P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC rejects demand for Haryana gurdwara panel
Varinder Walia and Pawan Kumar

Mr Didar Singh Nalvi, a member of the SGPC from Haryana speaks to mediapersons in Amritsar on Tuesday.
Mr Didar Singh Nalvi, a member of the SGPC from Haryana speaks to mediapersons in Amritsar on Tuesday.

Amritsar, May 31
Even as the Special House of the SGPC today rejected the demand for forming a separate gurdwara committee for Haryana, the committee members from Haryana announced that come what may, a committee for Haryana would be formed by getting the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 amended.

The SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, alleged that there was a deep-rooted conspiracy , hatched by the Congress to weaken the SGPC. In a veiled threat , she said the Sikh masses were unlikely to tolerate such a move.

Surprisingly, some of the senior SGPC members, including Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), agreed that the SGPC had failed to come up to the expectations of Haryana Sikhs in the past. This was the reason that they had raised the demand for a separate gurdwara committee for Haryana. However, they said that the SGPC would ensure that the Haryana Sikh Sangat got its due share in future.

However, a majority of the SGPC members passed a resolution that a deputation of the SGPC would meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister on June 7 to scuttle the move of its Haryana members, supported by the Congress government, to get the Gurdwara Act amended.

The SGPC members from Haryana, including Mr J.S. Jhinda and Mr Didar Singh Nalvi, while justifying the demand for a separate committee said that as per the Re-organisation Act of November 1966, there was a provision to constitute a separate committee for the Sikh shrines in Haryana. Hence, they said that the SGPC had no locus standi to oppose the demand for a separate committee. They said no party had given justice to the Sikhs living in Haryana as they were considered “vote banks” only. They said they had won seven seats out of 11 from Haryana with a promise for creating an HGPC and hence they were determined to fulfil the aspirations of the voters. They said the draft of the proposed All-India Gurdwara Act was also against the interests of Haryana Sikhs as it considered Haryana gurdwaras to be under the umbrella of the SGPC.

Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, an SGPC member of the Panthic Morcha, while opposing the demand for HGPC said that this issue had been raised due to the alleged continuous “discriminatory” policies pursued by the SAD and the SGPC in the past.

Had the Haryana Sikhs been given due share in the past, such a demand would not have been raised. He said the SGPC and the SAD were losing strength outside Punjab. The Badal faction failed to win the Gurdwara elections in Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. He said the SGPC must undergo introspection and take immediate corrective measures to undo the injustice done to the Sikhs outside in the past.


Sikh bodies lock horns over Bluestar memorial
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 31
Various Sikh organisations, including the SGPC, Damdami Taksal and Akali Dal (Amritsar), today took opposing stands on raising the memorial to Operation Bluestar here.

While the shiromani committee announced that the ‘Minar-e-Shaheedan’ would be raised, the Panthic Morcha said its name should be ‘Ganj-e-Shaheedan’ as per Sikh traditions. However, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) said the memorial had already been constructed on the Akal Takht premises and, hence, there was no need to raise a parallel one.

Representatives of Damdami Taksal, PHRO and Khalra Mission Committee urged the Sikh organisations to convert the ‘Shaheed Gallery’ into a memorial where items of the ‘jalou’ could be displayed permanently.


Akali Dal, SGPC men clash at Damdama Sahib
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, May 31
Tension prevailed at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib today as Akali Dal (Amritsar) activists and SGPC men indulged in an altercation when the former was making preparations for the party’s conference on June 2 to mark Ghallughara Divas.

Both the groups had a confrontation when Akali Dal (Amritsar) workers reached Baba Dall Singh Diwan Hall and the local SGPC staff allegedly tried to stop them. The party had planned to hold an “akhand path” in the hall and convene a conference on June 2.

Takht manager Bharpur Singh led the SGPC employees in their bid to prevent the Akali workers.

The police was deployed around the hall to check any untoward incident.

Mr Bharpur Singh said he had asked the party leaders to hold the “path” at Baba Bir Singh Dhir Singh Gurdwara, but they were adamant on organising it in the hall. He alleged that the party workers broke open the locks of the hall and started making their arrangements. “When I asked them to seek permission from the SGPC, they began arguing with me and later started manhandling our staff,” he alleged.

The manager accused the Akali Dal (A) workers of thrashing the SGPC employees. He alleged that some of the party leaders also took out their swords and revolvers, which he reported to the police.

On the other hand, the Akali Dal (A) youth wing president, Mr Barinder Singh Mann, alleged that the SGPC was playing in the hands of the Congress. He said they had taken the permission of the Takht management for the programme. He denied the allegations levelled against him by the Takht manager.

Finally, Akali Dal (A) organised the “akhand path” at Gurdwara Manji Sahib Patshahi Nauvi, which falls under Bunga Mastuana. The party’s conference would now be held near Mastuana on June 2.

Meanwhile, the Talwandi Sabo SDM has asked SHO Balvir Singh Grewal to probe the incident.


SAD (A) denied permission to hold function
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
With the SGPC denying permission to the SAD (Amritsar) for from holding any function in memory of “martyrs” of Operation Blue Star at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib the party leaders and the SGPC have come face to face.

