P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PTU blames wrong CET results on software failure
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 16
Now it is official Punjab Technical University has found serious discrepancies in the combined entrance test (CET) conducted by it, raising a question mark over the credibility of its examination branch.

The university authorities have found discrepancies in the “key mismatch” in the answer sheets of sets B, C and D that they have claimed occurred due to logic failure in the computer software, thereby, altering the sequence of correct solutions.

As a result, the students who had attempted the three sets of question paper can heave a sigh of relief as their result is likely to undergo a major change. On the contrary, there is some bad news for the students who had attempted the set A as their rank is bound to fall even though their marks may remain the same.

The authorities came to the conclusion when they found that 91 of the top 100 students in its merit list had attempted the set A, which was very unusual. The Vice-Chancellor of PTU, Dr S.K. Salwan, admitted to a serious discrepancy as he said that the credibility of the university had been dampened after this episode.

Dr Salwan said he had appointed a person of the rank of Dean to supervise the results but he left everything on the faulty software to work out on result. He said that the Dean failed to check the validity of keys for sets B, C and D, which were incorrect. The Dean only checked the validity of key for the master set A, which was already correct, he added.

In yet another major blunder committed by the university authorities, the answer sheets that were being randomly re-evaluated “manually” were not being checked logically by solving a question paper and comparing its solution with the answers marked by the student. In fact, the authorities had got a “manual key” prepared in the form of a transparency by the same faulty computer software.

The transparency was being superimposed on the answer sheet, which worked as Optical Magnetic Reader (OMR), to check the total number of correct answers that came in the form of elongated signs. The marks obtained by this “manual” way were in congruous with those calculated by the computer’s ill-designed key. “Had anyone logically solved even a single answer sheet from sets B, C and D the mistake could have been detected,” the Vice-Chancellor admitted, saying that there was just one Dean who had been responsible for the CET result.

“Had I appointed two persons for the purpose, the mistake might have been found, which I intentionally did not do to maintain secrecy”, Dr Salwan said taking blame on himself as well. While trying to protect university officials, the Vice-Chancellor said a renowned computer firm based in New Delhi had been hired for designing software and compiling the result.

Sources revealed that the top officials of the Technical Education Department had taken a serious note of the whole episode and the Dean who had headed the examination branch was likely to face a harsh decision. Dr Salwan, when asked about the same, said that he was submitting the entire report to the Punjab Government and there was every chance that a few heads could roll.

The Vice-Chancellor added that the revised result would be declared on June 20 and all question and answers would be put on the website in the morning on the same day. He said he had now appointed three other Deans for checking and computer software from a government agency was being used to evaluate the results, some of which were also being checked manually on a random basis.


Vigilance interrogates varsity officials

Faridkot, June 16
Vigilance Bureau team, probing the PMT paper leak case, today interrogated some university employees, including the Deputy Registrar.
Being a holiday, only a few staff members were present in the university.

Sources said the bureau had also made a list of persons who were to be rounded up for interrogation following disclosures from those arrested in the case. The sources said the list also had the names of about 20 doctors. — TNS


CET: parents seek re-valuation
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 16
Resentment is brewing among the parents of CET candidates here. A joint action committee of parents has shot off a missive to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister seeking assignment of re-evaluation to some other agency and strict action against PTU authorities.

In their letter, Dr S.L. Thukral and other parents stated that there had been large-scale anomalies in the CET 2005. They said the track record of the PTU was not good and similar thing happened in 1998. Comparing it with the recent PMT paper leak, they said the PTU had also committed gross blunders and played with the future of many brilliant students who had appeared in the CET.

They said there were many instances in Bathinda where students scored good marks in AIEEE 2005, in which the paper was tougher as compared to the CET. They have also quoted about 15 such instances in their letter. Dharamjeet Singh scored 759 rank in AIEEE, but in the CET his rank was 10,007. Similarly, Nishant Thukral got 1,254 rank in the AIEEE and 10,287 in the CET. The parents said these were only few examples and they were contacting their other acquaintances also. They said all these students hoped to secure a place among top 500. They were also apprehensive that money might have changed hands in this scam.

They demanded immediate seizure of examination record and manual re-evaluation by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, PU, Chandigarh, or some other university, and subsequent declaration of the revised result. They said they had lost faith in PTU authorities. They alleged that the Vice-Chancellor was shielding his subordinates by ordering random checking and not accepting the demand for manual re-evaluation by some other university. They also sought a Vigilance probe into the matter.


Hawara had engineered blast to kill Bhaniarewala: police
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Before carrying out the twin blasts in Delhi cinema halls, the chief of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) in India, Jagtar Singh Hawara, engineered a powerful blast to kill Baba Pyara Singh Bhaniarewala. This was to “punish” the Baba for allegedly stirring a controversy by writing a “granth” parallel to Guru Granth Sahib.

