P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab CM firm on VAT implementation
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Paragpur (Kapurthala), February 4
Virtually favouring imposition of the much-criticised value added tax (VAT) in the state, the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, today said VAT would lower the tax pilferage and would be an instrument for fetching more revenue for the state.

He also indicated that almost all government vacancies would be filled in the state on contract basis in future, keeping in view the financial constraints being faced by the state.

Talking to mediapersons on occasion of marriage of son of Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Avtaar Henry here today, the Chief Minister said VAT was successful wherever it was applicable. “What it will bring after its implementation will be a straight cut in sales and other tax pilferage. For example, in Haryana, which has lower tax base as compared to Punjab, tax revenue is around Rs 5,300 crore. But, in case of Punjab, where more number of people pay tax, the annual tax revenue is just Rs 3000 crore. So, in my view it will bring its goodness to Punjab also,” said the Chief Minister.

In reply to a question about recruitments in the Health Department, he indicated that the state government would go in for contract recruitment in future. “By and large, we are going for contract recruitment wherever required. It is happening everywhere now,” he said. In the same breath, he, however, said the state had not decided as yet as to how to replace octroi. “We had sought suggestions from a private company about octroi alternatives, but no satisfactory alternative has come in the way so far,” he added.

Referring to reported dissidence by Maj Rajbir Singh in Ajnala, the Chief Minister tried to give a pleasant twist to the whole issue by saying,” I hope he is still in the Congress as he is a dedicated party worker and a disciplined ex-Army officer. Moreover, he hails from a dedicated Congress family and I would rather appeal him to sit in favour of Congress candidate.”

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was flanked by Punjab Ministers, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Jalandhar Improvement Trust Chairman Tejinder Bittu, said SAD supreme Parkash Singh Badal had already started crying foul only to indicate that he would loose the Ajnala election.

Talking about the issue of support of the Congress by the CPI, CPM, he said the matter was being dealt with by the PPCC chief Mr H.S. Hanspal. “We have not held any talks with the BSP so far,” he added.

Assuring that he had already approved power growth plan expenditure at the rate of 50 per cent, the Chief Minister said a number of new power generation units were being set up in the state to meet the increasing demand. “Apart from stage II Lehra Mohabbat-based Thermal Plant, the government has planned to set up a 70-MW plant at Mukerian, while the GBK Corp, a private company which had left the 500-MW Goindwal plant, has expressed desire to continue. We are planning to double the 2700-MW power generation capacity in next five years,” he said.

Referring to shifting of Punjab industry to neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was hoping that Punjab would attract long-term industrial projects even before the lapse of tax holidays to neighbouring states in 2007.


Traders protest against VAT
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 4
The Amritsar Stationery Traders Association today burned an effigy of value-added tax (VAT) to protest against the Central and state government decision to implement VAT from April 1.

The protesters raised slogans against the government. Mr Rakesh Bajaj and Mr Gurbag Singh Bagi, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, alleged that various tax-free stationery items would now be taxed under the VAT regime.

The association announced to support the nationwide protest called by the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal on February 21.


BJP leader blamed for blowing up Patrewalla incident
No atrocity committed on any Dalit: report
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 4
The three-member team of General Categories Welfare Federation constituted to probe the Patrewalla (Abohar) incident has made its report public and claimed that no incident involving any kind of atrocity on those belonging to the Scheduled Castes had taken place in the village as was widely reported in the media in the recent past.

The State Finance Secretary of the federation, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, who led the inquiry team, in his report, said no incident of any kind of atrocities on the Scheduled Castes had taken place in the village. He said allegations had been levelled that some people belonging to the Scheduled Castes had alleged that their kin were forced to drink their own urine from slippers at gun point by some people belonging to upper castes. He said some unscrupulous leaders who had wanted to take mileage from the issue had been blamed in the inquiry report.

Mr Sidhu said that during their investigations they had met all people concerned with the incident, including the sitting panchayat members, prominent residents of the village, the then Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station concerned and some district officials. He said the incident had started after two village youth, one a Jat Sikh (a student of Class VIII) and the other belonging to the Rai Sikh community (a student of Class XI), had a minor clash and their parents and kin reached a compromise after mediation by the prominent residents of the village. No one had any grudge or ill will against the other party after the initial compromise.

