P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Recruitment of BRPs comes under cloud
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 28
Large-scale nepotism and political favouritism has been alleged in recruitments made under the Total Literacy Programme in the district. Almost daily, the offices of the District Education Officer and the Deputy Commissioner are flooded with complaints regarding gross irregularities in the appointment of Block Resource Personnel (BRP) under the said programme.

Serious allegations have been levelled against rural education development committees in the complaints. The complainants have alleged that no advertisement was issued for the recruitment of BRPs in the district. The gross anomaly in the recruitment can be gauged from the fact that neither any interview nor any information was sought from the employment exchange during the process.

The instructions issued by the State Project Director, Total Literacy Programme clearly state that any BRP recruited under the programme must be from the same village. If no suitable candidate is found in the village, appointment can be made from an adjoining village. Besides, it has been stated that the BRPs have to be appointed purely on merit with preference being given to those qualified in science and mathematics.

All recruitments were to be made by the rural education and development committees. Each committee comprised eight members, including the Headmaster of the school as secretary, two members each of the panchayat and the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), an ex-serviceman, retired government teacher and a philanthropist or NRI.

However, all instructions have been violated in the recruitments made in February this year by the committees formed for the purpose. The complaints include those of Rajni Bala and Sneh Lata of Jarauli village in Dinanagar block in the district. In the complaint, it has been alleged that a schoolteacher of the village, who was shifted to the Block Education Office under the programme got his wife Ritu Sharma and son Jugal Kishore appointed as BRPs in Jaruli. Both do not belong to the village and have been recruited despite the fact that eligible candidates were available in Jarauli.

Four and six teachers, respectively, were appointed at government senior secondary schools for boys and girls in Gurdaspur without any interview. The complainants have alleged that many of the selected candidates were graduates. Had an open advertisement or interview been conducted, many postgraduate candidates with higher merit could have turned up for the posts.

At Hyat Nagar village, two candidates have been appointed who were not even eligible for the post whereas many local postgraduate candidates have been ignored. At Mutfarka village, lesser qualified teachers from Sujanpur have been appointed despite the fact that many local qualified persons were available. At Chaunta village, the son of the school Headmaster and the son of another teacher, who has been shifted to the Block Education Office under the scheme, have been appointed despite the availability of more qualified persons in the village.

Sources said most of these appointments had been made at the behest of ruling party politicians. Due to political pressure, no action or inquiry was being initiated despite a large number of complaints piling up before the authorities concerned.


Police acting ‘under pressure’ in land case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
A Faridkot district resident, Mr Baljinder Singh, has accused the police of having come under pressure to register cases in a land related matter even though he is in legal possession of the property.

Reacting to a news item “Paramvir Chakra awadeee’s family attacked” published in these columns on April 10, Mr Baljinder Singh said the police had initially registered a case against him, his father and others on October 4 last year even though they were intimated about his being the land’s bona fide purchaser, and also about the stay orders issued in the matter.

Referring to a first information report (FIR) registered in the matter, he added that Ms Gurdial Kaur — the widow of Paramvir Chakra awardee Subedar Joginder Singh — had accused him of taking forcible possession of the land and demolishing the house.

As far as the present case was concerned, Ms Kaur had claimed that the crops were harvested from the same chunk of land and she was locked up in a room that had earlier been demolished by him, as apparent from the news report. He has asked how another FIR could be registered “on the basis of the same matter”.

Mr Baljinder Singh has added that “he, nor any other person named as an accused, had ever taken law into his own hands”. The news report, he said, “had badly hurt him and other named as accused”.

The news item does not contain anything derogatory about Mr Baljinder Singh. Even the names of the accused mentioned in the FIR are not specified. The report only says that Ms Gurdial Kaur’s son had sold the land to Mr Baljinder Singh and he was making bids to take over the same. This allegation was levelled by Ms Kaur’s family. The report clearly states that unidentified men had attacked Ms Gurdial Kaur’s house and had harvested crop spread over five acres. The report nowhere says the land belonged to Ms Kaur. Though the land is in Mr Baljinder Singh’s name, there is still some controversy and the district administration had ordered the maintenance of status quo in October last year.


