P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Private bodies give land worth crores to Punjabi University
Running of three regional campuses
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
It is a contradiction. On the one hand there is the Punjab Government which, admitting its failure to deliver on the education front, is contemplating the induction of private players to run its educational institutions while on the other hand there are the managements of private educational establishments which, having faith in the capability of government institutions to deliver, have donated property worth crores of rupees to them.

Last week, the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, said that the government would not mind handing over its educational institutions to bodies like the managements of DAV, SD and Khalsa schools, which could ensure better education. Even after spending nearly Rs 2,500 crore, the performance of government schools was dismal, he asserted.

However, there are people who still have a strong belief that even a government institution can deliver provided it is headed by a person of conviction.

The institution being referred to is Punjabi University, Patiala. This university, which has made a place for itself in the hearts of people in the Malwa region by starting Yadvindra College of Engineering at Talwandi Sabo for rural poor students, whose course has been fully financed by donors. Impressed by this gesture of the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Mr S.S. Boparai, the management committee of Khalsa High School, Mansa, has handed over 15 acres, worth Rs 25 crore, to the university for setting up its regional campus there. Till the completion of the campus building, a wing of the high school building has been offered to the university to run the regional campus.

A separate building has been provided by the management of the school for the girls’ hostel. The university is preparing to start classes in July at Mansa. It has made a commitment that students of Mansa subdivision will be given priority while making admissions to courses such as business management, veterinary sciences and fashion technology.

The management of TPD Malwa College, Phul (Rampura), in Bathinda district, has given the entire property of the college, including about 40 acres and a building of the institution, to the university through a gift deed. The property is worth Rs 50 crore. Earlier, the state government had offered to take over the college, but the management thought that Punjabi University could prove a better bet for students of the area.

The university has decided to set up a neighbourhood campus there to run professional courses, including engineering courses, besides MBA and MCA. The management of the Malwa college will make arrangements to run the campus at some other place till the new campus is built at the college site. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is scheduled to inaugurate the campus in June.

And then there is the Vishav Gurmat Rohani Mission Charitable Trust, Ratwara Sahib, near City Beautiful. The trust has given 10 acres, worth several crores of rupees, on lease for 99 years to the university for setting up the regional campus. The mission will provide its huge building to run the courses till the campus building comes up. “By handing over property worth Rs 100 crore, they have expressed so much faith in us that we will work hard to live up to their expectations. Mansa and Rampura are educationally backward areas and we will try to change the scenario by starting job-oriented courses there,” says Mr Boparai.

Dr Baltej Mann, Professor in charge, Resource Mobilisation and Advancement, says that it is a great honour for the university to start three campuses this year under its neighbourhood campus scheme at places where the whole initiative has been taken by people themselves.

It seems that people have not lost faith in government institutions. It is the government that has lost the will to run its own institutions.


Allow Punjabis to buy land in Rajasthan: NCM
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) will approach the Rajasthan Government for lifting the ban on residents of Punjab from buying land in the border state.

Commission Chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Tarlochan Singh said the issue had been raised on many occasions in the past by Punjabis, mainly Sikhs, but nothing had been done about it. He said many people were interested in buying agricultural land in Rajasthan and had complained the ban was a discriminatory practice against a minority community.

He said he would be visiting Jaipur in the coming days and would take up the issue with CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia. “ I am sure she will realise that the ban imposed by the then government in 1992 was not in the right spirit and was preventing people from Punjab from buying agricultural land in the border state,” he added.

The Chairman said Ms Raje was sympathetic to the problems of Sikhs and had announced the setting up of a Punjabi Academy in Jaipur to promote and develop this minority language in the state. This had been one of the long-pending demands of the community who were settled in large numbers along the Gang canal which was constructed in 1920 by Maharaja Ganga Singh of the erstwhile Bikaner State, he pointed out.

Sources revealed that although Sikhs had enjoyed buying rights from the 20s these were curtailed during the period of militancy in Punjab. The then government had reportedly instructed that any Punjabi buying land would have to get sanction from the District Collector. No sanction was accorded and this became the practice till 1991-92 when the government made it mandatory for a prospective buy to produce a domicile certificate of 1971.

The sources said in 2000 the government raised the limit by 10 years and it became possible for those with a 1981 domicile to buy land. Interestingly, the ban was applicable to Bikaner Division comprising the districts of Sriganganagar, Bikaner, Hanumangarh and Churu. 


PM to inaugurate Jammu-Udhampur rail section on April 13
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur April 5
The much awaited 53 km long Jammu-Udhampur rail section will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April 13.

This was confirmed by Divisonal Railway Manager Dharam Singh while talking to The Tribune here today. He said the tri-weekly Uttar Samparak Kranti Express would be flagged off on that day.

Giving details of the schedule of the train, which would run between New Delhi and Udhampur, Mr Dharam Singh said the train would leave New Delhi on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8.30pm while the train would leave Udhampur on every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 6.40pm.

He said the section was opened for goods trains last year, but could not be opened for passenger traffic due to several unavoidable reasons.

Replying a question, he said the 25km Udhampur-Katra railway section would be completed by the end of this year end. When asked about the security arrangements, Mr Dharam Singh said 1200 security personnel, including two battalions of Railway Protection Force, were deputed on the Udhampur-Jammu section for patrolling along rail tracks. The railways had sought additional 1200 security personnel for the security of Pathankot-Jammu-Udhampur rail route.

