P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD to seek Punjab CM’s dismissal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
In just over a week after the Punjab and Haryana High Court pronounced orders in the DSP recruitment case, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to approach Punjab Governor O.P. Verma for demanding immediate dismissal of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

It would also be seeking the registration of cases for criminal misconduct, cheating, manipulation of records, favouritism and nepotism against all the officers indicted by the High Court.

This was disclosed by SAD President and Punjab's former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in a statement released today from the party headquarters in the city.

Terming the High Court's observations as "eye opener", Mr Badal said it reflected the style of the Punjab Government's functioning.

"There is no rule of law in Punjab," alleged Mr Badal.

Describing it as a "historical judgement", he said this was the first time any Chief Minister was indicted by the court.

Mr Badal declared that as Leader of Opposition and SAD President, he would personally meet the Governor on October 26.

He added, "The Chief Minister and his coterie have committed fraud with the government.

They have violated the oath of office and secrecy and deserve to sacked and booked for manipulating records, forgery and criminal misconduct."

Giving details of the case in which the Punjab Government "illegally and fraudulently" recruited seven DSPs in sports quota after ignoring meritorious sports personnel, Mr Badal said frauds were committed at each and every step of the selection process.

He said a cursory perusal of the judgement revealed that the decision of the Council of Ministers was deliberately misinterpreted.

A "panic- ridden" situation was created to achieve its objectives. Then the criterion for selection was tailor made to suit the candidates of their choice. The interviews were "nothing less than a blot."

The selection of sons of persons close to the Chief Minister has proved the allegations of "favouritism and nepotism", he said.

The rules were flouted. In fact, the selection committee, constituted by the Chief Minister, was not even authorised to conduct the selections.

Mr Badal asserted that even Adviser to the Chief Minister was found to be guilty of interfering in the working of the judiciary.

"The government which is not working as per the constitution of the country, cannot be allowed to continue even for a minute. So SAD will leave no stone unturned to get rid off this corrupt, un-constitutional and undemocratic government," remarked Mr Badal.


‘Borrowed faculty’ runs GND varsity’s prestigious course
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
The most prestigious course — School of Social Sciences (honours), which grooms students for the Indian Administrative Service, is running on ‘borrowed faculty’ .

The three-year course, first of its kind in the country, was the brainchild of Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, and started in July 2003 . The syllabus of the course was also appreciated by the University Grants Commission.

However, the university has failed to appoint even a single regular teacher so far. Interestingly, even peon, sweeper and clerk of the department are on ad hoc basis, while two lecturers are part timers. Some of the lectures are taken by research scholars.

Brilliant students who have passed the plus two examination with distinction are given preference for the admission to the course.

The faculty of four departments, including economics, social sciences, history and political science and Dean of social sciences are the coordinators of the course.

When contacted, Dr S.P. Singh said the regular posts would be filled shortly. He maintained that the studies did not suffer due to ‘borrowed faculty’. In fact, the department was a joint venture and best professors of the four departments were picked up for teaching on voluntary basis, he said.

Dr Gurnam Singh, Professor of political science and coordinator of the course, who also remained Director of the IAS centre of the university for a long time, claimed that this was the best-ever course he had seen in his 32 years of service. He said the students who passed out this course were fully prepared for the two optional subjects — general studies and interview for appearing in Civil Services examination.

Apart from being groomed for Civil Service, the students of this course were eligible for four MAs. He said the course had become so popular that students from other states were asking for admission.

However, the university authorities were contemplating to reserve 80 per cent seats for Punjab domiciles. He said the university had one of the best libraries of the country for the IAS aspirants.


BKU writes to PM over minister’s visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Bharti Kisan Union has lodged a protest with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in connection with the recent visit of Union Minister Akhilesh Partap to various grain markets in Punjab.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the General Secretary of the union, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, has stated that though the minister spared enough time to meet commission agents and rice-mill owners, he did not meet farmers. BKU leaders had gathered at Samrala to meet the minister but he left for Machhiwara without meeting them, they said.

Releasing the copies of the letter, Mr Rajewal said today that the minister should have asked the officers, who had been accompanying him during the visit, for an interaction with farmers.

He said the Union Government had announced only Rs 10 per quintal increase in the price of paddy.

Actually, the increase was only Rs 4 per quintal because while increasing the minimum support price, the Union Government had revised the condition regarding the level of moisture for the procurement of paddy.