Diclofenac banned to save vultures
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Punjab Government has banned the use of diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used for cattle in the state. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Punjab State Wildlife Advisory Board held here late last evening under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the Bombay Natural History Society, which was working on a project for the rehabilitation of vultures in India, had reported that the veterinary use of diclofenac was the main reason for the decline in the vulture population in the country. Vultures played a vital role in protecting the environment. Diagnostic tests conducted by experts from the USA and the UK on tissue samples collected from dead birds had also confirmed the presence of this drug in body tissues, he added.

Meanwhile, on the basis of a number of complaints received from farmers, the board recommended the conducting of a detailed study to allow the hunting of wild boar and blue bulls only in the fields to stop the destruction of crops. The estimated population of blue bulls in the state is 10,312 and of wild boar 14,335. However, much of the destruction by wild boar and blue bulls takes place in Hoshiarpur and Patiala forest divisions, respectively.

The board also recommended the release of the gharial (Gravialis Gangeticus), which is a harmless reptile compared to the magar (crocodiles palustris) in the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary.

The exchange of wild animals between Chhatbir zoo and the Lahore zoo was also recommended by the board. At present, there are approximately 800 wild animals and birds in surplus in the state. These include tigers, panthers, black buck, barking deer, cheetal, sambar and monkeys. These can be replaced with zebras, ostriches, falcons, etc, which are present in good number in the Lahore zoo.

With a view to protecting and increasing the population of some rare and threatened wildlife species in the state, the board recommended starting integrated conservation breeding programmes.


Sainik Board official’s bribery case with Vigilance
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 28
The police has handed over the case of the Deputy Director of Sainik Welfare Office, Lt-Col S.P. Singh (retd), who was arrested for taking bribe from the brother of a Kargil martyr, Sq Ldr Ajay Ahuja, yesterday, to the Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda Range.

Sources said the SSP had written to the Vigilance Bureau to probe the matter. The Vigilance SSP, Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, confirmed that they would investigate the case.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director has been remanded in police custody till April 30.

The Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, Mr J.S. Jaiswal, has recommended strict action against him to the state government. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, said he had sought-stern action against him from the Secretary, Sainik Welfare Department.

Lt-Col S.P. Singh was caught taking bribe from Vijay Ahuja, brother of Kargil martyr Ajay Ahuja, on camera. Later, he returned the bribe in full media glare, but denied that he sought any commission from the martyr’s family.


IGNOU degrees recognised
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 28
IGNOU has said being a member of the Association of Indian universities, all recognised universities of the country are bound to recognise its degrees.

Dr U. C. Pandey, Regional Director, IGNOU at Khanna said today stated that IGNOU was a Central university established by an Act of Parliament in 1985 and its degrees/diplomas/ and certificates were recognised by all members of the association of Indian Universities (AIU) and were on a par with degrees, diplomas and certificates of all universities and institutions as per UGC circular dated February, 1992, and AIU circular dated January 14, 1994.

The Regional Director said statutory bodies like the AICTE had approved IGNOU’s computer programmes.

Reacting to a statement of the Director, Distance Education, GNDU, Dr Pandey said as a foremost university in distance education, IGNOU, had been conferred with the centre of excellence award in distance education in 1993 and the award of excellence for distance education material in 1999 by the Common Wealth of learning (COL), Canada, besides collaborating with open universities of SAARC region and national and international organisations like WIPO, the WHO and the World Bank and departments of several state and Central governments.


School for health workers in a shambles
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 28
At a time when health centres in state’s villages and towns are crying for medical staff, the Punjab Government seems to be paying no attention to the schools imparting training to aspiring health workers and nurses. While the situation in government schools is going from bad to worse, private institutes are mushrooming all over the state.