Answering another question, he said though the railways was ready to increase the speed of Shatabdi Express, running between Amritsar and New Delhi, the Research Designs and Standard Organisation in Lucknow was yet to clear the proposal to increase the speed by 100km per hour to 120 km.

He said railways have provided a stoppage of Swaran Shatabdi Express at Phagwara from April 15.He said the Shatabadi Express would stop at Phagwara railway station at 11.41am on its run towards Amritsar and would halt at Phagwara at 6.25pm while proceeding towards New Delhi. When asked about the safety measures, he said the Ferozepore division had bagged the trophy in this regard.

When asked to comment upon the Ludhiana episode in which some mediapersons were allegedly misbehaved and manhandled by the railway employees yesterday, Mr Dharam Singh said Divisonal Commercial Manager Vinod Bhatia would conduct an inquiry.

He admitted that about 700 unmanned level railway crossings in Ferozepore division, comprising nearly the entire Punjab, parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, would be converted into manned crossings in phased manner.


IT collection in Ludhiana region may cross
Rs 800 cr
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 5
Ludhiana Region Chief Commissionerate of Income Tax has collected revenue to the tune of Rs 770 crore and is likely to cross the figures of Rs 800 crore for the year 2004-2005 against the target of Rs 776 crore. The revenue receipts of March 30 and 31 are yet to be counted due to the bandh against VAT. The income tax authorities are expecting a sum of Rs 40 crore during these two days of March 30 and 31. The collection of income tax during 2003-2004 was to the tune of Rs 617 crore against the budget of Rs 527 crore.

The Ludhiana region of Chief Commissionerate Income Tax comprises Ludhiana, Khanna, Moga, Malerkotla, Phagwara, Jalandhar and Kapurthala. According to Mr Satpaul, Commissioner Income Tax, as many as 2.54 lakh income tax returns were received this year in the region against 2.29 lakh returns last year showing an increase of 10 per cent. There was not much increase in the walled city but the industrial areas and focal point showed an increase of 11 per cent in the filing of returns this year.

There was overall increase in the income tax revenue this year and this was due to the proper balance sheets of the corporate sector. On March 31 a record number of 18,000 returns were received and during the last four days of the month as many as 36,000 returns were filed by the assessees. There were 21 counters to receive the returns.

The income tax receipts during 2001-2002 were worth Rs 467 crore. Mr Satpaul maintained that the increase in the income tax collection was due to the sustained efforts of the department in carrying out surveys, investigations and use of information from other sources and campaign through the taxation bar, trade manufacturing associations and through the print and electronic media respectively.

He disclosed that a leading spinning mill had deposited income tax to the tune of Rs 32 crore this year against Rs 17 crore last year.

Similarly one real estate company surrendered a sum of Rs 2.5 crore and when this information was known to another estate company, the same also surrendered Rs 1.5 crore.

Mr Satpaul said the department was successful in busting a rackets of converting black money into white through gifts, book entries and capital gains and a sum of Rs 44 crore was surrendered by the beneficiaries voluntarily.

The Income Tax Department further unearthed a scam of bogus returns and procuring bank loans on the basis of these returns. Two chartered accountants were arrested under this scam and the CBI is now enquiring into this scandal.

The Income Tax Department has introduced ‘security logo’ from April 1 to minimise frauds. Under this process, no return can be tampered with.


SGPC panel may recommend withdrawal of dossier
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 5
The five-member sub-committee, constituted by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to study the dossier on the Golden Temple, is likely to recommend dossier’s withdrawal from Unesco following detection of ‘glaring historical distortions’.

The report is likely to be submitted to the SGPC in less than a week. The report would be discussed at a special session of the SGPC. The dossier was sent to Unesco by the SGPC through the Union Government.

According to sources, unsavory situation arose during the meeting held at Gurdwara Alamgir (Ludhiana) today following heated discussions between Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, an executive member who had coordinated for preparing the dossier, and other members.

While one of the members of the sub-committee objected on her presence at the meeting, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur claimed that she was duly invited to discuss the dossier. She insisted the members not to jump into any conclusion before meeting functionary of Unesco who is likely to visit Harmandar Sahib shortly. Some of the members, however, said they were not interested in meeting the Unesco official as they were against enlisting of the Golden Temple as a world heritage building.

The members of the sub-committee are Dr Prithipal Singh Kapur, a former Pro Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Prof Niranjan Singh Dhesi , Dr Darshan Singh , Mr Sarbjinder Singh and Dr Jasbir Singh Sabir of Guru Nanak Dev University .

The sources close to Bibi Jagir Kaur , SGPC chief, said she was not interested in getting Harmandar Sahib enlisted as a world heritage building in the wake of the diametrically opposite views of the community world over.


SGPC’s appeal to Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 5
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today appealed to Sikh sangat to reach Muktsar where 300th martyrdom day of 40-muktas is to be observed from May 1.

According to a press release issued here today, the SGPC chief said on May 1 Khalsa Sports Fair would be organised followed by a nagar kirtan on May 2 which would commence from Gurdwara Tibi Sahib and culminate at Takht Keshgarh Sahib. A Khalsa Chetna March would start from Anandpur Sahib and end at Sri Darbar Sahib, Muktsar, on May 4.

A women conference will also be held on May 3 at Muktsar.


24 bulk milk coolers for Ropar district
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Centre has granted Rs 1.43 crore for the installation of 24 bulk milk coolers in Ropar district. Once functional, the cooling machines will go a long way in keeping the milk fresh till taken to the plant.

Sources in the Dairy Development Department assert that there is a gap of five to six hours between the deposition of milk by the producers with the village societies and its onward transportation to the plant.

