P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PTU gives another jolt to CET candidates
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 23
After the CET result fiasco, Punjab Technical University (PTU) has given another rude shock to those aspiring for admission to engineering, pharmacy and architecture colleges of the state.

The university authorities have come up with a public notice mentioning that those interested in seeing the optical magnetic reader (OMR) sheets of the examination could pay a non-refundable amount of Rs 2,000. Those interested in seeing the OMRs of other candidate, would have to pay Rs 5,000.

While the university authorities have stated that this was being done to reflect transparency in the examination branch, candidates and their parents feel that this was another novel mean to make money. By fixing high charges, the university had denied the right answersheets to those who could not afford it.

Though most candidates are satisfied with the revised result that the university authorities had presented on June 20, there are a few who wish to see their answersheets.

Mr Harpreet Singh, father of a candidate from Ludhiana, said, “Even as the rank of my son has shot up to 2,100 from 11,000, he feels that it should have been somewhere less than 1,000. His state rank is 1,005 in the AIEEE and he says that he had performed better in PTU-CET. My son wanted to see his OMR but since the university authorities are charging exorbitantly for the same, we have decided not to go for it”.

Similarly, Ivneet, another candidate, said she had got the 800 the rank instead of the previous rank of 8,000. But since her parents had already spent thousands of rupees for her coaching and entrance test fees, and would now be spending much more on her admission, she did not want them to waste more money. “Had the charges been fixed to the tune of Rs 300 to 500, I would have definitely gone for it,” she added.

The Vice Chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, said the students had already started availing of the opportunity. He said the PTU was not the first one to charge that much, Guru Nanak Dev University had been charging the same amount.

Meanwhile, taking serious note of the irregularities in the recently declared CET results, the Chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the PTU, Mr Jai Singh Gill convened a meeting in Chandigarh yesterday, to discuss the issue but members failed to decide on the kind of disciplinary action.

The VC had taken a strong stand and set up a high-level committee headed by Dr Siby John, Dean (Academics) in this regard. The committee had already submitted a preliminary report in this regard to the VC, which was placed before the BoG yesterday. The final report will be submitted to the government within this week.

Sources said the committee had found serious irregularities on the part of the Dean (Examination)-cum-Controller of Examination, Mr Manohar Singh Saini and his team members. The committee has taken the version of Mr Saini and his team members, who were involved in the evaluation of the answersheets.


21 MBBS students refused roll numbers
High Court order defied

Pawan Kumar

Vallah (Amritsar), June 23
Fate of 21 students of MBBS (first year) is likely to be sealed as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee run Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences today refused to issue roll numbers them for not submitting “remaining amount of admission” fee in spite of the fact that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had granted a stay on this issue.

Parents of aggrieved students had to sweat out in sweltering heat as they were not allowed to enter the college campus by security personnel to present their case to the management. They alleged that vice principal Dr S.R. Prasad had assured them yesterday that their cases would be taken up today for issuing roll numbers. However, when they went to institute they were not allowed to meet the authorities.

Handing over the copy of the high court’s order to ‘The Tribune’ the parents quoting from the high court’s order stated that the respondents (Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research) are directed to accept provisional fee fixed by the fee committee in the meantime. As and when provisional fee is paid (if the same had not been paid) the petitioners (students) shall be permitted to pursue their courses in furtherance to their original admissions.

The parents said that they had already paid provisional fee fixed by the fee committee and the present attitude of the management defies logic. In case the institute continues to adopt the attitude the students will have to suffer irreparable loss in to careers. They said that they had deposited Rs 75,000 and now they were again told to deposit Rs 1.75 lakh.

The parents also resented that the fee fixation committee under the chairman of justice (retd) G.R. Majithia constituted last year had failed to finalise the fee structure till date which had led to this situation. They added that while the other states had already finalised the fee structure before the current session. They said that the private medical institutions in absence of fee structure were pressurising the students into depositing fee as per their wishes.

Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Principal of the college was on leave, Dr S.R. Prasad refused to talk with this correspondent. Even this correspondent was not allowed to enter in the premises.

Meanwhile parents have divided into batches which had gone to Chandigarh to urge the Secretary State Government to intervene to save the careers of their wards while another group of parents were seeking support of the local administration to implement of the order of the high court. However, some of the parents were also waiting outside the college in hope of getting any call from college authorities.


25 pc BDS students not allowed to take exam
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 23
The SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Dental College has detained at least 25 per cent students of the BDS, first year (first prof), on account of their alleged absenteeism and lack of marks in the send-up examinations. These students will not be allowed to appear in the examination scheduled for tomorrow.

However, the students and their parents alleged that they were being victimised. It is for the first time that such a high percentage of students will not be allowed to take the examination.

Dr C.S. Bal, Principal of the college, claimed that the students were being restrained from appearing in the examination as per rules of the university. He claimed that he had already given 10 per cent relaxation in attendance. “Had I not given the relaxation, more than 40 per cent students would have been detained”, he said.

