P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bibi asks Patil to extend SGPC chief’s term
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 8
In a significant development, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), has sought appointment with Union Home Minister Shiv raj Patil for issuance of an ordinance to amend the Sikh Gurdwara Act , 1925.

According to SGPC sources, Bibi Jagir Kaur wanted a two-and half-year term for the post of a President and other office-bearers instead of one year in the light of the resolution, passed in the previous General House. The SGPC was of the view that one-year term of the executive created unavoidable problems in the smooth running of the SGPC .The Union Home Minister was competent to amend the Act which was passed by the Parliament.

Meanwhile , the SGPC chief agreed, in principle, to write a letter to Chaudhary Parvez Illahi, Chief Minister, Western Punjab (Pakistan) and Chairman of Pakistan Evacuee Properties Trust Board for giving more powers to the newly-elected body of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC ), headed by Mr Mastan Singh.

Earlier, Bibi Jagir Kaur had been opposing the PSGPC since it was headed by a Muslim. Sources, close to Bibi Jagir Kaur said she would write to Mr Illahi for appointing Sikh employees as care takers replacing Muslims who were ignorant about the Maryada (Sikh traditions). In case the government of Pakistan agreed to give actual powers to manage Sikh shrines, the SGPC could give a second thought to recognise the PSGPC, sources said.

The SGPC chief would also write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister for allowing the shiromani committee to send its high-powered delegation to take up the turban issue with Government of France.

Bibi Jagir Kaur was also likely to take up the issue of returning invaluable manuscripts which were taken by the Army during Operation Bluestar. The manuscripts were said to be in the possession of the CBI.

The issue of PSGPC was likely to be discussed at the executive meeting, scheduled to be held here tomorrow. Some of the senior Akali and SGPC leaders were of the opinion that PSGPC deserved recognition by the SGPC since all of its office-bearers were now Sikhs. The executive meeting would also discuss the draft of letter, prepared by Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, executive member, proposed to be sent to Unesco for seeking clarifications with regard to the Heritage status to be given to the Golden Temple by the next year.


SGPC poll: order on counting likely today
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 8
A decision on counting of ballots for the Dhariwal and Gurdaspur SGPC constituencies is likely to be taken tomorrow. Yesterday, the Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections, Mr Jai Singh Sekhon, had stayed the counting.

Sources said counting might be held soon as the observers for the Dhariwal and Gurdaspur constituencies, in their reports submitted to the Gurdwara Election Commission, had stated that most of the complaints filed by the SAD leaders were baseless. They maintained that the polling was smooth and peaceful but for minor clashes between supporters of SAD and Panthic Morcha outside polling booths.

Meanwhile, the returning officers for both constituencies had started mustering the counting staff. The counting staff is likely to be deployed under the direct supervision of the officers of the Gurdwara Election Commission.

Meanwhile, Panthic Morcha leaders today flayed the decision of Mr Sekhon to stay counting.

The Panthic Morcha candidates from Dhariwal and Gurdaspur constituencies, Mr Sucha Singh Chottepur and Mr Amik Singh, in separate press conferences here, alleged that the GEC was acting as a stooge of the SAD.

Two IAS officers of the Haryana cadre were appointed by Mr Sekhon himself to monitor the polling in the constituencies. However, Mr Sekhon first sent a junior-rank officer, Mr Gurdev Singh, secretary of the Gurdwara Election Commission, to oversee the working of the election observers.

Then he stayed counting without seeking any report from the election observers. Counting was stayed even though the district returning officer claimed that there was no rigging.

The leaders also alleged that Mr Sekhon would decide on counting or countermanding the elections in consultation with SAD leaders. If the latter felt that they were in winning position, Mr Sekhon would order counting, the Panthic Morcha leaders alleged.

The stay orders of Mr Sekhon also left the district returning officer and election observers sulking. The orders were issued yesterday afternoon and the returning officers had a tough time conveying the decision in far-flung areas of the district.

The election officers were also annoyed because the GEC did not even take their advice before issuing the stay orders, the sources said.