The party’s SGPC member, Mr Harcharan Singh Burjhari, and the president of party’s youth wing, Mr Barinder Singh Mann, yesterday met the Takht manager, Mr Bharpur Singh, who told them that he had got instructions from the top for not allowing any such function. He said that the SGPC was observing “ghallughara divas” from June 4 to 6 and the SAD (Amritsar) could participate in it.

Lashing out at the SGPC and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Mann said the Takht had given them permission to hold ‘akhand path’ at Darbar Sahib, but now its management took a U-turn and denied the same. He said the SGPC was not personal property of an individual.

He said his party would hold a conference at Diwan Hall of Damdama Sahib on June 2. He said Mr Badal had also been holding rallies there. He said this had proved that the SGPC had also “joined hands” with the state government. He said this step of the SGPC had exposed its “real face”. Mr Burjhari said that he had registered the date of ‘path’ with the in charge on May 18. 


SAD meeting on June 12
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 31
The Shiromani Akali Dal will be holding a convention in the Capital on June 12 to chalk out the future strategy, including launching of an agitational programme, to oppose the creation of a separate committee for managing gurdwaras in Haryana.

SGPC member Harinderpal Singh told reporters that the convention, which would be attended by SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur, would appraise the Congress-led UPA government about the implications of the formation of the separate committee.

“The Hooda government has been propagating the idea of a separate committee in the state. This will only divide the Sikhs living there,” he said.

“We warn the Congress not to interfere in the affairs of the gurdwaras otherwise the SGPC and the SAD would launch a nationwide agitation,” he said.

The SAD chief had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday seeking his intervention to stall the move.

He said the SGPC had been asking for an All-India Gurdwara Act for a long to manage the affairs of nearly 800 historic gurdwaras across the country, but the government had so far eluded from formulating such a legislation.

“The control of gurdwaras in Pakistan should also ideally be under the control of the SGPC,” he said.

SGPC members from Haryana earlier this week stated that the Haryana chief minister had assured them that a Bill regarding the constitution of a separate gurdwara parbandhak committee for Haryana would be brought in the forthcoming session of the Assembly and a separate SGPC would be constituted.

Jalandhar: Vehemently opposing the ongoing move to form a separate Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for Haryana, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal today alleged that such move was part of a Congress conspiracy which, in fact, wanted to usurp control of gurdwaras in one or the other way.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr Badal alleged that it was the Congress which had tried to take control of gurdwaras of the state earlier by putting up its sponsored candidates in the SGPC. But after its failure, the Congress was making plans to put gurdwaras of other states under its control.


80 pc samples of anganwadi food fail
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
The results of the samples of food products taken from the district’s anganwadis following The Tribune report are startling, as out of 38 samples collected from different blocks 31 have failed. This has come as a bad news for those officials who had tried to hush up the matter.

The eatables kept at the centres, from where these samples were collected, have been found unfit for human consumption. The samples that have passed are that of biscuits. The Talwandi Sabo SDM, who is investigating the case, had sent two samples to food laboratory and both of them have failed. Doctors had also collected 16 samples from different anganwadis. Out of these only one samples has cleared the test. Five out of six samples taken by Dr Dharampal Sekho’s team have failed. All the four samples taken by Dr Ashok Manga’s team and six samples of Dr Narinder Garg’s team have failed.

Sources said the District Health Department has sent the report of these 15 failed samples to the Deputy Commissioner. The report of 20 samples taken from Bathinda, Nathana, and Rampura block would be submitted to the district administration tomorrow morning.


Ex-wrestling star’s husband held for fraud
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 31
Former world wrestling champion Kristina Kahlon seems to be in trouble as the police here has not only arrested her husband Sardool Singh Kahlon for allegedly duping a number of people on the charge of sending them abroad, but is also investigating her alleged involvement in a similar case.

Kristina Kahlon is, meanwhile, “absconding”.

Sardool Singh, who is said to be facing about six cases of duping in Jalandhar, Patiala, Bholath and Ludhiana, was arrested by a team of Police Division No. 1 from near his residence in the local Bhagat Singh Colony.

Sardool Singh, according to FIR No. 180, registered under Sections 406, 420 of the IPC in 2001 at police division no 1, had taken Rs 3.32 lakh from Sukhdev Ram, a resident of Kaboolpur village of Jalandhar district, on the promise of sending him abroad. Similarly, Joga Singh, a resident of Vakat Kalan village in Haryana, had alleged that Sardool Singh had duped him of Rs 3.75 lakh, saying he would be sent abroad by him. But neither the promise was fulfilled nor his money returned. A case stands registered in this case against Sardool Singh at police division no 1 here even as a local court of Ms Surjit Kaur had declared Sardool Singh a proclaimed offender (PO) in this case, it was learnt.

In yet another case, Manjit Singh, a resident of Udowal village of Jalandhar district, had alleged that Kristina and her husband had duped them of Rs 2.86 lakh, for which both were booked under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC. A local court, headed by Ms Paramjit Kaur, had issued non-bailable warrants against the couple on May 12, after which both had allegedly turned absent in the court.

