P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Baba Harnam Singh denied siropa
Taksal pressured to declare Bhinderanwale ‘martyr’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 3
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today get embroiled in another controversy when Baba Harnam Singh, acting Jathedar, Damdami Taksal, was not presented “siropa” from Golden Temple, Akal Takht and even Information Office here.

However, Baba Ram Singh, Head of Damdami Taksal (Sangrai), was presented “Siropa” by the Head Granthi, Golden Temple, Giani Puran Singh, from sanctum sanctorum while Giani Rawel Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, honoured the visiting Taksal chief at the takht. He was also honoured at the SGPC’s Information Office by the Assistant Manager of Darbar Sahib, Mr Baldev Singh. He was accompanied by Bhai Manjit Singh, senior Vice-President, Shiromani Akali Dal.

Earlier, the SGPC and Sikh clergy had already given their recognition to Baba Ram Singh as successor to Baba Thakur Singh.

When supporters of Baba Harnam Singh learnt that the SGPC had no plan to present “Siropa” to him, he went to Golden Temple instead of entering the SGPC’s Information Office. Baba Harnam Singh was accompanied by Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, a former Jathedar, Akal Takht, and senior functionaries of the Taksal, including Bhai Mohkam Singh.

Talking to TNS, Bhai Mohkam Singh, chief spokesman of Damdami Taksal, said they believed in Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh Sangat and visited Golden Temple and Akal Takht to pay their obeisance and not to receive any honour. He said the Sikh Sangat had already showered a lot of affection and honour on Baba Harnam Singh.

However, Mr Harbir Singh Sandhu, office secretary of SAD (Amritsar), strongly criticised the role of the SGPC for playing partisan role at the time of appointing successor of Baba Thakur Singh. He said instead of bringing rapprochement, the SGPC tried to create division in the Panth.

Meanwhile, a faction of Damdami Taksal, led by Baba Harnam Singh, is reportedly under pressure to declare Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale as “martyr” at the earliest to counter the faction led by Baba Ram Singh. The faction led by Baba Ram Singh had already announced that Sant Bhinderanwale was killed during the Operation Blue-star.

It is learnt that some radical outfits, that were instrumental in declaring Sant Bhinderanwale as “martyr” last year by Jathedar, Akal Takht, had now sided with Baba Harnam Singh on the condition that the controversy (whether Sant Bhinderanwale is dead or alive) should be resolved in the future. The leadership of the radical outfits and a section of the Damdami Taksal also want that Sant Bhinderanwale should be declared “martyr”.


Govt casual about disposal of explosive junk
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Scrap containers to arrive soon

Containers carrying scrap, the shipping of which was stopped from Arab countries by the Union Government following the detection of a large stock of live bombs in such material, would start coming soon to Ludhiana and other destinations. The Union Government has nominated certain companies which certify that scrap material is free from any sort of explosive material. Customs officers have been instructed not to accept any container that has not been certified free from explosive material. Such companies charge about Rs 12,000 per container for certification.

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 3
While poor labourers keep dying in scrap and furnace blasts, the Punjab Government continues to be casual in its approach to deal with the problem.

Over 12 labourers have died in such blasts at Ludhiana and here in the recent past, but the government has failed to stop the recurrence of such mishaps. “We can only take legal action under the Factory Act, I.P.C, against the owners of factories. What else can we do”, say various officials.

Of course each blast and the deaths caused because of it makes the officials run around to help the dependents of the victims. But after that, activity in furnaces and scrap stock yards returns to normal. “Who bothers for a poor labourer in this cash rich town where business of several hundred crores of rupees is generated every month”, says Ram Lakhan, a labourer from Uttar Pradesh.

Reasons for the blasts in scrap yards and furnaces are many. Among them is arrival of live bombs in the scrap. Its roots are in Arab wars. Immediately, after Iraq’s attack on Kuwait, hundreds of tonnes of war-related scrap arrived here through agents in Dubai and other Gulf countries.

Along came live bombs in the material. They caused many deaths then. Now America’s attack on Iraq has flooded the local town as well as Ludhiana and other scrap-melting factory areas with damaged war hardware. Again deaths have been caused by war junk. “ Those who had some inklinng about the possibility of explosive material in the scrap, got it segregated. Others, who did not take notice, ended with mishaps”, says a leading local furnace owner.

Local factory owners and scrap stockers buy junk through middlemen based in Dubai and other Arab countries. Junk dealers, mostly Indians in Dubai and other countries, are having a good time as they are getting a lot of war junk of Afghanistan and Iraq wars at a cheap rate. They sell it at a high price in ready markets like India. “ They have no time to segregate explosive junk from other scrap. Big cranes and pickers load the material in containers which are shipped to India and other countries”, say scrap agents.

Condemned LPG cylinders and pistons sold as scrap also cause such blasts. Sometime pistons are put into the furnaces without removing oil and with the heat they explode like a bomb. Likewise, condemned LPG cylinders having even small quantity of gas also explode in furnaces.

Nearly, one lakh tonne scrap is converted in semi-finished steel by local furnaces,which have a daily capacity to melt 3500 tonnes of scrap. “ It is the biggest scrap melting centre”, claims, Mr Pardeep Goel, a furnace factory owner, who has got his men trained to segregate explosive material from junk. He says that mishaps could be avoided provided steps are taken by factory owners concerned for proper handling of the junk material.

When asked, District Magistrate, S.K. Ahluwalia, said meetings of all factory owners concerned were called and they were given strict instructions to screen out the explosive material from the scrap and hand it over to the authorities concerned. He said legal action had been taken against the factory owners where mishaps occurred. He said some lives were lost in such mishaps because of the negligence of mill owners. “ The state government has tried to help the dependents of victims by offering some financial relief”, he adds.

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Secondary Steel Technology, has held workshops to train labourers of certain factories in identifying and handling of explosive material.


Punjab employees not paid salary
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 3
The Punjab finance department has failed to pay the salary for December to its employees.

Salaries have been stopped in most departments because the data received about house, car and scooter loans does not reconcile with the record of the finance department. The department has been looking into the data of these loans for the past 20 years and wants to reconcile the figures of all departments.