A surprise, says Gen Rodrigues
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
I was surprised at my appointment but I am looking forward to work in Punjab and Chandigarh, said the Governor designate Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) while talking to the Tribune from his home in Goa.

General Rodrigues said he was still not sure as when he would join his duties in Punjab but was expected to join office next week. Everything has happened so soon, he said and added that he would speak to the Secretary, Mr D.S. Kalha, tomorrow.

He would be replacing Mr A.R. Kidwai, who was been handed over temporary charge following the resignation of Justice O.P. Verma (retd) on October 29. General Rodrigues was appointed Governor this evening following orders issued by the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

When asked what were his plans for Punjab and Chandigarh, the General said he had long talk this evening with Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), former Governor of Punjab, who had called up to congratulate him. Incidentally both General Rodrigues and General Jacob are from the Gunners of the Army and thus share a rapport.

General Rodrigues had also served the Western Command as its Army Commander before his elevation as Chief of the Army Staff.

He recalled his association with the Tribune since 1952 when Mr Natarajan was the Editor, saying that “I have very fond memories of the newspaper.”

General Rodrigues will be the second retired Army chief after General O.P. Malhotra to be Governor of Punjab.


General Rodrigues — a profile
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
General Sunith Francis Rodrigues, who has been appointed as the Governor of Punjab, has a distinguished service career. Born in Mumbai, he joined the Joint Services Wing of the Indian Military Academy in 1949 and was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in December 1952.

Best known for his tenure as Chief of the Army Staff, a post he served for about three years from July 1, 1990, he held several prestigious staff and command appointments.

Prior to his elevation as the commander of the world's third largest Army, he had two stints as Army Commander — GOC-in-C, Central Command, from April 21 1989 to October 31, 1989, and GOC-in-C, Western Command, Chandimandir, thereafter till he became the Chief. He served as Vice Chief of the Army Staff from November 1, 1987, to April 20, 1989, when the Indian Peace keeping Force was deployed in Jaffna.

An alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, he commanded a Mountain Artillery Regiment from 1970 to 1971, and thereafter, during 1971 Bangladesh campaign he served as a General Staff Officer in a corps headquarters. In 1972, he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished services. He commanded a mountain brigade in high altitude from June 1975 to December 1977.

In 1978, he attended a course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in Britain. After serving as the Chief Instructor (Army) at the DSSC for about three years, he took command of a division deployed in high altitude on becoming a Major General. In 1981, he earned his Master's degree in Defence Studies.

After a stint as the Chief of Staff of a corps, he took over as the Director-General, Military Training, on promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1985. The next year, he took over the command of a corps in the northern sector, a post which he served for about three years. General Rodrigues was appointed as honorary ADC to President in 1987 and in 1988, was decorated with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

He belongs to Goa, where he settled after his retirement from the Army. He is married to Jean Rodrigues and they have three children.

General Rodrigues was known among his compatriots as a visionary and a strategist. It was during his tenure that the Army started inducting women officers. His tenure, however, was not totally without controversy. A remark made by him that good governance of the country was also the Army's business, led to a debate in Parliament. Since retirement he has been engaged in social and literary pursuits. and has also been delivering talks on strategic issues.


Technical courses to be reviewed, says Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 8
The state government has decided to review the status of technical education programmes in various Industrial Training Institutes, polytechnics and engineering colleges.

This was stated by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Technical Education, Punjab, during a press conference at the DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology during the inauguration of the third annual inter-zonal youth festival organised by Punjab Technical University here today.

Ms Bhattal said an analysis would be drawn out of the data available on the number of students enrolled, passing marks and the kind of placements that the students get after completing the courses. The relevance of the courses would be then decided. A five-year plan would be chalked out and some courses would be scrapped and new ones introduced.

To facilitate the needs of some students hailing from rural section, bridge courses had been designed. The courses would help the students gain command over English. She said if some students failed to pick up, they would be advised to stick to diploma courses in polytechnics instead of joining engineering courses.

