P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Undertrial says he was branded by officials
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
An accused in the Lalla murder case, Mohan Lal, who appeared in a local court today, claimed that he was branded by Jalandhar jail officials yesterday.

While the Jail Superintendent denied the allegation, Mohan Lal alleged that the words “neevi jaat” (low caste) was etched on his back with hot iron rods.

He made the allegation in front of mediapersons in the courts complex where he was brought in connection with the murder case.

Alleging that he was not allowed to visit the temple as he belonged to a Scheduled Caste, Mohan Lal claimed that the jail officials beat him up and branded him.

Mohan Lal is a co-accused in the case along with the prime accused, Raman Rana.

Mr Jagjit Singh, Jail Superintendent, claimed that the two were transferred from Ludhiana jail some months ago on administrative grounds. Raman Rana was again transferred to Hoshiarpur jail some days ago.

Refuting the charges, he said he had not visited the jail since Wednesday last. He claimed he was on field duty for two days and then he had gone on leave. Yesterday he was at a wedding and had not visited the jail.

Mr Jagjit Singh said he had not seen Mohan Lal before. He only knew about Raman Rana who was using his mobile phone to contact gang members.

“That was the reason I had transferred them from Ludhiana jail earlier and Jalandhar later. They had formed a gang inside the jail premises and were fighting with other undertrials. They are now trying to get back at me,” he added.


Badal assails CM on Pak Sikh shrines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today assailed the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for what he described as “compromising the dignity and honour of the Khalsa Panth” by asking the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, not to accord recognition to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in the management of Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

Mr Badal also asked the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to come clean on this constitutional impropriety of the Punjab Chief Minister in directly addressing the head of a neighbouring nation.

“The Chief Minister’s outburst at a function in Delhi directly seeking General Musharraf’s pro-active opposition to the SGPC is shocking beyond belief as it not only tramples on the prerogative of the Prime Minister and the Union Government, who alone are competent to approach a foreign head of state on any issue concerning the people, but is also a grave provocation to the whole Sikh community which has made supreme sacrifices to win the right to manage their shrines through their elected representatives,” said Mr Badal in a statement here today.

The Akali Dal chief also wanted the Prime Minister, both as the head of the national government and as a Sikh, to come out openly on what he thought of Capt Amarinder Singh’s action in tearing international protocol to pieces and usurping the Central Government’s right to speak on matters that could have a very sensitive bearing on the country’s foreign policy, especially on an issue pertaining to the religious sensitivities of an already aggrieved minority.

He said the Dal would not take his arrogance against the Panth lightly and “the Chief Minister will be given a befitting response.”


MBBS students not allowed to attend classes over fee
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, April 25
As many as 57 first and second- year, students of MBBS have not been allowed to attend classes at the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)-run Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research due to the non-payment of tuition fees.

This is in spite of the direction issued by the secretary, Department of Medical Education and Research, on April 20, which clearly stated that “the earlier decision of the fee fixation committee dated July 17, 2004, has to be strictly adhered to for new admissions for the academic session 2005-06 and also for ongoing classes till a fresh order is passed”.

However, Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Principal-cum-Director of the institute, when contacted refused to comment and asked to contact Mr Dilmegh Singh, secretary, SGPC, who expressed his ignorance over the matter.

It may be mentioned here that the students were also chucked out last year for the same reasons and some of the parents had to go to court against the decision of the medical college.

The parents of 36 second-year students alleged that the authorities asked them to deposit Rs 2.86 lakh more before their wards would be allowed to attend the classes. They said the college authorities had already taken more than Rs 3.50 lakh for MBBS at the time of admission.

Similarly, the parents of first-year students said they had deposited Rs 75,000 and now they were again told to deposit Rs 2.86 lakh.

The parents of students studying in SGPC and other privately run institutions have formed an association to take up the cases of their wards. The association, in a letter to the Minister for medical education and Research, has resented that the fee fixation committee, constituted last year under the chairmanship of Justice (retd) G.R. Majithia, has yet to finalise the fee structure, which led to this unsavory situation.

The parents said other states had already finalised the fee structure before the current session. They added that the private medical institutions in absence of fee structure were pressurising the students to deposit fee as per their wishes.

The notice, pasted by the authorities of the SGPC-run college, read that the state fee fixation committee had to yet fix the final fee to be paid by the students although the Punjab and Haryana high court had directed the committee to fix the fee by October 11, 2004.

The authorities said as per agreement reached between SGRD Charitable Hospital Trust and the Minister for Medical Education and Research, the students would have to pay the remaining fee if the committee failed to fix the final fee.

The trust in its meeting held in December 7, 2004, decided to ask the students to deposit the fee as per prospectus. They said any difference between the fee deposited and final structure would be adjusted.

Meanwhile, the parents of the students threatened to pursue the legal course of action if the SGPC authorities did not permit the students to attend classes and withdraw their order of depositing excess fee.


GND varsity refuses to accept IGNOU degrees
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 25
Guru Nanak Dev University has refused to give recognition to certain degrees awarded by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and other such universities, having glaring disparity in the syllabus and eligibility criteria.

The GND varsity Calendar reads, “The examinations of one university should be recognised by another on the reciprocal basis provided that the entrance qualification, duration of the course and general standard of attainment are similar to those prescribed by the recognising university”.