A theft case also stands registered under Sections 457 and 280 of the IPC against Kahlons in the local Sadar police station on the basis of a complaint lodged by one Kulwinder Kaur of Guru Amardass Colony, who had alleged that the couple had stolen her household goods.

Mr Kulwant Singh, SHO, division no 1, said the police was also looking for Kristina Kahlon, who had gone “underground”. Mr Vijay Kumar, an official at the police division no 1, said the couple had cheated a large number of people and a number of cases were registered in different districts against Kahlons. It was on the basis of information of Vijay Kumar that the police had arrested Sardool Singh.

Meanwhile, a local court has sent Sardool Singh on a judicial remand of 14 days.


Power panel to announce new tariff rates by June 10
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
While the Punjab Government is in a quandary over the issue of providing free power to the farm sector, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has asked it to respond immediately regarding the subsidy it wanted to give to that sector and poor sections of society during the current financial year.

Sources in the commission said that in case the state government did not decide the issue of subsidy by June 8, the commission would announce its tariff order by June 10 or so. A senior officer of the commission said that “for us the legal deadline to pronounce the tariff order for the current year is June 8. We can wait for a day or so more in case the state government informs us that it is on the job of deciding the subsidy issue”.

From the available indications in the commission, one can say that there will be an increase in the power tariff for the current financial year. The tariff rates were slashed last time by the commission. The increase could be up to 12 per cent, varying percentagewise for different categories such as the domestic sector, the rural sector, small-scale industry, bulk consumers and medium-scale industry.

The electricity board, while submitting its petition before the commission on February 9 to seek tariff revision, had pegged its annual revenue requirement for the current financial year at Rs 9,364 crore. It had worked out a revenue deficit of Rs 1,878 crore on the basis of its existing revenue resources of Rs 7,486 crore. However, the board had prayed that the commission should increase the tariff in such a manner that enabled it (board) to generate Rs 1,002 crore from the enhanced tariff. However, the commission, after examining all aspects, has found that the demand of the board is “inflated”.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Council of Ministers is expected to meet this week to decide the crucial issue of power to the farm sector. There is pressure from a section of the Congress MLAs and ministers to give free power to small and marginal farmers. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Power Minister Lal Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal had recently made statements indicating that the government was seriously contemplating the supply of free power to small and marginal farmers owning land less than 7.5 acres. In fact, during the last Assembly elections, Capt Amarinder Singh had promised to give free power to farmers. At present about Rs 900 crore is given as subsidy to the board by the state government for providing power to the farm sector and certain other sections at low rates.

However, the statement made in Shimla early this week by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, that free power should not be given to any section has created a difficult situation for the Punjab Government.


At PTU, examiner is examinee!
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 31
In a unique case that exposes the functioning of Punjab Technical University (PTU), an officer working at the helm of affairs in the examination branch has been enrolled as a student of M.Tech in the university's regional centre at Gurdaspur.

Mr Paramjit Singh, Assistant Registrar in the examination branch of the university, is a second-year student of the postgraduate course in electronics branch at the regional centre of the university set up at the Beant College of Engineering and Technology, Gurdaspur.

While the officer claims that he had sought permission from the Registrar of the university before taking admission to the course, the precarious situation has raised many a doubt over the secrecy of the examination branch since Mr Paramjit is currently an examinee as well as examiner of the university.

Though the officer also claims that he is attached with the distance education programme of the university and he is not associated in any way with the setting of question papers, the conduct of examinations and checking or compilation of the result of regular or part-time courses being run by the university, the fact that he is holding an eminent post in the examination branch has raised many an eyebrow over the transparency in the conduct of examination among students as well as the faculty.

Mr Paramjit Singh is B.Tech and had been a lecturer with a college before he joined the university as Assistant Registrar (Examinations) as a contractual employee in 2001. In 2003, he got himself enrolled as an M.Tech (part time) student at the regional centre in Gurdaspur. He will appear for the second-year examination in June.

Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar of the university, confirmed that he had granted him permission for the course as he did not want to deny him a chance of improving his qualification. He said he had taken an undertaking from him in this regard, adding that he had even passed a standing order allowing him to leave the station every weekend.

Dr Grewal tried to assert that Mr Paramjit Singh was not dealing with the conduct of examinations for the course he was enrolled for and the university authorities were making all efforts to maintain secrecy.


BJP, BJYM activists stage protest
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 31
Braving sizzling summer heat, a large number of activists of the BJP and the BJYM today held a protest march against the “failure” of the Punjab Government on all fronts and against the “malfunctioning” of the local Nagar Council.

Interestingly, four councillors of the BJP were conspicuous by their absence, hinting at factionalism in the party.

One of these councillors, Mr Rakesh Duggal, said they were not informed about it.

Organised by district BJYM president Avtar Singh Mand, the protest march started from the Gandhi Chowk office of the BJP, passed through various bazars and culminated at a rally at Tehsil Complex.

Addressing the rally, Punjab BJP vice-president and former minister Chowdhary Swarna Ram had a dig at the Congress government, the local Congress MLA and the Congress-ruled Phagwara Nagar Council, levelling serious charges of corruption.

Citing last week’s episode, Mr Swarna Ram contended that now even Congress councillors had started boycotting the council’s general house meetings in protest against development work in the city coming to a standstill.