A high-level meeting of senior officials of the PTU was scheduled to be held on November 20 which would be attended by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Secretary of Technical Education. The members would dwell on pending issues of the university, including the regularisation of services of 95 ad hoc employees on the campus.


Inside Babudom
Sandhawalia back as Kapurthala SDM
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Shifted at the instance of the Election Commission before November 13 by-election, Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, is back as Subdivisional Magistrate of Kapurthala as the Punjab Government ordered transfer and posting orders of eight IAS and 11 PCS officers today.

Eight subdivisions will have new Subdivisional Magistrates.

The government has named a new Secretary, Freedom Fighters, besides appointing a new Registrar of Cooperatives.

This reshuffle was also necessitated because of an appointment of Mr S.K. Sandhu as the new Finance Secretary of the Chandigarh Administration in place of Mr Karan Avtar Singh.

Even at the time of last Lok Sabha elections, some officers, especially police officers, who sought to be shifted by the Election Commission, got back their original postings immediately after the election process had ended.

Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia was shifted after a special team of the Election Commission went down to Kapurthala to investigate the charge of registration of bogus voters.

The team recommended his immediate transfer besides suggesting cancellation of majority of applications for registration as voters.

Though Mr Sandhawalia was adjusted against a similar position at Khadoor Sahib, he has been brought back to Kapurthala now.

He replaces Mr Jaipal Singh who now goes to Rampura Phul in the same capacity.

Interestingly, Mr Dhanbir Singh Bains, who was earlier divested of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, is back. He, however, did not get back the charge of the Department of Sports and Youth Welfare where during his tenure seven Deputy Superintendents of Police were recruited against sports quota.

His notings on the file had annoyed some people in the Chief Ministers' Secretariat.

The appointments were subsequently quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr K.K. Bhatnagar has been given the additional charge of Financial Commissioner, Appeals. Ms Sujata Dass, who had been Commissioner for Inquiries, now becomes Secretary, Freedom Fighters.

Mr Sarvesh Kaushal has been named new Secretary, Medical Education and Research and Commissioner, Surplus Pool. He also retains Sports and Youth Welfare.

Mr Karan Avtar Singh will be Secretary, Finance, as well as Managing Director, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, Director of Disinvestment besides Member-Secretary, Fiscal Reforms.

Mr Vishwajeet Khanna has become the new Registrar, Cooperative Societies, while Ms Ravneet Kaur will be the Managing Director of the Punjab State Industries Development Corporation and Managing Director, PUNCOM.

The new Director of Lotteries will be Mr Ajit Singh Pannu.

Ms Ritu Aggarwal has been posted Joint Secretary, Defence Services Welfare.

Mr Narinder Singh Batth goes as Subdivisional Magistrate, Ajnala. Ms Surinder Kaur Riar will be the new Subdivisional Magistrate of Nihalsinghwala while at Khadoor Sahib, Mr T.K. Goel, will be the Subdivisional Magistrate.

Mr APS Sandhu has been named Administrative Officer in the office of the Director of Public Instruction (Schools and Primary).

Mr Sunil Bhatia will be Subdivisional Magistrate, Gidderbaha while Mr Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa becomes Subdivisional Magistrate, Dhar Kalan.

Mr Harbir Singh will be the new SDM of Jaito.


Plea to introduce freedom of information Bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Akali MLA, Manpreet Singh Badal has written to Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh to introduce freedom of information Bill in the next session of the Vidhan Sabha, following the example of the Centre, which had enacted the Bill-2002.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Badal today said that though he had not received any reply to his letter, it would be in public interest if Punjab was to follow other eight states that have legislation on right to information.

Under the Act 2002, Mr Badal said every citizen has the freedom to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, consistent with public interest in order to promote openness, transparency and accountability in administration.

Enquiries have revealed that Punjab was not inclined to enact such an Act as the Central Act was applicable to all states. Way back in January, 2003, the Principal Secretary, Information and Technology, had submitted to the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary that Punjab need not have freedom to information legislation since the Central one was applicable to all states, except J and K. Moreover, Punjab could await the rules that the Centre had framed in regard to the Act.