Mr Rajewal said to save the paddy crop, farmers made huge investments this year because of the prevailing drought-like conditions. Farmers were under heavy debts. They were committing suicides. All these problems were to be shared with the minister by farmers, he added.

Mr Rajewal has urged the Prime Minister to give at least Rs 50 per quintal as drought relief to farmers on paddy.

The Union Government should also intervene to check the fall in the price of cotton. He has urged the Prime Minister to direct the Union Ministers to contact common people while visiting various states. The bureaucracy always resisted the meeting of farmers with ministers etc, he added.


Pension gets linked to poll
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 23
Social security pension in the state has become associated with elections. About 12 lakh such pensioners in the state have been paid pension only near elections during the past two financial years.

The pensioners were paid for the first quarter of the last financial year near the Lok Sabha elections. Once again now they have been paid pension for the first quarter of the current financial year just before the Assembly byelections. Nobody knows about the unpaid pension of three quarters of the last financial year.

There are about 90,000 social security pensioners in this district. These include 72,000 senior citizens, 11,000 widows, 3,000 physically challenged and 2,500 widow dependants.

Most of them come to the office of the Department of Social Security here to know the fate of their meager pension which is Rs 200 per month. Nisha, a widow from Ram Nagar village, who had came to the Department today in connection with her pension, said she used to get Rs 600 as pension, including Rs 200 for her and Rs 200 each for her two children.

With the meager government aid and her earning as a house maid, she made both ends meet. However, now that the pension was not being paid by the government her life had become miserable, she said.

Like Nisha many senior citizens and physically challenged persons can easily be spotted in front of the department waiting for their pension.

The Congress government had initially stopped the payment of pension in the state on the allegation that many non-deserving persons were getting pension. However, even after two years the government has failed to set the system right and pay pension to deserving candidates, regularly.

Even the grants against the abandoned-Shagun Scheme, which was rechrisstened as ‘Ashirwad Scheme’ by the present government, have not yet been received by the department.

Affected pensioners here said if the government could pay the quarterly pension just before elections why couldn’t it make payments regularly.

The Rajya Sabha member from the district, Mr Ashwani Kumar, had written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh in this connection.


News Analysis
The blame game has played havoc with Punjab
by P.P.S. Gill

Chandigarh, October 23
At least eight resolutions were passed at the end of the meeting of the political affairs committee of SAD at Fatehgarh Sahib on Thursday.

If, half of them were “condolence’’ resolutions, the other half were either “accusatory” or “anti-government” in tone and tenor. While one focused on the reported misuse of government men and machinery to usurp and rig the byelections in Kapurthala and Garhshankar, another was on alleged “hawala” scam, involving the Chief Minister and his son. It had sought answer to 14 related questions. The next one referred to quashing of the selection of Deputy Superintendents of Police and liquor auctions by courts. The last was reiteration that the oil refinery project at Bathinda should not be scrapped. It was gifted to Punjab by NDA Government.

Political observers say that the SAD-BJP combine, apparently finds it hard to digest the humiliating defeat of its candidates by huge margins in the two Assembly segments. Hence, the focus of PAC was only on the possible factors that caused the electoral debacle. What, however, has foxed observers is why PAC so soon forgot to pay attention to more important people-related issues or to the state’s governance, economy, finance, agriculture and industry, social service sector etc.

These observers quote from the Plan resource committee report to remind the SAD-BJP combine as well as the ruling Congress that ‘’the image of the state is fast vanishing into obscurity due to the negative progress of the state in keeping economic prosperity and welfare of the common man into focus’’. This is a telling comment as much on the lacklustre performance of SAD-BJP for five years as of the present Congress government. The fall of Punjab from an eminent position it had held so far began in the mid-90s. Both the Akalis and the Congress had worked assiduously to dismantle all systems of governance through conscious and selective tinkering with rules and finances in collusion with the bureaucracy. The perennial political blame game the two play will not take Punjab any further.

When TNS asked a senior administrative secretary: “How is the government doing?” He shot back: “The government is at large and the Opposition is at sea’’. There could not be far more apt an observation than this, as he is invariably involved in key policy-making decisions now. During the SAD-BJP regime, too, he was a known whistle-blower whenever the Akalis went astray. Ironically, despite brute majority and a full five-year term, the SAD-BJP combine failed to govern.