The Multipurpose Health Worker Training School at the Civil Hospital premises here has about 80 girl students, but no amenities for them. The school’s building was in a shambles and cracks had appeared on the walls of hostel’s. Its doors were in a poor shape. Bath fittings in hostel’s bathrooms and some switchboards were missing leaving electric wires in the open. Almirah doors were also hanging loose in the hostel rooms. Out of the total 80 students 63 were hostellers, while the rest were day scholars.

The state of affairs here could be gauged from the fact that sometime back power supply to the hostel was snapped due to non-payment of electricity bills and the power was restored after a few months with the Deputy Commissioner’s intervention.

The training school was also facing a severe staff crunch. There were four posts of sister tutor, of which three were lying vacant and the same went for the post of Public Health Nurse. Single posts of clerk and housekeeper were also lying vacant, while the solitary sanitarian had died a couple of months back. The school principal, Mrs Bhajan Kaur was doubling up as the sister tutor. She had been playing deputing for the post for the past nine years out of which for the first five years she was also the officiating principal of the school. A staff nurse had also been deputed on the post of Public Health Nurse and being eligible she was also helping students in their studies. A Class IV woman employee, who was earlier working as cook, was given the charge of housekeeper a couple of years back. She also looked after the students at night. Sources said one of the sister tutors was deputed to another at Badal about a year back despite staff crunch at the school.

Lack of staff had added to the workload of the tutors, besides affecting the quality of education. Sources said each student had to complete 600 hours of duty at the hospital and 960 hours of duty in community during the course, but in absence of adequate teachers they didn’t receive proper supervision on the duty. The school didn’t even have telephone till a couple of years back.

Sources also said the school students were also entitled to a stipend of Rs 500 per month, which was sanctioned by the Centre, but they had not got the same for the last three to four years. On the contrary, they were contributing Rs 500 per month each for cooperative mess. Sources said many of the students here came from poor or lower-middle class families and they were finding it difficult to pay for mess.

When contacted, the school in charge in absence of the principal, Ms Prabjot Kaur, said they had already sent an estimate for the repair work of the building to the authorities concerned. She said that they had also sent requests for filling up of vacant posts.


Tribune Impact
DC inspects anganwaris 
Finds eatables contaminated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 28
Following the publication of a news item in Chandigarh Tribune regarding the distribution of fungus infested, stinking biscuits containing insects, panjeeri, soia gur patti and wheat puff channa to children up to the age of 6 years, in the anganwari centres of the district, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, today called the meeting of all district officials and directed the SDMs to check all anganwari centres in their respective subdivisions and to withdraw the food material.

The Deputy Commissioner along with the Civil Surgeon, the ADC (D) and other officials himself inspected various anganwari centres and found that insects and fungus was there in eatables. He directed the District Health Officer to take samples and sent them to two different labs for chemical testing.

He also checked the record of the Zila Parishad, which has given the tender to the firm. He directed the ADC(D) to submit the report in this regard.

Meanwhile, Mr R.L. Kalsia, Secretary Social Security Child and Women Department, sent Deputy Director Nachatar Singh from the head office to take the stock of the situation. He also wrote a DO letter to Deputy Commissioner to send the report after conducting a thorough inquiry. He also authorised the Deputy Commissioner to close any anganwari centre and take action against any official of the department found guilty.

Mr Nachatar Singh said that he had not come for an inquiry but had come on a private visit. He refused to give any detail.

Mr Ahluwalia, told this correspondent that all SDMs had started checking the anganwari centres. He said that during a visit to various centres, he found insects in puff channa and biscuits and Murmura badly stinking. He said that he had directed the Civil Surgeon to get it chemically examined. He had also directed the Secretary, Zila Parishad to stop the payment of the supplier. He said that the supplier met him today and gave in writing that they were ready to replace the affected food. An inquiry had also been ordered to verify how the contract was given to a Jaipur firm, he added.