He said after about 15 days of the incident and compromise a leader of the BJP from Jalandhar conspired to blow this minor incident into a major controversy. He said the name of this BJP leader had also figured prominently in the Talhan (Jalandhar) incident also.

The leader organised no meeting in the village, lodged no complaint with the police authorities or the district administration but took the matter to the media. The leader made sure that the incident was projected as a violation of the human rights and human dignity even through nothing of that sort had ever happened in the village.

He alleged that the said leader misled the people and organised a dharna in front of the residence of Ms Sonia Gandhi and misled the SC/ST Commission to send a team to the village to inquire into the incident.

Mr Sidhu said the falseness of the complaint was revealed by the fact that no compaint had been lodged with the police to take necessary action. He pointed out that when then SHO of the area police station, who conducted a probe after orders by SC/ST commission, Mr Rattan Singh, inquired into the alleged incident impartially, he was sent to police lines. Ironically, an inquiry and subsequent report by the Ferozepore range DIG Police had also termed the incident as fictitious and fake.

Interestingly, Mr Gurdas Singh Jakhar, village sarpanch, who was projected as the key accused in the whole episode was not even present in the village on the day of the incident.

Mr Sidhu, while talking to The Tribune, demanded a CBI probe should be ordered into the incident.


Punjab Cabinet to camp in Ajnala
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Ajnala, February 4
All members of the Punjab Cabinet, the four Mayors and MLAs of the ruling party will camp in this constituency till the completion of the campaign for the byelection, scheduled to be held on February 23. Work of the Punjab Civil Secretariat is likely to suffer due to this.

According to the list of the Congress, released by Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Congress MLA and media incharge of the party, Mr Lal Singh would be the in charge of the Ajnala byelection while Mr Sant Ram Singla, Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, would be the in charge of the main election office. Mr Jagjit Singh, Cabinet minister would be in charge of canvassing in areas where Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes resided whereas ministers, chairpersons of corporations and boards, and MLAs would camp in specific villages.

Meanwhile, Mr Amarpal Singh Bonny, today filed his nomination papers as Shiromani Akali Dal candidate. His mother, Dr Avtar Kaur (wife of Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala) filed papers as covering candidate. Earlier, Ms Tejinder Kaur filed her papers as covering candidate of her husband, Mr Harpartap Singh Congress nominee.


Contractor, mining officials indicted for damage to Siswan bundh
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, February 4
A government inquiry has indicted a contractor for damaging the bundh along the Siswan river in the Kharar area besides officials of the Mining Department for failing to stop such activity.

It is learnt that the SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, in a report sent to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner on February 2, said after inquiring into the matter it had been found that the contractor was deliberately lifting sand from near the bundh ignoring the terms and conditions specified in this regard.

According to sources, it was further stated in the report that even officials of the Mining Department were responsible in this regard as they did not stop the contractor for indulging in the illegal activity. They neither made any recommendation to get the contract of lifting sand from Siswan river cancelled. In order to save various areas from getting flooded, it was necessary that either the contractor worked according to the specified terms and conditions or his contract was cancelled.

The SDM has recommended an explanation from officials concerned of the Mining Department.

The Department of Mining gave contracts for lifting of sand, stones etc from river beds but the contracts were given under various sections of the Mining Act keeping in mind the safety aspect. The department had been told not to allow any person or contractor to lift any material within a distance of 200 ft from the bundh. Mining guards were deputed for stopping people from indulging in illegal activity in the 200 ft area.

According to sources, the SDM had pointed out in the inquiry report that at present the flow of the Siswan river was along the southern bank. The contractor was lifting sand from the area falling in the 200 ft limit. Due to the depth created by lifting sand from this area, the flow of water eroded the bundh. This resulted in flooding in the nearby villages causing damage to life and property. Moreover, the government had to spend lakhs to repair the breached parts.

Quoting an example, the SDM said that in 2002 a breach occurred near Thuska village which resulted in flooding and Saholi village was covered by nearly 10 ft of water. Later, Rs 12 lakh were spent by the Department of Water Resources (Investigation) to fill the gap in the bundh.

During rainy season, the Siswan river caused widespread destruction in Tiur, Rakoli, Jhingran Kalan, Perpur, Naglia, Fatehgarh and Allahpur villages falling under Kharar sub division.

In order to save the people from the natural disaster, the government had spent crores on making bundhs on the northern and southern side of the Siswan river. The distance between the two bundhs was about 700 m.