However, the IGNOU authorities pleaded that the university was passed under the Parliament Act and hence all universities in the country were bound to accept the degrees awarded by it. IGNOU has also pleaded that GND varsity had given an undertaking to recognise its diplomas and degrees. This plea is not acceptable to GND varsity at all.

However, the GND varsity authorities have told IGNOU that some of its degrees could not be accepted without applying equivalence criteria. GND varsity is clear in its approach that it could not violate the norms fixed by the All-India Universities Association (AIUA) and its (university’s) own Calendar by accepting the degrees of any other university unless the Equivalence Committee of GND varsity clears these.

The latest controversy over this came up when a woman candidate got a job of lecturer in a Jalandhar-based college, affiliated to GND varsity on the basis of the MCA degree of IGNOU. However, when GND varsity refused to give approval to her appointment, she approached IGNOU authorities. The IGNOU wrote to GND varsity that it was bound to recognise the degrees as per the agreement signed with the Distance Education Council (DEC) while accepting grant of Rs 5 lakh. However, GND varsity wrote back to IGNOU that it had fixed four yardsticks to recognise the degrees from any outside university of the country. The criteria of GND varsity, fixed on the basis of the AIUA and university Calendar, is that, ‘At least 75 per cent of the syllabus has to be same as that of GND varsity’. The second criterion for equivalence, fixed by GND varsity is that “the duration of the course has to be same as that of the correspondence degree of GND varsity”. Another criterion is that, “the admission to the degree should not be through lateral entry and eligibility conditions of the course contents”.

Dr S. K. Verma, Director Distance Education, GND varsity said many such cases were referred to the Equivalence Committee of the university . He, however, clarified that many degrees, which had parity with the syllabus, were recognised by GND varsity.

He said it was pity that certain universities adopted different criteria for same degrees provided to regular students and those under Distance Education that created such a mess. Such ‘educational muddle’ was the creation of the vested interests who wanted to ‘mint money’ by commercialisation of education.


Irregularities worth 25.75 cr detected in excise duty
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Irregularities worth Rs 25.75 crore have been detected in the state excise duties of the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department. The failure to enforce norms to achieve spirit from molasses deprived the state of excise duty of Rs 8.55 crore from 2000-01 to March 2003.

Non-accounting of 45.41 lakh proof litre (PL) of rectified spirit resulted in the loss of excise duty worth Rs 6.81 crore. The failure of exporters of liquor to produce certificates acknowledging the receipts of liquor by consignees outside the state resulted into the non-levy of duty worth Rs 3.12 crore. There are other irregularities also.

These irregularities have been detected by Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG). Under the Punjab Distillery Rules, 1932, one quintal of molasses should yield 36.61 PLs of spirit. However, checking of the records maintained by four distilleries revealed that the yield of spirit ranged between 31.82 and 35.21 PLs. To ensure the compliance of provisions of the Act , rules and departmental instructions and to safeguard against any fraud etc, internal control of distilleries is exercised by the State Excise and Taxation Department.

Between 2001-02 and March 2003, 688.81 lakh PLs of spirit was produced by the four distilleries from 19.95 lakh quintals of molasses, which is given to the distilleries on controlled rate from cooperative sugarmills, against the envisaged yield of 730. 21 lakh PLs. It resulted in a loss of Rs 6.96 crore in excise duty.

Unauthorised transfer of spirit from the company account to the government account resulted in a loss of Rs 6.81 crore. During the checking of records of two distilleries it was noticed that 74.95 PL spirit was transferred from the company account to the government account during 1999-2000 to 2002-03.

The ETO concerned stated that the matter was being examined by comparing the distillery and excise records. Difference was detected in the actual use of molasses. Checking of records of two distilleries revealed that 56.09 lakh quintals of molasses was used for the production of spirit. However, further cross verification from government records revealed that 55.86 lakh quintals of molasses was used.

Records of a distillery from 2000 to March 2003, revealed that certificates involving the export of 20.50 lakh PLs of spirit and 45,225 PLs of liquor (IMFL) were not received up to July 2003 from importing states. The excise department authorities did not take action for realising the duty of Rs 3.12 crore by invoking bonds.


Clash between rival Akalis averted
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 25
Tension prevailed in the town for more than five hours when hundreds of Shiromani Akali Dal supporters reached Nangal Chowk here to prevent workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) from burning effigies of SAD President Parkash Singh Badal and the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur.

A large number of police personnel were deployed at various places in the city to avert a clash between workers of the two parties since morning. The SP (D), Mr S.S. Garewal, and administrative officials also reached the spot to take stock of the situation.

The workers of the SAD reached Nangal Chowk at about 8 a.m. to stop the workers of the SAD (Amritsar), who had decided to burn the effigies at 10 a.m.

Seeing the strength of the SAD activists, the members of SAD (Amritsar) delayed their protest by two and a half hours and also changed the venue for the demonstration.

Later, at about 12.30 p.m., the workers of the SAD (Amritsar), headed by Dr Harjinder Singh Jakhu, held a rally raising slogans against Mr Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur.

