which had tarnished the image of party. He held Mr Khanna fully responsible for the defeat of the BJP candidate in Garhshankar byelection by a big margin of votes.


HPCL-govt standoff can cause financial loss: CPI
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 18
The local unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today alleged that the stubborn attitude adopted by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Punjab Government in connection with some exemptions pertaining to sales tax as a pre condition for setting up a oil refinery project in the district would cause huge financial loss to the state.

Mr Jagdish Singh Ghai, secretary, CPI, city unit, in a press note issued here today said both HPCL and Punjab Government should not adopt a rigid attitude over the issue of sales tax exemptions and should work out a solution so that the mega project of the oil refinery could be implemented in this district to give a boost to the economy of the state.

He said the CPI was of the view that HPCL should scale down its demand of sales tax exemption to a considerable extent keeping in view the financial health of Punjab. On the other hand, the Punjab Government should also consider the fact that ancillary units, which would come up in the region due to the oil refinery project, would yield sales tax revenue for the state also.

He pointed out that now its was the responsibility of the local MLA and Finance Minister, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singla, to get the project implemented without any delay as he has repeatedly claimed during the last Assembly elections that he was the main architect of the oil project in Bathinda district and had also promised to get it completed.


Pak mother’s plea for visa extension rejected
Kanchan Vasdev & Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Rasool pur (Mandi Ahmedgarh), October 15
The hopes of a Pakistan-based mother of an eight-year-old schoolgoing boy to get her son operated upon for hernia were dashed to the ground after the district administration, Sangrur, yesterday forced her to board a train from Attari railway station after rejecting her plea to extend her permission to stay in India for a week.

Ms Parveen, a resident of Chak No 123-JB, Sidhpura, in Faizlabad district, had visited her parents in Rasoolpur village near Mandi Ahmedgarh, a month ago to get ayurvedic treatment for her son, Imran Haider. After the ayurvedic medicine failed to do the trick and the boy's condition worsened, the family took Imran to Hind Hospital in Mandi Ahmedgarh where the doctors advised him immediate surgery.

Unfortunately, the permission for the mother-son duo to stay in the country expired and they were told to leave India immediately. After knocking at the doors of the district administration, Ms Parveen had, two days ago, urged the Secretary of the External Affairs Ministry, Government of India, and High Commission of Pakistan to impress upon the authorities concerned to grant permission for stay beyond her visa so that she could get the surgery of his son done.

But before the department's response, the district administration asked her to go back to Pakistan otherwise she and her son would be arrested for illegally staying in India. Disappointed over the ‘‘attitude’’ of the district administration to overlook the instructions of the doctors to get the boy operated before any travelling, Ms Parveen told The Tribune that she was going back disappointed.

She added that she could not understand the danger she posed to the country while overstaying here along with her minor son. She said that the authorities should have been sympathetic enough to help get her son treated.

"He has been complaining of the ailment for a long time and we had planned to get him treated by ayurvedic system of medicine here at India. Not finding a speedy recovery we then changed our mind and got him examined at a local hospital, where a team of doctors diagnosed it to be obstructive right inguinal hernia, which required immediate surgical treatment.''

The relatives of the boy had got him admitted at the local Hind Hospital four days ago. Hardly had the doctors completed the clinical examinations and diagnostic tests that some police officials called on their house and asked them to leave the place immediately as their extension according to them has since been withdrawn.

Parents of the Pakistani national then rushed to the district authorities and sought permission for another couple of days so that the obstructed canal might be operated upon . The mother had also knocked at the doors of the office of Secretary, External Affairs, and the High Commission of Pakistan at New Delhi but no help came.

Dr Sunit Hind, Director of the hospital, said the child needed operation immediately and at least a week's time was required for post-operation observation and treatment.

Dr Indu Malhotra, SDM, Malerkotla, said that the extension of visa was not under the preview of the administration. She said that she had to take the permission from the Ministry of External Affairs and for that too she was required to send an application a fortnight in advance. But she failed to do so.


Major tragedy averted in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Ludhiana was literally sitting on a volcano. A huge quantity of ammunition hauled from the steel scrap at the dry port in Dhandari Kalan, near here, during the past six days has sent shivers down the spine of people here. Had this scrap been straightway sent into furnaces for melting it could have led to a major disaster. Thanks to local officials of the Customs Department, who refused clearance of the scrap, a major tragedy has been averted.

Experts of the bomb disposal squad from the Punjab Armed Police have been searching the scrap lying in seven containers for the past six days. So far, only four containers have been searched. Giving details of the ammunition found from the scrap, a senior police officer said had this ammunition gone unnoticed it could have led to a disastrous tragedy.