It is learnt that residents of the affected villages had met the Ropar Deputy Commissioner and expressed their fears regarding the Siswan river.

The Deputy Commissioner had then asked the SDM to probe into the matter.


Closure of insurance company’s office worries investors
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 4
The office of a private insurance company, who had displayed emblem of a government bank to claim affiliation, has been lying closed since January 22 here. This has increased worries of the customers, the sources said.

According to information, the office was opened near the municipal bus stand at first floor of a privately-owned commercial complex. The local citizens had been reportedly receiving calls from the employees of the insurance company every morning. They had been told that their name was found in the lucky draw, so they should visit the office to collect a gift. The visitors were then convinced to get insurance cover at competitive rates under different schemes.

They were reportedly offered up to 50 per cent rebate on the first instalment of premium.

The sub-divisional town had faced the brunt of finance, saving, insurance and marketing companies during the past two decades, as the civil and police authorities had ignored all complaints due to vested interest. Some marketeers, who offered domestic goods, including costly electronics gadgets and vehicles at half the actual price, had succeeded in getting sales tax registration number due to rampant corruption. Hundreds of citizens were duped. The police later found that the addresses given by them were fake.

The local citizens said they had informed the State Bank office here that the insurance company was using official emblem of the bank to convince the customers by claiming that the company, with its headquarters at Mumbai, was a subsidiary of the bank. The officers expressed their ignorance about this, and did not report the matter to their head office or local police.

The employees working at the insurance company’s office said they had not been paid salaries. The telephones of the company were also out of order. An officer said that the six-month rent contract had also lapsed, so they had to shift the office. The furniture and other fixture had been reportedly shifted to Bathinda. The customers not only belonged to this region, but also from Sriganganagar district in Rajasthan also, the sources said. The administration was waiting for a complaint in writing before starting investigation into the alleged bungling. 


India self-reliant in space technology, says ISRO chief
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 4
India is not only almost self-reliant, but on a par with the USA and other developed nations as far as technical knowhow in the field of space research and technology is concerned. These are the views of Dr G. Madhavan Nair, a space research technologist and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Dr G. Madhavan Nair talked to The Tribune about the unique focus of space research for development of rural India as per Vision 2020 of the President, the moon mission and the establishment of an orbiting astronomical laboratory for acquiring more knowledge about the galaxy and other space developments.

“As far as space technology is concerned, we are lacking nowhere. We are almost self-reliant, upto 95 per cent. Sometimes we go in for an imported space shuttle or other components just for economic and commercial reasons and not that we cannot make these. Technologically and research-wise, we are on a par with the USA or any other developed country. Our space research programme is unique and unparalleled as we make use of most part of it for development. Unlike other countries, we also utilise the space technology for education, communication and development of rural IndiaThe President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has kept rural development as his priority and our space programme is moving ahead as per his preferences, and in a direction where we will be able to use space technology for the benefit of ordinary people,” said Dr Nair.

Dr Nair said the moon mission, wherein a spacecraft will be sent to gather maximum information about the terrain of the moon, was likely to be completed by 2007. He said an orbiting astronomical laboratory for astronomical developments, would be established in space by 2007. “With the help of the labortary we will be able to keep a sharp eye on the galaxy and we will be able to see dying stars,” said Dr Nair.

He further said the current year’s programme of ISRO would revolve around launching four satellites, to be used for communication, spread of education, predicting natural calamities like floods and earthquakes, preparing a data base and mapping of the country. “Our carto-sat satellite will be equipped with highly sophisticated stereoscopic camera and its objective will be to map the country. Our another priority is to provide rural communication and to enhance digital communication capability,” said Dr Nair.

He, however, indicated that space research and technology could be of little help in predicting tsunami-like calamities. “Since it is an ocean-based development, we have to establish ocean-based platforms. As far as space research is concerned, we can provide communication facility for such platforms, which can detect under-sea developments,” said Dr Nair. Referring to the Neil Armstrong controversy, Dr Nair said he was a member of the team, which was observing his landing on the moon at Thumba. “Through a communication network, we could hear voices, indicating that he had landed on the moon,” he said.


Goa developments shameful: Dhindsa

Chandigarh, February 4
“If the developments in Goa are any indication, the Congress is back to its dictatorial and anti-people policies,” says Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal. He said the developments during the past few days were not only “disturbing and shameful” but also a grave threat to democracy.