Empowered, yet without work
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 8
Sardul Kaur, sarpanch, Chak Ruldu Singhwala village, gets up at 5 am, performs household chores, takes some rest and goes to bed at 10 pm unmindful of happenings and developments in the village.

Though she was elected sarpanch, her son, Sarbjit Singh, has been managing the affairs of the panchayat and has been performing all official duties, which his mother is supposed to perform.

Gurmeet Kaur, sarpanch, Kothe Natha Singhwale village, has been spending her time in the same fashion. The only difference between Gurmeet Kaur and Sardul Kaur is that in Gurmeet Kaur’s case her husband, Ruldu Singh, has been handling the panchayat affairs.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that the two women sarpanches had rarely attended meetings convened by different departments of the state government. The sarpanches had not been participating even in decision-making connected with the development of the villages.

These are not isolated cases as the powers of almost all women sarpanches are being enjoyed by their kin and they are rarely allowed to work independently.

Interestingly, Sukhpreet Kaur, sarpanch, Kot Shamir village, considers her husband as sarpanch of the village. When contacted by this correspondent to enquire about the agenda of the development of the village, she said: “Sarpanch sahib nal gal kar lena.” When asked why she was not acting as sarpanch, she replied that for the past one year her husband had been handling all village affairs and she had hardly participated in any panchayat affair. Another woman sarpanch, Harwinder Kaur of Bir Behman village, said she had attended village meetings only once in the past one year and two months.

Of the total 305 villages of the district, there are 90 which have women sarpanches. Most of these women have been keeping themselves confined to four walls of their dwellings instead of taking any interest in the village affairs.

Information gathered from officials who are dealing with the panchayats revealed that in most of the cases, male members of families of women sarpanches had been dealing with the administration and attending official meetings.


Women prisoners kept out of legal aid seminar
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 8
In what could be termed as gender bias, the female prisoners were not allowed to participate in a seminar on free legal aid organised on the premises of Central Jail Gurdaspur, today.

The seminar on free legal aid was meant to educate prisoners regarding the free legal aid programme of the government. It was presided by the District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, Mr Jora Singh.

Though all male prisoners of the jail took part in the seminar, all women prisoners were missing. There are 36 convicted and undertrial female prisoners in Gurdaspur jail. Most of these prisoners are from poor families and in need of free legal aid. However, they were today deprived of the privilege of interacting with the legal luminaries or acquire knowledge about free legal aid.

Mr Chetan Prakash, Senior Superintendent of the jail who was present during the seminar, when asked about the absence of female prisoners said they had not been allowed to participate to prevent untoward incidents.

Meanwhile, in the seminar organised today, the Assistant District Attorney, Gurdaspur, Mr Bal said till date 2034 undertrail poor persons had been provided free legal aid in the district. He said as per the new directions of the government, those belonging to Scheduled Caste and tribes, women and children and those having an annual income of less than Rs 30,000 were entitled to free legal aid.

He also said another such seminar would be organised in the local law college tomorrow.

The District and Sessions Judge said during trial prisoners could seek free legal aid. If the claim of the petitioner is found to be valid the court can also direct the government to provide him free legal aid.

The Additional Sessions and District Judge, Mr J.P. Mehmi, Mr Paramjit Singh, Senior Sub Judge, and Mr Joginder Singh Kler, president, District Bar Association, were among those present on the occasion.


Pledge to provide value-based service to EPF members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Vigilance Awareness Week, being observed by the regional office of the Punjab Region Employees' Provident Fund Organisation in Chandigarh, concluded on November 6. Mr N.N. Sharma, Regional P.F. Commissioner, administered the pledge to all officers to bring about integrity and transparency in their activities and provide value-based service to E.P.F. members. Banners and posters of slogans were displayed at various prominent places in the office building here.

A special complaint box was installed at the main gate of the building. However, when the complaint box was opened in the presence of Mr K.K. Sharma, Assistant Director, Vigilance, North Zone, no complaint was found in the box.