The Baba had to appear before Akal Takht as his act had supposedly hurt the feelings of the Sikh community.

The blast targeted at the Baba had taken place on January 9 this year — almost a year after he, along with his accomplices, made a sensational escape from the Burail Jail in Chandigarh last year in January. The blast did not trigger off any major breakthrough for the Punjab Police.

About 0.5 kg of RDX was used and it had damaged a portion of the dharamshala in the ashram of Baba Bhaniarewala in the Noorpur Bedi block of Ropar district. However, no one was injured in the blast as it went off before the scheduled time due to a short circuit in the wiring, police sources have revealed.

The information has come out after Hawara was questioned by the Delhi Police. Hawara disclosed that Baba Bhaniarewala was high on his hit list for the alleged parallel “granth”.

The information regarding the Hawara connection with the blast at the Bhaniarewala’s dera has been passed on to the Ropar police which is expected to seek his police remand once he is brought to Punjab, said the sources.

After the blast had occurred, the Ropar police had then registered an FIR under Sections 3,4 of the Explosives Act. Sources in the police reveal that the forensic experts had also visited the spot to know the cause of the blast. But the explosion did not alert the Punjab Police.

After lying low for a year, Hawara planned the operations and collected funds and material. The Baba was his target after he escaped from the jail. A close aide of Hawara had planted the device with a timer in front of the gate of the dharamshala to ensure that it went off when the Baba passed by it. However, the device was noticed by the devotees of the Baba who, thereafter, intimated him.

Sources reveal that RDX which was used in the blast was part of the greater consignment which had been procured from Pakistan by Hawara through his close aide Jaspal and others. The consignments of RDX and other gadgets used in carrying out explosions which the Punjab Police boasts of recovering from Neelon canal and different places in Ropar were part of the consignment brought by Hawara before January.

But after the arrest of Hawara, the consignment was moved out to hideouts of sympathisers of the BKI. The total consignment of RDX could run into several kilos, said the sources.


Arms, ammunition seized from Hawara’s accomplices
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 16
Former DGP, Punjab, Mr K.P.S. Gill, a senior Congress leader of Delhi and Baba Bhaniarawala of Nurpurbedi in Ropar district were on the hit list of the three Babbar Khalsa International militants who have been arrested by the Punjab police in a joint operation with the Delhi police from Ropar and Fatehpur. The SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, told newspersons here today that the Ropar police accompanied by the Delhi police arrested Swaran Singh of Deshu Majra village in Kharar and Paramjit Singh of Lutheri in Morinda yesterday. The Khanna police arrested Parwinder Singh of Fatehpur, the SSP said.

Besides the two arrested from Ropar, the police had registered a case under the Explosive Substances Act against Jagtar Singh Hawara and his two other accomplices, Gurdev Singh and Parwinder Singh, the SSP said. He said Hawara would be brought to Ropar from Delhi on June 20 in connection with the case.

Hawara and his accomplices were behind the blast at the dera of Baba Bhaniarawala a few months ago.

The SSP said Gurdev Singh and Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Tari were still suspected to be in Punjab and were carrying highly explosive material and arms and ammunition. He said Gurdev Singh had got these from Swaran Singh last week. He claimed the police would arrest them soon.

The SSP said in the raids conducted yesterday and today, the police seized 8.350 RDX, 1.9 kg of PENT, hand grenades, a .30mm pistol, a .25mm pistol, a magazine, an electric timer and ABC timers. He said 220 cartridges of AK-47 were recovered from Paramjit Singh.


Pbi varsity admits Hawara’s arrest outside gate
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Patiala, June 16
In a significant development which can put a question mark on the claims of the state police authorities in connection with the place of arrest of hardcore terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, the Punjabi University authorities today categorically admitted that he (Jagtar Singh Hawara), the alleged assassin of the late Chief Minister Beant Singh, was arrested from the highway outside the university.

This startling claim was made by none else than Mr B.S. Sandhu, Director, Public Relations, Punjabi University. Dr Sandhu issued a press note in the capacity of spokesman of Punjabi University today to defend its Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, who was allegedly being attacked by leaders of a section of the Leftist party by associating his name with Jagtar Singh Hawara.

Mr Sandhu has claimed, “the allegations of associating the name of Jagtar Singh Hawara with the university and its vice-chancellor have no basis and is only indicative of these second rung leaders’ ill means of cheap publicity. If somebody has been caught travelling on the highway outside the university, how does it establish the connection of militants with the university or its vice-chancellor”.