He said most of the students who were not being disallowed to appear in the examination belonged to the Sikh minority quota.

He claimed that it had nothing to do with the deposition of fees. Several students who had failed to deposit their fees were being allowed to sit for the examination.

Some students alleged that they were being harassed despite the fact that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had given relief in this connection.

Dr Bal claimed that the college had been writing to the students and their parents to ensure attendance. As per the university rules, the college management was unable to accept any excuse in this regard. Though there was a requirement of 75 per cent attendance and 33 per cent marks in the send up examinations, the students who had attended 65 per cent lectures were being allowed to appear in the examination.


Who paid for Rana Sodhi’s overseas trip
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
What does a Parliamentary Secretary for sports have in common with a group of IT professionals attending a conference of entrepreneurs in the USA and an Information Technology stall at the Made in Punjab show in Canada? Maybe nothing, other than, of course, the all paid journey to the USA and Canada.

The issue whether the Sports Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Rana Gurmeet Sodhi, really had anything relevant to do on these trips is a matter of contention and would not have really mattered to the government till it came to the point of who is going to pay for the expenses.

While the Punjab Infotech Corporation that had taken Mr Sodhi to The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Conference to the USA in May this year has asked the government to pay for his travels both to the USA and Canada, sources in the government are clear on this account: Rana Gurmeet Sodhi was part of the official entourage that went to the USA and but not the entourage that went with the Chief Minister to Canada.

Mr Sodhi, however, claims that he was part of the official entourage to both the USA and Canada. “I went to the USA first for the TiE Conference, then to Canada for the Made in Punjab show,” he said when contacted today.

And officials in the Infotech Corporation are also adamant. “No, he was part of the IT stall at the Made in Punjab show in Canada. We have forwarded an internal note stating that the Punjab Government be asked for a reimbursement of the expenses on tickets and other fares of Mr Rana Gurmeet Sodhi for the USA and the Made in Punjab show in Canada and of Mr Surinder Singla for the conference in the USA,” said Mr R.K. Nangia, the Executive Director (Finance), Punjab Infotech Corporation.

Also included in this note is the expenditure that the Infotech Corporation incurred on just the ticket of Mr Sodhi who went to Canada via the USA. A whopping Rs 6.6 lakh! And close enough is the Punjab Finance Minister, well-known for his “austerity” speeches. His tickets limited to within the USA has cost the government another Rs 5.5 lakh.

Interestingly enough, the two managed to spend three times the amount spent on the tickets of the Punjab Chief Minister whose ticket to Canada for the Made in Punjab show cost Rs 3.57 lakh. And what might be even more surprising is the fact that the cost of tickets of the three ministers who accompanied the Chief Minister to Canada put together was just a little more than what was spent on the said parliamentary secretary’s tickets to Canada via the USA. (The tickets of each of these ministers had cost Rs 2.80 lakh.)

Mr Rana Gurmeet Sodhi went to attend the annual TiE conference held at Santa Clara in the USA from May 11 to 15, 2005 as part of an official entourage of the Punjab Government. While Mr Sodhi went from the USA to Canada to join the Chief Minister’s entourage in Toronto, Canada, for the Made in Punjab show from May 18 to 22, the Finance Minister reportedly continued to move around in the USA for business meetings. However despite his constant presence at the various public functions of the Chief Minister in Canada, Mr Sodhi was not made part of the official group.

“In fact, he was there with his family and was on a personal visit. I have reasons to believe that he even paid his own hotel bills,” said a senior Congress leader who was also in Toronto at that time. 


CM: I am first leader to give national message at Dixie Road gurdwara
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
“I am perhaps the first leader from India who gave a national message at the Dixie Road gurdwara in Canada,” says Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, holding that “not even a moderate Akali leader has been invited or felicitated by the new moderate management of the gurdwara since 1984.”

Talking to The Tribune here this evening, Capt Amarinder Singh said the decision to visit the “gurdwara” was taken at the last moment though the Manager of the gurdwara had met him and extended an invitation to him at a reception party organised by Canada’s Health Minister, Ujjal Dosanjh that day.

“Two senior officials of the Indian Mission in Toronto, including Political Secretary, accompanied me to the gurdwara, where after usual reception and refreshments, I was taken around and shown the langar hall and other parts of the complex. Later, I paid my obeisance inside the gurdwara hall after which I addressed the congregation.

“They honoured me with a siropa. All I talked about during my brief speech was about the contributions of Punjabis and invited them to come and help rebuild Punjab and India. Perhaps, I am the first one to talk of national agenda in that gurdwara,” said the Chief Minister.

“Since all Liberal MPs, who are moderate Punjabis, members of the Indian Mission and others advised me not to turn down the invitation, I agreed to go there just to pay my obeisance as I was in that area only,” he said.

The Chief Minister said even the Indian Mission had sent a very positive report about the event describing it as a landmark one. “On my return to India from Canada, I submitted a detailed report to the party high command, including that of my visit to the Dixie Road gurdwara.”