One of the Congress councilliors had levelled allegations of showing expenditure to the tune of several lakhs on tarcoal used on the repair of roads, which had been done just on papers, he said.

All these allegations should be probed by a high-level commission, demanded Mr Swarna Ram.

Phagwara BJP block president Tejasvi Bhardwaj, former block president Chander Mohan Chawla, former councillor Balbhadar Sain Duggal and senior party leaders Krishan Lal Dhall and Raj Kumar Gupta addressed the rally.


Passing-out parade of jail wardens held
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 31
Mr S.K. Dutta, Inspector-General, Jails, Punjab, today said the jails in the state had been equipped with latest equipment to reform the inmates so that they could join the mainstream of society after release.

He said presiding over the function organised in connection with the passing out parade of the 52nd batch of wardens of the Tihar Jail, who were trained in the local Punjab Jail Training School.

He said most of the inmates who had been coming out of jails had been trying to become good citizen because of their reform process.

Mr Dutta said, “The police officers who perform their duty with commitment and honesty are the wealth of the nation”.

Mr Dutta said that local jail training was in operation for the past 17 years and had produced good jail police officers for Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh. He added that so far, the local school had given training to four deputy superintendents, 139 assistant superintendents, 61 head wardens, 1926 wardens and 100 matrons.

Mr Jeewan Kumar Garg, principal of the school, said they had given training to 52 batches so far. Earlier, Mr Dutta honoured four deputy superintendents of jail.


No Tobacco Day observed
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, May 31
World No Tobacco Day was celebrated by the Department of Tuberculosis and Chest here today at Government Medical College in association with the Indian Medical Association (IMA), AASTHA International, Red Cross and other NGOs.

Dr Jai Kishan, Head, TB and Chest Diseases, and Chairman, AASTHA International, speaking on the occasion said in India 18.5 crore people use tobacco products and every year eight lakh people die because of tobacco consumption, which mean that there are three deaths every two minutes in the country.

Dr Jai Kishen added that the nicotine replacement therapy and other drugs were now available in India which could help in quiting the tobacco habit. Dr O.P.S Kande, patron, IMA, urged the doctors to reach to the masses to prevent diseases related to the use of tobacco.

Meanwhile, an exhibition pertaining to the ill effects of tobacco was organised in front of the Civil Surgeon’s Office and District Education Office. Dr Shiv Kumar Gurg, CMO, spoke on the ill effects of tobacco consumption and warned that tobacco consumption during pregnancy could make a child handicap.

Dera Bassi: Observing World No Tobacco Day, members of the Rotary Club, Dera Bassi, the Bharat Vikas Parishad, in collaboration with some builders and traders of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru prepared a 40-metre-long banner and sent it to the Prime Minister’s Office here today.

About 200 members of these organisations also signed the banner with “Say No to Tobacco” and pledged to make elderly and youngsters aware about the consequences of smoking.

They also made a human chain while displaying the banner, besides organising a march in the town to make the public aware about this “slow poison”. Women from local Mahila Mandals also joined the drive.

Mr Gurkirat Singh Thuhi, Political Secretary of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister of Punjab, inaugurated the event and read out the message of the leader.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, chairman of the Rotary Clubs and a state awardee, said various clubs and social organisations would soon constitute teams to make residents of the rural areas aware about its consequences.


Cong leader ‘thrashed for attacking DSP’
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 31
A local Congress leader, Mr Joginder Singh China, was alleged thrashed by policemen for attacking DSP Manohar Lal. The incident took place last evening when the DSP was on a routine naka in Gurdaspur. The cops accompanying the DSP challaned a youth as he allegedly failed to produce relevant papers of his motor cycle.

The Congress leader came to the spot and protested against the police action. The police officials alleged that the Congress leader started abusing them for booking the youth despite the fact that he gave his reference to them. The verbal duel between the DSP and the Congress leader flared up, following which the later was thrashed by policemen.

Both the parties today presented their case before the SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Pramod Bhan. Mr Bhan, when contacted, said that an inquiry into the case had been marked to the SP (Headquarters), Gurdaspur.

The DSP has alleged in his complaint that the Congress leader attacked him following which his guards came forward to protect him, whereas the Congress leader has alleged that he was thrashed by the policemen without any provocation.


Repaired unit fails to start as power crisis deepens
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 31
The 210 MW unit-6 of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, here, today failed to start even after the completion of its shut down period of 45 days.

The unit scheduled to become operational yesterday did not become functional till 8 pm today due to some fault, sources said. The 210 MW unit-3 has already been shut down since May 25 after it developed technical snag and required at least 20 days more for maintenance, the sources added. Out of the six units of plant each four have been functioning at present.

The non-functioning of the two units has been causing a loss of 100 lakh units every day, the sources said. Although the thermal authorities maintained that unit-6 will become operational till late night. But the sources said it required ground work to start the unit, but nothing had been done and it might take a day or two to start it again.

Meanwhile, power crisis continued in the state, as there is a shortage of about 84 lakh units every day. For 1,050 lakh units required the state all has been getting 964 lakh units from all sources.