They maintain that the coolers will initially be installed by the department in Ropar district. Subsequently, the department will purchase the cooling machines for three more districts — Ludhiana, Gurdaspur and Patiala.

Giving details, the sources add that the machines will be installed at village societies where milk is supplied by the producers. Each cooler will cover five or six villages. As such, nearly 135 villages in the district will be covered. In the end, 20,000 producers from all over Ropar district will benefit from the coolers which will prevent bacteria from growing by instantly cooling the milk.

The development is significant as Punjab is producing about 230 lakh litres of milk daily. Though the exact data is not available, a substantial quantity of milk is affected due to bacterial growth particularly in the summer, says Joint Director in the Dairy Development Department K.S. Mavi.

Regarding milk adulteration, the sources add that several contractors are adding neutralisers or chemicals to milk for enhancing its life before its transportation to private plants. Some of the chemicals are not entirely free from side-effects.

They say stomach upset is not uncommon among those consuming milk laced with neutralisers. The other effects of milk adulteration include malnutrition, and even food poisoning in extreme cases. Besides, products prepared from adulterated milk are of poor quality.

They add that besides neutralisers, the department was able to detect “tap water” in milk being supplied by some vendors. But no case of “pond water” being added to milk was detected during an awareness campaign launched in the state by the Punjab Government.

Mr Mavi claims that 80 per cent of the samples collected by the department from Bathinda, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kharar and several other places in the state failed the test due to water adulteration. More tan 1,000 samples were collected and tested by the department.

He adds that protests being lodged by some vendors against the department for carrying out the campaign are baseless as the intention was to create awareness among the masses and not to initiate proceedings. 


Whistleblower at the receiving end
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 5
Buoyed by the Vigilance campaign against the corrupt officials in the state, Mr Rakesh Sharma, a resident of Gurdaspur, decided to take up the fight against corruption. However, after two years he is at the receiving end. The authorities of the Vigilance Department besides exonerating the officer trapped red-handed on his complaint, have recommended the registration of a case under Section 182, IPC, against Mr Rakesh Sharma.

Narrating his vows, Rakesh Sharma said after reading a news of corrupt officials trapped by the Vigilance, he gathered courage to stand against an Excise and Taxation Officer who was demanding bribe from him. He was demanding Rs 10,000 from me to close down my sales tax number, he added.

He, instead of paying the amount, contacted local Vigilance officials who advised him to lay a trap for the officer. He allegedly contacted the officer and deal for closing the sales tax number was settled for Rs 5,000.

The Vigilance team led by the DSP (Vigilance), Gurdaspur, and government eyewitnesses laid a trap for the officer. At the scheduled time, the money was paid to the peon of the officer concerned. The Vigilance officials caught the peon and the officer and recovered the bribe amount from them. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against both the accused government officials.

Mr Sharma thought the justice has been delivered to him. However, the officer concerned petitioned against his entrapment before the higher authorities of the Vigilance Department. An inquiry into the incident was carried out by the DIG (Vigilance Bureau). In his inquiry report, the DIG besides exonerating officer recommended the registration of a case against Mr Sharma for allegedly misleading the police in the case.

Mr Sharma said, “he complained regarding the bribe being demanded from him to the DSP (Vigilance). The officer concerned was caught red-handed along with his peon in the presence of the vigilance officials and government witnesses. So, if the Vigilance Department now thinks that the officer arrested was honest, they should also recommend a registration of case against the Vigilance officials and government witnesses who were party to involvement of entrapment of the accused officer in act of taking bribe”.

“I would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the decision of the vigilance officials recommending registration of a case against him”, Mr Rakesh Sharma said.


Now differences over Gurgaddi celebrations
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 5
The Sikh Panth is heading towards yet another division over the issue of forthcoming tercentenary celebrations of ‘GurGaddi Divas’ of ‘Gurugranth Sahib, which falls in October 2008.

Even as Akal Takht and the SGPC are determined to celebrate the event as per the Nanakshahi calendar, a section of Sikh sants including Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi who met at Takht Hazur Sahib, Nander (Maharashtra), late last evening, opposed the Nanakshahi calendar.

Baba Bedi alleged that with the approval of the calendar, Sikh tradition stood violated.

Nirmale Sant Akhara chief Mahant Gyan Dev of Haridwar, who was also present, also opposed the calendar. He announced the Nirmale Sant sect would not-accept Nanakshahi calendar and celebrate functions as per the Bikrami calendar.

The Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib Takhts have not given approval to the Nanakshahi calendar so for, despite repeated requests by the SGPC and the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

However, Mr Laddu Singh Mahajan, President, Hazoor Sahib Management Committee, told The Tribune that no final decision had been taken on any calendar with regard to the tercentenary celebrations. He said all five Sikh high priests, including the Jathedar of Akal Takht, would be invited next month to take a decision on the issue.

The decision was postponed on the request of Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), who took up the matter with Mr Buta Singh, Governor, Bihar, who is also Chairman of the Nanded Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

Mr Buta Singh reportedly assured Mr Sarna that a consensus would be evolved for the final decision.


SAD meeting on April 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee and MLAs of the Shiromani Akali Dal will be held here on April 8. This was stated today by Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, secretary of the party.

He said the president of the party, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would preside over the meeting.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary- general, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, senior vice-president, and Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, general secretary, of the SAD, in a joint statement said today that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann should not harm the “ Panth further” and join the Congress.