He added: “Since Leftists do not have any relevant issue to raise, they are, therefore, indulging in mudslinging. The grudge of these parties appears to be the suppression of disruptive activities of these forces at Punjabi University campus by the vice-chancellor.”

When Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, Patiala was contacted for his reaction about the statement of Dr Sandhu in which he had admitted that Jagtar Singh Hawara was arrested from the highway outside the university, which was contrary to the claims made by the state police authorities in connection with Hawara’s arrest so far, he said that on such issue it was right to keep silent. He, however, added that if Dr Sandhu had made any such statement, he (Dr Sandhu) was only responsible for the same.

He said that so far newspaper reports had been showing that Jagtar Singh Hawara was arrested from Delhi and no report which could establish contrary to that had appeared in anywhere. 


Kharar police books Hawara, 4 others
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 16
The Kharar police has booked Jagtar Singh Hawara, the self-styled chief of the Babbar Khalsa International and four of his alleged accomplices under various sections of the Explosives and Arms Act. Two of these, Paramjit Singh and Swaran Singh, who were arrested from Desumajra village here yesterday, were today remanded to seven days of police custody.

Presenting the two before the Court of Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate, Mr Ranjan Khullar, here this evening the public prosecutor, Mr Charanjeev Arora, informed the court that explosives and ammunition had been recovered from the two and were required by the police for further interrogation. Pleading for a police remand for the two, the prosecution added that the two were part of a large chain of Hawara supporters and alleged terrorists who had been storing ammunition and explosives at various places in the state with a view to reviving terrorism in Punjab.

No one represented the two in the court. Remanding the two to seven days of police custody, Mr Khullar ordered that they be presented before the court on June 22.

The FIR lodged by the Kharar police on the complaint of sub-inspector Harbhajan Singh yesterday, names Hawara, Paramjit Singh alias Bhola, Swaran Singh, Parvinder Singh alias Bhinda, a resident of Fatehpur village, Bassi Pathana and Gurdeep Singh alias Rana, a resident of Alampur Bassi Pathana. The five have been booked under Sections 3, 4, 5 of the Explosives Substances Act 1908 and Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act.

Jagtar Singh Hawara who was wanted by both the Chandigarh and Punjab police since he escaped from the Burail Jail last year, was arrested on June 8.


Accomplice in Khanna police custody
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
The mystery over the whereabouts of Hardeep Kaur, who allegedly harboured Babbar Khalsa International chief Jagtar Singh Hawara and is supposed to be key to all his relations, activities and his network with other terrorists as well as arms smugglers, cleared today with the revelation that she was in the custody of the Khanna police.

Reliable sources disclosed that the Khanna police had arrested her from near Khamano town and seized 6 kg of RDX, besides nearly Rs 5.50 lakh from her. Sources said she was arrested in a joint operation by Khanna and Delhi police.

Hardeep Kaur allegedly harboured Hawara and had gone missing a day after Hawara was caught by the Delhi Police. Though the police was silent about her whereabouts, it cracked down on her various relatives and friends, who were arrested one after the another.


Encroachments removed from CPWD land
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 16
A bid by some miscreants to encroach upon the CPWD land on the Pathankot bypass was foiled today by the local administration and the police.
Last night some miscreants started raising wooden vends on the Pathankot bypass near the railway overbridge. By morning, besides raising wooden vends, they put barbed wire around about 100 square feet land. The sources said that the effort was to encroach upon the prime land on the national highway and open temporary shops. The shops were then to be sold to locals.

Despite open encroachment on their land, the CPWD authorities failed to act in the matter. They had not sought police or administration help to stop the encroachments till the evening. It was only after some responsible citizens reported the matter to the SDM, Pathankot, Mr Amarjit Paul, that action was initiated. The SDM issued orders to the police to remove the encroachments.

About 20 policemen, led by SHO Sulakhan Singh, broke the structures raised by the encroachers.

After an inquiry from the locals, the police arrested Pritam Singh and his two sons on the charge of encroaching upon government land. A case was registered against the encroachers under Sections 447 and 511 of the IPC.

Police sources said that the accused were habitual encroachers. They have been in the business of encroaching government land and later selling the control to locals. Though the administration acted swiftly in the present case, land tracks of the CPWD along the national highway in and around Pathankot have been encroached upon. In most of the cases even pucca structures have been raised by the encroachers.

An entire colony of PUDA in Pathankot has been forcibly occupied by certain miscreants. The original allottees of the colony have been running from pillar to post to get possession of houses. A few of them approached the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) which directed PUDA to get encroachments removed. However, PUDA is yet to take action in the matter.