He said the dismissal of a democratically elected government was a grim reminder of the Emergency in which the Congress had “subverted” democracy in the country. He said by these actions, the Congress-led UPA government had thrown to the wind the basic tenets of a democratic set-up and sent a wrong message. — TNS


SGPC meeting on Golden Temple status sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The SGPC member from Mohali, Mr Hardeep Singh, has urged the SGPC to withdraw the ‘nomination dossier’ submitted to through the Government of India to seek heritage status for Sri Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple).

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Hardeep Singh, said there were certain controversial references with regard to the Golden Temple and Gurbani in the dossier. He said the meeting of the general house of the SGPC should be called to discuss such references.

Mr Hardeep Singh, who has also written to the Director of the Unesco in this regard, said several issues required to be discussed. Foremost of these was whether there is any need to seek heritage status for the Golden Temple. What would be the benefit of such status? Is there other central religious place of any community which has been given heritage status? he asked.

He alleged that the dossier was kept secret by the persons concerned and shown to only a few chosen members of the SGPC. He said that the Golden Temple was not a monument as being projected by certain persons. “Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht were torch-bearers of the sikh philosophy, ideology and ethos,” he added.

He said if the ‘dossier’ having objectionable contents was once accepted by the Unesco, it would become a reference document for the entire world.

“Such a development would cause great harm to Sikhism and distort its meaning and philosophy worldwide,” he added.

Mr Hardeep Singh said if the meeting of the general house of SGPC was not called, then he would organise a meeting of Sikh intellectuals, religious leaders and others concerned to discuss the matter. 


Seminar to take up rural development issues
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 4
Expressing concern over schooling in rural areas, Dr Sardara Singh Johl, Deputy Chairman, Punjab State Planning Commission said despite teachers being highly qualified and highly paid the standard of education imparted in rural schools was ‘dismal’ in comparison to private school.

“There is a dire need of providing the basic facilities of quality education, employment, medical, sanitation, agro-based and agro-processed industries etc. for actual rural development. The prosperity of the state is directly and inextricably interlinked with the progress in agriculture, as is the case in the rest of the country”.

Dr Johl made these observations while inaugurating a two-day national seminar on Agricultural and Rural Development, including Industrialisation in Punjab, here today at Guru Nanak Dev University.

Giving details about the diversification programme, he said “our water and soil are not sustainable. Rice is certainly not the crop for this area.

It is an enemy of Punjab and steps should be taken to remove it for the state and try to find out other alternatives. Our water level had already gone down 120 ft. due to paddy and over pumping of water. Alternatives could be in cultivation of kinnow, edible crops, Safaid Moosli, should be encouraged among the farmers. Our farmers are very small entrepreneurs and we can not compete with the world market. Therefore, we should adopt contract farming and non-farming measures to generate income in rural areas”, said the Deputy Chairman.

On recent migratory labour employment figures Dr Johl revealed that 37.1 lakh migratory labourers were working in Punjab who siphoned Rs 3,500 crore annually to their parent states. “This is a serious question, which needs to be discussed by the economists taking part in this seminar”, he added.

Pleading for quality education to rural youth he said hike in the costs of higher education have made it (higher education ) beyond the means of rural youth .

Talking about the employment generation, Dr Johl suggested that agro-based and agro-processed industries should be established in rural areas.

The seminar was organised by the Punjab School of Economics under special assistance programme of UGC, the seminar was presided over by Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, GNDU .

Dr. Johl further stressed the need to pay attention to sanitation and health facilities in villages in the light of miserable state of affairs there.

Despite a health infrastructure and qualified doctors in rural areas there is always a shortage of required medicines in health centres, he added. He called for public servants working in the rural areas to be made answerable to the people.

The theme of the seminar would cover the issues of crop and farm diversification, contract farming, WTO and agri-related issues, agro-processing, farm and non-farm employment, rural education and health education issues. More than 40 research papers by 75 economists of national repute would be presented in the seminar.

The Vice-Chancellor on this occasion honoured Dr Johl by presenting him Phulkari, a symbol of Punjabi heritage.


Vedanti, Badal to attend Guru Nanak Mission function
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 4
Development of Punjab and contribution of NRIs in it and the state of education in Punjab, will be the two core issues which will be discussed by scholars during the two-day silver jubilee functions of the Guru Nanak Mission and Educational Trust, Dhahan Kaleran in Nawanshahr district, scheduled to begin from from February 5.