Warning Mr Mann against adopting what they described as “cheap tactics”, the Akali leaders said that if Mr Mann did not stop, he would be given a befitting reply by the SAD. The Akali leaders also took exception to statement said. to have been made by Mr Mann against Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC. They urged Mr Mann not to muddy Punjab politics by making such statements.


Rs 21.35 cr for link roads in villages
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 5
To help the villagers, seven link roads, four bridges will be built in the backward areas of the district with cost of Rs 21.35 crores under a project launched here by the administration. Funded by the NABARD the funds, will also be used under the Prime Minister Sadak Yojna.

To solve shortage of the water in rural areas for the irrigation purpose, 35 tubewells would also be sunk at a cost of Rs 6.90 crore. The administration gave green light for the project this afternoon. All roads and tube wells work would be completed before March 31, 2007, informed the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, here today.

The development of the link road to the Masol village with 800 inhabitants situated, which had been cut from rest of the lack of the development, would also be finalised soon. “The population of the village less and it is surrounded by the several seasonal rivers so, huge funds would be required for the roads. We have prepared a rough estimate and things would be finalished soon,” said Ms Seema Jain.

Under the new project the link roads planned to build include Ropar-Abhiyana-Nurpurbedi 27 km, Sirhind-Morinda-Kurali 8.35 km, Bela-Behirampur 8.05 km, Guru Gobind Singh Marg 7.65 km, Kambla-Papdi-Maneli 5.25 km, Nangara- Sahijewal 6.20 km, Pangeelpur-Pukhrali 6 km.

The tube wells would be built in following villages include Swamipur, Dasgrahi, Suhan, Klitra, Majra, Banspur, Nangli, Lakhad, Khapal, Ganguwal, Nalroti, Buprali, Sakpur, Kakur, Jang, Jhangiyan, Kolapur, Bhugri, Tapriyan, Balauwal, Kishan Pura, Lauraniyan, Bhagwant Pura, Atlangad, Karanke, Kalajmajra, Chitgarh, Rangiyan, Gaura, Gunduya, Tedarmajra, Paki Rudki and Pepna.


100 new tubewells for Kandi area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Following up its plan to have brick lining of all water carrying courses (khaals) in the state, the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation will brickline about 800 km of water courses in this financial year as part of a jointly funded programme of the Government of India and the Government of Punjab.

Also the corporation, which is on an upswing with new projects, will be boring about 100 tubewells in the sub-mountainous (Kandi) area of the state. The Chairman of the corporation, Mr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, today said lining of water courses would save about 30 per cent of water which otherwise seeped underground through the mud-lined water courses. The loss of water was even greater in areas which had saline underground water or had a problem of water logging as the seepage did not aid ground water re-charge.

The bricklining will be 9 inches thick as against the normal practice of having it 4 inches thick. This will increase the normal flow of water. Also for the first time a provision is being made to have money available for maintenance of the water courses. In the past this was not the case.

The Command Area Development and Management Authority under the Union Ministry of water resources has approved the project. In the past six years the work to brickline the Sirhind Feeder, Bathinda Feeder, Kotla branch and the Eastern canal has been going on. About 3952 km have been lined and the next installment of 800 km is due to be done in the next 12 months.

The Tubewell Corporation based here has also allocated Rs 27 crore for boring 100 deep tubewells in the Kandi area. Work has already started and all tubewells will be bored by March, 2007, claimed Mr Rinwa. This project is funded by NABARD. Out of the total tubewells about 50 will be done using the existing machinery of the department and the rest will be through private contractors. Already the corporation is running 1535 tubewells and providing assured irrigation to about 1.90 lakh acres. The water is supplied to farmers at subsidized rates that is Rs 1.60 per unit of power consumed in the Kandi area and Re 1 per unit in the non-Kandi area.


DIG reverses stand on extension of cop’s service
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 5
Reversing his decision taken a few months ago, the DIG here has recommended the extension of service of a Punjab police Head Constable, Nachhatar Singh.

Police sources said after the DIG, Mr G.S. Grewal, recommended three years’ extension in service for the head constable to the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, the latter wrote a latter to IG, Mr P.M. Dass, for his decision in the issue.

Mr Kapil Dev, in his letter to the IG, had opposed the extension in service of Mr Nachhatar Singh on the ground that he had been facing a trial in a criminal case.

Police sources said Nachhatar Singh was facing a trial in a case of allegedly helping a smuggler, Karamjit Singh, to escape from police custody. The sources said that the head constable allegedly took money from the smuggler. He was also facing trial in case of smuggling under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The sources said that Nachhatar Singh was denied three years’ extension in service after the age of 55 by the SSP, Bathinda, due to his alleged involvement in criminal as well as corruption cases. Police sources said after the head constable was denied extension, the case was sent to the DIG and the DIG endorsed the orders of the SSP favouring the denial of extension to the head constable in his service.

However, after a month or so, the DIG received an application from Nachhatar Singh and taking a “sympathetic view” of the applicant’s financial condition, recommended his case to the SSP for reconsidering it. The SSP sent the case file to the office of the Inspector-General (IG), Border Range, Mr Dass.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, when contacted, refused to make any comments.

Mr Grewal, DIG, Faridkot range, said he found the application of the head constable credible and recommended it to the SSP for extension of service of the head constable.

Mr Dass said he had received no written information in this connection from the DIG or the SSP. He said after he received some written information, he would look into the case.


Steps being taken to provide safe water
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 5
A meeting of the District Coordinate Committee, constituted to provide safe drinking water in view of reports of outbreak of water-borne disease in the district, was held here today under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh.