The new management of the gurdwara, he held, was of moderates and people who felt for Punjab and the country. The Ontario Khalsa Darbar, which has its headquarters in the gurdwara, had maintained that it invited Capt Amarinder Singh to felicitate him for the bold decision he had taken in annulling all water agreements.

The Chief Minister said all efforts were being made to ensure a minimum of eight-hour uninterrupted power supply to farm sector. “The power crisis is becoming serious because there has been little or no pre-monsoon showers and we are trying our best to give the maximum power supply to all consumers. But still people will have to bear with power cuts,” he said.

PPCC to have new chief

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) is all set to have a new chief. Like neighbouring Haryana, it may have a president and a working president.

Sources reveal that Congress President Sonia Gandhi is apparently pleased with the performance of former MP and Dalit leader Shamsher Singh Dulo, who has been entrusted with the task of establishing Congress unit in Jharkhand.

Sources maintain that thinking in the Congress high command has been to appoint a Dalit leader to head the PPCC and appoint a Hindu Congress leader as the working president.

Besides Mr Dulo, others in the run for the presidentship are Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Chaudhry Santokh Singh and Ms Santosh Chaudhary. And for the post of working president, Mr Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and Mr Manish Tewari, who lost the last Lok Sabha election from Ludhiana, are in the race.

When asked about his choice, the Chief Minister said he naturally supported his President, Mr H.S. Hanspal. “Now it is for party President Sonia Gandhi to decide. Hope, she will decide the PPCC organisational set-up by this month.”

The Chief Minister denied that he had any meeting with Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo during the past few months.


Charges against Capt baseless, says Bawa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman of Housefed, Punjab, said today Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Cabinet colleagues went to the Dixie Gurdwara in Canada as true Sikh devotees and the allegations levelled against them by Akali leaders including, Mr Simranjit Mann and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, were baseless and politically motivated.

He said leaders like Mr Badal and Mr Mann should not disturb the peaceful atmosphere by making provocative statements and raising unnecessary issues. Capt Amarinder Singh had done a lot for the state in the past three years. Capt Amarinder Singh’s contribution in getting built a dual carriageway to Nankana Sahib from the Wagah border, and visit to Katasraj Temple for its restoration besides securing the release of many Indian youths from Pakistan jails were historical achievements.

Meanwhile, Mr Narpal Singh Shergill, an NRI, said today that the BJP and Mr Badal should not create division in the ranks of NRIs dominated by Punjabis by raising the sensitive issues like “Khalistan”. Speaking on the phone to TNS, Mr Shergill, who had written an elaborate book on gurdwaras abroad, said that slogans such as “Khalistan Zindabad” were written in most of the gurdwaras abroad.

Mr Shergill said that it was the BJP-led NDA Government which allowed the “Khalistan” protagonist, Jagjit Singh Chohan and hardcore militant, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal to return to India from England and Switzerland respectively. 


SAD: Cong statement on CM’s visit misleading
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
SAD secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa , senior-vice president Gurdev Singh Badal and party secretary Dr Daljit Singh Cheema today said the Congress high command had tried to bail out the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, from Khalistan controversy by making a misleading statement that the CM’s visit to the separatists’ platform in Dixie had been an unplanned one.

The Akali leaders said they had clippings of newspaper reports clearly establishing that the CM had in fact done meticulous advance planning for that visit.

In this regard, the Akali leaders referred to a report in the leading national Hindi daily published on June 17 giving full details of the CM’s proposed visit to the Dixie venue days before the actual visit. 


Amarinder’s bullet-proof car for Badal’s security
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Two days after former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal created a furore over his security, the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has decided to make available one of the bullet-proof cars from his fleet for his arch- political rival.

Two days ago Mr Badal returned his bullet-proof car and also a Gypsy from his security apparatus saying the vehicles were in “bad condition”.

The car will be made available to Mr Badal from tomorrow, said senior police officials. The Chief Minister has three or four bullet-proof cars in his fleet which are used by him randomly.

Since these cars go with the motorcade of the Chief Minister on a regular basis, these are in very good condition.

A Gypsy vehicle for Mr Badal’s escort party has also been provided.

Mr Badal is under the Z— plus category of security which is accorded to individuals facing very high risk. His status prompted immediate action.

Since no bullet-proof car is readily available with the security wing of the police, the matter was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, who decided to spare one of his vehicles.

Police officials say getting a car retrofitted with bullet-proof capabilities takes about two months. There are only a few retrofitters who do such work, especially for the security agencies.

The car taken out of the Chief Minister’s fleet will be replaced as and when the retrofitters complete the bullet-proofing of a car and hand it over to the security wing.

While returning his car and Gypsy Mr Badal had alleged that he apprehended a deliberate effort on the part of the Amarinder Singh government to put his life in danger.

