P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Water, power shortage leads to protest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 11
Upset over the acute shortage of drinking water, residents of about a dozen localities today blocked the Jalandhar-Kalasanghian road, while those living in parts of the Bashirpura locality had also to come out on roads to lodge their protest against the erratic power and water supply in their area for the past two-three days.

Anguished residents of about 12 residential localities, including Ishwar Nagar, Khalsa market, Patti Nagar, Green Avenue, Shoor Nagar market, Gursant Nagar, Guru Nanak Nagar, came out of their homes at about 8.30 a.m. and not only blocked the Jalandhar-Kala Sanghian road for more than an hour but also burnt tyres and shouted slogans against the local municipal corporation authorities.

They alleged that the municipal corporation tubewell of their area was unable to supply the required amount of drinking water to the colonies on the Kala Sanghian road. They had been complaining to the local municipal corporation, but the MC authorities failed to find any solution to the problem, they protested.

As the residents blocked the traffic by stacking and burning old tyres on the road, a police party was rushed to the spot and the dharna was lifted only after the residents were assured that efforts would be made to solve problem soon.

Residents of the Bashirpura locality protested on the Chaugitti road and blocked traffic and held a demonstration against the municipal corporation and the power authorities. They alleged that they were not getting adequate supply of water and power for the past two days which had made their lives miserable. Residents alleged that all their pleas to the local civic authorities had fallen on deaf ears and there was no sight of any solution so far.


More power cuts in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 11
Despite heavy rain there will be more power cuts in the urban areas of Punjab as the PSEB has lifted the weekly off for supplying power to industrial units sources said. Moreover the state has been getting less supply of power from various hydroelectric projects.

The sources said the PSEB had imposed power cuts in the domestic sector in the state to compensate the additional burden of power supply to meet the requirement of industrial units.

The state has also been suffering power losses due to a temporary closure Mukerian hydroelectric project. The state is also suffering power losses due to non-supply of power from Pong Dam, the sources added.


Blame game between Customs, Railways on theft
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, July 11
Even as the blame game between officials of the Customs Department and the Railways continues, the alleged theft of crude drugs, “shakha merjan”, imported from Pakistan has caused panic among traders.

The Railway officials pass the buck to the Customs Department and allege that the goods, worth about Rs 14 lakh, were detained by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in view of “undervaluation” by its importers and kept in a godown under its seal. However, the Customs officials allege that the Railways was the actual custodian of the Customs storehouse.

It is reliably learnt that the Customs Department had shot off letters to the Railways that the goods were “stolen” from its (Railways) godown. Customs officials found the locks broken during routine inspection.

When contacted, Mr P.S. Sodhi, Additional Commissioner, Customs, said that since the Railways imposed penalty and demurrage, it must take responsibility for the safe custody of the goods kept on behalf of the Customs Department.

Mr K.K. Sharma, Assistant Commissioner, in charge Railway Customs, said that the department had immediately reported the breaking of the locks to the Railway authorities.

Mr Sodhi said the Customs Department had given timely information to the Railways regarding the necessity of changing of the doors of the godown as persons could easily enter through a gap below the godown gates.

Mr Vipin Kumar of Jagdish Commercial Service claimed that the firm had imported the crude drugs from Universal Traders, Akbari Market, Lahore, about three months ago. However, these were seized by the Customs Department on the pretext of undervaluation.

He said proper seals were put by the Customs officials. However, despite reminders to the authorities about the alleged pilferage of the crude drugs, nobody paid any attention. He claimed that a high-level inquiry would expose a scam in this regard.


Khalsa Diwan seeks report on hate campaign in UK
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 11
The Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD), the oldest Sikh institute, has sought a detailed report about attack on religious places belonging to minorities, especially gurdwaras, following the bomb blasts in London recently.

Mr Charnjit Singh Chadha, president, CKD, has deputed its London chapter chief, Mr Rueben Singh, to send a detailed report so that the matter could be taken up at the highest level. A three-member fact-finding team of the CKD would visit the religious sites in England to collect information on hate campaign. Mr Chadha said that there was no place for violence in Sikhism. He said Sikhs had contributed a lot in the overall development of their adopted country — Great Britain.

Mr Chadha strongly condemned the bomb blasts and their backlash against the minorities. The CKD chief sought immediate intervention of Prime Minister of India for taking up the matter with his Britain counterpart for ensuring the safety of the Sikh community.


Red tape holds up NRI’s science promotion
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, July 11
Bureaucratic procedures and the lack of political will have proved to be a hurdle in the clearance of a Rs 40 crore science promotion project proposed by an NRI for the Mukerian area.

Mr Krishan K. Joshi had submitted a project to the state government for setting up a science exploration centre at Mukerian, his birthplace, about two years ago. He had requested the government to provide him with 10 acres for the project. However, till date the government has not responded to the proposal.

While talking to The Tribune at SPN College, Mr Joshi said the proposed centre would give hands-on experience in science and technology to children of Punjab.