Mr Kalsia said that he had sent Mr Nachatar Singh to get the first hand information. He had urged the Deputy Commissioner to send the inquiry report within three days.


NRI, call girl arrested

Jalandhar, April 28
The local police arrested a non-resident Indian (NRI), along with a call girl, from a city hotel last night.

According to the police, England-based Faquir Masih was caught with the call girl from the hotel after his wife had lodged a complaint with the police about the activities of her husband.

In the complaint she had alleged that her husband, instead of looking after his family, staying in Nakodar, preferred to stay at a hotel in the company of call girls.

The NRI, however, claimed before the police that he was being implicated in a false case at the instance of his wife who, along with her second husband, had conspired to grab his property. The NRI, however, had no answers when the police confronted him before the arrested call girl. — UNI


Work on to reconstruct Hansli channel
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 28
Baba Jagtar Singh of Tarn Taran said today that the “kar seva” of the Hansli channel that brings water from the Ravi to the five holy sarovars of Harmander Sahib, Santokhsar, Kaulsar, Bibeksar and the Ramsar would be completed within one-and-a-half month. The SGPC generally provides the funds for the project. But whenever the need arises the funds were collected from devotees and sangat of the city and its surrounding areas.

Baba Gurmeet Singh, who is supervising the work, said the “kar seva” to reconstruct the Hansli was started five months ago. The old Hansli was demolished and a new one constructed in its place. The heights of the Hansli had been raised so that one could enter into the channel and clean it whenever any problem arises.

He said Baba Kharak Singh and Baba Darshan Singh built the present Hansli, which provides water to the holy sarovars, 30 years ago. It used to provide impure water to sarovars at times. It came to light when the “kar seva” of Harmander Sahib sarovar was undertaken some time ago. It was not possible to clean the old Hansli, which was so narrow that one could not enter it for removing the silt.

He further said 200 to 300 “kar sevaks” from different parts of the country take part in the kar seva.


GND varsity to honour Pak SC Judge
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 28
Guru Nanak Dev University will honour Mr Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh and Dr Manohar Singh Gill, a former Chief Election Commissioner of India and presently Member of the Rajya Sabha with honorary degrees at its 31st annual convocation being held on May 1.

Mr Justice Ramday will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in the faculty of Laws. Dr Manohar Singh Gill and Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh will be conferred upon the degrees of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

They are being honoured in recognition of their commendable contribution to their respective fields.

The university will also honour renowned playwright Atamjit Singh and former hockey Olympian Ajit Pal Singh with gold medals for their contribution to their fields.

Justice Ramday will be the chief guest and will address the convocation.

More than 550 Ph.D, M.Phil, LLM, MBA, M.Tech, MCA, M.Com, M.Lib, M.Sc, M.A, B.Tech, LLB, B.Lib, B.Sc and BA degrees will be awarded in various faculties at the convocation.

Justice Ramday (60) is a son of a noted jurist, the late Muhammad Siddique, who belonged to Kiryan village in Nawanshahr district (now in Indian Punjab).


Punjab needs to have water vision, feels expert
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 28
Dr Y.K. Alagh today said Punjab agriculture was subsidising food for the entire world by overstretching its own resources. A former Union Minister for Planning and Power and Member, Planning Commission, Dr Alagh, was talking to The Tribune following a seminar organised by the Institute of Development and Communication (IDC) here today.

“Punjab has one of the finest land resources and agriculturists in the world who are feeding consumers across the globe but are cheating their own future generations of good soils and water resources,” said Mr Alagh, adding that Punjab should be demanding its due for the blood and toil that went into agriculture.

Pointing out that asking for better minimum support price (MSP) is not the solution to the problem, Dr Alagh suggested that Punjab needed to calculate the real resource cost of its agriculture, not for a higher MSP, but for the next tariff policy, monetary policy and tax policy.