The meeting was attended by Commissioner of the municipal corporation and the Civil Surgeon. Mr Tejveer Singh said all measures were being taken to supply safe potable water.

The DC instructed the Civil Surgeon to purchase chlorine tablets to check the outbreak of any major disease. The Civil Surgeon said 20 water samples had been taken from the affected areas and these had been forwarded to the laboratory in Chandigarh.

A rapid response team, headed by Dr. V.S. Mohi, District Health Officer, reached the spot where the outbreak of the disease was feared and assessed the situation. Dr Mohi conducted a door-to-door survey of the area and found some cases of jaundice but no casualty had occurred in the affected area.

The DC, directed the Civil Surgeon to constitute a coordinating committtee in the office of Civil Surgeon, Patiala, to re-address the problems. The Civil Surgeon, Dr S.K.Garg, ordered Dr Mohi to constitute a team to prevent the sale of overripend cut fruits, uncovered sweets and unhygienic canesugar juice. 


US NGO to provide healthcare in Ropar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Ropar and its adjoining areas can now look forward to better infrastructure and healthcare facilities with the help of a US-based NGO, Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR).

Mr W. Frederick Shaw (75), president and CEO of this organisation is here to start a project on minimising preventable diseases, in general, with special attention on infants’ diseases and deaths and on women’s deaths and illness related to child bearing.

Mr Shaw would supervise the project. The project has been proposed for northern communities mainly in Roopnagar district, Punjab. After that, the project would be gradually enlarged by including more neighbouring rural areas.

He had been working continuously since 1968 with this organisation on various projects especially health related ones. He has a doctorate in public health (Dr PH) from the University of California, Berkeley.

He has already worked on many health projects in India for four years. Two years in West Bengal and two in Kerala. His younger daughter was born in Kerala and was named ‘Kerala’. Besides this, he has also worked in Philippines and Pakistan for three years each. In Switzerland, for two years and for shorter periods in Indonesia, Sudan and Somalia to name a few. The basic aim of the organisation is to serve the suffering humanity . It is a public charitable non- profit trust, registered in Chandigarh also.

The project would be implemented in rural areas by empowering local people through education and training. The project would ensure that people, especially children below 5 years of age, were provided with necessary immunisation. Pregnant women would be provided proper care and medical facilities. The project would also ensure pure and safe drinking water to the rural people and improvement in the disposal of waste products.

The pilot project is scheduled to be completed in two years plus another four months for preparation and two for detailed evaluation. The NGO would not take any funds from the Indian Government or the state government but would use its own funds.


PCMS docs’ memorandum to CM
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 5
The PCMS Association of the local Government Medical College has submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in which it has asked the government to immediately fill posts of medical teachers in the state medical colleges keeping in view the forthcoming inspection by the Medical Council of India (MCI).

In a press note Dr D.S. Bhullar, president of the association, urged the government to allocate a separate budget to clear the TA/DA bills of the doctors who regularly attend court hearings as expert witnesses for recording of evidence.

Dr Bhullar has demanded 5 per cent extra house rent allowance for those doctors who are working in hospitals but who are not availing any government accommodation.

The association has asked the government to give them DA on the Central Government pattern keeping in view directions of the Supreme Court.

Dr Bhullar has asked the state government to reconsider its decision of privatising government hospitals as, he said, the move is neither in the interest of the in-service doctors nor has it found favour with the common man.

Keeping in view the inconvenience faced by the attendants of patients brought to the Emergency Wards, the association has asked the government to give permission to open medicine shops in the Casualty Department of the Rajindera Hospital.


Pak pilgrims arrive for Urs
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 5
A delegation of 199 Pakistani pilgrims, led by Haji Meer Tareen, a former minister, arrived at Fatehgarh Sahib this morning to pay obeisance at Rauza Sharif.

The pilgrims were given a warm reception by Sirhind Municipal Council at the Sirhind railway station. The district administration had made all arrangements for their convenience.

Pakistani pilgrims are considered a main attraction at the Urs of Rauza Sharif.

The Urs, commemorated in memory of Sufi saint Sheikh Ahmed Farooqui Sirhindi will begin tomorrow and continue till April 8.

Thousands of Naqushbandi Muslims from India and abroad pay obeisance at the holy place.

The district administration has made all arrangements for the Urs. According to Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, all basic amenities like drinking water, food, shelter, toilets and dispensary have been provided for the pilgrims.


Amnesty for Sikh prisoners sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Mr Tarlochan Singh, member, Rajya Sabha and Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, has called upon the Union Home Minister to grant general amnesty to Sikh prisoners now languishing in different jails in the country.

In a letter to the Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, Mr Tarlochan Singh observed: “Thank you for your positive response to my suggestion in Parliament regarding taking up of the cases of Sikh prisoners who are in jail for a very long period. I am enclosing herewith a list of 82 Sikh prisoners who are in different jails in Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. It will be appropriate if the MHA takes some positive steps to grant them general amnesty since they all have been sentenced in various cases.”

Mr Tarlochan Singh told The Tribune that he had taken up the cases of the Sikh prisoners in jails in the country in the Rajya Sabha and sought their release. He had in particular taken up the case of Ranjit Singh Gill who has already undergone life imprisonment and should be released. Mrs Ambika Soni, Member, Rajya Sabha (Congress) also supported him in this case, he added. Mr Daljit Singh Bittu, President, Shiromani Khalsa Dal who is lodged in Nabha jail has supplied the list of 82 Sikh prisoners to Mr Tarlochan Singh. The Sikh prisoners, according to the list, are in central jail, Ambala, Jaipur, Nagpur, Kohlapur-Nasik and Tihar jail in Delhi besides Punjab jails.