As many as 3,772 explosives and 15 boxes of cartridges had been found so far. Giving details, the officer said the explosives included 48 stick bombs, 361 grenades, 42 bottle bombs, 64 medium shells, 391 mortar shells, 168 rockets, 1,122 MMG cartridges, 500 medium gun shells, five small shells, 69 anti- tank shells, 178 anti-aircraft cartridges, 17 base rockets, 10 anti-tank grenades and seven missiles with a striking range of 32 miles.

For the past six days, experts of the bomb disposal squad from the PAP have been involved in the job. They said they had never expected a huge quantity of ammunition to come out from the scrap. It appears that it is more of the ammunition and less of steel scrap, said an official, while adding, that the ammunition remained unexploded and ultimately found its way into the scrap through the war debris. Most of the scrap is from Iraq.

The experts maintained that although these shells did not explode when they might have been used, once these would have been put into the furnaces for melting, these could have exploded and caused massive damage. An official pointed out that there were seven missiles with a strike range of 32 miles. Even these missiles could go off once these were put into the furnaces where these are melted at a high temperature.

There are seven containers with scrap parked at the dry port. The customs officials had refused clearance to this scrap after they learnt that it had come from Iraq. These containers remained at the port for the past six months.


Plea for speedy trial in cases against Poohla
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 18
Col G.S. Sandhu, president of the Poohla Eviction Committee and chairman of Majha ex-servicemen human rights body, today said he would appeal to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to establish a special court for speedy trial in various criminal cases, including those of murder and extortion, registered against controversial Nihang chief Ajit Singh Poohla.

Talking to this correspondent he said he would seek for urgent attention of the High Court in the matter as the trial of these cases against him had been pending for a long time. He alleged the witnesses in the cases were always under threat

He alleged that in the case pertaining to the murder of Sukhdev Singh at Mazar Saeed Jora Peer at Behram district Nawanshahr in June 2002, the police had failed to present a challan even as the SSP (Nawanshahr) had assured them to do so within 90 days of the arrest of controversial Nihang chief. He said the last date to file the challan was October 29 and he hoped that the police would present the case file in the court.

He claimed that the Nihang chief and his accomplices were also involved in the murder of Resham Singh of Mundapind falling under Goindwal Sahib police station. He said the case was being investigated by Mr Ashok Bath, SP (D), Tarn Taran. He revealed that Resham Singh was working as a Raagi with Poohla. In 1985, Poohla asked Resham Singh to raise a “Dal of Horses”. Resham Singh gave a reply which annoyed Poohla who asked his associates to teach him (Resham) a lesson. His associates brutally assaulted Reham Singh who later succumbed to his injuries, alleged Colonel Sandhu.

Colonel Sandhu also alleged that Ranjit Singh Rania, a close associate of Poohla and a proclaimed offender in a case registered at Khalra police station was roaming freely. He alleged that the matter was brought to the notice of SHO, Khalra police station, but in vain.

However, Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SSP, Tarn Taran police district, refuted the charge and added that there was no question of sparing anyone in criminal cases related to Poohla. 


PSEB’s partial privatisation favoured
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 18
Employee leader and Punjab Khadi Board Chairman Charanjit Singh Walia today said he was in favour of partial privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

He was addressing a press conference here to announce the programme of the 35th conference of the Punjab State Services Federation, he is the chairman of the federation. Mr Walia, who had defected to the Congress during the last Lok Sahba elections, said partial privatisation of the board was need of the hour.

Mr Walia’s federation also has a unit in the PSEB whose employees are presently up in arms against the state government on the privatisation issue. Mr Walia said private companies should be allowed to generate electricity in the state as long as the interests of the employees of the board were not affected.

He said employees on their part would have to adopt a work culture to ensure the successful running of the board which had gone through a difficult period in the past.

The Congress leader also announced that Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee would attend the conference of the federation to be held at Vir Haqiqat Rai School in the city on December 1. He said employees from all parts of the state would attend the conference.

Mr Walia also said his federation was putting up a list of its demands to the state government and would work to get them implemented. These included regular promotion scale for all employees, increase of retirement age from 58 to 60 years and restart of allowances for employees serving in the border and Kandi areas in the state.


Indigenous trees heading for death
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 18
Indigenous trees are drying in Punjab. Large tracks of acacia variety, including kikar and tahli (local names), have dried along the roads and railway tracks in Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts.

Due to the neglect of the authorities, people are slowly cutting and stealing these dried up trees causing a loss of revenue to the Department of Forests and the state government.

The Department of Forests has till date failed to find any solution to the problem that has been brewing since long. The indigenous trees of Punjab started drying mysteriously about a decade ago. About five years ago, trees started drying in such large numbers that the Department of Forests tried finding reasons.

Experts from the University of Horticulture, and Forestry, Nauni, Solan and the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, were called to conduct a study for finding the reasons behind the drying of trees.