On the concluding day a seminar was organised in the office. Swami Bhakti Vinod delivered a discourse on corruption. He sensitised the members of the staff and officers on the evils and consequences of corruption.

Mr N.N. Sharma, Regional P.F. Commissioner, addressed the gathering and said settlement of claims through computer was introduced and the process of receipt of claims and issuance of cheques was computerised. He also informed the gathering about the achievements of the Punjab region during the year 2003-2004.

Mr Sharma said 1723 new establishments were covered under the Act. As many as 38,454 new members were enrolled as compared to 33,229 in the year 2002-03. 


Stray cattle menace curbed
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 8
The district administration’s drive to curb the stray cattle menace here has given respite to the residents. While the number of stray cattle on city roads has come down, the farmers of nearby areas are happy as cattle used to ruin their crops.

The tractor-trailer pressed into service for the job moves around for the whole day and takes away stray cattle roaming on roads.

The rising number of stray cattle not only posed a serious threat of accident to the commuters but also compelled the farmers to keep watch round the clock so as to protect their crops.

Panchayats and farmers’ bodies had complained to the Deputy Commissioner and had sought the necessary action in this regard. The DC then called a meeting of the officials concerned and announced the launch of a drive to check stray cattle.

A ‘gaushala’ was established at nearby village of Bir Sikhawala where arrangements were made to keep these stray cattle. It was also decided that the Municipal Council would spend Rs 1 lakh on erecting a shed at the “gaushala”. The MC would also give Rs 60,000 per month for feeding the stray cattle. Though the shed was yet to be erected, a large number of stray cattle had been held.

The district administration’s drive has succeeded to a large extent and stray cattle, which could earlier be spotted on roads, are nowhere to be seen. Residents of the city’s lanes have heaved a sigh of relief as the stray cattle had damaged their two-wheelers parked outside their homes.

The district general secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Mr Pawanpreet Singh, said that being a member of the District Grievances Committee he had received a number of complaints regarding stray cattle.

He said that the “gaushala” at Bir Sikhawala was spread over 300 acres and could accommodate 12,000 stray cattle.

Official sources said that about 300 cattle had been caught till now and if the drive continued with the same momentum then the stray cattle menace would soon be controlled.


25 Pak prisoners to be released today

Wagah, November 8
As many as 25 Pakistani prisoners, languishing in various Indian jails, will be released for their return to their country tomorrow.

An official spokesman said that these prisoners would be brought to this joint border post by the jail and district administration authorities and handed over to the Pakistani officials at the zero line after routine formalities.

While eight of these prisoners were lodged in Amritsar Central Jail for some time, eight persons were being brought from the Jammu jail and as many from the Sri Ganganagar (Rajasthan) Jail for release.

A Pakistan national lodged in Delhi jail is also being released tomorrow, he said. — UNI


Engine derailed, rail traffic disrupted
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 8
Down line traffic on the Goraya-Ludhiana rail section remained disrupted for more than four hours following the derailment of a bogie and the engine of the Mumbai-bound 1058 DN Amritsar-Dadar Express near the Goraya railway station in this sub division this morning.

Railway sources said the mishap occurred when the train was entering the station for its routine halt and derailed near the signal point. No casualty or major loss was reported. The Assistant Railway Traffic Manager and Railway Station Superintendents of Goraya and Phagwara rushed to the site. Hundreds of railway employees were engaged to clear the track. An inquiry has been ordered.

A railway engine was brought from Jalandhar and the train was sent to the Phagwara railway station. The Delhi-bound 5210 DN Jan Sewa Express remained stranded at Phagwara for more than four hours due to the derailment. Later a single line rail traffic was restored.


Kala Bhavan inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 8
The Kala Bhavan, which will house the four departments of performing arts of music, dance, fine arts and theatre and television, was inaugurated by Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai here today. Dr Rachhpal Singh Aujla, Patron, Punjab Heritage Foundation (USA), inaugurated the latest technology-equipped Charlotte-Aujla Auditorium built in the bhavan.