14 SDMs, 11 DTOs shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
The Punjab Government transferred 14 Subdivisional Magistrates, 10 Additional Deputy Commissioners and 11 District Transport Officers in a mid-level reshuffle late last night.

The following are the new postings :

Additional Deputy Commissioners

Ms Bhawna Garg — Kapurthala; Mr Ajoy Sharma — Jalandhar; Mr Gurkirat K. Singh — Patiala; Mr Priyank Bharti — Ludhiana; Mr Paramjit Singh — Gurdaspur; Mr Harjit Singh — Bathinda; Mr Kirpal Singh — Muktsar; Mr Sucha S Mast — Bathinda; Mr D.P. Gupta — Fatehgarh Sahib; and Mr Deepak R. Garg— Moga.

Subdivisional Magistrates

Mr Inder Yash Bhatti — Gurdaspur; Mr Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal — Phagwara; Mr Pritam Singh — Zira; Mr Nirbhai Singh — Khadoor Sahib; Mr Narinder Singh Batth — Muktsar; Mr Deepak Raj Garg — Moga; Mr Vimal Kumar Setia — Ajnala; Mr Devinder Singh — Moonak; Mr Harminder Singh — Garhshankar; Mr APS Virk — Rajpura; Mrs Surinder Kaur Riar — Shahkot; Mr Bakhtawar Singh — Nihalsinghwala Mr J.C. Sabharwal — Ropar; and Mrs Poonamdip Kaur — Patiala.

District Transport Officers

Mr Bikramjit Singh Bajwa — Gurdaspur; Mr Uma Shankar — Kapurthala; Mr Sandeep Rishi — Ferozepore; Mr Rajesh Tripathi — Fatehgarh Sahib; Mr Jasdeep Singh Aulakh — Mansa; Mr Rajiv Kumar Gupta — Ropar; Mr Gurpreet Singh Thind — Muktsar; Mr Amandip Bansal— Sangrur; Mr Ravinder Singh — Moga; Mr Rahul Chaba — Hoshiarpur; and Mr Charan Dev Singh Mann — Bathinda.

Other transfers and postings

Mr C.S. Srivastava becomes Secretary, Lokpal, while Ms Anjala Bhawra has been posted as Commissioner, Patiala Division. Dr Roshan Sunkaria is the new Commissioner of Faridkot Division. Mr V.K. Janjua will be the new Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Bathinda.

Mr Ranjit Singh has been posted as Special Secretary, Medical Education and Research, while Mr V.K. Meena will be the new Additional Secretary, Water Supply and Sanitation. Mr Sumer Singh Gujar becomes Additional Secretary—cum—Additional Director, Local Government.

Mr Nilkanth A. Avadh has been posted as Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

In addition, Mr G.S. Bhatti (Home), Mr Sukhjit Singh Bains (Revenue), Mr H.S. Sishu (Higher Education and Languages) have been posted as Additional Secretaries.


Five bodies brought out from canal 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Rescue workers removed five bodies from Sidhwan canal, today while search was on for more victims in the last evening incident when several persons drowned after being electrocuted while bathing in the canal.

Among the bodies were of two youths Kala and Jassa of Lohara village who sacrificed their lives while saving persons in the canal. The district administration has acknowledged their act of bravery. Their families in the village were in grief but said their consolation was that the youths heroically died.

The Punjab government has announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs one lakh each to the next of the kin of vicitms. Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma visited the families of the victims on behalf of Chief Minister , Capt Amarinder Singh and expressed sympathy with the families.

DSP R.K. Bakshi said two bodies were taken out with the help of divers after midnight last while two more were retrieved today morning when water level in the canal reduced. He said search for more bodies would continue till the administration was convinced there were no more casualties.

Mr Verma informed that till now, five bodies of victims of the incident have been recovered. Out of them three i.e. of Mr Kala, Mr Jassa both from Lohara village and Mr Sherry (12) son of Parminder Singh resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Dhandari Road had been identified and remaining two bodies were to be identified.

The Deputy Commissioner added that during a search in the canal body of Mukesh Kumar, who was missing since a day before the incident, was also recovered. Family of Mukesh Kumar had also got an FIR lodged with the Police on June 14, 2005. The Deputy Commissioner said that on the request of administration, flow of water to the canal was stopped by the Irrigation authorities and water level fell at night.

The divers, recovered bodies and search was on. He said no other family had informed about the missing of any person to the administration. But the search will continue.

After a post-mortem examation, bodies of Kala, Jassa and Mr. Sherry were cremated in Model Town Extension Cremation Ground. Mr Ajmer Singh, ADC, Mr M.S. Jaggi, SDM (West) and Mr Paramjit Singh tehsildar, were present at the time of the cremation.