The sources said the situation might aggravate after June 10 with the rise in demand for power following paddy plantation when the demand would rise to about 1,350 lakh units while the PSEB would be having 1,250 lakh units.

When contacted, General Manager of the plant, R.S. Sohal said unit-6 would become operational very soon.

Meanwhile, one unit of the Lehran Mohabbat plant, which was shut down for maintenance, has become operational yesterday and has been supplying 50 lakh units.


Media should focus on problems of common man
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 31
Asserting that printed word in reliable newspapers had great effect on the minds of readers, Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, Irrigation and Horticulture, Punjab asked newspersons to rise above narrow outlook, attitude and actions of subservience to vested interests, market culture, avid commercialism and consumerism.

Speaking at a seminar organised here by the Abohar Journalists Association in collaboration with Brahmakumaris, to observe Press Day and Anti Tobacco Day today, Mr Jakhar exhorted mediapersons to practise promotion of core values like care, concern, compassion and cooperation for country’s holistic and sustainable growth. More focus should be on development and value-oriented issues like peace, communal harmony, universal brotherhood, love, tolerance, holistic health, education, positive lifestyle etc, ensuring empowerment of society. Mr Jakhar advised the mediapersons to increasingly make use of self-regulation, good reporting sense and value-based journalism. It would be better for the health of the democracy if focus was on highlighting essential needs, problems and grievances of the common man rather than projecting fads, fashions and glamorous life style of a small section of society.

Mr Mathra Dass Hiteshi, chairman, Improvement Trust, recalled that journalism was a mission in the pre-Independence period. Unfortunately, now politicians wanted newsmen to toe their lines or face the consequences. Freedom of the press was at stake, he feared. Dr Ranveer Pratap Asija, Principal, DAV College of Education, said journalists should inculcate and infuse moral and ethical values in themselves and society on the basis of India’s ancient spiritual wisdom and positive thinking.


DMCH doc to attend conference in Italy
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, May 31
Dr Kuldip Singh, Professor of Surgery at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, will attend the 13th International Conference of Gastro Endo Surgeons to be held in Venice (Italy) from June 1 to 4.

Dr Kuldip Singh, who has been invited by the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery, will deliver two guest lectures and will be the chairperson the conference.

A pioneer in laparoscopic surgery, Dr Kuldip Singh will give a talk on guidelines and operative landmarks in gall bladder surgery and operative strategies to perform safe laparoscopy on patients having previous abdominal operations.


Residents complain against lack of civic amenities
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 31
The deplorable civic conditions at Murgi Mohalla, Batala, is a glaring instance of step-motherly treatment and lackadaisical attitude of the civic authorities concerned. Residents of the area are constrained to drink contaminated water as no water pipe lines have been laid in most parts of the area and there is no sewerage system

Residents of the area complain of water-born diseases like gastroenteritis, typhoid etc. They have brought the matter to the notice of the authorities concerned but to no avail Mr Subhash Sekhri, president, Municipal Council, Batala, when contacted said no such complaint by the residents of the area had been given to him or to his office.


Court asks details about Dera Bassi overbridge
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 31
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Advocate General, Punjab, to provide details to the court about the terms of the contract between the government and R.S. Infrastructure, which manages the Dera Bassi toll over-bridge. The Bench has also sought details of revenue sharing, if any, between the company and government agencies.

The information was sought during hearing of a PIL filed by Mr Kulwant Singh and Mr Balwant Singh, seeking a probe into the affairs of R.S. Infrastructure as far as collection of toll tax from passenger vehicles plying on the over-bridge. The petitioners have also sought probe into the maintenance of record as well as immediate stoppage of further toll tax.

Alleging that records are being fabricated by the company, the petitioners have stated that they have a definite suspicion that the company has collected hundreds times more money than what was expected. They have also stated that before approaching the High Court, they served legal notices on the respondent seeking details of the contract, but these were not provided.

The case will now come up for hearing on August 3.


Govt asked to review recognition to professional colleges
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 31
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab Government and Baba Farid University to review the recognition granted to all professional colleges in the state, which have made admissions fraudulently. The Bench also ordered cancellation of recognition of institutes that are found guilty.

Coming down heavily on institutions indulging in fraudulent admissions, the Bench headed by Mr Justice J.S. Khehar also ordered registration of criminal case against Tara Institute of Physiotherapy, Phagwara, which is affiliated to Baba Farid University.

This is the same institute that had sometime back been imposed costs of Rs 20 lakh by the High Court in another case. Today, the Bench noted that high costs imposed on the institute did not seem to have had any deterrent impact.

The court also rejected the plea of 11 students of the institute who had sought regularisation of their admissions to the Bachelor of Physiotherapy course. The students were admitted in September last year for the current academic session.

The students said they were admitted against the management seats and they had paid “huge sum” of money to the institute for admissions. The admissions required prior approval at the hands of the university which was not obtained. Moreover, no prior permission of selection committee was obtained.

In its order, the Bench observed that recognition of professional institutions was a matter requiring commutative acceptance, at the hands of the state government and the university. It held Tara Institute prima facie guilty of series of offences punishable under Indian Penal Code for cheating and fraud. It directed registration of FIR and initiation of criminal prosecution against all concerned.