The sources said the experts of Nauni University have submitted only an interim report. However, no report has yet been received from the Forest Research Institute.

Mr H.S. Gujral, Chief Conservator of Forests Hills, said in the interim report, the changes in the climate had been termed as the major reason for the drying of the acacia variety. The increasing number days of fog in winter deprives these trees of sunlight due to which they likely dry up. Besides, moisture stress, toxic effluents and heavy water logging are the other reasons that are being studied as the probable causes behind the drying of trees.

The Nauni university experts are working regression equations to find the exact reasons behind the drying up of trees. In these equations, the effect of each variable as environment, pollution, decreasing water table, toxins and pathogens was being studied separately on the indigenous trees.

The results of the regression analysis would be available within a few months after which a definite programme can be chalked out for saving these trees.

He also said that instructions had been issued to the Forest Corporation and Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) to remove the dried up or dead trees.

Non-government organisations (NGOs) working in this field have raised alarms regarding increasing incidents of impaling of trees on roads. There has been an increased tendency among the pilgrims to nail steal plates on the trees on roadsides. At many places so many steel plates have been nailed in trees that it resulted in their death.

They have demanded that Department of Forest officials should conduct special checks during mela days to prevent the pilgrims from destroying trees.


Class IV employees to hold protest on October 26
Our Correspondent

Amloh, October 18
A meeting of the class IV Employees Union of the tehsil was held in the ground of Canal Rest House today. Employees from various departments participated in the meeting.

It was addressed by Mr Hari Chand, district chief of the union, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Ram Pal, Mr Kuldeep Singh and 

In a press note the employees alleged that the SDO, Canal, with the help of his henchmen had indulged in the harassment of union workers, who were got beaten from the policemen. They said representatives of the union were invited for a meeting on October 8, but the meeting was cancelled by the SDO.

The union has decided to organise a protest march on October 26 against the “dictatorial” attitude of the officer.

When contacted on the phone, Mr Devinder Singh, SDO, Canal, admitted that a meeting was fixed with the district unit of the union but the union did not respond to the letter of his office before the meeting.

On the alleged beating of an employee, he said it was a private matter and Mr H.S. Walia, Junior Engineer, was entrusted with an enquiry.


MC chief faces another no-trust move
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 18
After biting the dust in the no-confidence motion last month the dissident municipal councillors have again raised the banner of revolt against the Municipal Council chief, Mr Joginder Pal Jain.

A group of municipal councillors, led by Mr Naseeb Bawa, today handed over a letter to the Executive Officer expressing their intent to bring another no-trust vote against Mr Jain.

Showing a copy of the letter to mediapersons, Mr Bawa said that 21 councillors had signed it and they were determined to unseat Mr Jain now.

When asked whether the councillors would remain united till the no-confidence motion, Mr Bawa said that he was confident of keeping his flock together this time and there would not be any last-minute switchovers.

He denied disclosing the dissidents’ strategy in this regard, saying that “too much media exposure” had spoiled their game plan last time. Mr Bawa said that it had been one month since the last no-trust motion was moved and during this period the councillors, who had signed the letter, had made up their mind and their only aim was to remove Mr Jain.

He said that the councillors were fed up with the leadership of Mr Jain and they could not tolerate his command anymore. He said that there had been many probes going on against Mr Jain and it had tarnished his image to a large extent.

The rebel councillors had brought a no-confidence motion against Mr Jain on September 22, which was defeated by a single vote. The rebels needed support of 22 councillors to pass the motion in a 31-member House, but they fell short by one vote. Mr Bawa had then charged Mr Jain with kidnapping a couple of councillors to retain his presidentship.

The dissidents had joined hands following a theft at Mr Jain’s house on August 14 and speculations of the stolen suitcases containing foreign currency, opium and jewellery, thereafter.

They were of the view that the theft and revelations made by the “main accused” after it had maligned the party’s image and Mr Jain should resign on moral grounds.

When contacted, Mr Jain said that some people were misguiding these councillors and this move of theirs would only encourage tussle between all of them. He said that development work was suffering due to such activities of the dissidents who seemed to be unaware of the fact that they were answerable to the people.

Mr Jain said that he was sure of defeating the no-confidence motion again.


Makeshift bridge a relief to residents
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, October 18
Closure of a bridge on the Punjab and Haryana interstate border in Mubarikpur village by the Building and Roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD) has been putting residents of scores of villages of the bordering areas to a great hardship.

Villages, including Mubarikpur, Meerpur, Kakrali, Daffapur, Morethikari, and a couple of other villages of Dera Bassi subdivision and Ramgarh and some other villages of Panchkula district had been cutoff for the last over two months. The PPWD (B and R) authorities had closed the bridge for four-wheelers since August 2, and had not provided an alternate link for the public.