Mr H.D. Johar, Education Minister Punjab, expressed grief over the incident and sympathy with families of the victims. Mr Surinder Dawer, Parliamentary Secretary, visited the site and reviewed search operations at the site at late last night.


Mann’s residence raided
Surinder Bhardwaj
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 16
The Ropar police, led by Mr Narpinder Singh Sekhon, SP(D), and Mr Jasdev Singh, DSP, Anandpur Sahib, today raided the residence of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann president of the SAD(A), who has been booked under Sections 124A, 153A, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

The local police also helped the Ropar police in search operation. More than 300 police personnel laid a seize around Kila Harnam Singh at Talania village, residence of Mr Mann. The search was carried on the warrant orders issued by the Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Anandpur Sahib.

Mediapersons were not allowed to enter the house. The search continued for one and a half hour. According to sources, nothing objectionable was found in the search.

Mr Iman Singh Mann, son of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, who was present at the residence, told the mediapersons that after going through the search warrant orders he allowed the police to search the house. He said nothing objectionable was found in the search.

He alleged that his father had been implicated in a false case on the behest of Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC president, and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president SAD, as they made a complaint to the Prime Minister.

He said the PAC of the SAD(A) had decided to organise demonstrations and rallies at district headquarters starting from Sangrur on June 20

As soon as the news about the raid on Mr Mann’s residence spread in the area, hundreds of his supporters reached the spot and raised slogans against the government, Mr Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, Bibi Surinder Kaur and Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa all SGPC members, addressing the gathering, said the case against Mr Mann was registered on the complaint of Harvinder Singh, an employee of the SGPC. 


SAD(A) leaders’ houses raided
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 16
The police today raided houses of more than 10 SAD (Amritsar) leaders, but they had got an air of the plans and fled.
Sources said the houses of senior vice-president of the party’s youth wing Manjit Singh Malla, general secretary Daljit Singh, district press secretary Harmail Singh, Gurpreetam Singh Cheema and Narinder Pal Singh were raided.

Later, party general secretary Jaskaran Singh alleged that the raids were being conducted at the behest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal who was “concerned” due to the overwhelming response to the conferences organised by the SAD (Amritsar). He said they would take forward the party’s programme in the absence of party chief Simranjit Singh Mann.


Industry to challenge power tariff hike
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Industry associations in the city have decided to challenge the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission’s decision to increase power tariffs in the state electricity tribunal. Industry representatives also alleged that the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) gave distorted facts to the commission, that led to the decision of hike in tariffs.

“We will challenge the decision because industry simply cannot afford it,” said Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while addressing mediapersons here today.

Industry associations have joined hands to protest against the commission’s decision and take up the matter with the government.

Sixteen associations today condemned the decision and demanded its withdrawal.

“The PSEB did not follow the directions issued by the commission. Now it is trying to make good its losses by burdening electricity consumers,” said Mr K.K.Seth of Ludhiana Engineering Association.

Mr Sharma said for supplying power to agriculture, the state government had to bear the burden of subsidies. It was to pay Rs 5,470 crore to the PSEB last year, which it did not. The result of that non payment was that the PSEB made the loss good out of borrowed funds which created a gap between real assets and liabilities. Besides, impact of over allocation of the cost of Ranjit Sagar dam, excessive cost incurred on account of salaries were other factors that had contributed to poor financial condition of PSEB, he said.

Mr Seth said industry in the state was already facing problems due to erratic power supply. “All new investment is being done in neighbouring states. None wants to start a new venture in the sate due to government policies. There is hardly any growth of industry. Instead of creating an industry friendly environment, measures that are absolutely detrimental to the industry’s interests are being adopted,” he said. “But it is unjustified to shift all the burden on electricity consumers,” Mr Sharma said.

He said industrial units in the state were on the verge of closure and hike in power tariffs would only worsen their situation.


150 benefit from limb replacement camp 
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 16
The Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) organised a limb replacement camp to aid the physically challenged on the company premises today. Over 150 persons were benefited from the camp.

The camp was held in collaboration with the Institute for Physically Handicapped. Mrs Sushma Singla wife of the Punjab Finance Minister, Surinder Singla inaugurated the camp. The camp was the culmination of the limb measurement camp held in March this year where over 150 persons were registered from villages like Buladhewala, Siwia, Behman Kothe, and Behman Deewana. Trained doctors conducted diagnostic tests to identify the nature of their requirements. The foundation has now provided 36 prosthetic limbs, 40 hearing aid, 50 tricycles, 15 wheelchair and 33 crutches, to physically challenged persons, most of whom were children.