Drawing and Disbursement Officers of various departments, who approached their Treasury Offices in their districts, were told to get these figures reconciled before withdrawing the salary for December. The Treasury Officers are also not entertaining bills of various departments due to the reasons on directions of the finance department. The salary is usually released on the last working day of the month. This time even cheques have not been released till now.

The Drawing and Disbursement Officers have also been asked to submit details of the repayment schedule of employees who have taken loans. Employees, specially those who have not taken loans, are bitter about the development. “They are punishing us instead of taking action against the officers who are employees of the finance department and could have been told to submit the relevant details earlier in the month”, Bhupinder Singh, an employee disclosed.

Meanwhile, sources said reconciliation of the loan amount of the past 20 years would not be possible in a day or two and the salaries of the employees could get delayed further in this case. They said there were practical difficulties also in submitting this data as some employees had retired and details about their repayment schedule were not clear. They said the loans taken from the government were being put under a scrutiny.

Earlier last year the, Punjab finance department had withheld the salary for October pending reconciliation of the money deposited under the General Insurance Scheme with the District Treasury Officers. However, the salary was released after two days when employees “gheraoed” the Treasury Office here and also protested against this measure in the state. The Drawing and Disbursement Officers were then allowed to withdraw the salaries of their departments after submitting affidavits that they would get GIS accounts reconciled.


National defence varsity for Kapurthala sought
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Punjab has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee to get a national defence university at Kapurthala.

The university, if approved, will come up on the sprawling complex of Sainik School, Kapurthala, which the government proposes to shift to Dasmesh Academy at Anandpur Sahib.

The argument given by the Punjab Government in support of its claim for the country’s first ever defence university is that in 1999, the Union Government had announced setting up Junior Leaders

Training School at Anandpur Sahib. The school was, however, shifted to central India.

“I have written to the Prime Minister,” says Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, revealing that he has also written to the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, on the subject.”It is because of the strategic location of Kapurthala that we want the university to be set up there. It is a central point for both Western and Northern Commands and also close to a Corps Headquarters.

“I also hope to meet the Defence Minister later this week. Once they agree then we have no problem in shifting the Sainik School to Dashmesh Academy. In Anandpur Sahib we have good facilities as we have the Academy for Martial Arts there,” he added.

The Chief Minister said that for the development of the border area the government has permitted two more breweries to be set up. One of these will be in Ferozepore while the other one will be in Pathankot.

These factories would not only generate employment but also add to the prosperity of these border areas.

“The Punjab Government,” he said,”is just awaiting World Bank clearance for its two projects — 18 corridors and public health. These would cost Rs 800 crore and Rs 1800 crore,” he said as the government proposes to undertake developmental projects for remaining two years of its present term in office.

“We have been trying to convince the Union Government on two issues — that it should accept the modified Johl committee report on diversification as we want that at least one-tenth of the total cultivable land of the state should be taken out of wheat-paddy rotation. And the second issue is that we should have even playing fields at par with Himachal, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir on the industries front.

“How can we industrialise our state or even keep our industrialists with us when they get so much of concessions including complete 100 per cent relief on income tax? Though the central government says that it would introduce sunset clause from 2007, how can our industry survive and take a beating for next seven to 12 years? I am very hopeful that our both these demands would be conceded by the centre.

“In some cases, we are not able to benefit from Central grants for we do not have matching grants from our own,” he said.

ADGP Virk to stay

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today made it clear that Additional Director-General of Police S.S. Virk would not be relieved.

“We will decide about the new Director-General of Police only after the Central Government takes a decision about extending deputation period of Mr S.S. Virk. I have written to the Union Home Minister, Mr Shiv Raj Patil, and hope to meet him

again soon,” the Chief Minister told The Tribune here this afternoon.

Expressing his strong displeasure over “lobbying being done by certain officers”, the Chief Minister said that “the government would take a decision about the new DGP in the interest of the people of Punjab and Punjab Police.”

Mr Virk served Punjab when terrorism was at its peak. The Centre did not want him back in Maharashtra for 21 years and now when his turn has come, it suddenly has flared up, he said, maintaining that necessary action would be initiated against those violating service rules.

The Chief Minister said that the government was not taking chances in naming the new Lok Pal. “We want to make sure that the person we name should have an impeccable record,” said the Chief Minister.


Panic grips villagers after mysterious death of cattle
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 3
Panic has gripped residents of the Nathana block of this district after the death of a number of cattle under mysterious circumstances in its Nathpura and Kalyan Sukha villages in the past few days.

The panic-stricken villagers have started approaching the fortunetellers and “tantriks” for the welfare of their livestock instead of veterinary doctors and pharmacists.

Though the Animal Husbandary Department authorities claimed that so far only 14 cattle had died due to some diseases in the Nathpura and Kalyan Sukha villages so far, the residents of this area had been claiming that a number of cattle had died and the mysterious diseases was spreading its tentacles.

Official sources said so far eight cattle had died in Kalyan Sukha village and six in Nathpura village. It was suspected that the cattle had died due to haemorrhagic septicaemia. However, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) experts had been pressed into service to find out the real cause of their death.

The sources added that Mr Jagsir Singh, a resident of Nathpura village, had lost his five cattle on December 27 while one cattle, belonging to the resident of the village, died subsequently. A few days ago, Mr Chanchal Singh, a resident of Kalyan Sukha village, had also lost five cattle and three cattle, belonging to the other resident of the village, died subsequently.

Dr S.K. Singh, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandary, Bathinda, said Mr Chanchal Singh did not consult any veterinary doctor while his cattle were being died. He started approaching the “tantriks” for arranging magic cure for his cattle.

Dr S.K. Singh said post-mortem of the cattle had been conducted and the investigation was being done by the PAU experts.

He pointed out that various teams of veterinary doctors and pharmacists had been sent to the Nathana block where the vaccination of cattle was being done at a large scale.

He said that after the vaccination the situation came under control and in the past two or three days, there was no report of any death of cattle under mysterious circumstances.