Mr Badal, who is the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, had alleged that he had informed the state police several times about the poor condition of his security vehicles but these were not replaced. The vehicles often broke down, Mr Badal had said.


Shyama Prasad Mukerjee remembered
Tribune Reporters

Lakhanpur, June 23
A state-level rally of the BJP to commemorate former president of the Jan Sangh Shyama Prasad Mukerjee turned out to be a bashing exercise of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Senior BJP leaders, including Mr Madan Lal Khurana, former Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Union Minister Shanta Kumar and state president of the party Avinash Khanna demanded the ouster of the Punjab Chief Minister.

The party also adopted a resolution condemning Capt Amarinder Singh for addressing a gathering at Dixey gurdwara in Canada with the pro-Khalistan slogans hanging over his back.

Mr Khurana, while addressing the gathering, said the explanation of the Congress that Capt Amarinder Singh addressed the gathering by mistake was not the factual position. His visit to the gurdwara was a part of his official tour programme. Besides, the local radio stations in Canada also announced the visit that proved that it was planned. The BJP would urge the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to oust the Punjab Chief Minister for his alleged anti-national activities, Mr Khurana said.

BJP President Lal Krishan Advani, who presided over today’s rally, however, avoided to comment about the controversy dodging Capt Amarinder Singh. He concentrated on highlighting the achievements of Mr Shyama Prasad Mukerjee.

Mr Advani said Mr Mukerjee laid down his life on the day while struggling for the cause of Kashmir. Earlier, Indians had to obtain permit to enter Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Mukerjee launched an agitation against the system. He entered Jammu and Kashmir without permit and was arrested. Later, he died in jail while struggling for the cause.

Mr Advani also remembered two Jan Sangh workers Bihari Lal, and Pritam Lal, both resident of Hiranagar in Jammu and Kashmir who were shot dead for unfurling the national flag the in the state. Mr Advani honoured the widow of Bihari Lal and presented her a cheque for Rs 1 lakh on behalf of the party.

The BJP President alleged that the basic cause of the Kashmir problem was the mistakes admitted by the former Congress government. The Congress government did not handle the Kashmir problem with grit due to which the state had remained troubled since independence.

Mr Arun Jaitley, while speaking on the occasion, said sending Hurriyat leaders to Pakistan was a mistake. This, coupled with the Prime Minister’s statement on Siachen, reflected the weakness of the present government in handling the Kashmir problem.

Thousands of BJP workers from Punjab and Himachal braved the scorching heat in the afternoon to attend the rally.

Mr Mohan Lal, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Baldev Raj Chawla former Punjab ministers, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu were among prominent BJP leaders who addressed the rally.


Mystery shrouds Bride’s death
Parents allege dowry demand
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 23
Mystery shrouds the death of a young bride, found dead by her Ludhiana-based parents in the house of her in-laws in Preet Nagar locality here early this morning.

Anju Bala, daughter of Mr Tarsem Lal of Ludhiana, married Ankush Gupta, of Preet Nagar five months ago. Cause of death of Anju could not be ascertained, but, the police has detained her husband, his father and two other relatives following a complaint of parents of the deceased who alleged that death could have been caused due to greed of dowry of Anju’s in-laws.

In his complaint, Mr Tarsem Lal, said he was shocked when he received a message from Anju’s in-laws late on Wednesday that she had died.

As he and his relatives reached Anju’s Preet Nagar residence early this morning, they saw that the body of their daughter lying amidst ice slabs and her in-laws could not give any satisfactory answer about her death.

They had not bothered to inform their neighbours about the tragedy, which, raised their suspicion that Anju could have been killed. He alleged that his daughter had been complaining for quite some time about harassment to which she was subjected to by her in-laws on account of inadequate dowry. He said Anju’s body bore some injury marks.

Mr Ankush Gupta his father R.P. Gupta, his mother Kamala Gupta and his brother Rajnesh Gupta were detained by division no. 4 police who reached the spot.

Later in the afternoon, a post-mortem examination of the body of Anju was conducted by a panel of doctors at the Civil Hospital and it found that the body had a mark of injury around neck area. Whether it had relation with death was yet to be ascertained.


Punjab guards for Ranjit Chautala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
“We have provided security guards from the Punjab police to Mr Ranjit Singh Chautala, brother of former Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala,” says Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, denying reports that guards were being provided to Mr Abhay or Mr Ajay Chautala.

Talking to The Tribune here late this evening, the Chief Minister said he had allowed the deployment of an Assistant Sub-Inspector and four constables of the Ferozepore police for personal security of Mr Ranjit Singh Chautala, who had joined Congress some time ago.

“Since he was feeling threatened by the Om Prakash Chautala regime, we extended security cover to him,” said the Chief Minister.

A Punjab Congress MLA, according to the reports, had alleged that the Punjab police guards had been provided to Mr Abhay Chautala, son of Om Prakash Chautala, after his security had been withdrawn by the new Congress government in the neighbouring state.