The trust was running a number of educational institutions, drug deaddiction institutes and premier hospitals in the Doaba area.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, the Akal Takht jathedar, the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, the SAD supreme, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, would be among guests, said Ms Sushil Kaur an office bearer and Mr Budh Singh Dhahan, president of the trust.

Religious films, including Mangal Dhillon’s ‘Khalsa’, Khalsa laser show, folk songs, slide shows and documentary films would be other attractions of the functions, said Ms 
Sushil Kaur.


Rights panel orders probe against Barnala SP
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Acting on a complaint of sexual harassment by Ms Harpal Kaur, a resident of Jalandhar district, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today ordered an inquiry against Barnala SP Mohinder Singh Teji.

In his order, Mr NK Arora, member, sought a report from the commission DGP and adjourned the case till May 25. Mr Arora also ordered the Jalandhar SSP to protect the life, liberty and dignity of Ms Harpal Kaur, a resident of Sagarpur village in Jalandhar district.

Ms Harpal Kaur, in her application before the commission through her counsel, Mr Arvind Thakur and Mr Neelam Singh, alleged that she was "sexually exploited" by the police official when he was posted as SP at Jalandhar in December 2003.

She alleged that Teji falsely implicated her husband,who is a physically-challenged person, in a narcotics case. Thereafter she was "sexually exploited" by the official and threatened that her husband would also be implicated in a murder case.

She alleged that she had been receiving threatening calls for the past one month after the case was highlighted in the media, she said. 


Cyber laws training for police, says Phillaur academy chief
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, February 4
The Additional Director-General of Police, Mr Chander Shekhar, who assumed the charge of Director, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy here, yesterday announced that special training courses for checking human rights violations by cops and handling crimes related to information technology, especially cyber laws and misuse of camera mobile phones would be launched soon.

He said services of forensic experts in crime investigation would also be used more frequently.

A 1977 IPS batch officer, Mr Chander Shekhar told The Tribune that he was pained by high number of human rights violation cases against the police and would concentrate to tackle the issue at the training level only.

Mr Shekhar, who was earlier posted as IGP with the academy for three years, has a first hand assessment about the level of training and the changes required.

Revealing the ongoing modernisation of the academy, Mr Shekhar said the state government had approved Rs 2 crore for setting up of a regional forensic lab with DNA testing facility, besides setting up of a new forensic science laboratory.


Akali MLAs donate Rs 7 lakh for tsunami hit
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 4
SAD MLAs today collected Rs 7 lakh by donating one month’s salary towards tsunami relief fund. In a press note the SGPC informed that SAD MLAs had donated the sum to the SGPC to be forwarded for tsunami victims. Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC president, stated that the Shiromani committee had sent crores to Tamil Nadu for the victims.

In addition to that a sum of Rs 1 crore worth of medicines along with a team of 26 doctors has been sent to the affected areas. The team would camp there for one month during which a langar would also be organised, she added.


Khalra case witness seeks CBI security
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 4
Jaswant Singh Khalra disappearance case key witness Rajiv Singh yesterday claimed that he had not approached the Director-General of Police (DGP), Punjab, for providing security to him as he had no faith in the security cover provided by the Punjab Police.

Answering a question during cross-examination in a local court, Rajiv Singh said he had written to the Director, CBI urging that he be provided security other than that of Punjab Police.


Employees union stages dharna
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 4
The Technical and Mechanical Employees Union organised a dharna and held a demonstration here at the divisional office of the PWD (Public Health) Department to express resentment over the non-acceptance of their demands for a long period.

Presidents of different units, including Mr Piara Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Mr Nopa Ram and Mr Dula Ram addressed the gathering. They were joined by other senior office-bearers, including Mr Om Parkash, Mr Lal Chand, Mr Rajinder Kumar and Mr Banwari Lal Chopra.

They urged the state government that workers employed during past two decades on master roll be regularised. They regretted that pay scale for fitters had been decreased.

The union demanded that promotion benefits be implemented for all categories of employees without forcing any conditions. Those who had passed the departmental test be promoted as Junior Engineers immediately.