Dr Alagh who had reported on the impact of implementation of the WTO agreement on Punjab’s economy as chairman of an experts committee said Punjab should gear itself for competitive trading in agriculture. “We have to prepare a road map for each crop. “Punjab cannot shift away from paddy cultivation. But with the available technological advances a large amount of area under paddy can be freed which, in turn, can be used to grow high valued crops. It’s a shame that hybrid paddy has not been introduced in the state. Punjab also has to shift towards community involvement in water and land treatment and then leave it to the community to reap the benefits. In Gujarat such community organisation experiments have succeeded,” he said.

Reiterating the conclusions of the high-powered committee for formation and conversion of cooperative businesses into companies that he had chaired for the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Government of India, Dr Alagh pointed out that new economic challenges and opportunities necessitated new institutional forms.

“We have to ensure that rural producers are able to participate as equal partners in the national and international economy. And this is happening in Gujarat. In Saurashtra, the Gondals formed a cooperative and have been exporting chillies to China,” he said.

Other than an agro-climatic approach towards the differential management of its water and land resources, Punjab needs to have a water vision, suggested Dr Alagh. He said: “The issue is that the whole of Punjab is not the land of five rivers. There is the kandi area, the forest land and the land under canal irrigation. The state has not only to identify the technologies needed for water augmentation in different areas but also involve peoples’ institutions and organisations in the process. Through the 1990s more than two third increase in land under irrigation was a result of cooperative efforts. Also we need to review the pricing of electricity, improve distribution system in canal irrigation and facilitate water harvesting in the kandi area.”


Race course for Ludhiana soon
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 28
With a view to promote tourism in the state, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has given his consent to set up a horse race course and tourist complex in about 400-acre land of the Animal Husbandry Department in Mattewarha village in Ludhiana district.

We have been working on the project and maps for the project will also be finalised soon, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Tourism and Animal Husbandry, told. The Tribune after attending a function in Boormajra village, 15 km from here, this afternoon.

Talking about disinvestment in the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Mr Jagmohan said the Badal government had initiated the process of disinvestment in the PTDC. Many of the PTDC-run tourist complexes had been suffering losses.

Therefore a committee had been constituted under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to work out the way to sell or lease out tourist complexes, which had been undergoing losses for several years.

He added that so far two tourist complexes, including one in Nangal, had been leased out while one at Nelon in Ludhiana had been sold to a private party. These two tourist complexes had been declared sick units by the department.


Race to erect memorial gates hots up
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, April 28
While game of one-upmanship is already on for holding functions on the martyrdom tercentenary of “40 Muktas” between the state government and the SGPC, the race to erect memorial gates in their remembrance has hot up.

It has also resulted into two gates each named after Mai Bhago and Bhai Maha Singh. Though the gates to be constructed by the SGPC started late, two of the three planned are almost ready. The SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and the SAD chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had laid the foundation of these gates on March 8.

The two gates nearing completion are located on the Abohar road and Jalalabad road, while the work is on at war footing on the Guru Harsahai road gate. Baba Harbans Singh and Baba Karnail Singh are carrying out the construction of these gates.

On the other hand, the state government is erecting four gates — one each on the Kotkapura, Bathinda, Ferozepore, and Malout roads. Markfed is spending Rs 16 lakh cach on these gates, which would be 51.6 feet long. The state government is lagging behind in the race despite the fact that the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, had laid their foundation in January.

According to the main architect of these gates, Mr S.L. Kaushal, the gates are being designed in a fashion that would emotionally attract devotees. He said red stones from Dhaulpur were being used in their construction.

He said the name of “40 Muktas” would be inscribed on these gates. To add to the beauty of these gates, landscaping would be done up to 100 feet on their either sides.


Power men hold rally
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 28
Hundreds of powermen organised a rally here yesterday in front of the office of the Superintendent Engineer(SE), PSEB, against “victimisation” of their leaders by the board. The board has suspended the services of three leaders and eight other leaders have been transferred.