It was alleged that the guards were provided to Om Prakash Chautala’s family at the instance of Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi and the latter had extended courtesy to the Chautalas because of his close sports connections with Mr Ajay and Mr Abhay Chautala.

It was further held that since the Chautala family (Mr O.P. Chautala) was anti-Congress, extending such facility amounted to serious aberration and breach of party discipline. Sources said the matter was also brought to the notice of the Chief Minister alleging that Assistant Sub-Inspector Rakesh Kumar, and the constables — Ashok Kumar, Partap Singh, Balbir Singh and Harpreet Singh — were assigned security duty for the Chautalas.

Rana Gurmit Sodhi denied the allegation maintaining that some of his political detractors were trying to defame him and harm him by making baseless allegations against him.


A philanthropic NRI
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 23
NRI Surinder Singh Nijjher, UK-based owner of a huge construction company, whose native village is Domeli in the Phagwara block, has floated an NGO called Photel Aids.

He had launched project of replacing “kacha” houses of the poor and destitutes in Punjab with small “pacca” houses bearing their entire expenses.

His close associate Malkiat Singh of Khajurala village today claimed that Mr Nijjher had so far spent over Rs 1 crore on the project. Under it, he had resolved to make total 321 pacca houses at Rajpura. Out of these, 221 had already been constructed and handed over to the needy people. Construction on the remaining 100 houses was in full swing.

Similarly, Mr Nijjher had built 46 pacca houses in this area, including six each at nearby Hadiabad sub-town, Bhabiana, Thakarwal villages, 13 each at Domeli, Duggan and one each at Nangal Shama villages and Jalandhar Cantt.

Mr Nijjher also gave economic help and ration to many leprosy centres in Delhi and Punjab. Besides, he provided Rs 10 thousand help for the marriage of poor peoples’ daughters.

The NRI had been inspired for these philanthropic activities by Baba Darshan Singh Kulliwale of Amritsar.


3 die after drinking sweetened water
Tribune News Service

Sangrur/Chandigarh, June 23
Three persons, including two women, died on Tuesday while 50 have been reported to be suffering from gastroenteritis at Pandori Kalan village on the Barnala-Raikot road, about 15 km from Barnala. All had reportedly drunk sweetened water from a “chhabeel” at the village on June 21.

As per information, Malkiat Kaur (70), wife of Hakam Singh, Chand Kaur (90), wife of Dhura Singh, and Hardayal Singh (65), son of Barra Singh, were those who died. However, the district health authorities have refused to confirm whether their death was due to gastroenteritis. The authorities said they would collect the health history of the deceased from their families tomorrow and only after that they could make any comment.

Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, told The Tribune tonight that they had found 50 persons suffering from gastroenteritis at the village, of which only six had been referred to the Barnala Civil Hospital. The remaining 44 were being treated for vomiting and diarrhoea. She said seven water samples had been collected from the village by the Health Department today.

The health authorities have distributed medicines, chlorine tablets and packets of ORS at the village today.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered an inquiry and the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur, Mr Hussan Lal, has been asked to look into the matter. The Chief Minister also announced a relief of Rs 1 lakh each to families of the deceased. The Punjab Government also said it would provide treatment to those hospitalised free of cost.

The matter of the “contaminated chabeel” and its consequences was raised before the Punjab Government by the Senior Vice-President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress, Mr Dhillon, who hails from a village near Pandhori Kalan.

Health Minister Ramesh Chander Dogra visited the spot.


Villages face power, water crises
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 23
With increasing power cuts, the drinking water supply in a number of villages in the district has virtually collapsed.

Sources said in various villages of Rampura Phul residents hadn’t received a single drop of water for the past four days and they were forced to consume contaminated ground water.

Sources said the rural waterworks were already not supplying adequate water and the power cuts had cut water supply to nil.

The sources said most of the waterworks in the district depended on canal water and fall under rural electricity feeders.

These feeders have been facing a 20-hour power cut daily for the past four days.

Waterworks in about a dozen villages of Rampura Phul, including Dulewala, Depali, Dayalpura, Selbarah, Gill Kalan and Raiya, were in a neglected state.

The sources said in case of power cuts the department concerned was not even able to provide diesel to run pump sets owing to fund crunch.

They said for filtration of canal water power supply for eight hours in a stretch was essential and in the absence of it water could not be supplied to villages.

Daljit Singh of Dulewala village said there was no power in his village for the past 72 hours and the villagers were reeling under harsh summer conditions. Residents of these villages have demanded regular power supply so as to facilitate drinking water supply to them.

They have also urged the government to make arrangements for diesel to run waterworks during power cuts.


MC men barge into Press Club, lift goods
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 23
“Vandalising” of the Punjab Press Club building here allegedly by officials of local Municipal Corporation this morning can put Jalandhar Mayor Surinder Mahey in a tight spot as on the one hand the journalists were holding him “responsible” for this misadventure and on the other timely intervention of the office of the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, into the matter and forced the MC officials to return the goods lifted from the place.