The solution to the problems that beset Punjab is simple: ‘’Genius lies in wading through the system’’, he adds. However, without ‘’good governance’’, irrespective of which political party is in power, one should not expect anything to move forward or improve. Be it the state’s economy or financial situation or delivery of socio-economic services or agro-industrial development. At present, the only silver lining seems to be on the infrastructure front with Punjab infrastructure development board readying for raising requisite funds for the identified roads and bridges.

Now, the analysts of Punjab political landscape are beginning to express concern over the growing bitterness in political idiom and language, often bordering on revenge and vindictiveness. This unhealthy competitive politics is likely to erode the remaining semblance of governance, if any, in future.

The only visible silver lining, despite the haze caused by political clouds, is the Planning Commission, raising the state’s Annual Plan, 2004-05, from Rs 3, 503.81 crore to Rs 4,005 crore, though, this amount may also not be enough to meet the development aspirations of the people. However, given the state’s meagre “own resources”, what the commission has done is to give Punjab a breather by enhancing the allocation, around Rs 600 crore, under the Accelerated Irrigation Development and Power-Reforms Development Programmes, Nabard etc.


Gang of robbers busted, 5 held
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 23
The Moga police has busted a gang of robbers who were involved in about a dozen incidents of robbery in various districts and arrested its five members, besides recovering various weapons, including imported pistols from their possession.

The robbers have been identified as Gurjinder Singh of Sangowal, Gagandeep Singh of Janata Nagar, Ludhiana, Gursewak Singh, alias Ruby, of Khanna, Avtar Singh of Mahla Bhatia, Khanna, and Kamaldeep Singh, alias Deepa, of South Model Gram, Ludhiana.

A China made 9-mm pistol, a double-barrel 12-mm rifle, an athletic target revolver, a countrymade pistol, live cartridges, Rs 2 lakh in cash, 1.45-kg dynamite and 208-foot fuse wire were recovered from their possession.

A case has been registered under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC and Sections 4 and 5 of the Explosive Act, besides Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Addressing a press conference here today, SSP M.S. Chhina said the robbers had confessed involvement in various criminal activities in Ludhiana, Khanna, Moga, and Gobindgarh districts during the past three years. The robbers, who belonged to middle-class families and were educated, looted over Rs 25 lakh in the past few years, he added.

He said following a tip-off the Moga police, which had intensified patrolling fearing rise in criminal activities during festival season, arrested them when they were planning a robbery at a deserted brick kiln on the Focal Point-Mahemewala link road last night.


  Granthi found murdered
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, October 23
Dasehra turned out to be a tragic day for a granthi, Mahant Pritam Singh, 44, who was found brutally murdered this morning.

His body, which bore numerous injury marks, was found in his room on the first floor of the Bhai Ram Kishen Gurdwara complex in the busy Sheranwala gate area of the city in the wee hours today.

A case under Sections 460, IPC, has been registered at the kotwali police station. The SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said the police was working on several theories. But he ruled out robbery as the motive behind the murder.

Preliminary investigations pointed towards the fact that the mahant might have been murdered at around midnight on October 22, due to some personal enmity.

The SHO of kotwali police station, Mr Harpreet Singh, said the body bore at least 26 injury marks. He said the marks confirmed that a sharp-edged weapon was used by the assassins.

He too ruled out the possibility of robbery and said the money collected from the devotees was lying safely in a bag placed in an almirah. However, according to sources the miscreants, before making an escape, decamped with three rings, a mobile and a golden “kada”. An insider claimed that apart from robbery there could have been no other motive as the mahant was an affable person and had no enemies. He said the bag containing the money was kept in such a way in the almirah that it was not visible to the robbers.

He said the assassins knew that a lot of cash would be in the possession of the mahant as yesterday was the last day of the kirtan darbar organised by the gurdwara authorities and a lot of devotees had donated cash.


  Mastan Singh is PSGPC president
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
Mr Mastan Singh of Nankana Sahib has been formally elected president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) at a meeting held at the office of Aukaf Board, Lahore.

Mr Bishan Singh, a cloth merchant of Lahore, has been elected senior vice-president, while Mr Sham Singh, the outgoing co-chairman, has not been accommodated in the executive committee.

The 15-member advisory committee included the Punjab Chief Minister, the Jathedar, Akal Takht, the Jathedars of Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, representatives of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and the SGPC.

This is for the first time that formal election has been held since the inception of the PSGPC in April 20, 1999.


Posing as eunuchs to earn livelihood
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 23
At least two or three men, posing as eunuchs, have descended the area in order to earn their livelihood.