Lauding the foundation’s effort, Mrs Singla said the initiative was a much-needed step in the rehabilitation of those who couldn’t afford expensive medical care. Mr Vishal Bhardwaj of the ACF, Punjab, said, “Disability restricts people from leading productive lives. It is important that they are provided with several forms of aid to improve their quality of lives.” The unit head of Gujarat Ambuja Cement Limited (GACL), Mr Chanchal Kumar, said, “With improved medical care and use of basic aid it is possible to rehabilitate million of people suffering in silence.” 


Glaxo workers compromise
Our Correspondent

Nabha, June 16
The ongoing tussle between the terminated workers and the local management of Glaxo-Smithkline ended on a happy note today when both parties entered into an agreement with the intervention of MLA Kaka Randip Singh, the SDM and the DSP of Nabha. The terminated factory workers and the Nabha police clashed on May 22, injuring 13 workers and five policemen. Since then the matter was burning and it was sorted out today when the factory accepted many demands of the workers with the mediation of the MLA.

Giving this information on the telephone, Kaka Randip told this correspondent that the clash had created unrest among the workers and posed threat to law and order in the town. He added that he called upon the representatives of temporary workmen and the management of Glaxo-Smithkline in the presence of the SDM and the DSP, Nabha. He said the factory management accepted most of the demands of the workers.

Kaka Randip said workers who were working in the factory before 1995 would be given Rs 8,500 for each year of service and 70 temporary workers would be made permanent and their jobs would be continued without any break.

He added that the payments would be made for the period from June 13 to June 30, 2005, provided that the workers must have worked for at least 30 days each year.

The factory workers organised a “thanks giving rally” in Nabha today.


Villagers determined to end flooding woes
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, June 16
Taking a step in the right direction, residents of Sukrulahpur village, near here, are determined to put an end to the problem of flooding which the village has faced over the past many years.

Finances have been arranged, village machinery put into action and a JCB machine hired to dig out about one-and-a-half acre pond in the village which was being used as a dumping ground for the past more than 20 years leading to flooding. Moreover, the pond had become a breeding place for snakes and insects, apart from emitting foul smell in the area.

When The Tribune team visited the village yesterday, great enthusiasm about the project was noticed among the residents. The JCB machine was in full action and eight tractors-trailers from the village were put on the job of carrying out silt from the pond.

Once the area of the pond was dug up rain-water would start flowing into it and residents would get a relief from flooding but they have thought of a step further. They were even interested in approaching the department of water conservation to take their help. They want that the rain-water that got collected in the pond could be used for recharging ground water. But for that, they want to get technological help from the department concerned. Of course, more finance would also be needed.

Mr Ranjit Singh, sarpanch of the village, said that the project was undertaken by the Nagar Sudhar Committee and the village panchayat. Work on it had started on June 6. Members of the two bodies went from door to door to collect funds to undertake the work. Contributions were also made by NRIs from the village, the managements of a gurdwara and a mandir in the area, a Congress leader and others.

Mr Paramjit Singh, president of the Nagar Sudhar Committee, said that residents wanted to dig up the pond for the past many years but the work could not be undertaken as funds could not be arranged. He said that now there was a plan to dig up the pond upto a depth of about 15 feet as the soil at that level was sandy which would help the rain water to seep to the level below and help in recharging. A retaining wall would also be constructed around the pond.

Dr Pushpinder Sapra, who is working in the local Civil Hospital and was linked with the project, said that there was a plan to clean up the pond before the monsoon season so that rainwater could be conserved. This would help in recharging the already depleted water table. He said that this might be a small effort to conserve rainwater but the beginning had been made and others should take inspiration from such an effort. 


SGPC appoints three more secretaries
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 16
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has appointed three more secretaries bringing the total number of secretaries to four.

Mr Waryam Singh has been promoted from additional secretary to secretary, Dharam Prachar Committee, and Mr Raghbir Singh was made secretary, agriculture. Mr Harbeant Singh, who was sacked on the charge of getting job on the basis of fake certificate, was also appointed secretary for construction department.


Golden city residents without power, water
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 16
Residents of Golden City Enclave here have complained that they are getting virtually no water and electricity supply.
According to Mr Ravinder Singh, a resident of the colony, over 25 families were living in the colony, which were facing acute water and electricity shortage.

He added that power was being supplied to only one phase and the water supply, which was connected through a tube-well nearby, had reduced to a naught.Mr Ravinder added that the residents were being told by coloniser that the colony had been handed over to the Kharar Municipal Council. “We had bought these plots through Veer Property Dealers, who told us that since the colony had been taken over by the council, water supply was their responsibility,“ he said.

When contacted, Mr Ashok Kumar, property dealer, said the PSEB was in the process of setting up transformers in the colony and electricity would be restored in the next two days.