What can lead to an embarrassing situation for the Mayor was that no MC official can touch furniture and other goods lying in the Punjab Press Building in the Clock Tower premises without permission of the Mayor, particularly in absence of the MC Commissioner, who was on a leave.

A group of about 20-30 MC officials, according to Punjab Press Club President R. N. Singh, had barged into the club at around 10.30 a.m. and they left with whatever they could carry including furniture, paint boxes and equipment of masons, who were renovating the building.

The renovated building was likely to be inaugurated by the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, within a fortnight. Earlier, he was to inaugurate the building on June 15, but it was postponed due to his other engagements.

Though Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and Mayor Surinder Mahey could not be contacted, journalists informed the CM’s Media Adviser B.I.S. Chahal and the CM office about the unsavoury development.


SAD (Longowal) seeks White Paper on petro prices
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 23
In view of the hike in the prices of petroleum products on regular intervals during the past some years in the country, SAD (Longowal) here today asked the government to release a “White Paper” on the prices of petrol and diesel in the country.

Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the SAD (Longowal), said the Central Government had promised to Parliament some years ago that the prices of petroleum products in the country would be fixed as per the prices of the petroleum products in the international market, which meant that if the prices of petroleum products would hike in the international market, the Government would increase the prices, if it would decrease in the international market then it would be decreased But this always happened only in case of an increase in the prices he added.

He also said SAD (Longowal) would hold a meeting of the party on June 26 at Chandigarh on this issue. He said on the one hand the state government had failed in providing eight hours power supply daily during the current paddy season, while on the other hand the government had increased the price of diesel by Rs 2 per litre to put an adverse affect on farmers.


Unscheduled power cuts irk residents
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, June 23
Residents of Phagwara are reeling under a heat wave these days on account of the failure of the PSEB to maintain regular supply of power.

As many as six power cuts were noticed on Wednesday and it continued till 8 p.m. The first power cut was imposed from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Thereafter, unscheduled power cuts continued throughout the day.

Several persons said they had tried to complain but the telephone of the complaint centre was either engaged or out of order.

“All our jobs have virtually come to a halt due to ever-increasing power cuts,” rued an industrialist.

A resident of Harkishan Nagar, Taranjit Singh, said: “Due to power cuts water is sometimes not available even on the ground floor, leaving apart the upper floors. Streetlights are non-functional, while power cuts are unscheduled.”

Meanwhile, the long power cuts have paralysed the functioning of the computerised rail reservation facility at the railway station. The Executive Engineer of the PSEB, Sanjeev Kumar, had to sweat out more than others when lights went out at 6 p.m. when he was speaking in a programme, “Janta di awaz”, on the siti cable network.

Notwithstanding the embarrassing moments, the Executive Engineer said it was due to some technical fault in one of the units of the Nathpa Jhakri project and one at Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh where the PSEB had its share of power. He assured residents of better power supply soon.


Dalit girl row takes new turn
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 23
The controversy surrounding shearing off the hair of a Dalit girl by a son of the Samalsar village sarpanch, Angrej Singh, and his aides has taken a new turn with one of the accused in the case today alleging that the girl’s brother had raped his niece.

According to information available, one of the accused and an aide of Angrej, Amarjit Singh, alias Dodi, stated that on June 17 his niece, who had come from Bhalur village in vacation, was alone at his home as he had gone out for work and his wife had been to a religious programme.

He alleged that the girl’s brother, Buta Singh, forcibly barged into his home and raped his niece. He stated that she did not report the matter earlier out of fear.

Sources said Amarjit took his niece to the Civil Hospital, Moga, for a medical examination and her samples had been sent to Patiala. The sources said on getting information a police party from Samalsar reached the hospital, but Amarjit had left along with his niece before that. The police had also been to Amarjit’s home in Samalsar and his niece’s home in Bhalur, but they could not find her.

The Baghapurana DSP, Mr RS Sandhu, said the statement of the girl was yet to be recorded. He said the police would take action only after receiving the report of her medical examination.


55-member kar seva jatha leaves for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 23
A 55-member kar seva jatha left for Pakistan in the Samjhauta Express here today. The jatha would undertake kar seva at Gurdwara Guru Ram Dass at Chuna Mandi, Lahore, besides at Nankana sahib.

The jatha headed by Baba Kuldip Singh of Karnal (Haryana) would join the kar seva by Bhai Amrik Singh who is currently undertaking kar seva in Lahore. The jatha has a one-month visa.

The jatha would undertake work on ‘serais’ at Tambu Sahib, Nankana Sahib, construction at Gurdwara Singh Singhnia at Lahore besides the sarovar at Nankana Sahib. 


CBI summons hotel record in sex scandal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 23
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today summoned room booking records of several city hotels including Star Hotels, in the infamous Siti Cable sex scam which rocked the city two years ago.