Security outside court complexes inadequate
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Lawlessness continues outside court complexes.

Despite repeated incidents of shooting, kidnapping and clashes, the police has apparently failed to beef up security outside courts. Nothing else can explain the daring escape of an undertrial from outside the district court complex in Amritsar on Monday.

Sources at the Punjab police headquarters admit that the incident could have been averted had more policemen been posted outside the court complex. “At least, they would have prevented accused Gurpal Singh Pala from making good his escape,” they admit.

Punjab’s Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) Shashi Kant — in charge of security — says the maintenance of law and order outside the court complexes is the duty of the local police.

ADGP Anil Kaushik — in charge of crime — says all efforts are being made to nab the undertrial and his accomplices. “It will not be long before they are taken into custody,” he declares.

Meanwhile, the sources says that besides Pala’s escape from police custody, incidents of lawlessness in and around the court complexes have been reported from all over the region. Included in the list of affected cities are Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Bhiwani and Panipat. This has created a sense of insecurity not only among litigants but also lawyers, they add.

Giving details, the sources say that a clash between members of two political parties in Patiala in November last year had left at least five supporters injured. The free-for-all had lasted for about 20 minutes.

A crude bomb had exploded in the Ludhiana district courts in 2003. In another incident in Ludhiana, soda bottles were hurled, resulting in a stampede, following clashes between two rival groups, also in 2003.

In Amritsar also, an advocate had sustained injuries in the district court complex after being attacked by a group last year. Another lawyer was allegedly involved in the incident.

Before this, gunshots had created an atmosphere of terror in the Chandigarh district court complex in 1998. It had all started with one group, present in the court complex in connection with a murder case, challenging the other group. No one was seriously hurt even though a bullet had pierced a window of a judge’s chamber before striking a pipe.

In November, 2002, a Panipat resident, Joginder Kaur was silenced before her statement could be recorded by an Additional Sessions Judge in a criminal case. In her initial statement before the police, Joginder Kaur had reportedly alleged the involvement of a senior politician of Haryana.


Worms attack cotton crop in Malwa
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
A section of farmers in Malwa has been compelled to sow cotton crop again owing to an attack of worms. Farmers have also been shelling out money on costly sprays to save their crop.

Talking to The Tribune, Jagtar Singh, a farmer from Mehma Sarja village, said he had sown Bt cotton on his three acres. The crop had just sprouted when black worms attacked it, ruining his whole crop. He had no other way but to plough his field and sow the crop again.

Mandar Singh’s crop also met the same fate. “I had spent thousands on the costly cotton seed and now I will have to arrange the same amount all over again,” he rued.

Joga Singh said black worms had also attacked his cotton crop and he was still trying to save his crop with the aid of costly sprays. The cotton crop of Gurmail Singh, spread over two acres, also came under worm attack, causing huge losses to this small farmer.

The Chief Agricultural Officer, Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal, said Bt cotton was prone to worm attacks. He said farmers should contact department officials and use pesticides as per their suggestions. He said there were not many cases of worm attack in the area as of now and the officials concerned would soon solve the problem. He said they would take samples of worms and act accordingly. 


12 tullu pumps seized
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 31
The local municipal council seized twelve tullu pumps installed illegally by residents in different parts of the town during a drive launched here today.

The use of these pumps adversely affected the supply of water to nearby areas. The raid was conducted by council officials in the morning when the supply of water was going on. Pumps were seized from houses located in Thatherian Wala Mohalla, Landran road, Ucchi gali and Ranjit Nagar.

According to council officials the seized pumps would be returned to the residents after giving them a warning and payment of fines. If the residents were caught indulging in the violation the second time the water connection would be cut.

However, there was resentment among residents against the move of the civic body. They said that residents are compelled to use tullu pumps as the pressure of water remained very low.


Market fee collection privatised

Phagwara, May 31
Close on the heels of privatisation of octroi yesterday, the collection of market fee was today privatised too.

Khurana Enterprises, Phagwara, got the contract for Rs 1,13,05,000. The reserve price was Rs 96 lakh.

The DGM (Enforcement), Mr S.S. Randhawa, supervised the auction.


5 arrested for kidnapping compounder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
Five persons have been arrested for kidnapping a compounder from a medical shop on the main road here today.

Sources said the sister-in-law of one of the accused, Gurlal Singh, was to get married on June 2, but she eloped with a man hailing from her village, Sarawa, in Faridkot district.

Gurlal traced Gurpreet Singh with whom his sister-in-law had escaped. Gurpreet was working as a compounder at a private clinic.

Gurlal, along with his friends, conspired to kidnap him and find out as to where he had taken his sister-in-law. They kidnapped him today at about 3 pm when he was standing at a medical shop and sped away in a Tata Sumo vehicle. They reportedly thrashed him to find out her whereabouts.

On getting information, the police alerted all its stations and the accused were arrested near Nahiayawali village. Those arrested have been identified as Rajinder Singh, Gurlal Singh, Manjeet Singh, Sukhwinder Singh and Gurbhej Singh. Two of their aides are still absconding.