Audio cassette on blood donation
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 16
Somi Tungwalia, a Punjabi singer from Malwa, has come up with a novel audio cassette having songs based on the theme of blood donation. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, released the cassette, “Khundania nu Pranam”, on the occasion of World Blood Donors Day yesterday.

The cassette has been made with the aid of a music company and local voluntary organisations like United Welfare Society. Tungwalia has himself composed a few songs of the cassette, while the rest have been penned by Malkit Sidhu, Khushi Mohammad Alishervi, and Kulwant Happy.


Journalists, cops donate blood
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 16
A blood donation camp was organised by the Ropar unit of the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) and the local police at the Civil Hospital here today.
The camp was inaugurated by Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, by donating blood.

Mr Darshan Singh Sodhi, member of the CPUJ, said 55 persons donated blood at the camp, including the SHO, Mr Gurcharan Singh, city in charge, Mr Harjinder Singh, and the SHO of Mullanpur police station, Mr Bhagwant Singh. 


Funeral van donated
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 16
A funeral van, purchased by the local municipal council and the Rotary Club, was donated to the public at a function organised here today. The keys of the van were handed over by the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, to the council president, Mr Charanjit Singh. The maintenance of the van will be done by the civic body.

The van was purchased for Rs 5.5 lakh and had a sitting capacity of 20 persons.

The function was attended by council officials and representatives of the Rotary Club. 


Dowry death: husband gets life term
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 16
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Sukhdev Singh, today sentenced a man to life imprisonment and his mother and father to 10-year in jail in a dowry death case.
Sources said the victim, Manjinder Kaur, had got married to Sukhwinder Singh of Bilaspur last year. Her parents had given Rs 2 lakh in dowry, but soon after her marriage her in-laws started harassing her for more money.

She could not bear the ill-treatment and hanged herself to death on April 30, 2004. The Nihalsinghwala police had booked her husband, Sukhwinder Singh, her father-in-law, Darshan Singh, and mother-in-law, Manjit Kaur, in the case. While Sukhwinder got life term, his mother and father were sentenced to 10-year imprisonment.


New posting orders for IT officials
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Ludhiana, Mr S.J.S. Pall, has issued new posting orders for eight Additional and Joint Commissioners of the department.

According to office orders issued here last evening, Mr J.S. Minhas, Additional Commissioner goes from Range VII Ludhiana to Range I Ludhiana, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, currently under orders of posting (UOP) takes over in Range IV Ludhiana, Mr Himanshu Shekhar Sinha (UOP) goes to Range V Ludhiana, Mr Sandeep Dahiya (UOP) will go to Range VI Ludhiana, Mr Rupinder Brar (UOP) goes to Range VII Ludhiana, Mr Ajay Kumar Sharma (UOP) is posted to Moga Range at Moga, Mr Rajinder Singh will go to Khanna Range at Khanna and Mr T.P. Singh will hold charge of Hoshiarpur Range at Hoshiarpur.


4 involved in thefts, dacoity arrested
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 16
The district police authorities, which have been finding itself on the tenter hooks after a number of incidents of thefts and dacoity rocked this area in the past few months, heaved a sigh of relief after the arrest of four persons. 

The police recovered about two-and-a-half kilogram of gold, silver ornaments weighing about three kilograms, one car, one motor cycle, one scooter and one pistol with five live cartridges from them.

Mr A. S. Rai, SSP, while addressing a press conference here today said that the four youths, who had been identified as Anil Kumar, Abhishekh Kumar alias Sunil Kumar (both brothers), Balwinder Singh, alias Balli, and Amit Gupta, all residents of this city, had been involved in looting jewellery shops with the help of gas cylinder cutters, lifting vehicles and other crimes. He added these accused also made an attempt to break open a strong of the bank.

He added that these accused, who were arrested from a place situated near Maddi of Vir Ji in this town, were involved in the theft, which took place in the shop of M/s Keemat Rai Jewellers, M/s Astha Jewellers, M/s Khanna Jewellers, lifting of vehicle, and computer and printer from a bank. These accused, one of whom were son of a retired cop of central police forces, was involved about nine case of theft and dacoity.

He said that a number of cases were registered against these accused in different police stations of this district for their involvement in different crimes. He added that total worth of the goods, including jewellery, which was recovered from the accused was about Rs 18 lakhs. He said that police authorities were trying to get their remand. 


Minor kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Amritsar June 16
A red alert was sounded by the police over the kidnapping of two-and-half-year old Sehajpreet Singh, from Baba Bakala yesterday .
Police teams were dispatched and a manhunt launched on for alleged suspect Tarsem Singh who is the maternal uncle of the child and reportedly had disagreement with Hardeep Singh, father of the boy, living in Dubai .