Resignation of Municipal Council chief accepted
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 5
The resignation of Mr Harbans Singh Garcha from the post of president of the local Municipal Council (MC) was accepted at a meeting held at the council office here today. The meeting was attended by Mr Arvind Khanna, MLA from Sangrur, and all 21 members of the council.

In another meeting of the MC, also held here today, Mr Parvinder Bajaj of the Congress and Ms Bhagwanti of the BJP were unanimously elected senior vice-president and junior vice-president, respectively, of the council.

Mr Bajaj would work as the acting president of the council till the election of a new president.

Though Mr Bajaj was elected senior vice-president of the council today, but there were all possibilities that he would be elevated as president of the council.

Mr Arvind Khanna today gave an indication in this direction. It is believed that Mr Garcha lost his post as he could not fulfil the aspirations of the local MLA regarding the development of the town.

Talking to mediapersons after the meetings of the council, Mr Khanna expressed the hope that the election of the new president of the council would be held in a month.


Dhillon takes charge as vice-chief PSIDC
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 5
Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, who was nominated as a Vice-Chairman of Board of Directors of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), took charge of his office at a formal function at Udyog Bhavan in Sector 17, here today.

Ms Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Co-operative and Horticulture Minister, Punjab, Mr Sardul Singh, Excise and Taxation Minister, Punjab, and Miss Ravneet Kaur, Managing Director of the PSIDC, also attended the function.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Dhillon said he would make efforts to revive the industry in the state that had been gradually shifting to adjoining states, especially to Himachal Pradesh. He said meetings would be soon organised with the industrialists on a regular basis to find solutions to the problems.

Stress would be laid on reviving various industrial units located in Lalru, Dera Bassi, Rajpura and Banur which would also provide jobs to the local youth.

The new Vice-Chairman of the PSIDC also claimed that the state government had been planning to cover some industrial belts under the Special Economics Zones (SEZs) to benefit the industrialists in Punjab.

Those present on the occasion included Mr Narinder Kumar Sangha, Subdivisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi, Mr Amritpal Singh, president of Municipal Council, Dera Bassi, Mr Sukhdev Sharma, Chairman of Market Committee, Banur, Mr Jaspal Singh, Municipal Council of Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, and many other prominent persons of the area.

A number of Congress workers and supporters of Mr Dhillon, were also present on the occasion.


Khalsa Dal to hold march on April 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Shiromani Khalsa Dal will hold the second “bandi chor” Khalsa march from Bhai-ka-Dialpura village to Takht Sri Damdama Sahib on April 13, Baisakhi day, to seek the release of Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar and some other Sikh detainees.

Professor Bhullar is in jail in Delhi in connection with a bomb blast case.

Mr Surinder Singh Kishanpura, member of the executive committee of the dal, said today that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who had got released a number of Punjabi youths from Pakistan, should also think about the Sikh youths detained in various jails in the country. He urged him to take up the case of their release with the authorities concerned at the Centre.


Families of martyrs get financial aid
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 5
The families of those soldiers who attained martyrdom during Kargil War and the Army jawans who were awarded gallantry awards for their act of bravery during various insurgency operations were presented cheques here today.

Mr B. C. Thakur, Deputy Commissioner, who presented the cheques said the ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh each has been handed over to the parents of Kargil martyrs, Kabul Singh, Lance Naik Desh Raj, and Sapper Jagjiwan Singh.

He also presented a cheque for Rs 5 lakh to Havaldar Rachpal Singh who was awarded a Sena Medal for his valour during insurgent operation in north-east. On December 28, 2002, Rachpal Singh who alongwith his men had laid an ambush trap for terrorists in Dorang area of Assam, overpowered two insurgents single handedly and killed them during gun battle.


World Punjabi Organisation chief bereaved
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 5
Mr Gurcharan Singh Sahney (76), father of Mr Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President, World Punjabi Organisation (WPO), died this morning due to a heart attack at Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore.

His body was brought here in an ambulance through the Wagah joint checkpost by Mr Vikramjit Singh and 12 other delegates.


Manhandling of scribes flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists today condemned the manhandling of electronic journalists by the railway booking staff at Ludhiana yesterday. It is a direct attack on the freedom of the press, a statement issued by the union said today.


SDO, staff found absent
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 5
The Deputy Commissioner today conducted a raid on the office of the SDO (Civil), Mandi Board, Sirhind and the entire staff, including Mr Surinder Kumar, SDO, was found absent. Only one helper was present in the office. The Deputy Commissioner said he had ordered disciplinary action against the absentees.


high court
HC moved for allowing Sikh prisoners to wear turbans
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 5
The Sikh Student Federation (SSF) has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the Punjab Government and jail officials to allow Sikhs lodged in jails to wear turbans.

In its petition filed through its general secretary, Mr Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, the SSF has alleged that Sikh prisoners in various jails of Punjab are not being allowed to wear turbans, which are mandated as part of the Sikh religion.

The petitioner has also stated that many complaints in this regard have been made to the Punjab Government, jail authorities as also the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. But, no action has been initiated in this regard.

After hearing counsel for the petitioner, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta adjourned the matter to May 13.


Lok Adalat in Ludhiana on April 10
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Lok Adalat will be held in Ludhiana on April 10.

About 50 judges including two from the Supreme Court of India and 25 from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will participate.