According to informed sources, they have chosen an area around Chakki railway station for their stay and make-up. Ramoo of adjoining Himachal Pradesh is said to be their so-called group leader.

According to residents of Dhaki area, these men start their make-up in the wee hours of the morning. They change their physical appearances by wearing femal dresses but from the beard they are easily identified as men.

Money is the only requirement for these young-looking group and they know the art how to make it by working as eunuchs.

Sources in the eunuch circle revealed that for working as a eunuch, necessary permission is required from the ‘mahant eunuch’. A spokesperson of the eunuch association said only a specified number of eunuchs were allowed to perform in Pathankot and all others who were performing without the permission from the mahant were operating illegally.

The police is tight-lipped over the matter which is going on for the past one month.

A member of the alleged fake eunuch group, on the condition of anonymity, said they were not doing any thing illegal and only performing their art for the pleasure of others for earning their livelihood.


  Mann invited to lecture at Berkeley
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief and former MP, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has been invited by the Department of Political Science of Berkeley University in California to speak on “Status of Sikh minority vis a vis Indian Constitution” on November 1.

Mr Mann will be the first political leader from Punjab in recent years to get an invitation from a US university to deliver a special lecture there.

Before leaving for the USA this evening, Mr Mann told The Tribune that besides addressing academicians, intellectuals, bureaucrats and planners etc at Berkeley University, he would use the opportunity to create awareness among members of the Sikh diaspora in North America about degeneration in Sikh religious values.

Mr Mann said people who have been publicly charged with female foeticide and corruption while in power in the state are at the helm of affairs of the SGPC as well as the Sikh politics (Shiromani Akali Dal).

“Though my men, protesting peacefully against the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, outside a Patiala court, were beaten up by the SGPC employees, our party would continue its peaceful protest against the unfortunate moral degeneration in Sikh institutions,” he said, maintaining that he would address the Sikh diaspora not only in California but also in New York, Washington, and other pockets in North America.

“We as a minute religious minority are at crossroads. It is unfortunate that even men like Mr Lal Krishan Advani, Mr Bal Thackeray and Mr Narindra Modi get away with derogatory remarks against the minorities at public functions,” he said.

Talking about the SGPC, the mini-Parliament of Sikhs, Mr Mann said this august body was facing an unfortunate and unprecedented situation in some religious pockets of the Majha belt.

Four historic shrines, including Khadoor Sahib, Bir Baba Bakala and Goindwal Sahib, were in such a bad shape that they have no money even to pay salaries to the staff. “Can anyone accept that such historic shrines and that too in the heartland of Sikhsim could be in deficit?,” he asked, maintaining that all was not well with the management of historic gurdwaras.

“This moral degeneration in top Sikh institutions has to be checked and stopped. And the only way to do is to create a strong awareness in the community about the ongoings in the SGPC and Sikh politics,” he added.


Major fire at Kharar power sub-station
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 23
A major fire broke out at the 132 KV grid sub-station at Khanpur village here today disrupting power supply to a number of villages and Kharar town.

The fire broke out around 3.16 p.m. It took about an hour for fire brigade officials to bring the flames under control. The area was engulfed in thick toxic smoke which led to a feeling of suffocation for those around the site.

Though the extent of damage could not be ascertained immediately by officials of the PSEB, it was estimated that the loss must be more than Rs 3 lakh. The fire was caused due to a flash in the incoming breaker.

Employees of the PSEB, on duty when the incident took place, made efforts to bring the fire under control by using fire extinguishers but failed to get the desired response.

Mr Mohal Lal Verma, Sub-Fire Officer, who reached the site along with other employees, said that to begin with carbon dioxide cylinders were used to fight the flames. But as they proved to be ineffective water had to be used. Power had to be totally shut down before water could be used. He said the power control room was full of toxic smoke and it was difficult to enter the building. Windows had to be broken to make easy access into the affected area. Later water pipes were also entered through the windows.

Power supply coming from Ropar had been shut down around 2.20 p.m. The fire broke out when the power supply was about to be restored at 3.16 p.m.

Mr Sat Pal Singh, SDO, said that work for restoring power supply to the Kharar area was going on a war footing as teams from others stations, including Mohali, had reached to provide assistance. He said that power to 66 KV sub stations had deposited on them due to the fire and the work of cleaning them was going on.


Uphold morality, preach Brahmkumaris
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 23
The Brahmakumaris organisation, affiliated to the United Nations Organisation (UNO) as an NGO having consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and UNICEF, had launched a comprehensive campaign to bring awareness among students for protecting the environment and the fast-eroding moral values in the Indian society.