Killer roads-I
Road accidents claim more lives than crime
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The death of 15 persons, including 14 girls, in a road mishap near Morinda this morning was not an isolated road accident of its type. Road accidents have become the single largest source of human fatality in the state. Needless to say, roads are claiming more lives than terrorism even at its peak ever did.

Compared to two murders a day , as many as seven persons die and nine others are injured in road accidents in Punjab every day. Punjab has lost more than 11,000 people, besides 50,000 others left injured in road accidents since 2000.The figures may look alarming but more alarming are the number of policemen deployed to handle cases of either of these unnatural deaths.

Besides prevention of this heinous crime and to investigate and prosecute suspects in 750 murder cases a year in Punjab, there are nearly 350 police stations, including police posts and Government Railway Police stations. Each of these stations has an average deployment of 35-40 police personnel.

On the other hand, the state has a separate Highway Patrol which has 20 vehicles with four persons on each vehicle. In addition to the State Highway Patrol, each district has some traffic cells from where men and officers are put on duty for enforcing traffic laws, including challaning people for violation of traffic rules.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, while expressing his condolences over the ghastly head-on collision between two buses near Morinda this morning, held that "roads in Punjab are still not suitable for high speed vehicles. Under- age driving, driving under the influence of liquor and lack of proper control over issuance of driving licenses are some of the contributing factors for high fatality rate on roads."

Against 2,700 deaths in road accidents in 2003, the number dropped to 2,400 in 2004. Even the number of persons injured in road accidents decreased from 4,146 in 2003 to 3,413 in 2004. This improvement, claims Punjab Highway Patrol Police, is because of creation of more awareness, positioning of ambulance and traffic assistance vehicles along highways and regular checking of documents of vehicles and their owners.

"We in the police get a bad name for deaths in road accidents. It is the Transport Department and the State Transport Authority which govern issuance of driving licenses as well as registration of motor vehicles. If the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act are religiously followed at all levels, roads would certainly become safer than what they are now. Besides transport, the local bodies, including corporations, municipal committees, besides the Public Works Department (Roads and Buildings), are also involved in making driving safer. This is why we have proposed that the state should have an independent traffic management authority which should oversee all aspects of road safety," says Mr S.K. Sharma, Inspector-General of Police, Traffic.

To be concluded


Inside Babudom
4 Punjab IAS officers promoted
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Four IAS officers — including former Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) — were today promoted by the Punjab Government’s personnel department as Principal Secretaries and Financial Commissioner. All the officers belong to the 1978 batch.

The officers included PSEB’s former Chairman Sudhir Mittal, besides former Secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development Rakesh Singh. The other officers were Mr Gurinderjit Singh Sandhu and Ms Sujata Dass.

Mr Mittal was also the Secretary of Power and Planning. His appointment as the PSEB head had at that time ended the government’s experiment to appoint a technocrat Chairman. The policy was framed after a series of politicians and bureaucrats had held the Chairman’s post.

The order issued by Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill today added that Mr Rakesh Singh and Mr Mittal — currently on central deputation — would be entitled to “notional benefit promotion in terms of increments”. The actual benefit of promotion would be admissible only from the date they join duties in the state.

Even though the government today ordered their promotion, the authorities have done precious little to fill vacancies through promotions. The sources in the government claim that 16 posts of IAS officer and 12 posts of IPS officer were lying vacant.

Some of the vacancies in the IAS cadre have been existing since 1998. Giving details of the vacancies, the sources revealed that the government was still struggling to fill the same after solving disputes pertaining to the clubbing of posts and seniority.

They asserted that the process of getting state cadre police officers appointed to the IPS was initiated in June last year. The process was being carried out in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Going into the background of the matter, the sources revealed that out of 12 vacant posts, eight belong to 2002. Two belong to the next year. Another two belong to 2004.

Justifying the delay, the sources said that dispute over the seniority list was responsible for it. They added that fresh seniority list had now been prepared and the vacancies were being filled in accordance with the relevant rules amended in July, 2000.

They said the vacancies, following the amendment in the rules, were not being clubbed and seniority list of each year was being prepared separately. Before the amendment, the vacancies were clubbed automatically.

Interestingly, the Lok Pal’s post was also lying vacant ever since the death of Justice D.V. Seghal in December, 2002. As a result, at least 25 complaints against politicians, even government officers, were still pending.


Capt releases calendar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today released diary and calendar for 2005 published by the Information and Public Relations Department.

A Punjab Government spokesman said this time two calendars and a diary had been published. A single sheet calendar carried pictures of on-going developmental activities in the state.

The other six-sheet calendar comprised religious and other pictures. It showed Baba Buddha carrying Sri Adi Granth Sahib to the Golden Temple for installation. It also depicted the supreme sacrifice of four Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh. The picture of the Golden Temple and the Durgiana Mandir, both at Amritsar, was also there.

President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, bestowing the “best governed state award” to the Chief Minister was also there, along with pictures showing important events of 2004.

Earlier, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Husan Lal and Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma presented cheques for Rs 37,34,680 and Rs 11 lakh to the Chief Minister for Tsunami victims.


BSP accuses govt of ‘crushing’ Dalits
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 3
Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, president of the Punjab unit of the BSP, today accused the Amarinder government of “crushing” and “looting” Dalits and the backward classes in the state during its regime.

Talking to mediapersons at the PWD rest house here today, Mr Karimpuri said “atrocities” on the Dalits were increasing but the government had failed in initiating action against the culprits in many cases. He said in December, the landlords of Pattrian Wala village in Tehsil Fazilka (Ferozepore) kidnapped three Dalits and later forced them to drink urine but the Punjab Government had not taken any action so far. He alleged that it showed that “caste-based terrorism” in Punjab had the patronage of the government.

Mr Karimpuri also said that on January 6, a delegation of the BSP, would visit village to extend help to the victims and chalk out an agitation programme to compel the government to lodge an FIR against the culprits and arrest them. He also said the government had also failed in protecting the Dalit employees and schoolgoing girls as they were being insulted.

The BSP chief also disclosed that he was nowadays on a fund-raising tour for the central BSP fund to run the activities of the party and for the treatment of Mr Kanshi Ram. He claimed that they would collect Rs 1 crore by January 15 for the purpose.