According to the District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of Legal Services Authority, Ludhiana, Mr Harbans Lal litigants are being persuaded to settle their disputes at the Lok Adalat. He hoped that around 7000 cases would be settled.

A seminar will also be organised under the National Legal Literacy Mission, to create awareness about rights, duties and Free Legal Aid services.


Kidnapped taxi driver’s body found
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 5
The body of a taxi driver, who was kidnapped from the town on April 1, was found in a minor near Goniana Mandi here last night.

Sources said the victim, Jaswinder Singh, was the driver of a Balero bearing number PB03L 7310 and used to park his vehicle at the Amrik Singh Road Taxi Stand. The sources said the accused had booked Jaswinder Singh’s taxi on the evening of March 31 for Ludhiana. They left for Ludhiana in the early hours of April 1.

When Jaswinder Singh didn’t return home till late in the night, his family reported the matter to the police, which sounded an alert in the state next day. On the night of April 2, the Ludhiana police spotted the vehicle at Sarabha Nagar while patrolling. They seized the vehicle and arrested two of its occupants, while another person escaped. However, Jaswinder Singh could not be traced even after a couple of days of the incident.

Following a complaint by his brother, Sandeep Singh, a case was registered against Naib Singh, Mangat Singh, Vicky, and three unidentified persons, under Sections 364 and 149 of the IPC at Kotwali police station in Bathinda on April 3. The sources said all the accused belonged to Lakha village of Jagraon.

They said the accused had hired the vehicle with an intention of stealing it. They said the accused had killed Jaswinder Singh on the very first day and threw his body into a canal. They killed him brutally and even crushed his face so that he could not be identified. They then went to their village and took two other boys from there along with them before proceeding to Ludhiana. The sources said the main accused, Vicky, had a criminal bent of mind and had some theft cases registered against him. He had come out on bail on March 25 only. He was still at large.

Jaswinder Singh’s body was found when Sahara Janseva Society received a call mentioning about an unidentified body in a minor near Goniana. Volunteers of the society rushed to the spot along with the Government Railway Police, as the area fell under the railway land. The body was extracted with the help of a tractor. Soon Jaswinder Singh’s family members were called and they identified him by his clothes.

After flowing through various canals his body had become rotten. It was handed over to his family members following a postmortem examination today. The police has launched a manhunt to arrest the rest of the accused.

Meanwhile, Parasram Nagar here plunged into gloom following the report of Jaswinder Singh’s death. His mother and father were wailing inconsolably at the cremation ground. He has left behind his wife and two sons aged eight and 10.

The sources said another driver was killed by some vehicle thieves a few years ago in a similar manner. Later, too, a few more such incident were reported, in which the drivers were spared after taking away the vehicle.


Malkhana in charge arrested
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 5
The Kapurthala police has arrested Pawan Kumar, in charge (Nazar) of “malkhana” (judicial) of Sultanpur Lodhi under Section 409, IPC, for a criminal breach of the trust by public servant and seized Rs 40,870 from him. This was disclosed here today by SSP Arun Pal Singh.

Giving details, Mr Harpreet Singh Mander, DSP, Sultanpur Lodhi, said that Mr Gurjant Singh, Judicial Magistrate, Sultanpur Lodhi, had written to Mr Gurwinder Singh, SHO, Sultanpur Lodhi police station, that Mr Jagroop Singh of Parjian village falling under Shahkot police station sent a complaint to him on March 30.

He stated that in a case under Sections 382/411, IPC, registered on June 4 last year, Rs 40,870 was in the possession of the police. When the complainant went to ask for the amount, he was told by the police that the recovered amount was deposited with Pawan Kumar, in charge of the judicial malkhana, on February 2 this year.

When he went to him, Pawan Kumar tried to tick him off and started finding excuses for refusing to hand over the amount.

The police registered a case under Section 409, IPC, on April 2 against Pawan Kumar, a resident of Mansoorwal village. He was later arrested and remanded in police custody, the DSP said.


PSEB cashier suspended for fraud
Tribune News Service

Mansa, April 5
A cashier of the Punjab State Electricity Board has been suspended for duping the board of lakhs by embezzling amount paid in the form of electricity bills.

Sources said the cashier, Gursewak Singh, used to accept electricity bills at the cash counter and issue receipts to the consumers, but was not making any entry in to the record books.

The incident came to light when Krishan Monga, a resident of Ward No. 5, received a hefty electricity bill despite making regular payments. He approached the board officials with his complaint, but the officials said he had not paid his bills for the past many months.

However, the officials were taken aback when he produced receipts of previous months. The SDO then probed into the matter and unravelled the fraud.

The board had also received about 65 similar complaints. Sources said the complaints were still pouring in and the board had asked the victims of fraud to file written complaints in this regard.

The Executive Engineer has suspended the cashier and reported the matter to the police. However, unconfirmed reports said the cashier has absconded.


Gang of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 5
The district police today busted a six-member gang of robbers with the arrest of four gang members and recovered arms and ammunition from their possession.

Mr S.K.Asthana, SSP, stated here today that they had received a tip-off that the gang had assembled at some secluded place near Preet Nagar and was planning to commit a robbery in that area. Subsequently, a raid was conducted and four of them were arrested from the spot while two others, identified as Des Raj and Deepa, both from Hoshiarpur, managed to escape.

The arrested persons were identified as Pawan Kumar and Sonu of Basti Sheikh locality, Santokh Singh of Panjpeer mohalla and Ram Parkash of Ishar Dass colony.

The police also recovered three pistols and 59 rounds.