The youth wing of the organisation sent an eight-member team recently to interact with students of different schools and colleges in Sirsa and Hisar districts of Haryana and Abohar and Bathinda in Punjab.

The members of the team were drawn from Chandigarh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab and Jammu regions. All of them had devoted their life for the noble cause for the past many years. They had started the yatra from Sirsa and addressed thousands of youths besides having meetings with eminent social activists during the fortnight tour.

The members, including Brahmakumars Rattan Lal (Jammu), Arun Kaushik (Bathinda), Harish Chander (Delhi), Om Parkash (Sirsa), Sisters Bindoo (Sirsa), Rajender Kumari and Vijay Lalita (Chandigarh) and Kiran from Ambala, were accorded a warm welcome on their arrival at B.K. Rajyoga Centres and educational institutions. The students, most of them above 17 years of age, listened to them with rapt attention and pledged that they would refrain from using any kind of drug and protect the environment. They promised not to indulge in any activity that would harm the national integration and hurt the sentiments of other faiths and religions.

The Brahmakumaris said just as science and technology ensured the progress in the society, the same were also cause of various worries, problems and crisis in the society. No doubt the world had become a global village and the communication between people had simplified but at the same time a relative increase in human hatred, revenge and greed was noted.

The role and relevance of spirituality had come to the fore today. It was a time-honoured tradition in India. The youth should not lose powers to maintain power. Purity in thoughts would bless them with a sound mind and a sound body, they preached.


Reprieve for martyr’s widow
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 23
Taking a serious note of the demolition of the house of the widow of Param Vir Chakra awardee, Sub Joginder Singh, over a land dispute, the district administration has ordered the maintenance of status quo in the case.

The order came after the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, and Army officials visited the site at Fidde Khurd village yesterday. Talking to The Tribune during a commemoration ceremony of her father in Moga today, Kulwant Kaur said their family had got 15 acres of land from the government after her father laid down his life for the nation in 1962. The land was equally divided among his wife, daughter and son, Amarjit Singh.

She said her brother, who died about 15 years back in a road accident, had sold off his land, while her mother retained her share.

Kulwant Kaur said her nephews, Kulbir Singh and Lakhbir Singh, filed a civil suit against her mother, Gurdial Kaur, in January, 1997, and got a declaration ex-parte decree, following which they got the mutation sanctioned in their favour and sold the land to Baljinder Singh through a registered sale deed.

On October 3, Baljinder Singh and his associates reached the site to take possession of the land and demolished her house.

A case of criminal trespass and damage to property was registered against the accused on the basis of Gurdial Kaur’s complaint.


Plea for milk price panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Punjab Government has urged the Union Government to set up a milk price commission on the lines of the National Commission for Agriculture Prices to ensure remunerative price of milk to dairy farmers during the lean as well as flush season.

Taking up the issue of Commission with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, during the recent annual meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) at Delhi, Mr Kang also sought a special package to promote dairy farming as there was a lot of scope to do so in the state. Punjab was one of the leading milk producing states in the country.

Mr Kang told Mr Pawar that the State was facing several problems such as falling subsoil water table. He urged the Union Minister to direct the ICAR to develop less water consuming varieties of various crops such as paddy etc. China has already developed a variety of paddy which could be grown in drought-like conditions and also in the water-scarce areas.

Seeking a further increase in the minimum support price of wheat and paddy, Mr Kang asked Mr Pawar to streamline the crop insurance scheme. Mr Kang also met senior officers of the ICAR and Union Minister of State Kanti Lal.


Block samiti mired in controversy
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 23
A meeting of the block samiti, Fazilka, could not be held because of lack of quorum. Surprisingly Mr Des Raj Kamboj, Chairman of the block samiti said that he was unaware of any such meeting.

According to information, available Surjit Singh, executive officer of the panchayat samiti had issued a notice to block samiti members that a meeting will be held on October 21.

However, only five members out of the total 20 were present in the office of the meeting. The executive officer said since the quorum for the meeting was inadequate hence it was cancelled.

On the other hand the Chairman, Mr Des Raj Kamboj, alleged that he was not informed about the meeting through any letter or circular. He said the summoned meeting was unauthorised as he only had the authority to call the meeting. The executive officer, however, maintained that the meeting had been called as Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, MLA, was keen to have an interaction with the members of the block samiti. Since the quorum was incomplete, the meeting had to be cancelled.