Action against District Mandi Officer sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 4
The secretaries of various Market Committees (MCs) of the district have urged the chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board to take action against the Sangrur District Mandi Officer (DMO) Ramesh Chand Jindal for allegedly “insulting” Mr Gurcharan Singh Dhaliwal, Secretary, Market Committee, Sangrur, at a meeting here on Wednesday.

They have also warned the board authorities that if matter was not resolved soon, then they would take up the issue with the state-level association of secretaries of MCs.

In the representation they alleged that the DMO used derogatory language against them at various monthly and other special meetings. Citing example, they alleged that the DMO had convened a meeting of secretaries of the MCs on Wednesday in connection with a meeting of the Secretary, Mandi Board, about development works. Mr Dhaliwal, the Sangrur MC secretary, could not come to the meeting due to arrival of chairman of Sangrur Market Committee in his office. So, he sent his accountant to attend the meeting. When the chairman left his office, Mr Dhaliwal too went to attend the meeting. On this, the DMO “insulted” Mr Dhaliwal at the meeting by using non-official language, they alleged.

When contacted, Mr Ramesh Chand Jindal, District Mandi Officer, Sangrur, over the phone, he refuted the allegations levelled against him. He said he had not used any improper word against Mr Dhaliwal as he simply asked Mr Dhaliwal why he had come late for the meeting.


District-level convention

Bathinda, February 4
The Punjab State Ministerial Services Union will hold a district-level convention at the local Teachers Home on February 16 to consider their demands letter. 

The union has demanded 15 per cent house rent, to increase grade of junior assistant and time bound pay scales for the employees of Municipal Corporation. — OC


Rs 1.25-lakh relief ordered for medical negligence
Our Correspondent

Nabha, February 3
The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum and provided compensation worth Rs 1.25 lakh, including cost of litigation and expenses incurred on the treatment, to a local resident. He had claimed that his wife Babita Rani, a diabetic patient, had died due to negligence by Dr K.N. Sharma of Dhuri.

The Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum had found Dr Sharma guilty of negligence but he had moved The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum challenging the order.

Justice H.K. Sema and Justice Arun Kumar of the The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum had maintained status quo in the case.

According to the order of the forum, Babita Rani, who had been suffering from diabetes, anaemia and intestinal blockage, was admitted to the Sharma Nursing Home of Dr K.N. Sharma on February 2, 1999, at 2.30 pm. Though she had been a known diabetic, she was administered 10 bottles of glucose in eight hours without insulin injections.

Another irregularity on the part of hospital authorities was the blood transfusion had been done without checking her blood group. They put the frozen blood in hot water before giving it to the victim. In this process the blood gets spoiled.

Immediately after the administration of blood, her condition deteriorated. A report of the CMO says no private doctor shall administer or obtain blood of any patient in his nursing home without a Blood Bank licence.

Seeing her condition deteriorating, the hospital authorities referred her to the Medical College, Patiala, and even at that time the patient was being given glucose.

On the way when the condition of the patient deteriorated her relatives took her to Dr Singla's Clinic at Sangrur where the patient died. At the time of death her blood sugar was 688, blood urea 130 and serum creatinine 4.6. Test reports showed that she was in coma due to high sugar and urea.


3 duped by travel agent
Tribune News Service

Jaito, February 4
Some local Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) leaders today claimed to have rescued three Jaito residents from a deceptive travel agent of Kapurthala ensuring repayment of Rs 6.75 lakh to them.

The LBP in charge in Kotkapura, Mr Sukhchain Singh Bargadi, said Puran Singh, Sikandar Singh, and Kulwinder Singh, had paid Rs 6.75 lakh to the travel agent for sending them to Italy, but the agent sent them to Hong Kong.

Sikandar Singh somehow managed to return, but the other two are still in Hong Kong. One of them is languishing in jail, as the police caught him for getting employed in an illegal manner.

When the family members of these persons demanded their money back from the travel agent, he started dilly-dallying. They then approached the LBP chief, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who asked his party leaders to redress their grievances. The party leaders succeeded in resolving the issue through compromise and made the travel agent return their money. 


Cong leader booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 4
Tarlok Singh Chakwallia, Congress leader from Patti, along with another person Amarjit Singh has been booked for a fraud case by Patti police. Tarlok Singh was the Congress nominee from Patti Assembly constituency in the election held in February 2002. He had lost the election to Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon.