Worst affected were scores of industrial units in this industrial belt which had been facing huge losses due to the closure of a bridge on the Dera Bassi-Mubarikpur-Ramgarh road.

Being the shortest link from Ramgarh to Dera Bassi, owners of various industrial units were using this route to transport their goods (raw and finished) to Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and other neighbouring states.

To avoid losses, the Mubarikpur Stone Crushers Association had constructed a make-shift kutcha bridge on the bed of the rivulet. The make-shift bridge had not only been proving relief for the industrialists of the area but also to the local commuters.

Mr Vijay Aggarwal, president of the association, lamented the fact that closure of the bridge was causing them huge losses since majority of the raw material for their stone-crushing units was transported from Haryana through this link only.

He also claimed that over 30 stone-crushing units located in Mubarikpur and nearby, procured over 600 truckloads of stone and other raw material from Haryana daily and used this link road.

With the closure, vehicles heading towards Himachal Pradesh and Naraingarh in Haryana, had been forced to take either the Mubarikpur-Zirakpur-Panchkula road or the Mubarikpur-Dera Bassi-Barwala route. The closure of the bridge had been causing a detour of 30 to 35 km to the truckers, causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to the industrialists daily, claimed Mr Aggarwal.

He also said that representations in this regard, to departmental authorities, had proved futile.

Mr M.S. Chattha, Executive Engineer of the department, said that the old bridge had been declared unsafe. The department would construct a new bridge receiving funds from NABARD by next year.

Mr Chattha, however, claimed that he would hold a meeting with industrialists to chalk a plan for alternate route for vehicular traffic. 


Banker devoted to blood bank
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, October 18
He is one banker with a difference. He is Branch Manager, DCW, State Bank of Patiala, Satpal Bansal. For 25 years he has been motivating people to donate the most precious resource known to man — blood.

After fighting ignorance and apathy towards the cause he decided to adopt decades ago, Mr Bansal still remains indefatigable. His zeal has not dimmed over the years, in fact with the passage of time he has thought of rather novel ways to motivate educated people to take up blood donation on regular basis.

According to Mr Bansal, 90 per cent of people who donate blood are one-time donors and majority of those who donate blood on a regular basis do it for monetary gains.

As these donors come largely from the lowest socio-economic strata of society, the blood remains suspect especially in the absence of regular and competent screening of blood in the country.

After pondering over this fact, he came to logical and practical solution to the problem. It entails hooking educated and aware masses onto regular blood donation thereby automatically increasing the safety index of blood procured by patients through the blood banks.

As such, he laments, proper and uniform norms for the collection and screening of blood are not being followed in the country. “What is totally unacceptable to one blood bank, is eagerly acceptable for another bank,” he says.

Another fact which irks Mr Bansal is the gimmickry involved while organising a blood donation camp.

“You see, most organisations hold such camps to celebrate a certain day or festival regardless of the fact that the blood bank may be full at that given point in time and the surplus blood goes waste. Should these people not shun the publicity involved in the favour of real social service by providing blood to blood banks when they are in real need?” he asks.

The life span of stored blood is around 30 days and after this time span the blood needs to be destroyed.

However, according to him in most blood banks there is no regulatory authority to check whether expired blood bottles are still in circulation, thereby enabling many a staff members to make a sly buck besides endangering the life of the patient for whom the blood has been bought.

The need of the hour, says Mr Bansal, is the formation of a body with government backing and authority so that complete accountability can be established. He is ready to volunteer his services but is disheartened at the apathetic attitude of departments. Nowadays he is looking for like-minded people especially the youth to further his mission in life.

For his part, Mr Bansal has tried every trick in the book to ensure mass support for the cause of blood donation.

He offers regular talks at educational and professional institutions, especially targeting schools, as he believes in catching them young. He has designed quizzes, games and questionnaires to influence their young minds.

He has been motivating his friends, acquaintances and relatives to celebrate important occasions like birthdays and marriages in their families by donating blood en masse.

He has even struck upon the idea of convincing people to accept blood donation via their deep-rooted beliefs and ethos.

Lately, he has been persuading, believe it or not, astrologers to advocate the cause. Baffled? Well those who are advised to donate something red by astrologers, especially ‘mangliks’, can better their fate by donating blood!


Quiz, plenary session mark DMCH conference
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
The annual conference of the Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (north zone) concluded at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) yesterday. The conference was organised under the aegis of the department of Community Medicine, DMCH, headed by Dr G.P.I. Singh, who is also the president of the association. Over 100 preventive and social medicinal specialists from north India, including the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the union territory of Chandigarh, participated in the conference.