Giving details about the construction of the bhavan, Punjabi University Executive Engineer Amarjit Singh Sandhu said Rs 2.50 crore had been spent on the construction of the bhavan and out of which $ 2 lakh had been contributed by Dr Rachhpal Singh Aujla.

Mr Sandhu further said that this building shall comprise of four departments of performing arts of music, dance, fine arts and theatre and television under one roof.

The building, which is fully air-conditioned, had all the latest technical facilities required for the preparation and production of performing arts. It has the latest stage lighting and perfect sound system, which is an essential aspect of theatre, TV, music and dance. With the completion of this bhavan all four departments shall have inter-disciplinary facilities readily available for the benefit of students and researchers.

Later inaugurating the fourth Punjabi Folk Music Festival in front of the bhavan, the Vice-Chancellor said folk music had emerged as an independent form of art and it had the potential to compete at the global level.

The festival started with a religious shabad by Kamal Diwana and Haryanvi dance got big applause by the audience. Nakaliya party, Kavishri, Jhumar, Jindua, Bhangra and Malwai Gidha items were liked by the audience. Famous Dhadi Idu Shariff, Des Raj Lachkani, Chiragdin Tibba and Kulwant and party participated and performed in the festival. Renowned Sufi singer Sabarkoti also performed in the evening in the bhavan.


Medical staff observe strike
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 8
Demanding arrest of the miscreants who indulged in a clash with a senior doctor last night, the entire medical staff of the Civil Hospital observed a two-hour strike here today.

The doctors discontinued their work from 11 am even as the patients had to face some problems. The doctors were supported by the members of the PCMS Association who demanded that the accused persons be arrested by this evening.

The president of the association, Dr M.B. Bali, said that if the arrests were not made, all the doctors would strike work for the whole day tomorrow. The members presented their complaint in this regard with the SHO of Division No. 4.

The incident had occurred last night when two injured patients came to the hospital. Even as the patients were being attended by Dr Suresh Dadra, the attendants allegedly warned the doctor of dire consequences if the patients were not treated well.


21 BKU (Ekta) activists court arrest
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 8
As many as 21 activists of the BKU (Ekta) courted arrest here today in connection with their “jail bharo” movement to lodge their protest against the alleged atrocities being committed on its members by the police.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that 21 BKU (E) activists, including five women, who courted arrested, also raised slogans against the state government and demanded immediate release of its members who were arrested on November 2 at Mansa.

Police sources said that about 100 activists of the BKU (E) had gathered for the protest but 21 of them were taken into preventive custody. The sources added that out of these 21, only two had been arrested while the other 19 were let off after some time. 


Police remand of Darbara extended
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 8
The police remand of serial baby killer Darbara Singh was extended by four days here today.

The accused, who had been in police remand for 10 days, was presented in the court of Mr K.K. Kareer, who further ordered the extension of his remand by another four days.

On a tip given by the accused, the police today claimed to have obtained school bags of three deceased kids. The bags belonged to Jatinder Kumar (9), his sister Puja (6) and brother Deepak (4), who were kidnapped by him from the leather complex when they were returning from the school.


Computerised RCs in Kapurthala
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, November 8
Computerised registration certificates of vehicles has finally become a reality for vehicle owners of Kapurthala, which has become the first district of Punjab to offer the convenient computerised registration certificates for vehicles with the help of an existing ‘Sarathi’ software.

Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said that with the implementation of “Sarathi” software, launched in August last year, for issuance of driving licences, issuance of computerized RCs had also become a reality. He said, “A website is also being introduced to enable people to get information of driving licences and ownership rights of vehicles”.

Mr Vinay Kumar Bublani, District Transport Officer, said the applicants could collect their token number from the counter no 12 after preliminary scrutiny of their applications at the same counter. Subsequently they would have to submit their applications at the counter no 11 along with the requisite fee.

In case, the fee was above the amount of Rs 1000, then the applicant had to deposit the amount in a notified bank and attach a challan thereof. After this, a receipt would be given to the applicant who could then collect his computerized RC at a specified date. The waiting period for an RC was just seven days after receipt of application, documents and fee, said Mr Bublani.