Mr Karimpuri also said the government had failed in implementing the 85th Amendment of the Constitution, the Mandal Commission Report and clearance of backlog in jobs for the Dalits.


Cong chief vows to fight factionalism
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 3
The newly-appointed president of the District Congress Committee, Mr Ranwinder Singh Pappu, was accorded a warm welcome on his return from Chandigarh at Churh Chak village here today.

Addressing his supporters, Mr Pappu said that he would hold a series of meetings at the village level to sensitise people on the state government’s policies and expose “anti-people” agenda of the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab.

He said that he would make efforts to rejuvenate party organisation in the district. He alleged that false cases were registered against the Congress workers during the previous Akali regime and added that he would take up the matter with the party high command.

Mr Pappu said he would make sure that the party remained free from factionalism and worked for the well being of common people. He sought party activists’ support in achieving his objective of strengthening the party at grass-root level.

Senior Congress leaders, including Mr Labh Singh Ahluwalia, Ms Malati Thapar, Mr Harnek Singh Ramuwala, Dr Harjot Kamal Singh and others were present.


Power board fails to recover Rs 2.45 cr from departments
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 3
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities have failed to give permission for disconnection of the power supply of defaulting government departments in the Mohali circle even though unpaid bills now total around Rs 2.45 crore.

Among the major defaulters is the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation (PSTC) whose unpaid amount had touched Rs 2.17 crore. The hospital and government dispensaries falling in Mohali circle owe Rs 19.27 lakh to the PSEB followed by the Punjab Police whose outstanding amount is Rs 4.52 lakh. The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority also has not paid power bills totalling Rs 1.12 lakh. Small amounts varying between Rs 4,000 to Rs 51,000 have also not been paid by other government departments, including municipal committees, Forest Department and Department of Public Health.

According to sources, the Superintending Engineer of the Mohali circle had written a letter to the Chief Engineer concerned on September 30 last year seeking permission to cut the supply of power to the dafaulting government departments. It had been pointed out in the letter that the amount outstanding with various government departments was increasing by the day as the payment of power bills was not being made by them.

Several letters had been written to the defaulting departments to clear their pending dues but to no avail. A request was then made to higher authorities to grant permission to local officials to disconnect supply of power to the defaulting government departments under Section 121.5 of the Sales Regulation. But so far the permission in this regard had not been granted.

Sources said the PSTC owed more than Rs 1.83 crore to the Lalru division of the PSEB, Rs 21 lakh to the Zirakpur division and Rs 13.13 lakh to the Mohali division. Under the Lalru division 33 tubewells were running and the maximum amount of Rs 6.32 lakh was pending with tubewell being run in Bairmajra, village followed by Jarout village which owed Rs 6.24 lakh to the PSEB. PSTC tubewell running in Kurli village had not cleared bills totalling Rs 5.16 lakh. Tubewells running in Ramgarh, Rurkee and Dappar villages owed Rs 4.79 lakh and Rs 4.35 lakh, respectively, to the PSEB.

Mr S.C. Aggarwal, Superintending Engineer, said several notices had been sent to the heads of the dafaulting government departments to clear their outstanding dues but no response had been received from them. He said power supply would be disconnected only when permission for the same was granted by the higher authorities.

Mr A.S. Gulati, Chief Engineer, said he was aware of the problem which could not be left pending for long as a large amount of revenue was involved. He said the matter had been brought to the notice of the Chairman of the power board who had directed to give some time to the defaulting departments to clear their outstanding payments.

He said demi-official letters would be written to the heads of the defaulting government departments in the next 15 days to make pending payments.

They would be given 15 days time to clear their dues. In case they failed to pay the outstanding amount within the stipulated time, power supply would be disconnected. But this action would be taken in stages after fixing priorities, added Mr Gulati.


Power load: farmers to get one more chance
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is giving a chance to farmers to get their additional regularised by January 31.

No penalty will be imposed during this period. A camp in this regard is being organised in Mullanpur village tomorrow.

The PSEB have even reduced the regularisation charges from Rs 3,000 per hp to Rs 1,000. The procedures have been simplified and the farmers will not be asked to fill any forms for getting the additional load regularised. They have only to bring their passbooks at the time of depositing the required amount.

Mr V.K. Mahajan, Additional Superintending Engineer, said about 25 per cent to 30 per cent farmers in the area had extended their load without getting it regularised.

They had to extend the load to get adequate discharge of water from tubewells as the water level had gone down. He said that farmers were being given time till January 31 to get enhanced loads regularised.

If they were found running tubewell motors on extended load without getting it regularised after January, the supply of power would be disconnected and penalty imposed.

He said that when raids were conducted by PSEB officials in the past a number of cases were directed where farmers were using load much than what had been sanctioned.

He said that farmers who would not able to attend the camp could approach the PSEB office on any working day to get their power load regularised.


PSEB staff hold protest against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 3
Protesting against the privatisation of the electricity board, the Joint Forum of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees observed black day here today.

Forum members took out a rally wearing black badges. The rally, which passed through main roads of the city, culminated at Joginder Singh Chowk. The PSEB employees burnt the effigy of the state government and raised slogans against it.

Addressing the rally, the forum’s Faridkot circle secretary, Gurmail Singh Nahar, and the state joint secretary, Amrik Singh Maseeta, warned that if the state government didn’t withdraw its decision to unbundle the electricity board, they would intensify agitation.

They said the state government would be responsible for the consequences of the stir.

The employee leaders said other states had also experimented with the privatisation of their electricity boards, but they had not gained anything out of it. They alleged that the state government wanted to ruin public sector units at the behest of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

They said that the board employees would oppose the privatisation move tooth and nail and would not hesitate in courting arrest en masse. They also came out in favour of the state’s farmers and said that they would oppose the state government’s “anti-farmer policies”.

HOSHIARPUR: PSEB employees staged rallies and burnt effigy of Capt Amarinder Singh in front of the subdivisional office here today in protest against the state government decision to privatise the electricity board.