The theme of the conference was “Environmental Challenges to Health in the New Millennium”. The highlight of the deliberations included a quiz and plenary session on the theme. Six teams of MD Students from PGIMER, Chandigarh, Government Medical Colleges, Amritsar and Patiala, PGIMS Rohtak, Government Medical Colleges Jammu and Chandigarh, participated in the quiz. The team of Dr Tarundeep Singh and Dr Divakar Mohan of the PGIMER, Chandigarh, was declared the winner. Dr Shankar Prinja and Dr Manish Goel of the PGIMS, Rohtak, were adjudged runners-up.

A scientific session was also conducted in which 30 research papers were presented. The papers were presented under the categories of environmental health, assessment of nutritional factors affecting the health of women and children and socio-demographic factor influencing occurrence of serious diseases like tuberculosis, pattern of acceptance of family planning practices, HIV and AIDS.

Dr Tarundeep Singh of the PGIMER, Chandigarh, presented a data on health issues of bed-ridden patients in Chandigarh. Dr Ramnika Aggarwal of the DMCH, Ludhiana, and Dr G.S. Grover of Government Medical College, Patiala, discussed efficiency of the DOTS strategy of National Tuberculosis Control Programme. Dr Daler Singh Multani of Punjab State AIDS Control Society gave a presentation on the activities of the society.

Meanwhile, Dr R.K. Sachar of the DMCH was elected president of the association for 2005. 


Partial privatisation favoured
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 18
Employee leader and Punjab Khadi Board Chairman Charanjit Singh Walia today said he was in favour of partial privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

He was addressing a press conference here to announce the programme of the 35th conference of the Punjab State Services Federation, he is the chairman of the federation. Mr Walia, who had defected to the Congress during the last Lok Sahba elections, said partial privatisation of the board was need of the hour.

Mr Walia’s federation also has a unit in the PSEB whose employees are presently up in arms against the state government on the privatisation issue. Mr Walia said private companies should be allowed to generate electricity in the state as long as the interests of the employees of the board were not affected.

He said employees on their part would have to adopt a work culture to ensure the successful running of the board which had gone through a difficult period in the past.

The Congress leader also announced that Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee would attend the conference of the federation to be held at Vir Haqiqat Rai School in the city on December 1. He said employees from all parts of the state would attend the conference.

Mr Walia also said his federation was putting up a list of its demands to the state government.


Nuisance by jhuggi dwellers alleged
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, October 18
Eve-teasing by truckers, foul from godowns and nuisance by jhuggi dwellers are some of the problems being faced by residents of Sunny Enclave, Zirakpur, for the past over six months.

Residents of the colony complained that a number of trucks remain parked along a slip-road leading to Panchkula, thus blocking their entry to colony. Moreover, the truckers could often be seen urinating scattering filth around the colony. Some of them even indulge in eve teasing and harass women who cross from the place, alleged members of The Welfare Society, Sunny Enclave, Zirakpur.

According to Mr N S Saini, president of the society, a slum near the Colony has further aggravated the problems of the residents. The jhuggi dwellers often create nuisance at night. They fight, shout and use foul languages after drinking at night, alleged Mr Saini.

He also complained that colony residents were forced to face foul smell being emitted from some godowns of pharmaceutical companies, sharing the boundary wall of the colony. The problem becomes acute when pungent smell fills the area at night, he alleged.


BKU (Ekta) activists stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 18
Hundreds of activists of the BKU (Ekta) led by its district president, Mr Hardev Singh Jai Singh Wala, today staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here to lodge their protest against the falling prices of the cotton and to press the authorities to arrest the same.

Addressing the rally, Mr jai Singh Wala said that due to a sharp fall in the prices of cotton, considered as a cash crop, the farmers had been apprehending that they would not be able to come out from the vicious cycle of debt.

He alleged that if the Centre was serious to facilitate remunerative prices of cotton to the farmers then it should immediately put a ban on the import of the same. Apart from it, the government should allow cultivation of BT cotton to bring down the cost of cultivation to a considerable extent.

He said that farmers were also demanding that all the cotton-related industrial units, which were closed down in the past, should be revived and the rural people given employment.


Bombs taken to Jalandhar

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 18
A team of experts from the Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar, took the stock of explosives which was found from the dry bed of Doraha-Sidhwan canal near Sangowal village by the Simlapuri police station yesterday.

Mr Jogi Raj, SHO, Simlapuri said the explosives were found in 20 gunny bags. As the team arrived late the police had to guard the material after shifting it to a safer and isolated place near the canal.

The fresh recovery included anti-aircraft shells, mortars, bombs, handgrenades and parts of rockets. — OC


Army team inspects bombshell
Our Correspondent

Neembuan (Dera Bassi), October 18
A team of Army personnel from Patiala today visited the site where a live bombshell was found on the bed of a seasonal rivulet on October 9.

Mr Amarjit Singh Ghuman, Station House Officer, Dera Bassi, said that the team inspected the shell and claimed it to a part of the scrap.