He said the “Suvidha” center was already issuing computerised learner’s, permanent and duplicate driving licences since August 18 last year.


Four arrested for raping, killing girl
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 8
The police today claimed to have solved the murder of Champa (19), whose body was found from the water tank of a tubewell of Piara Singh of Narur village on October 30, by arresting four persons.

They have been identified as Sukhdev Kundlna of Shaheedan village (Ranchi), Salman of Akrajharo village (Gumla), Ramu Kundlna of Koorna village and Kishori of Bhai Munda village in Samdaga district, all in Jharkhand, to which the victim also belonged.

It was learnt that Champa, Sukhdev and Salman were domestic servants in the house of an arhtiya, Tejinderpal Singh, alias Bitta, at Panshta village.

They developed illicit relations with her. Attiring her in male dress, the duo took Champa to the tubewell of Surjit Singh Billa of Panshta on the night of October 20. They called Ramu and Kishore there.

They gangraped her and kept her in captivity there. When she threatened to disclose it to the landlord, she was shifted to the tubewell of Piara Singh in the adjoining Narur village. She was gangraped again, killed and the body was dumped in the water tank.

The police has recovered a knife, clothes and other articles from the accused.

A case under Sections 302 and 201, IPC, has been registered.


Woman killed, 5 lakh looted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 8
Nirmala Devi (60), a moneylender and resident of Ram Nagar Colony in the Islamabad locality, was murdered by some unidentified persons here late last night. The miscreants decamped with cash and jewellery worth about Rs 5 lakh.

The Islamabad police today registered a case under Section 460, IPC. However, no arrest has been made so far. According to details, her son, Sudesh, who is a class IV employee, had gone to a birthday party of his friend’s son and Nirmala Devi was alone in the house when the miscreants entered her house.

Sudesh said that at about 2 a.m., when he returned home he found his mother dead. He said she seemed to have been first hit on the head and later strangled with her scarf. He said the accused broke the safe and took about Rs 2.50 lakh, which was kept for registration of land, and gold and silver jewellery with them.


Truck rams into transformer, driver booked
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 8
One person was injured and an electricity transformer was damaged here after the driver of a truck loaded with LPG cylinders lost control of the vehicle near Hanuman chowk late last night. The vehicle hit about five vehicles before ramming into a transformer on the powerhouse road. The driver, Kalu Ram, managed to flee from the spot.

The truck dragged a motor cycle for around 700 metres from Hanuman chowk to the powerhouse road. The hotline power supply to the Civil Hospital and residences of senior officials was interrupted due to the accident.

Police sources said Alkesh Chowdhary, who suffered multiple injuries, was taken to the Civil Hospital.

A case was registered against the driver under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC at the police station concerned.


One killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 8
One person was killed and two others were injured in a road accident near Mehna village yesterday. The injured included a Canada-based girl.

Sources said that the girl, Sarabpreet Kaur, had come from Canada following the death of his brother-in-law. The incident occurred when she, along with her another brother-in-law and uncle, was awaiting a bus at the roadside.

A Tata Sumo hit them, killing her uncle, Gurnam Singh, on the spot. Sarabpreet and her brother-in-law sustained serious injuries and they were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Moga.

The Sumo driver fled. The police has taken the vehicle in its possession.


2 held for selling fake gold coins
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 8
The Barnala police has arrested two persons, including a woman, for duping people by selling fake gold coins.

Addressing a press conference here today, SSP Amit Prasad said that the police worked on a tip-off received from a couple of Pakho Kalan village. The arrested are Mahinder Singh and Baali.

Mahinder Singh and his sister-in-law Baali, both residents of Pathrali in Ropar, went to a couple in Pakho Kalan village and posed themselves as migrant labourer. The duo showed them a gold coin and said that they received many such coins while digging and they wanted to sell them.

They left the gold coin with the couple and called them at some other place to give other coins.

The couple found something fishy and informed the police.