Mr Om Parkash claimed in a press note that employees also held protest rallies and burnt effigies of the Chief Minister in Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Bathinda, Sangrur, Mohali and Ropar circles.

To make a strategy to further intensify the agitation, a meeting had been called by the joint forum on January 6, 2005, at Patiala. The National Coordination Committee of employees and engineers of northern India branch had also convened a meeting on January 8, 2005.

JALANDHAR: PSEB employees today held dharnas at different offices of the board at Noormahal, Sultanpur Lodhi and Jalandhar to register protest against the proposed move of the state government to disband the board.

According to reports available here, the employees wore black badges and held dharnas. They raised anti-government slogans and alleged that the state government was playing in the hands of international lending agencies, while terming the move as anti-people and anti-employees.

They alleged that the proposed unbundling of the board would further burdened the consumers as private companies would certainly go in for a hike in power tariff. The protesters maintained that the agriculture sector would be severely hit due to the unbundling.

The agitating employees also burnt the effigy of the Punjab Chief, Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.


PSEB employees stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) staged a dharna in front of the office in protest against the move of the Punjab Government to unbundle the power board.

The dharna was staged by members of the Technical Services Union and the PSEB Employees Joint Forum. The protesters condemned the decision of the government to privatise the board. They said if the government did not reverse its decision, the agitation would be intensified and even farmers would be involved in it.

The speakers said that when the Central Government was going to review the Electricity Bill 2003, the Punjab Government was taking hasty steps to unbundle the board. The decision of the government would adversely affect the farmers and other residents of the state. People would be given power at higher rates and subsidies given to farmers would be stopped.


Mavi takes over as PSEB Chief Engineer
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
Mr TS Mavi has taken over as Chief Engineer, Enforcement, Punjab State Electricity Board.

He replaced Mr M.K. Dhawan who retired on December 31. Mr Mavi was earlier working as Chief Engineer, Planning.

Mr Mavi said he would make all efforts to reduce corruption in the system. “Corruption would not be tolerated in the enforcement wing”, he said. This message had also been sent in the distribution wing of the board.

Cases of power theft, wrong metering, running more than the sanctioned load were being detected and the short asssessment in this regard had been made to the tune of about Rs 40 lakh daily.

He said the board had assigned him the task of reducing transmission and distribution losses by 2 per cent which at present stood at 25. 35 per cent.


No breach in Narwana branch: Bhakra authorities
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 3
The Bhakra Main Line (BML) Circle Superintending Engineer of the Punjab Canal Department today claimed that the Drainage Department had floated a false news stating the Narwana Branch of the BML had breached at Majri Fakiran village on Friday.

Superintending Engineer B.S. Brar, in a press release here, said the Drainage Department had nothing to do with the running of the Narwana branch and that it should desist from spreading false news about the canal which was under the control of the Canal Department.

Mr Brar said due to this an impression was created in some newspapers that a breach had occurred in the Narwana branch on Friday. He said this was not true, adding not a single drop of water had entered any agricultural field in the area. The officer said that only minor cracks had occurred in the inner side of the canal due to back water pressure and that a small block of concrete had slipped into the water while repairing of these cracks was on.

The officer claimed that immediate repair work was started after lowering the supply in the canal from 2900 cusecs to 1500 cusecs. He maintained that the repair work had been completed yesterday and that the supply of water had been raised to 2000 cusecs. He claimed that supply would be further increased today and that water supply to Haryana and Delhi could have been effected only marginally as the Narwana branch was running at 1500 cusecs even during the repair period.


3 Ferozepore Dalits allegedly victimised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Three dalits of Ferozepore district were allegedly forced to taste urine and insult from the slippers of upper caste members at the residence of a village sarpanch. The three were allegedly victimised following an innocent quarrel between their relative’s sons and the ward of an upper caste member.

This was not all. The three were allegedly tortured after being detained in a police post, along with two more relatives, following their refusal to apologise to the aggressors. Worse, the matter was brought to the notice of “higher authorities”. But action was not initiated.

Addressing a press conference at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s office in Sector 37 here, the alleged victims also accused an MLA of safeguarding the interests of the “aggressors”.

Giving details of the incident that led to the humiliation and class conflict, senior BJP leader Vijay Sampla said it all started with class V student Nanak Singh’s fight with Amarjit Singh during a cricket match on November 22. Nanak Singh, he added, belonged to the family of Dalits.

A few days after the quarrel, a mob belonging to the upper caste surrounded the alleged victims — Bittu Singh, Gurbaksh Singh and Piara Singh — along with another relative Balwinder Singh, while they were going to the local bus station in Patrawala village in Fazilka district.

Balwinder Singh manage to escape, but the three were taken to the residence of the sarpanch belonging to same caste. After liquor was forced down their throat, the three were forced to drink urine. As if this was not enough, the police was called in. The cops took them to the chowki after thrashing the three.

Another BJP leader-cum-member National Executive of BJP’s youth wing Vineet Joshi added that another relative — former Panchayat member Malkiat Singh — and Balwinder Singh were also taken to the police chowki, along with Nanak Singh’s father Jangir Singh.

Malkiat Singh and Jangir Singh were, subsequently, released but were asked to bring Nanak Singh, and yet another relative Kulwant Singh to police post. He added that the detainees, taken to the police station on November 28, remained in custody till December 7.

He added that several representations were, in the meantime, forwarded to the police authorities, besides the National Scheduled Caste Commission. But nothing came out of it. Mr Joshi demanded legal action against the accused and the police officers for not initiating action against the aggressors.


Mayor, Commissioner on warpath
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 3
Patiala Mayor Vishnu Sharma has tightened the screws against Municipal Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu, with whom he has been sharing cold vibes for some time, by directing him to inform him before granting financial approval to any development work. The Mayor in his letter, sent to the Commissioner last week, has also asked him to get the quality of all works approved by the Finance and Contract Committee of the House before releasing payments.

But Mr Sidhu said he had not received any such letter. However, he said the Mayor was nobody to withdraw his financial powers. “The issue is that I have financial powers whereby I can give approval for development works below Rs 25,000. I am using these powers without conducting any violation of the Municipal Act and the Mayor cannot withdraw these powers from me”, he said.