A team member said that bomb defusing unit would visit the site in soon and take necessary action in defusing the shell.


Revenue officials stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 18
Members of the Revenue Patwar Union along with other revenue officials, including kanungos today staged a dharna at the local tehsil complex to protest against the implication of Revenue Department employees into false corruption and other criminal cases by the Vigilance Bureau and other agencies of the state government.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Sham Lal Grover, president, Revenue Patwar Union, alleged that the revenue officials were being victimised without no fault of theirs by implicating them into false criminal cases. If the state government did not make arrangements to stop it, it would result in serious consequences, he added.


9 hurt in stampede at recruitment rally
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 18
Nine Army aspirants were injured in a stampede at the Mammon cantonment today. Thousands of youths had gathered here this morning to participate in a recruitment rally organised by the Army.

Due to rush at the main gate of the cantonment gate, a stampede occurred in which nine youths received injuries. While five of them were discharged after first-aid, four were admitted at the Pathankot Civil Hospital. Those admitted in the Civil Hospital include Kamaljit Singh, Ravi Kumar, Dilbagh Singh and Hardeep Singh.

Later, the police was deployed to control the situation at the rally.


Improvement Trust officials get bail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 18
A Ropar court today granted bail to former Executive Officer of the Improvement Trust Parminder Singh and two others in a corruption case. The case was registered against them by the Vigilance Bureau for their alleged involvement in a scam worth Rs 55.77 lakh.

The three — Parminder, section officer Rai Singh and surveyor Bakshish Singh, were granted bail on furnishing bail bonds of Rs 20,000 each with one surety of the same amount.

The bureau had alleged that the accused entered into a conspiracy in connivance with a senior manager of Ranbaxy Limited and cheated the government to tune of Rs 55.77 lakh by producing forged documents.

The bureau alleged that in 1989 the Improvement Trust allotted a piece of land to Ranbaxy in Nawanshahr for the construction of residential plots at Giani Jail Singh Nagar. But Ranbaxy failed to start the construction within a stipulated period. Thereafter, the trust had imposed a fine of Rs 55.57 lakh on it.

Later on June 16, 2001, the senior manager wrote a letter to the authority concerned that the company had set up a unit, therefore, no fine should be imposed on it. The Executive Officer and the surveyor confirmed it. But in reality Ranbaxy had not set up any unit there. The bureau has named the senior manager of Ranbaxy as co-accused in the case.


Commissioner’s order on will stayed
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 18
Already facing allegations of graft, the Faridkot Division Commissioner, Mr B. Sarkar, received another jolt when the Finance Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab, stayed one of his verdicts.

In this case, the Commissioner had rejected a registered will. According to sources, the Finance Commissioner (Revenue) has stayed the cancellation of the registered will of the father of Balbir Singh and Malkit Singh, residents of Jiwanwala village, which was in their favour, by the Commissioner.

The sources say that Uttar Singh had given his property to his sons, Balbir and Malkit, through his will on June 14, 2001, before his death. The will was registered in the court of Registrar-cum-Tehsildar here and the document had photographs of the Tehsildar, two witnesses, and Uttar Singh.

After Uttar Singh’s death, his two daughters challenged the will in the court of the Assistant District Collector, which scrutinised the documents and recorded the statements of witnesses. The court accepted the will and cancelling the case, ordered the mutation of inheritance in the name of Uttar Singh’s sons.

Later, the two sisters appealed in the court of the Deputy Commissioner, which also gave its verdict in favour of the sons. Finally, they filed an appeal in the court of the Faridkot Division Commissioner, who cancelled Uttar Singh’s will and ordered the mutation of his property in the name of all his natural heirs.

The Commissioner in his order said he had doubts about the presence of two witnesses at the time of the registration of the will. This, while the photographs of the witnesses were taken with the aid of a computer in the Tehsildar’s court, according to sources.

Following this order, Balbir Singh and Malkit Singh filed an appeal before the Finance Commissioner (Revenue), who stayed the Commissioner’s verdict on October 15. The Revenue Department, Faridkot, has also been ordered not to initiate any action in this connection.

The stay order spells trouble for the Commissioner, who is already facing a graft allegation by a lawyer, Mr Harpartap Singh Sandhu. The District Bar Association also held a general-house meeting recently and passed a resolution demanding a graft case against the Commissioner.

When contacted, the Commissioner said he was unaware of any such stay order and could not comment on the issue.


Fake dairy raided, two arrested
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 18
The Barnala police today raided a fake desi ghee manufacturing dairy and arrested two persons. SSP Amit Prasad said the dairy owner, Happy Garg and Rakesh Garg, had been arrested. The samples of the artificial ghee had been collected and sent for laboratory test, he added.