The police said today here that a case has been registered against the accused. The case has been registered on the complaint of District Manager, Punjab State Godam Nigam, Amritsar, who alleged that Tarlok Singh along with his aide had forcibly entered the godown and took away paddy by loading it in trucks thus defrauding the government.


Spurious desi ghee seized, two arrested
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 4
Acting on a tipoff, a team of the CIA staff from Bahadur Singh Wala, yesterday arrested two brothers from Malerkotla on the charge of preparing spurious desi ghee while their father absconded. The CIA staff also seized spurious desi ghee and some material used in preparing it.

After receiving information about the preparation of spurious desi ghee at a house in Kapas Mill Colony of Malerkotla, a team of the CIA staff raided the house of Kimti Rai Bansal. During the raid, the CIA staff arrested Ajay Kumar Bansal and Gaurav Bansal, both brothers, and seized 10 tins of spurious desi ghee containing 14.5 kg each. The CIA staff also seized two tins of refined oil and some chemicals.

A case under Section 420 of the IPC, Section 7 of the EC Act and Milk and Milk Products Act, 1992, was registered. The accused were produced in the court of the Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate at Malerkotla today, who remanded them in police custody for one day.


3 convicted in Vigilance cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
A junior engineer (JE), two inspectors and a clerk have been convicted by Special Courts for Vigilance Cases in different cases. They have also been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with fine. All accused were booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

A bureau spokesman said the JE with the Punjab State Electricity Board in Hoshiarpur district, Ved Parkash Singh, was nabbed in 2003 while allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 1,500 from the complainant for installing a new domestic electricity meter in his house.

In the other case, Punsup inspectors Baljit Singh Bhullar and Parkash Singh were booked after a Vigilance Team during a surprise check found about 1748 quintals of wheat missing from a godown under their custody. The two were posted at Gidderbaha.

The spokesman added that clerk Ram was allegedly caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 400 from the complainant to measure his land.


SC, ST engg students exempted from paying fee
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 4
The Punjabi University today decided to exempt all Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students studying at the Yadvindra College of Engineering at Talwandi Sabo from paying any fee till scholarship or financial aid meant for them was received from the government. Twentytwo students would benefit from the decision.

The Syndicate meeting, which was presided over by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai and attended by former Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor G.S. Kalkat and Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Sant Ram Singla, also decided to appoint Dr R.K. Sehgal Director of the University College of Engineering.

The Syndicate also gave its formal approval for establishing a separate department of Gurmat sangeet and approved a separate budget of Rs 44 lakh for this purpose. It also approved a number of projects relating to the development of the Punjabi language, which included writing of history of modern Punjabi literature by Dr Tejwant Gill, and preparation of Malwai Kosh by Manvinder Singh Sekhon and Kathavastu Kosh by Rajinder Singh Lamba.

The annual budget of the Technical Centre for the Development of Punjabi Language was increased by Rs 20 lakh while linguist Dr Harjit Singh Gill was given a project of transcreating the Guru Nanak Bani into English.

To streamline the functioning of government colleges under its jurisdiction, the Syndicate formed an advisory committee, of which the Principal, his two nominees and two nominees of the University would be members. To reduce and streamline the nomenclature of various technical posts in teaching and research departments, the university converged seven designations into three — Senior Technical Assistant, Technical Assistant and Junior Technical Assistant.


National award for Dr Teja
Our Correspondent

Batala, February 4
Dr David Teja, Head of the Postgraduate Department of Hindi, BUC College, Batala, has been selected for the National Award for Innovative College Teachers for the session 2004-05 by All-India Association for Christian Higher Education (AIACHE), New Delhi.

‘Rev.Fr.T.A.Mathias Award for Innovative College Teachers’ had been established in the honour of the founder general secretary of AIACHE, Rev.Fr.T.A.Mathias. This prestigious national award was awarded to Dr Teja as a mark of AIACHE’s recognition of his devotion to academic excellence, participation in the introduction of educational innovations, concern for the integrated development of students and commitment to high standard of professional ethics.

The management of BUC College and the Principal Prof (Dr) Hepesh Shepherd, today congratulated Dr Teja for this achievement. Teaching as a lecturer in the Department of Hindi, since 1989, Dr Teja has written four books. Many of his short stories have been broadcast on AIR, Jalandhar, apart from contributing articles for Punjabi and Hindi journals, newspapers and magazines of repute. He is serving the Academic Administration of various educational managements.

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