The rally passed through the college road. They burnt effigies of Mr Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur at Bela Chowk under heavy security.


SAD (A) workers burn Badal’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 25
Despite heavy police deployment and preventive arrests of four leaders of the SAD (A), activists of the party burned an effigy of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD President, near the Chahal Nagar traffic-light crossing here today in protest against alleged anti-panthic policies of the SAD.

The protesters, led by Mr Hardip Singh Domeli, burned the effigy amid slogans. They disappeared before the police could reach the site.

Four leaders of the SAD (A), Rajinder Singh Fauji, Resham Singh Pappi, Gurdial Singh Mananwali and Gurmit Singh, were arrested two days ago. Additional police force was deployed at all strategic points.


Amarinder govt is anti-Dalit: BSP
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 25
Addressing a rally of BSP workers in front of the Mini Secretariat here today, Mr Narendra Kashyap, national general secretary, Bahujan Samaj Party, alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh’s government was anti-Dalit. It had hatched a conspiracy to make the condition of Dalits and economically weaker sections of society more pitiable to benefit the rich and upper classes.

Under this conspiracy the government had proposed to privatise 2,000 schools, hospitals and the Punjab State Electricity Board.

With the privatisation of schools, children of Dalits would be deprived of education.

Health facilities being provided in government hospitals on nominal rates to Dalits and the weaker sections would also become beyond the reach of a common man and power rates would be enhanced further.

He said no department should be privatised. He further alleged that atrocities on Dalits had increased during Capt Amarinder Singh’s rule.

Mr Harpal Singh, Mr Bhagwan Singh Chohan, both general secretaries of the Punjab unit, Mr Sumitter Singh Sikri, District President of BSP and many others also addressed the rally. Later they presented a charter of demands to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur.


Woman alleges rape in police custody
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 25
A woman, who was arrested with 150 gm opium a few days back, was today brought to the Civil Hospital for medical examination after she alleged that she was raped in the police custody.

A three-member team of the Health Department examined the victim following a court order but no details of her medical examination were available.

It may be mentioned here that Pawani was sent to the Central Jail, Bathinda, after her arrest. She had alleged that four policemen raped her and the police tortured her.

Earlier, she was rushed to the Civil Hospital when she complained of pain a few days back. Sources said the team had sent some samples to Patiala. Unconfirmed reports said blood was oozing out of her mouth today when she was brought to the hospital and her condition was reportedly critical.

Pawani also accused the police of trapping her in a false case. Her relatives told mediapersons that she had an altercation with some women of her locality on April 17 and they lodged a complaint against Pawani at the Cantt police station. They alleged that the police rounded her up on the same day and produced her in the court the next day after implicating her in a false case of possessing opium. They said they had written to human rights commission and sought a probe into the matter.

SSP Kapil Dev said he had already ordered a probe into the matter and SP Ajay Maluja would submit a report after investigation in the case.


Slogans greet minister during MC visit
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 25
Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies, today faced a protest on his first visit to the municipal corporation (MC) after two and a half years to preside over the House proceedings. The Safai Karamchari Union protested against the local government’s lopsided policies of not regularising temporary employees.

It lamented the “pressure tactics” used by a senior official. Union members raised slogans when the minister arrived at the MC Town Hall two hours behind schedule.

Interestingly, two tubewells were inaugurated by the minister today, one of which had already been inaugurated by a councillor of the Opposition.

One tubewell is located on the Mahana Singh road and the other in East Mohan Nagar. However, Mr Sunil Datti, Mayor, said the tubewell had not been inaugurated earlier.

The minister presented a cheque for Rs 4 crore for development of which Rs 1 crore is for slum areas.

Mr Shavet Mallik and Mr Madan Lal Aneja, both BJP councillors, presented a list of demands to the minister that included release of Rs 38.5 crore owed to the MC by the state in lieu of collections of excise duty that has been pending for years.

The MC has to take loans to fulfil its obligations while the state is sitting on a whopping sum payable to the MC, which has gathered interest during this period,” they added.

Earlier, during a meeting of the Planning and Development Board for 2005-2006, a plan was made for the development for city with a budget of Rs 88.62 crore.

The minister said a sum of Rs 4.30 crore was released for old-age pensioners in the district, for widow pensions (Rs 35 lakh), destitute children (Rs 4.61 lakh), for the disabled (Rs 8.47 lakh), under the Ashirvaad Scheme (Rs 1.53 crore), mid-day meal (Rs 2.06 crore) and Kishori Yojana (Rs 13.85 lakh). Besides, a sum of Rs 3.26 crore was released for development of Ajnala, Chogawan, Gandiwind, Valtoha and Patti.


47 pc milk samples found adulterated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Pure facts about milk adulteration in Punjab: for creating awareness among residents, the state’s Dairy Development Department tested 3,162 samples till March 31. Out of the total, an estimated 47.62 per cent of the samples were found to be adulterated.

Milk laced with urea, starch, formalin, glucose, sugar and salt was also detected.

This was not all. Several samples of adulterated ghee, besides low-quality paneer, were seized by department officials from Ludhiana, Sangrur and Gurdaspur districts.

Giving details, sources said 1,506 samples, out of the total, did not conform to the prescribed standards. Out of these, 1,466 samples were found to be adulterated with water. Twentyfive samples were discovered to be laced with soda.