The police raided Jagdamba Dairy situated on the bus stand road. It was alleged that artificial desi ghee was prepared by mixing vegetable ghee with chemicals.

The police seized 2.7 quintals of artificial ghee during the raid. A case has been registered.


Ex-sarpanch arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 18
A former sarpanch of Bhagi Bander village and Congress leader, Jangir Singh, was arrested on charges of smuggling liquor.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, stated in a press note today that 276 bottles of country-made liquor were seized from the jeep in which the accused was travelling. The accused was sent to judicial custody.

In another case, four persons were arrested. The arrested persons were identified as Pardip Singh of Rai Khana village for possessing 15 kg of lahan, Jagdip Singh of Salabatpura village for possessing 20 kg of lahan, Sukhdev Ram, a local resident, for possessing seven bottles of IMFL and Hakam Singh, a resident of Kararwala village, for possessing 5 kg of poppy husk.


Theft case against serai in charge
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 18
Even as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has not initiated any action in the theft case which happened in Mata Ganga Nivas in Golden Temple complex here last evening, the Kotwali police has arrested Surjit Singh, in charge of the nivas, and registered a theft case under Sections 380 and 457, IPC, against him.

He has been sent to one-day police remand by the court of Ms Preeti Sahni.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Daljit Singh, a leader of the jatha of Sikh devotees from New Delhi, had alleged that their belongings worth Rs 20,000 were stolen after breaking the window of a room.


NIT faculty, admin cross swords
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 18
The faculty and administration of Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) are on loggerheads these days over the alleged “pick and choose policy” being adopted by the latter in various matters. The administration, on the other hand, has said there was complete transparency and all decisions were being taken in a fair manner.

The faculty of the institute has pointed out that the administration had not defined any clear cut rules and regulations for allowing higher education to the internal faculty members, career advancement schemes and allotment of workload among the staff members. They have alleged that rules were being conveniently relaxed to accommodate some favourite faculty members while some “non-favourite” ones were being harassed on one pretext or the other.

Giving instances, members of the faculty said recently the Board of Governors had approved 10 seats in MTech in textile engineering and management with a direction to fill up five seats in the first batch. The staff pointed out that the institute had started with just three students and none of them had cleared the General Aptitude Test for Engineering (GATE) necessary for MTech admission.

Interestingly, one of the faculty member who is also a full time lecturer (but without teaching load) is also a full time MTech student in the department. Though the case of the student had been discarded by the board and college level committee but the college management allegedly went out of its way to oblige her by granting her an earned leave from her duty as a lecturer on the pretext of treatment of her son at a hospital. The student is reportedly utilising her earned leave by attending her MTech classes.

In contrast, a lecturer in the Department of Instrumentation and Control Engineering, who is already having two patents, is not being allowed to join MTech in the institution, the faculty alleged.

Another lecturer in the Department of Textile Engineering had a similar complaint as he alleged that he was not being allowed to pursue his doctoral degree for reasons better known to the administrators.

Yet another lecturer, who proposed that he be given a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to pursue PhD from Punjab Technical University, which offers the course on lower charges, has also not been allowed to do so. He alleged that the management was taking its own sweet time to delay their cases, it had given an NOC for doing PhD in advance to one lecturer in the Department of Textile Engineering who had not even completed his term of bond that he had signed before doing MTech.

Staff members said while most institutes always endeavoured to give a preference to their internal candidates, they were amazed at the attitude of the administrators, who they, lamented, were instead adopting “anti-faculty policies”. They said nothing was being done for their welfare as they were still waiting for 50 per cent DA merger that had already been done for all central and state government-run-institutions.

The staff members alleged that some of the teachers had not been promoted under the career advancement scheme for the past nearly three years and they were now worried about their dues.

They alleged that they were not even given lien if they were interested in joining any other institution and hence they were forced to resign and added that their Director, on the other hand, was having a lien at IIT, Chennai, where he had been working prior to this job.

Mr K.K. Dhir, Registrar of NIT, denied all allegations levelled by the faculty. He said lady lecturer in the department of Textile Engineering was putting in eight hours, three hours for taking classes and five for teaching purposes. He said he had not negated the proposal of a staff member from the department ICE and instead had always recommended his name for certain things.

The registrar said some teachers were simply frustrated and were expressing their grouse by making complaints of various sorts. He said DA merger was in the offing and the decision of granting lien to the teachers was still being considered by the board.


Private college teachers’ stir today
Tribune Reporters

Barnala, October 18
Thousands of college teachers serving in private colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh will stage a demonstration at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh, tomorrow in protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government towards their grievances.

Stating this here today, Prof R.S. Brar, co-president of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), said the decision had been taken at a meeting of state office-bearers on October 7 at the PCCTU hunger strike venue in front of the DPI (Colleges), Punjab, in Chandigarh.