Shop occupied forcibly
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 31
More than 20 henchmen of a land mafia created panic at the Androon Bazaar area here yesterday for taking possession of a shop forcibly. The shop was under tenancy of a local resident Naresh Kumar running the business of a PCO. For more than two hours it was free for all in a bid to forcibly occupy the shop.

According to eye witnesses, at about 6 pm, 25-30 miscreants armed with deadly weapons came at the Androon Bazaar and after demolishing a portion of the shop took the possession of the shop forcibly. They destroyed the articles lying in the shop and also demolished one wall of the shop. On resistance by its occupant he was beaten up. Interestingly, the masons brought by the henchmen of the land mafia kept on constructing the demolished wall showing their old possession.

Some shopkeepers who tried to stop the miscreants to take law in their hand were also subject to maltreatment by them. The operation continued for more than two hours and after much hue and cry, the police arrived on the spot and took away some miscreants and articles lying outside the shop.


JE arrested for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 31
Gurjinder Singh, a Junior Engineer with the PSEB, posted at subdivisional office, Model Town, Hoshiarpur, was caught by officials of the Vigilance Department while taking Rs 1,000 from Kashmiri Lal of Naloian Chowk here on yesterday.

According to official sources, Gurjinder Singh demanded Rs 1,000 from Kashmiri Lal for providing the new electric connection in his shop. He reported the matter to the Vigilance Department.

A case under Section 13(2), 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered.


Couple killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 31
Karnail Singh and his wife Shinder Kaur, residents of Janal village, were killed when their motor cycle collided with a tempo on the Janal-Dirba road, near Dirba, about 26 km from here today.

According to the Dirba police, both husband and wife were injured seriously and later succumbed to their injuries on way to a private nursing clinic. The police has taken the tempo in custody while the driver of the tempo managed to flee from the mishap site. The police has registered a case against the tempo driver.


Fake degree racket busted
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 31
A person arrested with 400 gm of opium has also confessed to having supplied fake degrees and certificate here.

Sources said ASI Makhan Singh had arrested Kishore Kumar of Hisar with 400 gm of opium on May 26. He was booked under the NDPS Act.

During police interrogation, the accused said he had opened a company named Royal Management in the district a couple of months ago. He confessed to having supplied fake degrees and certificates to a number of persons.

The police has also recovered some certificates and stamps from his office.


Asst SHO suspended
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 31
Patran Assistant Station House Officer Maghar Singh has been suspended and Inspector Kuldeep Singh of the same police station transferred to Police Lines for allegedly registering a false FIR.

The action was taken against the two police officials following an inquiry conducted by SD (D) Inder Mohan Singh. The inquiry report had found that the police officials “acted irresponsibly and in haste”.


Punjabi University has ‘Neighbourhood Campus’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 31
With Patiala MP Preneet Kaur handing over the keys of TPD Malwa College, Rampura Phul, to Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai, the status of “Neighbourhood Campus” was conferred on the college.

An engineering college having 50 per cent reservation for the students of the subdivision will also come up on the campus. Punjabi University has now taken over the college along with its 45 acres of land. The village panchayat of Patti Saul also donated 8.5 acres of land for the campus today. The idea of “Neighbourhood Campus” of the university in far-flung areas is the brainchild of Mr Boparai and is the first experiment of its kind in the whole country.

Addressing the gathering, Ms Preneet Kaur lauded the university for opening new avenues of technical and vocational training for Punjabi youths. “Devotion and enthusiasm of individuals like Mr Boparai can change the fate of our youth and lend a new dimension to the state’s development,” she said.

She said the university had reached new heights with its noble ventures like “Neighbourhood Campus”. She said 70 per cent of the state’s population resided in villages and ventures like this would attract youths who were falling a prey to the drug menace. She also dwelt upon her family’s link with the neighbouring Mehraj area that would also be benefited by the campus.

Mr Boparai said through the “Neighbourhood Campus” the university’s drive to empower the Punjabi youth with technical and job-oriented education would gain momentum. He said the university had discovered a way to reach out to the neglected sections of society. He was all praise for former minister S.S. Dhillon who made a lot of efforts for setting up the “Neighbourhood Campus”, besides the generosity of area residents. With the setting up of the “Neighbourhood Campus” those who were unable to afford higher education, available only in urban areas, will get the same quality of education in their neighbourhood, he assured. The V-C expressed the hope that he would be able to raise the level of higher education in Punjab, which was now just 9-10 per cent.

Mr Boparai said the students of the area scoring over 60 per cent marks in matriculation could seek admission in the engineering college. He said there would be 50 per cent reservation for the students of the subdivision and the admission would be on merit basis. He said Prof Sundar Singh had been made the director of the college while Mr Surjit Singh Bhatti would be the Principal of the campus. He said the university had formed the Department of Gurmat Sangeet and it would soon be introduced as a subject in every college. He urged people to focus on the education of girls. He said 70 per cent of the university’s students and 80 per cent of the medal winners were girls.

He revealed that a village panchayat had approached him offering 12 acres of land for an educational venture for girls. He requested the Patiala MP, who is also a Syndicate member, to help the university in sanctioning of its dues worth Rs 5.7 crore from the state government.