The CIA staff, after raiding the place, arrested the two. They also recovered Rs 1.75 lakh from them.

A case has been registered.


Pvt college teachers boycott classes
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, November 8
College teachers working in private colleges of this district today stayed away from their classes in protest against the Punjab Government’s alleged “indifferent attitude” towards the demands of about 6,000 teachers, serving in about 170 privately-managed colleges of the state.

Their demands include release of Rs 14.40 crore grant-in-aid for private colleges for 2003-04, continuation of 95 per cent grant-in-aid, implementation of pension-gratuity scheme and implementation of the recommendations of the Johl Committee.

Prof P.K. Sharma, president of district unit of the PCCTU, said the teachers stayed away from classes after the third period and also held dharnas and rallies.

BATHINDA: College teachers held rallies and dharnas here on Monday. Addressing the teachers at the local DAV College, Prof N.K. Gosain, district president, of the PCCTU, said 5000 teachers working in 150 aided and non-aided colleges of Punjab would proceed on mass casual leave on November 17 and would organise “arthi phook mujhara” at Chandigarh in which the effigy of the Punjab Government would be burned.

The PCCTU had decided to intensify its agitation by organising rallies and blocking traffic everyday in different cities of Punjab from November 23 to December 4.

BARNALA: Thousands of college teachers boycotted their classes here. Prof R.S. Brar, president of the PCCTU, said the call to private college teachers all over Punjab and Chandigarh to stay away from their classes had evoked good response.

PHAGWARA: Teachers of non-government colleges of this area, including Guru Nanak College, Phagwara, observed a strike and held campus rallies in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands.

The protesters raised slogans against the government, especially the Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal.

AMRITSAR: Teachers working in the non-government colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh observed a stay-in strike after third period today to protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the state government towards their demands.

Prof H.S. Walia, state vice-president of association, said that their demands include immediate disbursement of pending grant of Rs 14.4 crore, release of letter pertaining to 50 per cent DA merger and implementation of the Johal Committee’s recommended parity for DPEs .


Folk dances mark PTU fest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 8
Folk dance competitions of girls marked the beginning of third annual inter-zonal cultural festival of Punjab Technical University at DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology here today.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Technical Education, Punjab, was the chief guest. Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice Chancellor, PTU, presided over the function.

The programme started with Saraswati Vandana performed by the students of the host college. This was followed by the lighting of lamp by the chief guest.

As many as 30 teams from various institutes affiliated with the PTU from all over Punjab are participating in the event.

The colleges have been divided into three zones. The first zone include colleges of Jalandhar, Hoshairpur, Kapurthala, Amritsar, Nawanshahr and Gurdaspur.

The second zone comprises of college falling in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Mohali, Patiala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mandi Gobindgarh and Sangrur.

The third zone has teams from colleges of Ferozepore, Muktsar, Moga, Malout, Mansa and Bathinda. In the folk dance contest held today, the host team clinched the first prize. The second position was shared by the teams from Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology, Ludhiana, and GTB College of Malout. The function concluded with prize distribution by chief guest.


Boparai for transparency in youth festival
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 8
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai said today that he was committed to curb wrong practises being adopted to judge talent and excellence in the field of cultural activities. He said he would ensure that a complete transparent system was put in place for the Inter-Zonal Youth festival that commenced today.

Inaugurating the youth festival amidst fanfare, Mr Boparai said youth festivals provide an opportunity to budding student artists to use their talent to the best of their capabilities. He said more objectivity had been introduced to judge various items so that there was no scope for favouritism.

Noted Pakistani Folk-Language Festival coordinator Shafeek Bhatt also addressed the audience. He expressed happiness over improved relations between the two countries and said this would help strengthen the cultural ties between India and Pakistan.

Earlier welcoming the student artists and guests, Dr Sunita Dhir, Director, Youth Welfare, Punjabi University, Patiala, said that over 500 student artists from various colleges affiliated to Punjabi University would participate in 33 items in the field of art, culture, literary, music and performing arts.

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