The rally was supported by the Government Teachers Union, the Government School-teachers Union, the Khet Mazdoor Union, the Kisan Sangharsh Committee, the Panjab Kisan Sabha and the Sarabh Bharat Naujawan Sabha.

A memorandum was presented to the SE.


Chandigarh, Mohali to get additional water from July
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Morinda, April 28
There is good news for the residents of Chandigarh and Mohali. Officials of the Punjab Public Health Department today said efforts were on to make the phase IV of the Kajauli Water Works operational by the first week of July, which means an additional 14.5 MGD of water for Chandigarh and another 2.5 MGD of water for Mohali.

The deadline for the completion of the project was August 31, 2005. Apart from the share of Chandigarh and Mohali, the phase IV of the project will supply 3 MGD of water to Panchkula and Chandi Mandir cantonment. Till the 3 MGD of water was not utilised, the share will be used to plug the supply shortfall in Chandigarh and Mohali, said an officer in the Public Health Department.

To review the progress of the project, the Punjab Public Health Minister, Mr Avtar Singh Henry, made a surprise visit to the water works.

Officials handling the project said barring a 90 metre long pipeline which has to pass under the Morinda-Ropar rail line, other works had been nearly completed. The pumping machinery and infrastructure to supply power had been put in place. As per the plan, 25.40 km pipeline was to be laid by the Punjab Public Health and another 2 km to be laid by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

Explaining the delay in laying the 90 section which has to pass under the rail track, officials said though permission had been given by the Northern Railways two months ago, but it was given for laying a raft foundation. “It is not possible to lay raft type of foundation at the spot as already three lines from the water works are passing”, said the officers adding that now permission for laying a pile foundation, which is a deep foundation, had been again sent to the railway authorities at Delhi.

It would take a maximum of 20 days to energise and conduct trials, before the line was commissioned, the Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, told the Tribune. He said the permission from the railway authorities was expected to come in the next 20 days.

The surge vessel, which controls the back flow of water in case of a breach, is on its way from Chennai. It is expected to reach in the next few days, said the Chief Engineer.


Power shutdown
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 28
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has announced power cuts in various areas of the district tomorrow due to maintenance works to be carried out in the 220-kv Sub-Station at Patran.

Power supply in the areas of Khanauri, Arno, Shutrana, Rai Darana, Badshahpur, Moonak, Banga and Mandvi will not be available from 9 am to 5 am on April 29.


Workshop for government staff
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 28
Mr. V.N. Ojha, Director General, Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab, inaugurated a three-day “Personnel Management” workshop for officials of government departments at Rayat College of Law, Rail Mazra, about 40 km from here on Wednesday.

This is first in the series of Centre-sponsored training programmes by the institute.

In his inaugural address, Mr V.N. Ojha said it would help them enhance personal and managerial skills.

During the current financial year, officials of Hoshiarpur, Patiala and Ferozepur will also be imparted training by such workshops.

Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner said besides imbibing skills through training, the officials should evolve their own methods and strategies for better implementation of various development and welfare schemes.

Mr Grewal also asked officials of different departments to submit “personal reports” explaining what they had gained from the training workshop.


Custodial death: tractor-trailer recovered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
The missing tractor-trolley that had led to the custodial death of the tractor driver Balbir Singh has been recovered from Manakwal village near Ludhiana.

Ranbir Singh, alias Beera, resident of the village, has been arrested on the charges of conspiring with the deceased Balbir Singh in the theft of the vehicle and 300 bags of wheat. The wheat was allegedly sold by the duo to an arhtiya for Rs 70,000.

DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar confirmed to The Tribune that the accused Ranbir Singh had been arrested in the same case and the Kapurthala police had confirmed that the vehicle was also the same. He said the police was conducting raids to nab the arhtiya who bought the wheat. The police acted on a secret information and nabbed Ranbir Singh from the village.