Parliamentary Secretary Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, IG Rajinder Singh, Commissioner Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari and SSP Kapil Dev were also present on the occasion.


School fraud costs students year
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 31
A fraud, allegedly committed by the authorities of Tagore Memorial Senior Secondary School, Gurdaspur, has ruined the career of six students.

In a complaint submitted to the Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, today, the parents said their children were Class VIII students of the said school. As the management of the school has opened another school, Mata Gujri School, the Principal of the Tagore School sent their fee for Class VIII board exams from Mata Gujri School also without informing the students. The move was aimed at improving the result card of the new school, the parents alleged.

The board authorities, however, detected the anomaly and issued a notice in this regard to the Tagore school Principal. The Principal did not care to clarify the matter before the board due to which the roll numbers of the students were cancelled.

The school authorities allegedly concealed the fact from the students that their roll numbers have been cancelled. They allowed the students to appear in the examinations at Tagore school issuing them fake roll numbers. Later, the students were also issued fake result card by the school Principal.

However, when the students compared with result issued by the school with the official gazette from the Internet, they were shocked to see their result. As per the official gazette, they were declared fail as they did not appear in the examination.

When the parents of the affected students contacted the education board authorities, they were informed of the alleged fraud committed against their children. The children who have lost their academic year are: Sema, Mandeep Kaur, Raman Kumar, Jaspreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Kuldeep Singh.

The Deputy Commissioner has marked the complaint of the effected children to the SSP, Gurdaspur, and District Education Officer for further action.

The Principal of the school, Mr Kuldeep Sharma, said students filled examination fee from two places to take benefit of the rural area. The result card was got prepared by the parents of the students, he added.

The Principal alleged that the parents were blackmailing him and he was ready to face any kind of inquiry.


Shifting of plus two classes makes govt colleges poor
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 31
The shifting of the plus two classes from colleges to schools has hit the financial position of government colleges. With the number of students decreasing in the simple graduation classes, the government colleges are feeling the pinch of losing an entire lot of undergraduate students. The strength of the government colleges in the region has decreased on an average by 20 to 30 per cent after the shifting of the undergraduate classes.

Some lecturers of government colleges, speaking on condition of anonymity, alleged that the strength of the undergraduate students in colleges used to be the maximum. While private colleges had devised a method to cope with the shifting of the undergraduate classes, the government colleges were bearing the brunt of the move.

After the government decided to shift the plus two classes to schools, private colleges opened collegiate schools on the campus. By opening such schools, they had managed to make up for the fall in the student strength as well as the fee collected from the undergraduates. In most of the collegiate schools running in the region, the staff of the college were teaching the students of the collegiate schools.

Since the college staff did not have B.Ed degrees, they were running the schools illegally. According to the education board directions, a B.Ed degree was mandatory for teaching in schools. It was also surprising that while the DPI (colleges) was turning a blind eye to the collegiate schools run by private colleges, the government colleges had been denied the permission to do the same.

Besides, the move to shift the plus two classes to schools was also working to the advantage of the colleges in the adjoining state. Since the colleges in the adjoining states of Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir were running the undergraduate classes, the students from the border areas were moving there. This will ultimately hit the strength of students in the graduation classes in the colleges of Punjab.


ETT teachers to protest at Bhattal’s house
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 31
Protesting against the non-recruitment of about 4,000 unemployed ETT teachers and non-regularisation of services of about 2,010 such teachers, appointed on contract basis in the state, the Navniyukat Elementary Teachers Union, Punjab, the DIET Students Welfare Association, Punjab, and the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, Punjab, will jointly hold a state-level demonstration and burn an effigy of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in front of her residence at Lehragaga on June 12. More than 1,500 activists of these organisations are expected to participate in the agitational programme at Lehragaga.

Addressing a joint press conference here today, Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhullerheri, president of the Navniyukat Elementary Teachers Union, Mr Kulwinder Singh Jahangir, state cashier of the DIET Students Welfare Association, and Mr Sukhbir Singh, press secretary of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, said they were going to hold this demonstration at Lehragaga as the Education Reforms Committee, headed by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, had “failed” to release its report even after holding three meetings. The Punjab Chief Minister and Education Minister were saying that regular recruitment of the elementary teachers would be started after the release of the report of the Education Reforms Committee, they added.


Students lock Principal, firm members in ITI office
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 31
Students of Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Rajpura, today locked a team of Winsome Foundation, a Chandigarh company, and the Principal of the institute for over two hours.

Protesting against the privatisation of ITIs and giving it to the company, the irate students bolted the office of the Principal when he was holding a meeting with four members of the team comprising two officials from the Department of Technical Education, Punjab, and two members from the company.

The protesters also locked teachers inside the staffroom and raised slogans against the government for raising fee almost four times in various ITIs, besides abolishing some trades like photography, moulding and painting from the institutions.

They also gheraoed the vehicles of the team for over 15 minutes.

The students have threatened to intensify the agitation and launch relay fast at various ITIs in the state.


GND varsity results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 31
The result of B.Sc. (Honours School) social sciences (semester-II), conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University in April, would be declared tomorrow. The result could be accessed from the university website, www.gnduonline.org after 5 p.m.

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