The manner in which the meeting was called without the alleged consent of the Chairman and cancelled abruptly due to lack of quorum has brought to fore the reported cold war between Mr Kamboj and Dr Rinwa.


Pensioners of MCs allege discrimination
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 23
Resentment prevails among pensioners of municipal councils of Punjab against the state government for not treating them at par with their counterparts in other departments.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, president, Hoshiarpur Municipal Council Pensioners Union, said here today that pensioners of the Punjab Government were getting dearness allowance at the rate of 64 per cent, whereas pensioners of municipal councils were getting the same at the rate of 54 per cent.

Besides, the government had also released instalments of increased dearness allowance for other departments, but the municipal council pensioners had been ignored, he added.

He said the pensioners were also getting their pensions with the 50 per cent addition of the dearness allowance in their basic pay but their municipal counterparts were deprived of this benefit too.

He urged the government to treat pensioners of Municipal Councils at par with their counterparts in other departments and give them all the said benefits to them.


1.16 cr development funds released
Our correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
Choudhry Jagjit Singh, Minister of Local Bodies, today distributed Rs 1.16 crore for the development of municipal committees and nagar panchayats falling under Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts.

Informing this a press statement issued by the state government here revealed that Rs 16.50 lakh was released for the Tarn Taran Municipal Committee, Rs 5.50 lakh for Patti, Rs 3 lakh for Khem Karan, Rs 13 lakh for Batala, Rs 5 lakh for Gurdaspur, Rs 23 lakh for Rayya, Rs 10 lakh for Dhariwal and Qadian, Rs 8 lakh for Fatehgarh Churian, Rs 3 lakh for Dera Baba Nanak, Rs 2 lakh for Hargobindpur, Rs 3 lakh for Jandiala and Rs 14 lakh for Ramdass Municipal Committees.


Special officer sought to fight crime against women
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, state vice-president of the BJP, today sought the appointment of a special officer to look into the cases of crime against women.

In a press note issued here today, Ms Chawla alleged that most of the accused persons involved in crime against women succeeded in getting bail due to the connivance with the police.

She alleged that the police, due to connivance with the accused, failed to present a challan resulting in the accused getting bail. The accused thus released threatened the victims.

Citing an example, she said the family of 4-year-old rape victim was being harrassed.


Eye, respiratory problems on the rise
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
The local unit of the Indian Medical Association, while expressing concern over the rising incidence of eye diseases and respiratory problems due to burning of paddy straw, has alleged that the pollution control board authorities were least concerned about it.

In a press note issued here, Dr J.S. Romana, honorary secretary, IMA, said that though the pollution being caused by the unchecked burning of paddy straw had been adding to the miseries of innocent people, the board authorities were seemed to be busy in harassing the doctors by making them to disinfect the urine of people before it was discharged in the sewerage.

He added that the IMA was of the view that Bio-Medical Waste Act enforced on medical professional had become another irritant in the discharge of their duties. The officials of the local pollution control board were forcing the doctors to do the things beyond the prescribed rules. The doctors had been asked to use red and white bags instead of yellow and blue bags being supplied by the service provider from Ludhiana for medical waste management. Even the doctors were sometimes forced to enter into a contract with one particular firm.

The IMA pointed out that tonnes of fly ash being emitted from the chimneys of units of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant had been playing havoc with the health of the population of Bathinda and the authorities concerned were not doing anything about it. Why the Bio-Medical Waste Act was not applicable to the pollution being caused by the dead animals lying along the roads and the burning of paddy straw in the fields.


Rare shoulder surgery done
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 23
In the first operation of its kind in the government Rajindra Hospital, a team of Orthopaedic surgeons headed by Professor A.S. Sidhu has successfully replaced the shoulder joint of a 26-year-old patient.

Dr Sidhu, who is heading the Department of Orthopaedics in the college, said the patient, Kamlesh Sharma, had developed ‘avascular necrosis’ with his shoulder bones having been partly damaged. He said this caused the patient severe pain besides limiting his movements necessitating replacement of his shoulder. This, he said, was done on Thursday.

The doctor said this was the first time that shoulder replacement had been done in the region. He said the department was doing all types of joint replacements, including those of knee, hip and elbow. He said these operations had become possible after the acquisition of a C ARM image intensifier through which one could see the effect of invasive surgery on a screen in the operation theatre.