The sources added that four samples contained urea. Another four were laced with starch. Besides, four other samples were found containing sugar, salt, formalin and glucose.

In a large number of cases tests revealed that cream had been separated from the milk by the vendors before selling. As such, the fat level was very low in the milk. The vendors were also adding neutralisers to the milk for enhancing its life.

The department’s Joint Director, Mr K.S. Mavi, asserted that contrary to the general belief no case of “pond water” being added to the milk was detected during the awareness campaign.

The sources said that the sample-testing process was a part of an ongoing campaign launched by the department in the state.

They asserted that the samples of milk offered by vendors were brought by the consumers themselves and tested at the laboratories set up by the department at the district level. Most of the samples collected from Bathinda, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kharar and several other places in the state failed the test due to water adulteration.


Rotarians’ salute to Paul Harris
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 25
The local Rotary Club organised a programme — A Centennial Salute to Rotary’s Founder Paul Harris — at Hotel Flyover Classic here today to mark of the birthday of the founder of Rotary International .

Dr B.C. Gupta, Financial Commissioner-cum-Principal Secretary (Food and Civil Supply) inaugurated the function by lighting the ceremonial lamp. Dr Gupta later garlanded a portrait of Paul Harris and he also released a heritage stamp on Rotary’s founder prepared by the club.

Dr Gupta pointed to the need for holding social dialogue as a mantra for unleashing the goodwill lying untapped in the hearts of the people. He illustrated the point with reference to the recent Indo-Pak cricket match at Mohali where every second family came to host the visitors.

Rotarian Dr Vanita Gupta, a Paul Harris fellow of Rotary International District 3080, made an informative audio visual presentation while Prof S.C. Sharma underlined the need for adopting the Rotary four way test to improve the moral tone of society

Renowned orthopaedic surgeon Dr R.L. Mittal thanked the speakers and other guests.


Bank staff observe strike
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 25
A one-day strike was observed by employees of the Oriental Bank of Commerce today in protest against the government’s decision to bring down their capital in the public sector banks to 51 per cent and at the same time to increase private capital in these banks to 49 per cent.

The strike call was jointly given by the All India Oriental Bank Employees’ Federation and the All-India Oriental Bank Officers’ Association. Mr Vinod Sharma, general secretary of the association, said if the government went ahead with it decision to increase private capital in banks, the ownership control and monitoring of the banks would be greatly diluted leading to instability.

Mr Sharma added that neither the government nor the bank’s management was trying to recover the non-performing-assets which were more than the 2500 crores. He added that even if a part of the NPA was recovered there would be no need to go to the private market to increase capital.

Prominent among those who addressed the gathering were Mr N.K Gaur of the All-India Bank Employees’ Association, (AIBEA) Mr Yog Raj Gupta, president of the All-India Oriental Bank Employees’ Federation (AIOBEF).


BSP rally opposes govt schools in pvt hands
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 25
Activists of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Mr Ran Singh Mehlan, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the BSP, today held a dharna and rally in the district administrative complex here in protest against the proposed move of the Punjab Government to hand over 2,000 government schools to private parties.

Among others who attended the dharna were Mr Ran Singh Mehlan, Mr Amrik Singh, secretary of the Punjab BSP; Mr Pavitar Singh, district president of the party; Mr Jagtar Singh Changal, district president of Bahujan Volunteer Force, and Mr Nachhatar Singh.

The BSP activists held a protest march, carrying banners and placards, condemning the proposed move of the government regarding handing over of government schools to private parties.

The leaders termed the government move to privatise government schools as “unconstitutional”. They also asked the Punjab Governor to intervene and not allow the government to execute its proposal. They said this move of the government would be in violation of the fundamental principles of the Constitution.

The leaders said the government was considering handing over other public sector institutions like the Punjab State Electricity Board and Punjab Roadways, to the private sector. This would create unemployment and unrest among the youth.

A deputation of the party submitted a memorandum, opposing the move to privatise government schools to the Deputy Commissioner.


BSF, Pak Rangers to step up vigil
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 25
The BSF and the Pakistan Rangers have decided to increase vigil to stop smuggling of narcotics and other illegal substances on the Indo-Pak border.

This was revealed by Mr G.S. Gill, IG, BSF (Punjab), who returned along with other personnel from Karachi after attending a biennial meeting with the Pakistan Rangers, at a news conference at Wagah joint checkpost, about 26 km from here, yesterday.

He said they had provided names of two prisoners of war (POW) languishing in Pakistan jails to the Rangers. However, the latter denied having any POW in their jails.


ATM replaces water taps
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 25
The railway authorities have removed water taps from the circulating area at railway station here to create space for an ATM.

Thousands of people, who visit the station daily, have been deprived of the most basic necessity at a public place. Volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva, an NGO, have put up a water stall there for passengers.

The passengers said unavailability of potable water in the circulating area had affected the poor as they could not afford to buy a bottle of mineral water costing Rs 10 or Rs 12.

Ms Anita Chowdhary, a passenger, said the ATM would be used only by a few passengers, while the water facility was for all.

Ranjit, a porter, said they had to go to shops outside the station to drink water.