The SSP, Majitha, Ms Vibhu Raj, stated that the police had approached the father in Dubai and were in touch with him. Tarsem is a local travel agent. 


FEAR flays appointment of ‘stand-by Registrar’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 16
The Forum for Education Action and Reform (FEAR), in its meeting held here today, critisiced the appointment of a “stand-by Registrar” by Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, which it said was not only unprecedented in any university but also a violation of the University Act.

The forum said after the removal of the duly appointed Registrar, Dr K.S. Sidhu, Mr Boparai had appointed his close relative Dr Param Bhakhshish Singh, as Registrar, first on ad hoc basis, then got it regularised on a “substantive basis”. Not just that, Mr Boparai had also appointed Dr B.S. Sandhu, as stand-by Registrar, it added.

The VC got Dr Sandhu’s orders approved from the Syndicate in its meeting dated May 20, 2005, by not bringing to its notice that the registrar was to be a full-time officer of the university as provided by Section 9-B (I) of the University Act, the forum said.

The forum was of the opinion that Dr Sandhu’s appointment was against all norms of the university.

I further claimed that in order to meet the emergent situation, the VC could have taken recourse to a provision in the Statue -7 (30), Chapter-II of university calendar, vol I, (1197), by which the registrar can delegate any of his power with the approval of the vice-chancellor, to a person not below the rank of assistant registrar. 


4 PAU hostellers get expulsion notice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Punjab Agricultural University authorities have served an expulsion notice upon four student leaders from hostels, accusing them of creating indiscipline on the campus. Surprisingly, one of the student leaders, Jaswinder Singh Cheema, is a day boarder and has still been served the expulsion notice.

Other students have also been reportedly told to vacate the hostels, but no written orders have been issued to them. In a sharp reaction, the students asserted that they would not leave the hostels “come what may” as they had already deposited the fee for the full academic year.

The notice has been signed by the Dean, College of Agriculture. The student leaders have been accused of having ignored the notice where in they were asked to appear before the disciplinary action committee (DAC) of the College of Agriculture on June 15. The students alleged that this was victimisation on part of the university authorities since they were not given a chance to be heard.

The students disputed the claim of the authorities that they did not appear before DAC. They argued that they had reached the venue 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled time but none of the DAC members were present there.

“The authorities, it appears, had already decided the course of action and wanted to complete a mere formality by summoning us,” they added.


Pbi varsity BA-III result out
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 16
The result of BA Part-III conducted in April by Punjabi University was declared today. Giving this information in a press note, Dr Baldev Singh, Chief Coordinator, Examination, said the result would be available on the university website — www.universitypunjabi.org — by tomorrow.

BSc Part-I and BSc Part-III results have already been declared and are available on the same website.


Cocoons costly, produce cheap
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 16
Silk farmers in the district have been facing exploitation by traders. They get very low price of their produce. While price of cocoons was Rs 250 to Rs 300 per kg farmers here get only just Rs 200 to Rs 210 per kg.

Sources in the Department of Horticulture here said that traders had been pooling due to which farmers were not getting right price of their produce. Traders who purchase cocoons in Punjab generally come from West Bengal or south India. Due to lack of support price or any government support farmers are at the mercy of traders. Traders generally pool, fleecing farmers to sell their produce at the minimum possible prices.

Role of the Department of Horticulture was limited to just organising markets for the sale of cocoon production. They contact the traders who purchase cocoons in bulk and later sell it to silk-manufacturing unit most of which are in the south or east India.

In Gurdaspur district most of the silk farming is done in the Dhar area. Land in Dhar was semi hilly and not fit for agriculture. In addition to that most of the land in the area was covered under Sections 4 and 5 of the forest act. Farmers here do silk worm farming in forest areas or mulberry orchards.

They purchase silk worms from Dinanagar based mulberry farm of the Horticulture Department. Price of silk worms is Rs 250 per ounce. With one ounce of silk worms a farmer can have cocoon production of Rs 5000. However, due to limited land-holdings maximum earning of farmers of the Dhar area was limited to a maximum of Rs 15000 to Rs 20,000.

Total cocoon production in the Dhar area is about 25000 kilo grams. If the government provides support production and earning of farmers of the area can increase considerably. The Punjab-Agro that promotes contract farming to help farmers diversify crops can come to the aid of silk farmers. It can organise contract farming for silk farming also so that farmers can get right price of their produce.

If farmers start getting due price of their produce the sericulture can easily be popularised in the hilly tracts of the state ranging from Ropar, Hoshiarpur to Gurdaspur district, the sources told.

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