Tributes paid to Harbhajan Singh Yogi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
Rich tributes were paid to Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi, who died in America on October 6, at the bhog ceremony held here today.

Senior Akali leaders and officers of the SGPC were conspicuous by their absence at the Antim Ardas held in memory of the Sikh religious leader.

The Head Granthi of Harmandir Sahib, Giani Jagtar Singh, while paying homage said Yogi was a true Sikh who spread the message of Sikh religion across the world and managed to influence a large number of Westerners towards the path of the Sikh Gurus.

He said his death had caused a great void in the panthic world. The Head Priest lauded the mission of Yogi who started the Miri Piri academy to spread Sikhism among American children.

Speaking on the occasion, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, member of the SGPC, and local MLA O.P. Soni lauded Yogi's contribution towards the Sikh religion.

Earlier, a jatha of Hazoori Ragis and American Sikhs performed shabad kirtan.


Dharam Sansad held
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 23
A huge congregation at Shiromani Guru Ravi Das Mandir, Chak Hakim village, gathered on the occasion of the first Dharam Sansad during the three-day “Manavwadi Mahanpurshan da Mela.”

They pledged to fight dowry, drugs, corruption, human rights violations and vowed to educate children and unite the community for liberating the aggrieved and deprived sections of society from their misery.

This was disclosed in a press note today by Dr S.L. Virdi, convener of the mela. Sant Niranjan Dasji, Head, Dera Sachkhand Ballan, inaugurated the mela.

The pledges were administered by spiritual leaders of the Dalit community.

Dharam Sansad issued a joint message for the downtrodden sections of the society, stressing that ignorance was the mother of all suffering, privation, social injustice and exploitation. Ignorance could be removed only by education.

The sansad said as per Article 45 of the Constitution, everybody should be provided with free uniforms and compulsory education up to Class XII.

It also demanded a ban on the sale and intake of every kind of intoxicants.


PVC awardee Joginder Singh remembered
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 23
A commemoration ceremony was organised here today to pay homage to late Sub Joginder Singh, Param Vir Chakra. Joginder Singh of the Sikh Regiment’s 1st battalion was conferred with the nation’s highest military award, posthumously, for making the supreme sacrifice while leading his platoon in the defence of Tongpen La, ahead to Tawang in NEFA during the 1962 Chinese aggression.

The ceremony commenced with a brief narration of the gallant act of the soldier followed by offering of prayers by priests of all religions at his memorial. Army and civil dignitaries laid wreaths at the memorial.

On the occasion, the kin of martyrs were given ex-gratia relief by the state government. The parents of Baljit Singh, who laid down his life while fighting militants in Manipur, were given Rs 1 lakh each as ex-gratia payment.


Pakistani artistes mesmerise Punjabis
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
The performance on ‘dhol’ by Goonga Sayin Dholiya and Mithu Sayin Dholia from Pakistan Punjab last evening at the backdrop of the Ram Bagh Gardens, the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was a rare treat for Punjabis here.

The duo played the dhol so artistically that its magnetism mesmerised the crowds, who gave them a standing ovation during and after their performance.

Besides ‘dhols’, the second day of the eight-day Saanjh Amritsar-Lahore Festival, jointly organised by the Amritsar-based Punarjyot and the Lahore-based Rafi Peer group was marked by Multan folk dance.


Music workshop inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 23
A five-day workshop, organised by the department of Music and being conducted by Dhrupd exponent Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, commenced at the Punjabi University here today.

Dr Yashpal Sharma, Head Department of Music welcomed the artists while Ustad Zia Farduddin Dagar inaugurated the workshop by lighting a lamp in front Saraswati.

He started with variation of seven notes and later on he taught the proper syllables of the ‘alapa’ of Dhrupd. The Ustad followed itup with a composition in Raga bhoop set to sool tal.

Students showed interest in Dhrupad. This turned out to be first effort of its own kind by the university in which the students were exposed to such established but vanishing forms of classical music.


Dasehra celebrated
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
Thousands of people from this city and its surrounding areas yesterday attended the Dasehra function held at Railway Ground and the local MSD Public School to mark the occasion of the victory of the virtue over the evil symbolised by the killing of Ravana by Lord Rama.


Journalist bereaved
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 23
Patiala-based Times of India Correspondent Gurkirpal Singh Ashk, lost his father Gurcharan Singh Chetan following a brief illness on Friday night.