Mr D. K. Singh, Station Superintendent, said a water cooler would be installed in the circulating area. He said no circulating area of any railway station had potable water facility.


Cong to launch ‘nari chetna lehar’
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 25
The Congress will start a ‘nari chetna lehar’ in the state soon.

This was stated by Ms Sarbari Begum, secretary, PPCC, at a meeting held in connection with the employment of women at Khanpur here today. She told the gathering that women, who were even educated, were no aware of their rights and as a result had to face various problems in their day to day life. The chetna lehar was being started to make women aware of their rights, she added.

She said that in case of dowry and female foeticide only women were held responsible even when they were not the only ones to be blamed. She said that apart from creating awareness, the lehar would also discuss other problems being faced by women.


Major power shutdown today
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 25
The Punjab State Electricity Board has announced an eight hour power cut in various areas of the city to the shutdown of the 66 kv grid sub station at the NIS.

The areas where power supply would not be available from 9 am to 5 am on Tuesday are Chotti Baradari, Sai market, Khalsa Mohalla, AC market, Bahera road, Nabha Gate, Top Khana mor, Old Anaj Mandi, Old Tehsil, Ragho Majra, Dhillon Colony, Ragho Majra, Officers Colony, Malwa Colony, Good Earth Colony and New Officers Colony.


Lightning kills two labourers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 25
Two migrant labourers were killed and two injured in separate lightning incidents at Tong and Butala villages in the Rayya area here today.

According to information, two migrants, Mohammad Ziauddin and Mohmmad Quyyam, both residents of Katihar in Bihar, were engaged in harvesting in the fields when the lightning struck.


28-year-old FIR quashed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 25
A Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar has ordered quashing of the FIR registered about 28 years ago against a former Executive Engineer of Punjab under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Judge also set aside the permission granted for prosecution of the officer in 1988, as earlier, in 1979, a request for launch of prosecution proceedings against him had been turned down.

Disposing of the petition filed by Amarjit Singh, a former Executive Engineer, the Bench noted that it was wholly inappropriate to allow the prosecution of the petitioner as the government had previously denied permission for the same years ago. The court also observed that no material had been placed on record to show that the petitioner was ever subjected to departmental proceedings. This was inspite of the fact that the respondents had been given ample opportunity to conduct departmental inquiry against him.

In his petition, which was filed in 1988, Mr Amarjit Singh had questioned the validity of permission granted in 1988 to prosecute him. He said the sanction was granted almost nine years after the government had refused to sanction his prosecution. He had also claimed that the sanction to prosecute him was illegal and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

His petition was admitted in 1989 and next year, an application filed by the government for vacation of stay on further proceedings was dismissed.

In its order, the Bench also noted that there was no material that justified a review of the decision not to grant sanction for prosecution.

Contempt case

Mr Justice A.K. Goel of the High Court has directed the Secretary, Animal Husbandry Department, Punjab, to be personally present in the court on September 6.

The personal appearance of the officer was ordered during hearing of a contempt petition moved by Mr Wazir Singh and some other Class IV employees of Mansa district. In their petition, Mr Wazir Singh and others have stated that an despite an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, directing the Punjab Government to grant consequential benefits to them, no such benefits have been granted.

However, the state government did not implement the High Court order on the plea that a special leave petition (SLP) against the order was pending in Supreme Court.

After hearing counsel for the petitioners, the Bench ordered the officer to be present in the court on the next date of hearing.


Irked over illicit relations, man kills wife
Our Correspondent

Zira, April 25
In a case of cold-blooded murder, a husband brutally killed his wife and her grandmother and then surrendered before the police.

Gurpreet Singh of Ratholrahi village under Zira subdivision killed his wife Chinderpal Kaur and her grandmother Surjit Kaur. Gurpreet, in presence of panchayat members surrendered before the police this morning. He told mediapersons that he was perturbed over the illicit relationship maintained by his wife.

He said he got married around eight years ago to Chinderpal Kaur, who belonged to Ghal Kalan village in Moga. He used to go to Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh every year to work in an agriculture equipment-making factory for four months during the wheat harvesting season. In 1999, he started a shop of grocery items in the village which was managed by his wife when he was away. He said his wife started having illicit relations with some men of the village in his absence and her grandmother Surjit Kaur used to hide her misdeeds. He said he wanted to take her along to MP but she always desisted on one pretext or another.

Slowly, the entire village came to know about her loose character and people started taunting him about it, said Gurpreet.

Yesterday, at around 12 midnight when everyone in the family including his son Laddi (7) and daughter Jaspreet (3), were sleeping, Gurpreet, under the influence of liquor and irked over the insincerity of his wife, killed her by tying electric wire around her neck and then killed her grandmother, Surjit Kaur, who was sleeping in the lobby.

He said after sometime, he found that his wife and Surjit Kaur were alive. Then they were done to death with a brickbat.

Some panchayat members and village men also endorsed Gurpreet’s statement that his wife was maintaining illicit relationships in the village.


Man killed by wife, paramour
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 25
Kuldeep Singh alias Manak (38) was electrocuted by his wife and her paramour last night here at a bunga. The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 34, IPC, against the accused.