According to information available here, the CBI had asked the managements of the hotels to produce original records of the rooms occupied during the period from 1998 to 2002, tomorrow morning to verify the use of rooms by VVIPs.

These included star hotels which are being frequented by VVIPs .

The CBI sleuths swooped on seven locals on June 8.

Sources said that many heads may roll in the coming days and arrests of some more persons could not be ruled out.


Vigilance to question VC, Registrar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau will soon question the Vice Chancellor and Registrar of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, as part of its investigation into the PMT-question-paper leak case.

Dr J.S. Gujral, VC, and Dr Jaswant Singh, Registrar of the university, will be asked to join in the investigation, said officials here today. Without the statements of these two officials, the Vigilance Bureau cannot arrive at a conclusion.

The question paper of the PMT was leaked days before the examination was to be conducted on June 5.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Registrar of the university, Mr K.P. Singh, has clarified that in a report “VB to probe previous years PMT results” appearing in The Tribune, it was wrongly mentioned about his being underground since the registration of the case. Mr K.P. Singh said he was very much available at his office on the university campus.


Two mutilated bodies found
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, June 23
Two mutilated bodies were found on the Ambala-Amritsar railway line near the Shambhu Barrier here this morning. The bodies were noticed by some passerby and subsequently the railway police was informed.

A team of the railway police removed the bodies from the site and found a railway ticket from their belongings. The police revealed that the ticket was in the name of Prakash (20) and Neetu (18).

The duo seemed to be migrants who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train, the police suspected. The bodies have been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post-mortem examinations.


Two kids drowned in water pond
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 23
Two children died after they were drowned in a water pond where they had gone to take a bath in Rampura Phul today.

Sources said three children aged between 6 and 8 had been to pond to get some respite from the scorching heat.

The deceased were identified as six-year-old Kirna Rani and seven-year-old Malkit Singh, while another child, Lekh Ram, was saved by residents of nearby area.


State-run undertakings’ staff to launch agitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Employees of state-run undertakings under the Cooperatives Department today announced to start a joint agitation to demand bonus and a scheme for pension and medical facilities for retired employees.

The president of the Markfed Employees Joint Action Committee, Mr Harbhajan Dass, said representatives of various unions from Punjab took the decision collectively.


New sniper rifles for police

Chandigarh, June 23
The Punjab police has procured sniper rifles with a firing range longer than that of the existing ones.

A total of 42 sniper rifles have been imported. Each rifle costs about $ 2,500 (nearly Rs 1.10 lakh). — TNS


PPCC chief bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Raja Singh, father-in-law of the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mr H.S. Hanspal, died in Delhi on Tuesday, according to press note issued by the Congress here today.

Ninetyfive-year-old Raja Singh was a well-known figure in Delhi.


Rs 24 crore for new roads
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, June 23
To improve the inter-village connectivity and road network for the benefit of residents of Ghanaur assembly constituency, the government has decided to spend Rs 24 crore. Apart from this, Rs 3.52 crore would also be spent on the repair roads that were damaged during floods in the Ghanaur assembly.

This statement was made by Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Cooperation and Horticulture Minister, Punjab, after laying a foundation stone of a link road connecting the Patiala-Rajpura road with Bhatt Majra in Ajrawar village near here today.

The state government has also approved a project of Rs 5.60 crore for the renovation and modernisation of the information collection centre at Shambhu barrier for providing better facilities to importers and exporters on the National Highway -1, here.

Besides residents of the area, Mr Jagwant Brar, ADC (Development), Mr A.P.S. Virk, SDM, Rajpura, Mr Kulbeer Singh and Mr Ms Chhatta, Superintendent Engineer, and Executive Engineer of the Building and Roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department were also present on the occasion.


Admn to hold ‘lok suvidha camps’
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 23
To provide on-the-spot ser- vices to the public at their doorsteps and to get feed- back from them on the bottlenecks in delivery of various services, the district administration will start “lok suvidha camps” in the district.

Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, said all heads of the district, their representatives and officers based at the sub- division would be available at these camps, from 9 am to 5 pm. Scrutiny of documents at the time of submitting the application, completion of formalities and time-bound delivery of services would be ensured at these camps.

Besides providing services to the public, there will also be provision for redressal of grievances of the public at the camps.

The Deputy Commissioner said proper record of these complaints would be maintained and disposal of the delivery of services and other complaints should be monitored and reviewed at every camp.


DC reviews flood control preparations
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 23
With a view of controlling flood-like situation during the monsoon, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr H.I.S Garewal, along with officials of the Irrigation Department, today visited several places in the district to check preparations. During the visit, Mr Garewal inspected the bridge Patiala ki Rau, Thaska, the Majri bridge, Macchibra, the Chamkaur Sahib drain.

A senior official of the Drainage Department also brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner that about Rs 5 crore would be required for the maintenance of various places to control flooding.