Mr Chetan, who had served in the Army earlier, and was a writer and was cremated at Mandi Gobindgarh where he was living with one of his sons today afternoon. Writers, including relative Santokh Singh Dhir, advocates and journalists participated in funeral.


Professor’s suspension stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Issuing notice of motion, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the operation of an order placing under suspension Punjabi University’s Professor of Economics in Correspondence Studies Dr Partap Singh. The directions were issued by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang.

In his petition, Dr Partap Singh earlier claimed that he was placed under suspension by Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai following allegations of seeking bribe for approving dissertation of an M.Phil student.

Challenging the orders on grounds of mala fide, Dr Partap Singh said the same were passed without jurisdiction. His counsel argued that the Vice-Chancellor had no authority to suspend the petitioner.

He asserted that the power to suspend the Professor was exclusively vested with the Syndicate.

Giving details, he added that the Syndicate was the appointing authority. As such only it could place the Professor under suspension, and not the Vice-Chancellor.

He claimed that Dr Partap Singh was suspended before an interview for selecting lecturer of economics was conducted. He added that the Vice-Chancellor wanted a particular candidate to be selected.

He, however, refused to toe the line. That was the reason why the action was initiated against him.


Patwari held for graft
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 23
The district Vigilance Department today arrested Patwari Baljinder Kumar for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from war widow Gurdev Kaur for registering land on her name. The police has recovered the money and registered a case.

According to DSP Banarsi Dass Wahi, the police laid a trap to nab the accused on a complaint of Mr Gurwinder Singh Dhillon, Chairman of the Block Samiti, Bassi Pathana, and a relative of the widow, who had alleged that the Patwari of Wagh Sikandar halka was demanding bribe for registering the land.

The Punjab Government had granted 10 acres to Ms Gurdev Kaur, widow of Tarsem Singh, who died in the 1965 war.


Three arrested for smuggling opium
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
The district police today achieved a major success in its anti-smuggling operation when it arrested three persons and recovered 10 kg of opium from them.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said three smugglers identified as Sukhpiar Singh, alias Raju, Gurmeet Singh, alias Meeta and Jagmohan Singh were caught while travelling in car at a naka laid by Inspector Balwinder Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Sangat police station.

He said that 10 kg of opium was recovered from a bag, which was lying in a car when a search of the same was carried out in the presence of the DSP, Mr Sukhpal Singh. A case in this connection had been registered in the Sangat police station.

In another case, two persons, namely Karamjit Singh and Anil Pujari, were arrested for their involvement in kidnapping a woman yesterday.

A case in this connection had been registered under Sections 363, 366, 342 and 506 of the IPC in the city police station.


College teachers to walk barefoot to CM’s house
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 23
The state executive committee of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) will proceed barefoot to the Chief Minister’s residence at Chandigarh on October 26 to protest against the “stepmotherly” treatment being given to private college teachers.

Dr Jagwant Singh, general secretary, PCCTU, said here yesterday the “anti-private college teachers” attitude of the government had forced the union to intensify its struggle.

On November 8 after the first three periods, private college teachers would organise protest rallies on the college campuses all over Punjab. Again on November 17, the teachers would proceed on casual leave en masse to gather at Chandigarh for a protest march to the Chief Minister’s residence.

Dr Jagwant Singh said private college teachers all over the state were upset as they had not been paid salaries for months because the government had not cleared the grant-in-aid meant for private colleges.

He said it was unfortunate that despite assurances given by Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Higher Education Minister, on September 16 to a deputation of the PCCTU, nothing had been done to clear the bills pertaining to the grant- in-aid.

He said the Captain had failed to honour his pre-poll promise of continuation of 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges made here on February 6, 2002.

Dr Jagwant Singh said demands of the PCCTU were merger of 50% DA with basic pay, grant of rural house rent allowance, implementation of Johl Committee recommendations in letter and spirit , constitution of a council of higher education and “democratisation” of the academic bodies of Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.


Research project for Pbi varsity

Patiala, October 23
A research project entitled ‘Unit cost of higher education in Punjab : A study of universities and their affiliated colleges” has been sanctioned to Punjabi University, Patiala, by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the AIU and Punjabi University. The Principal Investigator of the project is Professor Ranjit Singh Chuman of the Department of Economics and Dr. Sukhwinder Singh and Dr. Jaswinder Singh Brar of the Centre for Research in Economic Change (CREC) are co-investigators. The AIU has sanctioned Rs. 2 lakh for this purpose. The duration of the study will be six months. — oc

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