Kuldeep Singh was married to Gurmeet Kaur alias Simro about 15 years ago. The couple was earlier living at Manochahal village but shifted to this town about eight years ago. Gurmeet Kaur developed illicit relations with Satnam Singh of Shahbazpur, a PSEB employee. They considered Kuldeep Singh an obstacle in their relations and tried to eliminate him. The accused had been arrested.

In another case, Gurdial Singh and Balkar Singh, residents of Rampur Bhutwind village were shot at and injured when they tried to intervene between two groups’ clash.

A case has been registered against Gurjant Singh, Pargat Singh, Laddi, Gurvinder Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Thano.


Insurance officer held for graft
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 25
The Punjab Vigilance Department today arrested Ashok Kumar Marwah, Manager in the New India Assurance Company, on the charges of corruption.

Vigilance officials laid a trap for the Manager on the complaint of Ranjit Singh, resident of Chak Phool village, near here.

Ranjit Singh had complained to the Vigilance Department that the Manager had been demanding a bribe from him for the settlement of some claim. The deal for the work was settled at Rs 1,500/- This evening Ranjit Singh handed over Rs 1,500 to the Manager and vigilance officials accompanying him nabbed him.


Girl, brother found murdered
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 25
Ramanjit Kaur (20) and her brother Lakhminder Singh (14) have been found murdered at their residence in Jogi China village, near Kanuwan, under mysterious circumstances.

Sources said the deceased were alone at their house last night along with their servant, a migrant labourer.

The servant, who was sleeping near the room of the deceased, reported the incident to the police in the morning. The police reached the spot and took the bodies for post-mortem to Civil Hospital here. The mother and brother-in-law of the deceased had gone out for some work leaving them alone in the house along with the servant.

The SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, when contacted said in the post-mortem signs of strangulation had been found on the body of Lakhwinder Singh. However, no mark of resistance or strangulation was found on the body of the girl. The viscera of the deceased had been sent for chemical examination.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered.


Six booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, April 25
Six persons, including a woman, have been booked for duping people of lakhs under the pretext of sending them abroad.

According to a press release issued here today, Baljinder Singh and his friends, in their complaint to the SSP, had alleged that Shaminder Singh, along with his parents and three friends, had formed a gang and would loot those aspiring to settle abroad. They alleged that the accused charged Rs 90,000 from each aspirant and kept with them his school/ college certificates. They used to tell people approaching them to pay the rest of the money after landing on foreign shores. They accused them of looting nearly 70 persons in this manner. They alleged that whenever a person would ask them to return his money they would threaten him.

Following their complaint, a case has been registered against Shaminder and his aides under Sections 406 420, 467, 468, 471, 506 and 34 of the IPC at the Sadar police station. The police has arrested Shaminder Singh and his father Jagraj Singh, while search is on for the remaining accused.


2 injured in attack
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, April 25
Tension gripped parts of the city following two persons, including a 76-year-old man, were injured when they were attacked by a group of assailants carrying swords and sharp-edged weapons at old Subzi Mandi here today.

According to the police, the victims were accompanying Rajinder Singh and his nephew Sarabjeet Singh when they were going to attend proceedings of a case at the District Courts, when a group of assailants attacked them with swords.

Ashok Kumar and Banta Singh (76) sustained injuries in the clash while Rajinder and Sarabjeet managed to flee the spot. Sources maintained that the accused had enmity with Rajinder and Sarabjit.

The police is investigating the case and an FIR is yet to be registered.


Three held for selling adulterated petrol
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 25
The Majitha police has arrested three persons while adulterating petrol at Bhinder Filling Station at Adda Khujala and sealed the petrol station besides a tanker of Mineral Turpentine Oil meant for adulteration.

The arrested include Sham Bahadur, a resident of Jalandhar, driver of the tanker, cleaner of tanker Surinder Kumar, a resident of Kangra, and Raj Kumar salesman at the petrol station. A case under Sections 420 and 120-B, IPC, and the Essential Commodities Act was registered at Mehta Police station.

Ms Vibhu Raj, SSP, Majitha police district, in a press note issued here today said that the samples were drawn from the tanker, the petrol station in the presence of Mr Amarjit Singh, District Food and Supply Officer (DFSO), and the Assistant Sales Manager of Bharat Petroleum, Mr Sanjeev Arora.

She said the accused were in the process of adulterating the petrol with MTO.


Three die in accident
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 25
Vishal Shastri, head priest of Raghunath Temple, Jammu, Ashok Kumar, priest, and Kamal Kumar, all belonging to Raghunathpura, Jammu, died on the spot when a truck collided head-on with their car at Ralhan village on Jalandhar-Pathankot Road last evening.

According to police sources the truck driver fled after the accident. The bodies were sent to the Civil Hospital, Dasuya, for a post-mortem.

The Dasuya police has registered a case under Section 304 A of the IPC.


One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 25
One person got killed in a collision between a scooter and a jeep near Desumajra here today.

Jasmer Singh, a resident of a colony falling on Landran road was going on a scooter when a jeep which was going towards Chandigarh allegedly hit his scooter while trying to overtake another vehicle. The injured was taken to the Civil Hospital at Mohali where he died.