Petrol station employee shot
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 5
Bidhi Singh, while preventing three youths from looting the cash, was shot dead at an Indian Oil Corporation petrol filling station on the National Highway few meters away from the inter-state border today.

According to information, three youths aged 25-30, with covered faces, stormed at the filling station outside Gumjal village on the Abohar- Sriganganagar road at 2 am today and asked the three employees to handover the keys of the cash box at the gun point.

As Mr Kiranjit Singh, cashier, Mr Bidhi Singh and Mr Sikander Singh, grappled with the miscreants. Bidhi Singh managed to lift a chair and hit at a miscreant, injuring him slightly. An accomplice of the injured boy shot at Bidhi Singh, killing him on the spot.

Meanwhile, Kiranjit Singh succeeded in running away along with the keys of the cash box in darkness. They fled towards the Rajasthan border without looting cash.

Bidhi Singh was declared “brought dead” by the doctors at the Civil Hospital here this morning. The body was taken to his native village in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

The Petrol and Diesel Filling Station Employees Union stayed away from work for three hours to express resentment over the incident.

SSP Sudhanshu Srivastva and DIG Hardish Singh Randhwa visited the spot. Mr Srivastva said he was fully aware of the law and order situation in the border area and might deploy commandos at the Khuiyansarwer and Sadar Abohar police stations.


Wildlife Dept Inspectors in Vigilance net
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 5
The local Vigilance Department today raided the office and residence of Mr Iqbal Masih and Mr Rupinder Singh, both inspectors of the Wildlife Department, at the Harike bird sanctuary in Tarn Taran.

During this surprise checking, the department recovered more than Rs 13 lakh from their residences.

According to information, both had withdrawn government money meant for department expenditure on March 31. The authorities said as per the rules, they could not keep the money at their residences.


2 private school teachers booked

Bathinda, April 5
Two teachers of a private school have been booked for reportedly getting appointed by producing fake certificates. Gurnam Singh Rekhi, a former management committee member of Guru Harkishan School Trust, had lodged a complaint against Balwinder Kaur and Seema in this connection. The police has registered a case after probing the matter. On the other hand, both teachers said their degrees were genuine and they had proved the same in an earlier police probe and in a court. They alleged that they had been deliberately trapped in the issue. — TNS


SHO suspended on corruption charges
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 5
The SHO of the local Sadar police station, Mr Roop Singh Maur, has been suspended on charges of corruption and shifted to the police lines here. Besides, three havildars of the police station, Mr Mewa Singh, Mr Amrik Singh and Mr Bhajan Singh, have also been shifted to the local police lines, according to Mr Narender Kaushal, DSP, Sangrur.


Class VIII result on April 30
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 5
The Punjab School Education Board will be declaring the result of the Class VIII and science and commerce groups of senior secondary classes on April 30.

This was stated by Ms Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Controller of Examinations, here today. She said the work of marking answersheets of the two classes was going on in full swing. She said the board was planning to declare the result of the arts group of the Class X and Class XII on May 31.

She said the marking of answersheets was being done in a secret way under the supervision of assistant secretary of the secrecy wing. The answersheets were being sent for checking in a random way and nobody was aware where the marking was being done. The entire process was being done under “one man secrecy”.

The Controller appealed to the parents of the students not to approach any employee of the board or any other person operating from outside the building for getting an increase in the marks of their wards.


Chaos in schools as teachers collect data
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 5
It was the second day of the new academic session at Government Elementary School, Singhpur Dona near here. Three of its five teachers were going door to door to collect information on the living standard of residents. The left out two teachers found it tough to manage all classes and to handle the admission rush. The classes were clubbed. The teachers found it hard to keep the noise level low.

Similar is the situation in other schools in the district. Hundreds of teachers have been sent out for a month-long economic survey being conducted by a Union ministry.

Several principals and headmasters have approached the District Education Officer. They have urged him to relieve at least half of the staff on survey duty to keep schools functional. Mr R.R. Badhan, DEO (secondary), said that he would present the principals’ request to the DPI.


Medical college festival ends
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 5
The All-India Inter-Medical and Dental College Cultural Festival concluded on the Government Medical College ground yesterday with the piece de resistance provided by Punjabi singer Harbhajan Mann, who enthralled the audience in a three-hour long show.

The prizes were distributed by Dr J.S Dalal, Director, Medical Education and Research.

Results: Cricket: GMC, Amritsar (A)-1, GMC, Amritsar (B)-2 (Man of the Series: Rajat Bhandari). Football: GMC, Patiala-1, Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana-2. Basketball: Boys: DMC, Ludhiana-1, Jammu Medical College-2. Girls: GMC, Patiala-1, GMC, Amritsar-2. Volleyball: Jammu Medical College-1, GMC, Patiala-2. Choreography:Government Ayurvedic College, Patiala-1, GMC, Patiala-2, Nursing School, Patiala-3. Mono Acting: Preet Mohinder Singh (GMC, Patiala)-1, Himmat (GMC, Amritsar)-2, Dolly (GMC, Patiala)-3. Miss Spectrum: Miss Supreet Hayer (GMC, Patiala).


Wholesellers not to buy medicines
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 5
The Punjab Chemists Association (PCA) announced that the wholeseller chemists would not buy medicines from companies unless the government levied the VAT to bring parity in the prices of medicines.

Mr Surinder Duggal, secretary of the PCA, stated in a press release issued here today that the local chemists had not bought any medicines from companies since April 1.

He said that several life-savings drugs and surgical goods had become costly under the preview of new tax.

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