2 held for fraud
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 23
The Vigilance Bureau yesterday arrested two persons on the charges of preparing fake papers and obtaining a loan from a bank. The arrested were Paramjit Singh, a resident of Narot Jaimal Singh son of a bank manager, and Narinder Kumar.

According to the police, the father of Paramjit Singh, Prem Singh, was the manager of a cooperative bank at Narot Jaimal Singh. He had been indulging in a number of activities causing losses to the bank for his personal gains.

Prem Singh was booked on November 25 last year for his alleged fraudulent acts. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC, read with Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, was registered against the manager and he was arrested. Later he was released on bail.

During the course of investigation, it has come to the notice of the police that the son of the manager had also procured loan of lakhs of rupees by producing fake documents of non-existing properties. It was alleged that Narinder had prepared a valuation report of fake properties for Paramjit.

The police arrested the duo. After a one-day police remand today both the accused were sent to judicial custody for 14 days by Mr R.K. Garg, SDJM-cum-Duty Magistrate here.


Punjabi University results today
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
The results of B.Sc (Agriculture) Part IV, M.A (Social Work) Part-I and Part-II, M.A. (Anthropological Linguistics) (Part-I), Master of Journalism and Mass Communication (Part-I), M.A (Psychology) Part I and Part-II and M.A (Education) Part-II examination conducted by Punjabi University in April/May 2005 will be declared on June 24.

Dr Baldev Singh, Chief Coordinator, Examinations, said results would be available on university website www.universitypunjabi.org in the evening of June 24.


Mobile revolution sweeps Punjab
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Call it a menace or a blessing, mobiles in Punjab are here to ring not just in the cities, but the countryside too. After the green revolution, it is a mobile revolution in Punjab.

There are more mobile subscribers in Punjab compared to Kolkata and Chennai. Though Punjab is graded ‘B’ in the GSM telecom circle, it has left behind even Metros and other ‘A’ category circles in sheer growth in mobile telephony. No wonder, not only is “Punjabi dynamism” evident in agriculture, but the state has also proved its eagerness to welcome latest technology with open arms.

It’s a testimony to the affluence in Punjab and the fact that Punjabis are practical people who like to embrace technology that helps improve their efficiency and 

Consider this: As per the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Punjab had 30,69,427 GSM mobile customers as on May 31 this year. On the same date, Chennai Metro Circle had just 1,63,7176 customers while Kolkata Metro Circle had only 14,46,848 customers.

Even some of the ‘A” category circles could not match Punjab’s rapid GSM growth. Andhra Pradesh lagged behind Punjab with 29,52,303 customers, Karnataka had only 29,82,116 customers while Tamil Nadu had 29,28,750.

There are four GSM players and three CDMA players in Punjab’s cellular market. Airtel and Spice are among the major players with a subscriber base of 13, 20, 204 and 11, 54, 850 customers, respectively. The state-run BSNL has 4,26, 961 customers with the late entrant Hutch, which entered Punjab in March, 2004, has found the going tough and has got 1,67, 412 customers in one and quarter years.

The CDMA customer base has also shown good growth. Reliance Infocomm is leader with a base of 4,92,000 customers, Connect has 57,000 customers while Tata Indicom has 48,000 customers.

Cellular telephony started in Punjab in June, 1997, with the entry of GSM operator, Spice telecom, but the initial years saw sluggish growth mainly because of high tariffs. As Punjab entered the new millenium, the total number of cellular customers who had opted for a cellphone in nearly three years, stood at a mere 1,36, 509 as on December 31, according to the COAI figures.

However, the market gained momentum with the entry of Airtel in February, 2002, By the end of 2003, Punjabis adopted the cellular culture with their traditional enthusiasm.

The growth has continued unabated, and as on May 30, 2005, there were 30, 69, 427 GSM cellular subscribers in Punjab. In fact, Punjab today has the maximum number of players ( 7) in any circle in India. Chandigarh, where the number of mobile phone connections have crossed the number of fixed phone connections, would as per estimates see 100 per cent penetration in the next five years. Punjab is soon to follow.

Airtel plans to pump in huge investment to provide connectivity to over 100 towns in Punjab within this year so as to achieve 100 per cent connectivity in the state. “We have started the process of setting up 300 BTS ( Base Transreceiver stations) in the next few months. One thousand more villages would be provided connectivity by the year end,” said Mr Gulati.

According to DGM (Marketing), Spice Telecom, Mr Mukul Khanna, "Punjabis are basically techno-savvy and believe in innovations and the latest, right from agricultural implements including tractors to mobiles now.

Mr Himanshu Kapania, CEO of Reliance Infocomm (Punjab, Haryana and HP) said, “Chandigarh is undoubtedly among the fastest growing cities in the country. It is evident from the high number of cellular phones.”

Whether its on-screen balance for pre-paid customers, MMS, GPRS, Hello Tunes and VAS services like doctor on call, florists, mandi rates, train and air bookings etc., companies are using their investments in technology to make the phone of a customer much more than a mere instrument to make and receive calls.

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