The police had arrested Ranbir Singh two days ago but left his arrest a secret. A chance spotting of the tractor-trolley inside the Divison No 5 police station by a couple of local mediapersons brought the secret out. The police did not convene any press conference on the issue.

The S.S.P, Kapurthalam Mr Arunpal Singh, told The Tribune over the phone that the investigation conducted by the Ludhiana and Kapurthala police had established that Balbir Singh and Ranbir Singh had conspired to steal and later sell the vehicle. 


1 held with 374 kg of poppy husk

Sangrur, April 28
In a major seizure, the district police seized 11 bags of poppy husk containing 374 kg of poppy husk and arrested one smuggler while his three other accomplices managed to escape under the cover of darkness last night.

The arrested accused has been identified as Satpal of Ladda village, the police sources here said, adding that the police party at the naka near Dirbha had impounded two cars in which the smugglers were carrying the consignment.

Satpal’s accomplices, who managed to escape in the darkness, were identified as Bara Singh, Mika Singh and Makhan Singh, the sources said. — UNI


ASI held accepting bribe of Rs 1,500
Our Correspondent

Batala, April 28
The police arrested Assistant Sub-Inspector Paramjit Singh, posted at the Civil Line police station, here on the charge of accepting bribe from a glass merchant.

Dr Jitendra Kumar Jain, SSP, said today that the ASI had taken a bribe of Rs 1,500.

Dr Jain said a glass merchant had supplied some glasses on the order of the ASI, but the ASI had stopped his payment. He demanded the bribe. At last, the businessman reported to the DSP who gave him three notes of Rs 500 each and asked the businessman to call the ASI on his premises.

When the ASI came, he gave him the notes and DSP Narinder Bedi, who was present on the premises along with a police party, caught him red-handed. The police has registered a case.


Four held, 3 kg opium recovered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 28
Under its drive to check smuggling of drugs and narcotics from the states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, the district police arrested four persons for their alleged involvement in smuggling opium from Haryana.

According to a press statement, a police team led by Mr Sukdev Singh Chahal, DSP (rural), during the checking of a Maruti car coming from Haryana side on Bathinda-Dabwali road, recovered about 3 kg of opium and arrested four occupants of the car, including Kulwant Singh, Basant Singh, Harpreet Singh and the driver Baldev Singh.

The accused had bought this opium from Sohan Singh of Jandwala village falling in Sirsa district, for Rs 22,000 per kg.

They were planning to sell this opium in different villages of Ferozepore district, the statement added. Kulwant Singh had already been facing a number of smuggling cases for his alleged involvement in smuggling opium from other states to Punjab, while Basant Singh was the former sarpanch of Baghewale village, Ferozepore district. A case has been registered against them under the NDPS Act.

All four accused were produced in the District Court today.


Bajrang Dal man held for rape bid

Kapurthala, April 28
The police arrested a local Bajrang Dal leader and his companion on the charge of attempting to rape a woman.

In an FIR filed, by the victim, a resident of Behram village, the complainant said she took a lift from the accused on Tuesday night near Dhuanka village.

She claimed that Rajesh Kumar and Ashwani Gupta took her to Mainwa village on their motor cycle and attempted to rape her but she resisted.

They again took her on their motor cycle and threw her on the side of a road, she stated. The two were taken into custody by a police patrol party that chased the culprits after the woman had raised an alarm.

The victim, who sustained multiple head injuries, has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital and her condition is stated to be serious. The police has registered a case under Section 308, 511, 376 and 34 of the IPC. — UNI


Board proposal on pvt candidates opposed
Our Correspondent

Batala, April 28
The Punjab School Education Board proposal not to allow private candidates to appear for matric and plus two classes from the year 2006 has caused anxiety among the managements of private schools.

This step is being taken by the board to promote open schools. The Punjab School Education Board has put forward a proposal in this regard, a decision on which is likely to be taken next week.