Tribune Impact
School dogged by controversy reopens
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 25
Following a Tribune report pertaining to holding of a marriage function at Government Middle School, Qadian and Bhullar, in Noormahal subdivision, the school that had been lying locked for the past few months has been reopened and admissions have begun.

The District Education Department has directed the authorities of Government Senior Secondary School, Bilga village, to send teachers of different subjects on rotation to the school daily for taking classes and conducting admissions. The two teachers working in the Government Elementary School of the villages have also been directed to take classes.

The DEO, Mr R.R. Badhan, visited the school and has initiated an inquiry in this regard on April 21, the day of publishing of the report. He said he held a meeting with the panchayats of both villages and asked them to appoint a teacher by mobilising their resources. The DEO said it had been decided that the school would now be a part of cluster under a high school in Pawadla village, 2 km from the school, instead of Bilga which was 9 km away.

The DEO said he had been assured by villagers that they would take an initiative to get students for the school by visiting door-to-door campaigning. They also said students from the two villages who had joined Sangowal village school would be called back to join this school in their village.


Teething troubles in store for new veterinary university
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 25
Although the Punjab Government has created the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University with headquarters at Ludhiana, yet teething troubles in the smooth functioning of the new university appear to be in store. It looks as if the state Government has acted in a manner of ‘might is right’.

Before finalising the draft of the new university which was passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in its budget session, the PAU authorities were not taken into confidence. There are many contradictions in the new university’s act itself. The Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University which is being established in the memory of second Sikh guru shall have division of assets with the Punjab Agricultural University in the ratio of 30-70.

This has been provided in the new university Act and there certain buildings which stand transferred to the new university under the Act.

But legal experts maintain that the unilateral orders cannot be issued by the state government PAU being an autonomous university, its board of management must first grant the sanction for the transfer of the assets. No doubt the board of management of PAU is also dominated by the senior officials of the Punjab Government, yet certain formalities have to be fulfilled to legalise the things. Further there can be tension on the otherwise peaceful campus on the question of sharing facilities of library, medical, playgrounds, guest houses, auditorium, clubs, public health services and accommodation for employees of any other facilities available with PAU.

Under the Act, the first Vice-Chancellor of the veterinary university shall be the Secretary, Animal Husbandry, of the state government and he shall hold charge till the university starts functioning smoothly or till the board appoints a regular Vice-Chancellor. The Secretary, Animal Husbandry, is in fact, the brain behind this new university.

Under the Act, 70 acres of prime land adjoining the immunology building where the veterinary university will be located has already been transferred to the new university. Besides, the fodder area (155 acres) small animal colony in the department of zoology and hostels attached with the veterinary college shall stand transferred to the new university. The PAU at present is undertaking research on wheat, maize and pulses on 70 acres of land located on the Ferozepore road.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal during his tenure as Chief Minister wanted to dispose of this prime land but the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, put his foot down and did not allow the same. PAU had witnessed a land scam during the tenure of Dr A.S. Khera when valuable land of the university was sold to a leading industrial house now close to the state government. The scam was enquired into the Dr Khera was indicted.

Dr Kalkat did not allow another scandal on the campus. Interestingly the board of management of the new university will have two NRIs as its members. The question is will they come to attend the meeting of the board from abroad.

Dr D.R. Bhumbla, a senior soil scientist of the country who served as Director Research at PAU and also Commissioner Agriculture, Government of India, strongly feels, ‘there should not be a university within a university.

The PAU Teachers Association (PAUTA) and the non-teaching employees are going to challenge the new university in count.


Teacher complains to DC against Headmaster
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 25
Adding a twist to the ongoing twist between the school Headmaster and the woman teacher, parents and the husband of the teacher today submitted a copy of the complaint to the Deputy Commissioner against the Headmaster alleging that he had caught her hand after the teacher marked her attendance in the register.

The teacher had alleged that after she marked her attendance, the Headmaster called her to get her charges of the examination duties. He handed over a Rs 100 currency note to her when she demanded Rs 80 more. He caught her from the arm and said, “take as much money as you want”. She alleged that she went to the primary school and told her colleague Mel Singh, Mr Mel Singh called the Headmaster and asked him why he had molested the staff member. She had written that the Headmaster apologised to Mr Mel Singh. She further mentioned that she along with her husband went to the Headmaster’s residence at Sirhind and his wife assured them that she would ask him to apologise to her.

They had also informed the sarpanch of the village, panchyat members, and other prominent people. The Headmaster was urged to apologise and her husband Manoj Kumar was also told apologise to the Headmaster for beating him.

She urged the Deputy Commissioner to conduct a thorough inquiry and punish the guilty.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner marked an inquiry to Mr Kaley, GA to Deputy Commissioner today.


Topper loses seat due to change in norms
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, April 25
For Dr Arvind Bhandari, topper in the postgraduate entrance test in dentistry, denial of admission into a government college has come as a bolt from the blue.

In spite of securing the top position along with Dr Alka Gupta, he has been ignored because of fresh norms reserving 50 per cent seats for students belonging to their parent government institution. This is, however, not mentioned in the prospectus.

Narrating his tale of woes, Dr Bhandari said that a circular dated March 25, 2003 was released through an advertisement a week before the examination.