However, the Mayor contends that it is not an issue of the financial powers. “All we want is that he should give details to us about the works approved by him by using these powers”. Mr Vishnu Sharma said this demand had been made because there were complaints that in most cases no development work was being carried out and payments were made on receipt of bills only. He said in such a scenario, the House needed to know how the powers of the Commissioner were being used.

In case of checking the quality of the works above Rs 25,000 the Mayor said there were complaints from councillors that in many cases the works were not up to the mark. “We have already passed a resolution at the last Finance and Contract Committee meeting that the quality of the works should be approved by the committee before the payments are released to the contractors”. The Mayor said the issue would now be taken up in the General House.

Earlier, the Mayor in his letter had asked the Commissioner to give details of all development works of below Rs 25,000 which he has conducted during his more than a year in office.

Meanwhile, sources said even though the Mayor had written to the Commissioner to get the quality of all development works above Rs 25,000 cleared by the Finance and Contract Committee before making payments, the latter is in no mood to relent on the issue. Sources said the Commissioner released a payment of Rs 1.85 lakh due for construction of cycle and scooter stand on the corporation premises in the past few days.


Punjabi mediapersons to visit Pakistan

Amritsar, January 3
A 45-member delegation of the Punjabi Media Academy led by Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, patron and political adviser to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would visit Pakistan on a peace mission in January-end.

This was informed by Mr Baljit Singh Brar, president of the academy, and editor ‘Punjab Times’ in a press statement issued here today.

The delegation would visit Lahore, Islamabad, Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib during their two-week stay. Besides interacting with delegates of Punjab University, Lahore, Press Club and Bar Association on various issues related to cultural and educational matters, the delegation had also planned to meet the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf. The delegation would also interact with prominent members of Pakistan National Assembly.

Mr Baljit Singh said that the delegation would also visit and meet students and staff members of the only Gurmukhi school- Guru Nanak Public School- situated in Nankana Sahib.


DC presents Rs 37 lakh to CM
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 3
On behalf of government employees, NGOs and the industry, the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner, Mr Husan Lal, today handed over cheques and drafts for Rs 37,34,680 to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the victims of tsunami.

Talking to TNS on the phone he said the amount of Rs 37,34,680 was the first instalment to help the tsunami-hit. He also expected that the district administration would be able to send the second instalment of about Rs 8 lakh for the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund soon.

The Deputy Commissioner said there was a great enthusiasm among the employees, NGOs and other residents of the district for extending help. He said the administration was still receiving donations from the public and employees in this hour of crisis.

It is learnt that the Punjab Government had fixed a target of Rs 25 lakh for the Sangrur district to contribute this amount in the fund.


DC appeals for donation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 3
As per the directions of the state government, the Deputy Commissioner has appealed to all departmental heads and other officials and employees to donate one-day salary voluntarily to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for help to tsunami victims.

Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner, said relief material such as tents, polythene sheets, blankets, bedsheets, etc was urgently required at the affected areas of South India.

Meanwhile, the Government Teachers Association urged all teachers to donate their one-day salary for the relief and rehabilitation of tsunami victims.


Power generation halted
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, January 3
The power generation at two units of 33.5-mw capacity each at the Ganguwal powerhouse on the Anandpur Sahib hydel channel has been halted, the reason being non-functioning of the powerhouse due to a fire that burnt the cable gallery and other equipment at the units on December 30.

The officials are still unclear about the extent of damage and the exact date when the functioning of the power house will be resumed.

While residence in several parts of the town yesterday complaint of regular power shortage, officials maintained that Anandpur Sahib had been connected with the Naknia power house near Kiratpur Sahib and was not facing any power crisis.

“In addition to it, a transformer of 200 kva capacity has been installed in Anandpur Sahib to meet the demands of the people”, Deputy Chief Engineer Surinder Pal Singh said.


Chopra takes over as Halwara AOC

Jalandhar, January 3
Air Cmdr Anil Chopra today took over as the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) at a ceremony at Air Force Station, Halwara.

Air Cmdr Chopra is a test pilot, a qualified flying instructor, an instrument rating instructor and examiner, an official press note stated here today, adding that Air Cmdr Chopra has 3,300 hours of flying on more than 40 types of aircraft. Air Cmdr Chopra, who is also an alumni of Defence Services Staff College, has also been closely involved the various aircraft upgrade and prototype development programmes of the country, it added. — PTI


Bharatiya yuva Morcha rally on Feb 27
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 3
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Punjab, has decided to organise a state-level “Pol Khol Halla Bol” rally on February 27 in Ludhiana.

This was decided in a meeting of the morcha presided by morcha state president Ashwini Sharma at Goraya in Phillaur subdivision last evening.

Giving details of the meeting, morcha’s former state vice-president Arun Khosla told mediapersons here today that morcha had divided the state in three different zones for strengthening the morcha.


Jarnail Singh promoted as Chief Engineer

Chandigarh, January 3
Mr Jarnail Singh, Superintending Engineer, has been promoted as Chief Engineer in Punjab Irrigation Department. He has been given charge of the drainage wing.

Mr Jarnail Singh, along with some other engineers, had won a case with regard to his seniority in the Punjab and Haryana High court. In the light of the court judgement with regard to his seniority, he has been promoted by the Punjab Government, say official sources. — TNS


Sekhri takes oath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today administered oath of office and secrecy to Mr Ashwani Sekhri as Parliamentary Secretary here at a simple ceremony held at Punjab Bhavan. With his wearing the number of parliamentary secretaries has gone up to 10 in the state.


72 examined at medical camp

Bathinda, January 3
About 72 patients were examined at medical check-up camp that was organised for pensioners by the local Kikkar Bazaar branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) in association with local Rotary Club here today. In a press note issued, Mr D.K. Bhandari, Chief Manager, SBI, said such free camps would be organised in future also for the benefit of the pensioners of the bank. — OC


High Court
Bar Council Chairman files affidavit
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 3
Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Chairman C.M. Munjal today filed an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The affidavit has been filed in connection with the ongoing proceedings in connection with the allegation against him in a criminal matter.