He alleged the government had not been paying heed to the problems private college teachers despite assurances given by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and Higher Education Minister.

Teachers had to go without salary for up to 10 months in certain cases, he added.

AMRITSAR: The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union state vice-president, Mr H. S. Walia, in a press note issued here on Monday said the executive meeting held under the presidentship of Prof S.S. Hundal had decided to intensify the teachers’ agitation by organising a protest march in front of the Chief Minister’s residence on October 26.

He said the main the demand was the immediate release of pending grants to the tune of Rs 33 crore pertaining to the second quarter of the current year and the merger of 50 per cent DA. The committee had also urged the government to implement the Johal Committee report on higher education in a time-bound manner.


PAU students boycott exams
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
The students of the five colleges of Punjab Agricultural University today boycotted their mid-term examinations to protest against the lathi charge on students during the musical night on the campus on Saturday evening.

Students of the colleges, including College of Basic Sciences, College of Agriculture, College of Home Science, College of Veterinary Sciences and College of Agriculture Engineering, held a rally near the Thapar Hall. They also raised slogans against the authorities and police. They demanded that responsibility be fixed for the lathi charge.

They demanded that the student leaders should be allowed to attend the Board of Management, which grants permission to outsiders to organise such programmes on the campus. The PAU had charged Rs 1.5 lakh from the organisers as fee for using the Kisan Mela ground.

Meanwhile, the PAU has ordered an inquiry into the damage done to the university building. Sources said that the damage has been evaluated at Rs 70,000. The students have, however refused to accept the report. They object that the inquiry committee had probed the damage not the circumstances leading to it.

Airing their grievances against the inquiry committee, Mr Khushwant Singh, president Punjab Agriculture Students Association, (PASA), committee members did not even formally inquire about their injuries and started asking questions about the stone pelting only. He denied that the damage to the property was done by the students. However, he alleged that the police could be instrumental in the stoning episode as it wanted to justify the lathi charge.

Darshan Singh, Dean Post Graduate Studies, who has been assigned the inquiry said that the committee would only inquire into the damage done to the university property and not anything else. He added that he would submit the inquiry report till October 21.

Later in the day, the students leaders while addressing a press conference said that they were angry that the university was not bothered about innocent students who were beaten up and it was bothered about its property.

They said that though there were vacant seats in the auditorium, cops did not allow students in. When they staged a dharna, they were lathicharged.


Probe panel gives clean chit to Principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 18
A committee, formed to inquire into the expelling of four Dalit girl students from Government Elementary School by the principal at Avan village in Ajnala, near here, has given a clean chit to the principal in the case.

The five-member committee headed by Mr Inderjit Singh Basarke, president, District Congress Committee (Rural), was formed on the orders of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh and the President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal.

Mr Basarke said that after the inquiry it was found that the girls were expelled due to absenteeism but not for being Dalits as it was published in a section of the press. However, he added that the principal was found to be guilty of threatening the students for not allowing them to enter in school in future. Mr Basarke said copies of the reports had been sent to the CM and Mr Hanspal.


Relevance of NAAC discussed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 18
A lecture on relevance of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) was organised by Modi College here today in which Prof. K.E. Radha Krishna, President Karnataka, College Principal’s Association, Bangalore was the Chief Speaker Dr Radha Krishan said that the quality in education is very important issue in this age of globalisation and competition. India has inherited its present system of education from the colonial rulers, which lacks innovation and creativity. He said world war-II and disintegration of the Soviet Union are the two major events, which have deep social implications all over the world. Globalisation and liberalization has compelled all countries to change themselves or perish, he added.

Dr Radha Krishan said NAAC was set up in 1994 by the UGC to make everybody accountable in the education system. There are even point criteria to assess and educational institute. Which include curriculum, teaching, learning, evaluation, counseling, infrastructure resources, management and healthy practices of an institution.

He also said that the UGC was considering to put a ban on the commercial advertisements of the grade given by the UGC to an institution. He appealed to the teaching community to be accountable only then their relevance can be proved.

Welcoming the Chief Guest Dr. V.K. Sharma, the College Principal emphasised the need for self assessment and quality education. He honoured the guest speaker by giving him a memento. Prof. Shashi Kant introduced the speaker and Prof. Sushil Kumar thanked the chief guest and the audience.


Bank of Punjab opens branch in Mansa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Bank of Punjab opened its 131st banking office at Mansa today. The branch will offer its complete range of services and products, including car loans, two-wheeler loans, home loans, personal loans, education loans, agricuture loans, locker facility and depository services.

It was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raj Kumar Chaudhary.

The office is equipped with an ATM for a 24-hour cash withdrawal and deposit facility. The customers would be able to access their account through the bank’s ebank global Debit Card in association with Maestro Master Card International.

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