It stated that reservation had been provided to PG students as per the directions of the apex court.

It did not mention the criteria for the reservation.

When contacted, Dr J.S. Dalal, Director Research and Medical Education, said the government had fixed the criteria according to the notification and the authorities could do little in the matter.


Teachers hold rally against privatisation of education
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 25
Hundreds of teachers from government schools today held a rally against the move of the state government to privatise the education system. The teachers gathered at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Park in the city on the call given by the Punjab Subordinate Service Federation.

Addressing gathering, the leaders alleged that the decision of the government to privatise the education system was against the national policy to provide free education to students between six to 14 year. The decision of the government to handover government schools to private parties would increase the cost of education and it would be difficult for children of the poor sections of the society to get education.

The leaders also informed that on May 10, a large number of teachers would join the massive rally to be held in front of Parliament against the move of the state government. They said in the first week of May a convention of teachers would be held to raise the issue. Prominent among those who addressed the gathering included Ranbiir Dhillon, Ranjit Singh Halwara, Sital Singh Chahal, Paramjit Singh, Gurbachan Singh.

Meanwhile the district unit of the BSP on Monday also organised a separate rally against the privatisation of education in the state and submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner for submission to the Punjab Governor.

The president of the district BSP unit, Mr Charanjit Singh Ghai, said that the decision of the government was against the fundamental rights of education and poor section of the society.


Painting competition results
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 25
The Rotary Club, Patiala (Mid Town) and the Inner Wheel club (Mid Town) organised an inter-school on the spot painting competition in memory of Major B. S. S. Bedi at the Rajindra Gymkhana club here today.

As many as 150 students from 14 schools participated in the competition. The Rotary district governor-elect Dr Harbans Pathak distributed the prizes to the winners.

Results: 4-7 years — Janvi Gupta Sri Aurobindo International school-1,

Ajay Bharti (Teja Singh Kandhari Public School)-2.

8-12 years — Harnoor Kaur (St. Peters Academy)-1, Jatin Ahuja ( Guru Harkishan Public School) - 2, Pallavi (Sri Aurobindo International School) - 3. 13 to 16 years: Varun Sharma (Playway High School) - 1, Nitin Singla (Our Lady of Fatima Convent school) - 2, Kalam Preeet (Modern Senior Secondary School) - 3. Best Budding Artists of the Year: 13 to 16 years — Sapna Dahiya (Army School). 8 to 12 years: Jagmeet Singh (Blossoms School).


Arhtiyas warn of fast
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 25
Arhtiyas in the local vegetable market today set the alarm bells ringing with their announcement that if the state government didn’t pay heed to their demands they would resort to fast soon.

A large number of members of the Kacha Arhtiyas Association, labour union and retail market bodies, today staged a dharna against handing over the market fee recovery to private contractors. The dharna that started at 6 in the morning lasted till 11 a.m. amidst a heavy police presence.

The association chief, Mr Mahinder Kumar, alleged that the contractor’s men broke open the locks of two gates of the vegetable market in the presence of the police force.

He accused the district administration of favouring the contractor and said they were not allowed to install loudspeaker saying that they didn’t have the permission for the same.

He said the contractor’s men were neither wearing any uniform nor badges and were not working in a system.

The Shiromani Akali Dal has also lent its support to the arhtiyas’ agitation and former minister Chiranjilal Garg took part in their dharna today.

Meanwhile, common people had to pay through their nose as vegetable prices shot up owing to arhtiyas strike. The retail market was shut and labourers refused to unload vegetables.


Vegetable traders go on strike
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, April 25
Vegetable traders of Malerkotla today went on strike in protest against the Punjab Government’s decision to introduce the contract system for the collection of market fee on fruit and vegetables.

The traders closed their shops and protested against the decision of the government. The traders alleged that contractors and their goons would harass and intimidate them for fee.

The meeting convened by the Market Committee authorities to allot the contract was cancelled earlier due to traders’ resentment. The residents and small traders faced a lot of problem due to the strike.


Punjab reduces rate of interest on cooperative loans
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 25
To ensure the regular supply of power to the agriculture sector as well as the industry and the domestic sector, the government has earmarked Rs 2400 crore to purchase power from outside sources, whereas last year Rs 1600 crore were spent on it.

Taking a major decision for the benefit of the farming community, the state government has reduced the rate of interest on the co-operative loans to the farmers by 1 per cent from present the existing 11 per cent to 10 per cent from the current financial year, said Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister for Co-operation while addressing a press conference here today. He had come here to install Mr. Gurdaman Singh Dhillon newly-elected MD of the Fatehgarh Sahib Central Co-operative Bank.

He said that the state government had reduced the rate of interest from the previous 14 per cent to 10 per cent within three years, which was a great relief to farmers. He said as per the directions of the Centre the quantum of advances in the agriculture sector had been increased by 30 per cent, which was to be doubled within three years.

Answering a query, he said that in the present WTO regime, the co-operative sector had to play an important and more relevant role in the economy of the state by delivering quality agri-inputs and by reducing the cost of agriculture through the large network of the co-operatives. He said at present Australian wheat was available at Rs 450 per quintal at Kandla port, whereas the MSP was Rs 650 per quintal.

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