According to the proposal, from next year onwards private candidates can appear for the matric and plus two examinations only on joining open schools.

According to an estimate, there are about 20,000 non-recognised schools in Punjab. The managements of these schools enter their students as private candidates for the exams and collect a fat fee from them throughout the year. Talking to this correspondent here, Mr Madan Lal, Principal (retd), S.L .Bawa D.A.V College here, said the government ought to put a check on exploitation of students by certain unscrupulous managements.

If the proposal of the PSEB was implemented, these unfortunate students would be deprived of the opportunity to get education.

Mr Santokh Singh Tibbar (retd), vice-principal, Guru Nanak Khalsa Senior Secondary School (Narowal) here, said more than a lakh students appeared privately for the matric and plus two examinations annually in the state. The future of these students would be bleak if the proposal was implemented.

Echoing principal Madan Lal’s views, Mr Santokh Singh said the government should regulate and standardise the functioning of private and non-recognised schools.


Funds released for SC students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Punjab Government has released Rs 8.05 crore for the disbursment of scholarship money and the provision of free books to Scheduled Caste students in the state. Besides, Rs 22 crore has been released as the first instalment from the dedicated fund of Rs 450 crore for giving old-age pension, and financial help to orphans, physically challenged persons and widows.

In a statement, Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur, Minister of State for Social Security and Welfare of SCs and BCs, said yesterday that girls belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Christian community would be given Rs 6,100 each under the Ashirwad scheme from Rs 8.05 crore.

Regarding the release of Rs 22 crore, Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur said the amount would be disbursed among 10 lakh beneficiaries in the state by May 7.


Adopt scientific approach, students told
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 28
With a view to developing scientific approach and attitude among the students, the local unit of the Tarksheel Society, Punjab, today conducted a programme on the premises of Government High School, Mangwal village, near here.

Master Parm Ved, president of the local unit of the Tarksheel Society, exhorted the students and the teachers to believe only in reasoning in their routine life.

Mr Sarbjit Singh, a member of the society, presented magic tricks on the occasion.


ITI students burn minister’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 28
On a call given by the state-level ITI Trainees Action Committee students of the local ITI today boycotted their classes and burnt an effigy of Science and Technology Minister Rakesh Pandey. They were protesting against recent hike in fee and proposed move to privatise ITIs in the state.

Karam Singh Sekha, state executive member of the Punjab Students Union, while addressing the rally, criticised the state government for running away from its constitutional and moral responsibility of providing education to the people.

He said the government had been commercialising the education under pressure from the WTO. About 60 per cent of the posts of instructor had been lying vacant and 11,000 trainees were being admitted out of 21,000 applicants every year.


Cop does doctorate in Sikhism
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 28
A man in khakhi and President’s award winner has now achieved a feat in the academic field. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Simarjit Singh, who had joined the Police Department after passing middle standard, has done his doctorate.

He is the first officer in the Punjab Police who has done his doctorate on the Sikh religion from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Mr Simarjit’s thesis looks into the origin and history of the Mina sect that places it in the broader context of sectarian developments in early Sikhism. It discusses in detail the role played by Mina gurus, especially Pirthi Chand, Miharban and Harji.

Mr Simarjit Singh, who was awarded President’s Police Medal for meritorious services in 1991, has served in the district police in various capacities.


Tips on traffic rules given
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 28
The Department of Social Work, Punjabi University, in collaboration with the Patiala Traffic Police organised a workshop on road safety at Guru Teg Bahadur Public School, Kauli, near here, today.

The workshop was attended, among others by students, drivers and traffic police officials who interacted with one another.

The cops educated the youngsters on traffic rules and urged them to teach others to adhere to the rules to avoid accidents.

Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Pal Singh of the Education Wing of the District Traffic Police gave tips on giving first aid to accident victims and also spoke about performing their moral duty towards the victims.

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