Mr Munjal is alleged to have wrongly informed the police that an accused in a criminal case had been granted bail, orally, by the High Court. However, it later transpired that no such development took place.

Archit Goyal, complainant in the matter, had written a letter to various offices, including the High Court Chief Justice, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, High Court Registrar, Punjab Advocate General and others, stating therein that while no hearing had been held on the pre-arrest bail plea of an accused, the law officer (Mr Munjal) handling the brief had informed the police that the arrest had been stayed.

In his letter dated November 22, Archit pointed out that since the hearing was not held, there couldn’t have been any order. After receiving the letter, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar clarified that neither the case was taken up for hearing, nor any such oral order passed. He also clarified that his court “does not follow any practice of issuing any oral order of staying arrest”.

The Judge also directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Abohar to take into custody the police file along with the note and submit it in the court. He also directed Mr Munjal to be present in the court on the next date of hearing to explain his conduct.

Later, Mr Munjal tendered his unconditional apology to the Bench headed by Chief Justice.

Theft case

The High Court has stayed further proceedings in a case relating to power theft against SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur. The case had been registered by Bhulath police on November 7, 2002. Today, on a petition filed by Bibi Jagir Kaur, seeking quashing of the proceedings, Mr Justice Pritam Pal, while staying proceedings in the matter, issued notice of motion for February 11.


Mann activists demonstrate against Bibi
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 3
The case against Bibi Jagir Kaur, being tried for the alleged murder of her daughter Harpreet Kaur, was adjourned to January 4.

The approver in the case, Dr B.S Sohal, informed the court that he had applied for anticipatory bail in a Delhi court but his application had been rejected. However, a fresh application seeking bail had been admitted in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Additional District Sessions Judge Mr S.P. Bangar, then adjourned the case for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, scores of SAD (Mann) activists gathered outside the District Courts to protest the inaction against the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, forcing her to make a backdoor entry.

The SAD (Mann) activists turned up in a large number to register their protest. Prominent among them were Mr Jaskaran Singh, secretary of the District unit of SAD (Mann), Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa and Ms Surinder Kaur, both members of the SGPC, Mr Sadhu Singh Pirjain, president of Fatehgarh unit, Mr Kabul Singh Jhil, senior vice-president, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, president of the youth wing, Mr Satnam Singh Behru of the BKU and Mr N.P. Singh, press secretary to Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.


Notice to 6 depts on PIL by lawyers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 3
Seeking directives for checking encroachments and pollution, maintaining the flow of traffic and ensuring basic civic amenities, local lawyers have filed the first-ever public interest litigation (PIL)petition in the district court against six departments of the Punjab Government.

The court of Mr Tejinderbir Singh issued notices to the departments for hearing scheduled on February 12. The departments include Ministry of Environmental and Pollution Control, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Local Bodies and Urban Development, Department, of Home Affairs and municipal corporation.

The court accepted the plea of the lawyers and exempted them from serving notice to defenders under Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code. The lawyers include Mr Darbara Singh Dhillon, president of All-India Lawyers’ Union, Punjab, and members of the of All-India Lawyers Union.

The lawyers said the residents had to bear noises from the loudspeakers from religious places and jagrans that had become a regular affair in Jalandhar, Kartarpur, Bhogpur and Adampur. They said while CNG has been mandatory for vehicles in Delhi and Chandigarh, nothing had been done to check the rising level of pollution in the district.


Travel agent remanded in custody
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 3
A local court has sent a travel agent, arrested for duping a farmer of Rs 9.5 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad, to judicial custody till January 14.

According to an investigation officer of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the district police, Mr Jagjit Singh, a case was registered under Sections 406, 420, IPC, against Sanjeev Sharma of Sodal road on October 14, 2003, following a complaint by Gurmeet Singh of Daroli Kalan village near here.

The complainant alleged that he had paid a sum of Rs 9.5 lakh and given his passport to the accused for making visa arrangements for him to migrate to Canada. But, neither Sanjeev managed to secure a visa for him or returned his money back despite repeated assurances in this regard, Gurmeet alleged.

After an investigation, a special police party, today conducted a raid at his residence and arrested him from the spot. He was later produced in the court, which remanded him to judicial custody after expiry of the police remand till January 14.


Citrus plants to be imported from USA, says Randhawa
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 3
Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister for Horticulture, Punjab, said here today that new varieties of citrus plants from Florida in USA would be imported to explore new marketing avenues.

Speaking at a state-level citrus show, organised by the Horticulture Department here he agreed that the growers had been facing problems as kinnow processing had not been viable due to short life. New varieties would have to be developed as farmers preferred fruit growing under the crop diversification plan. Two kinnow grading plants had already been set up in the region. Abohar had the largest area under fruit production, while Hoshiarpur took the second place in the state.

Mr Randhawa was accompanied by Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, former Irrigation Minister, Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar, Chairman, IFFCO, Mr Ravinderpal Singh Sandhu, MLA from Ferozepore cantonment, Mr Bidhi Chand Thakur, Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, and Mr Jaskiran Singh, SDM.

They were received by Mr Nahar Singh Mavi and Mr P.R. Chaudhry, Area Managers, at IFFCO and KRIBHCO stalls during a visit to the exhibition in which many insecticides and agriculture implements manufacturers participated. The visitors took interest in a drip irrigation stall put up by a private company.

A fruit exhibition was organised during the tow-day function. Different varieties of citrus selected during a competition by a screening committee were displayed. The visitors, including Mr Randhawa, were delighted to find that kinnows had become sweeter this time.

Scientists from Punjab Agriculture University and Horticulture Department read research papers and imparted guidance to fruit growers from different areas of the state.

Dr Mohinder Rinwa, Chairman, PUNCOM, who joined the minister at the function later, criticised the SAD-BJP combine government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal for depriving farmers of the Abohar and Fazilka areas of canal water for irrigation. As the ground water here is unfit for orchards, canal water is considered a life line for the fruit growers.

Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar, Chairman, IFFCO, regretted that the subsidy on be drip irrigation system had been decreased. He advised the farmers to adopt new techniques, ensure balanced use of fertilisers, avoid excessive insecticides spray on the recommendations of sellers and get ready for competitive marketing by improving the quality of crop. He assured all kind of information assistance in IT and printed material on behalf of IFFCO.


SHO booked on fraud charge
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 3
The division number one police here has booked Station House Officer (SHO), division number two, Sub-Inspector Anil Kumar under Sections 420, 465 and 467, of the IPC for tampering with the records.

According to and FIR registered on October 8, 2004, under Sections 420 and 380 of the IPC against Saleem Raja, alias Mohammed Saleem, his wife Kaloo, alias Shashi and their son, SHO Anil Kumar arrested all the accused.

It was later alleged that SHO then obtained certain blank signed papers from the accused who had applied for bail before Mr Jora Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur.

The Sessions Judge, after perusal of police file, noticed that SHO had played foul while arresting the accused.

Later, on the directives of the Sessions Judge , a case was registered against erring SHO. The SHO has absconded.


Kidnapped boy found murdered
Our Correspondent

Batala, January 3
Pankaj Kumar (20) who had been kidnapped yesterday, was found dead today by a police party headed by DSP Parampal Singh.

His motor cycle was recovered by the police from Hardo Jhande village, 7 km from here, on the Batala-Amritsar road.

Mr Jatinder Jain, chief of the Batala police, told this correspondent that Pankaj Kumar was killed by his enemies with a sword.

Mr Jain said Pankaj Kumar was kidnapped by some persons yesterday and a case had been registered under Section 364 of the IPC in the regard.

Now Sadar Police Station had registered a case under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC.

The body of the deceased had been handed over to his family after post-mortem at the local Civil Hospital.


Father among 2 held for abduction bid
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, January 3
The district police today arrested two persons for attempt to abduct a five-year-old child while he was playing in a park near Shiv Colony here last evening.

An FIR was lodged in late last night on a complaint of Ms Tanuja, a resident of Shiv Colony. In her complaint, Ms Tanuja said that she had been living with her parents after she separated from her husband, Ved Prakash, nearly three years back.

Ms Tanuja alleged that Ved Prakash, along with Manjit Kaur, alias Bholi, yesterday tried to abduct her child from the park by luring him with toffees. She has stated that while her husband was trying to do this, she got the information from her nephews who were also playing in the park. She said that she immediately reached the spot and was able to timely rescue her son.


Woman leaves for dera, untraced
Tribune News Service

Jaito, January 3
The wife of Army jawan Ranjeet Singh is reported to have gone missing. The incident came to light when Ranjeet Singh came to his native village, Chandbhan, near here, on leave.

According to Ranjeet's father, his daughter-in-law, Kamaljeet Kaur, had gone to the dera of Baba Paramjit Singh at Langeana village on December 28 and had not returned since then.

As per a complaint lodged with the local police, Ranjeet had visited the dera of the Baba and enquired about her whereabouts from his sister's home at Langeana.

Kamaljeet had some health problems and the Baba had asked her to visit his dera, the jawan said. The police is investigating the matter.


Man murdered
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 3
A 65-year-old man, Ved Parkash, was found murdered at Sanghera village, about 10 km from here, today.

He was hit on the head when he was sleeping at his residence last night.

A case has been registered.


Protest against denial of headship to varsity teacher
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 3
The Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association (GNDUTA) led by Dr Davinder Singh, president of the association today launched an agitation to protest against the denial of the post of head of Department of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy Dr G. S. Kang and against the alleged failure of the authorities concerned ‘to save the autonomy of the university’.

The executive of the association staged a dharna outside the Vice-Chancellors office along with faculty members. They raised slogans against the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the university, and Vice-chancellor Dr S. P. Singh.

It also threatened to intensify the agitation. Dr Davinder Singh said the association would continue its struggle till the university ‘autonomy’ was restored.

The association challenged the Governor to debate on the issue and prove them wrong. Dr Davinder Singh alleged that the Governor’s directive was in total contravention of university statues.

He alleged that some local politicians and government-nominated members of the university Syndicate had played a ‘nefarious role’ on the issue. He said the proposed amendments would thwart any development of such disciplines in the university.

The executive members of the association alleged that the conspiracy was hatched by vested interests to deny the headship to Dr Kang, who was an eligible candidate for the post as per the university statutes.

Meanwhile, Dr R. S. Bawa, Registrar, on the directions of the Vice-Chancellor appointed Dr Jai Rup Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, as the officiating Head of the Department of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, till next orders.

The students association of the department has welcomed the orders. The National Human Right Forum has also welcomed the step.


Expedite probe into college affairs: PCCTU
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 3
Dr Jagwant Singh, general secretary of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), has urged Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, to expedite the probe into Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera (Barnala), affairs and demanded appointment of an administrator in the college to ensure its smooth functioning.

These demands were made by Dr Jagwant Singh in his letter on December 31, 2004 to the Sangrur DC (a copy of the letter is available with this reporter) and also forwarded a copy to Mrs Nisha Sarad, DPI (Colleges) Punjab, for an appropriate action.

He expressed thanks to the DC for ordering probe into the affairs of the college, and hoped that the inquiry would bring out facts on the mismanagement in college.

Dr Jagwant Singh regretted that non-payment of salaries since January, 2004 had been a matter of concern to the PCCTU, alleging that the salary accounts were also being manipulated.


Computer course for village girls
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 3
About 50 girls of Government Senior Secondary School at Mehraj village in this district attended eight-day computer foundation course that was organised at Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Bathinda cantonment from December 22 to December 30, 2004.

According to a press note issued here today, in this course, which was organised by the Army authorities, the girls were taught the basic fundamentals of computers, including MS Word and MS PowerPoint. Pick and drop facility was also provided to the girls during the course.

At its last day, certificates were also given to those girls.


Students to give Rs 2 lakh for tsunami victims
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 3
The staff and students of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College have decided to contribute about Rs 2 lakh for the tsunami victims.

The Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, said a condolence meeting was held today and it was decided that the staff would donate two days' salary and the students would donate Rs 100 each.

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