Although foundations headed by NRIs of the area could fully finance the project on their own, he wanted the participation of the government by way of providing land. Government participation generally helped overcome bottlenecks in the implementation of projects, Mr Joshi said.

Mr Joshi had migrated to the USA after doing graduation with mathematics and physics in the late sixties. Later he did MS in engineering science from the University of Dayton and Phd in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

He founded a research and development company, UES Inc.. The company carries out research in nanotechnology and biotechnology. It has 138 employees out of which 38 are senior scientists. The company sells the new processes and technologies developed in its laboratories. The UES has been ranked as the fastest growing privately held company in the USA by Inc. magazine.

Mr Joshi is also the chairman of another company, Paravant Inc., a defence electronics company with annual sales of more than $ 60 million.

He said he had given 50 per cent stake in his companies to the employees.

At Mukerian Mr Joshi patronises the school from where he completed primary education. He is also patronising many other institutions in the area.

He said his aim was not merely to create better infrastructure for education in the area but also focus on groups and improve the standard of education.

With land holdings in Punjab decreasing, the state government should concentrate on “knowledge-based industry”, he said.


Mother sells new-born baby
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 11
The poverty has compelled a mother to conspire with a midwife to get rid of her new-born child at Pandori Ladha Singh village near Kot Fatuhi of this district.

Mr Harish Kumar, Superintendent of Police (Detective), Hoshiarpur, said here today that Jaswinder Kaur gave a birth to a premature child about a month ago. She had already two children and her family was poor.

She conspired with midwife Rachhpal Kaur of the village without the knowledge of her husband and other family members and disposed of the baby.

On the delivery, both propagated that the child was born dead. Rachhpal Kaur took the child to her house on the pretext that she would bury it in the cremation ground. Later, she, with the help of her relatives in Phillaur, gave the child to an issueless pair of Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Parminder Singh came to know that his wife gave a birth to a live child and Rachppal Kaur misled them about the birth of dead child. He reported the matter to the police and alleged that Rachhpal Kaur, in connivance with a so-called social worker of Phillaur, had sold the child in Mumbai.

The SP said investigation into the charges levelled by Parminder Singh was started and strict action would be taken against the culprits.


Decorated ex-soldier fights for dues
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Hirdapur (Ropar District), July 11
Ex-sepoy Piara Singh is fighting a different battle now. Fifty-eight years after three bullets pierced his right arm while fighting enemy in the Uri sector just after the partition, he is struggling hard to get disability pension for life.

Exhaustion in his melancholic eyes gives way to determination and will-to-succeed as the 78-year-old World-War II veteran says he now has filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against Army authorities.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, admitted the same on July 8. It will come up before the Bench, along with a petition seeking similar relief.

Putting up in this small village near Kharar, still agile Piara Singh claims that the Union Government gave him pension only for a year, even though he had received a permanent injury.

Terming it as “mockery on part of the government authorities”, the soldier adds that he was not even offered a government job after being boarded out of service on medical grounds.

Going into the background of the matter, Piara Singh says he enrolled in the Army on July 5, 1944, after he was found medically fit. After successful completion of training at Naushera — now in Pakistan — he was inducted in the Sikh Regiment.

The soldier claims that he was awarded so many medals, including the Burma Star, “WO” Medal, “GS” Medal, “J&K Operation Medal” and the “Indian Independence Medal” for his outstanding acts. But he was wounded in the Uri sector on December 12, 1947.

Piara Singh adds initially the disability was assessed at 40 per cent “permanent for life” by the medical board. But a year later, the Controller of Military Accounts (Pension) — now called Principal Controller of Defence Accounts — reduced the same to below 20 per cent. As a result, his plea for disability pension was rejected.

He maintains that the authorities stopped not only “disability element” of pension, but also the “service element”, even though it was payable for life. Moreover, the pension was held back without the issuance of a notice.

Assisting Piara Singh in his long-out drawn legal battle, Chairman of the All-India Ex-servicemen Association Bhim Sen Sehgal adds that “the whole thing is patently wrong”.

Citing orders passed by the courts from time to time, he adds that the percentage of disability assessed by a medical board cannot be reduced to an individual’s disadvantage without bringing him before the Appellate Medical Board.

Quoting contents of the petition filed through his Association, he says the authorities could not have “tinkered with the percentage of disability prescribed by the Medical Board without following the due procedure” in Piara Singh’s case.


Protest against Mann’s detention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Slogans were not required. Clad in black cloaks with strips of the same colour covering their lips and wrists tied in chains, supporters of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) today protested against “the arbitrary detention” of their President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.

Describing it as a “peaceful protest”, the supporters said a similar demonstration would be held outside Parliament House on August 1. Besides, conventions would be organised in Chandigarh and different parts of the state, including Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

The protesters also announced the formation of the Punjab Rights Forum, comprising members of different political parties except the Congress, the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The procession started from the Sector 19 gurdwara here. For the purpose of taking part, an estimated 1,200 supporters packed in trucks, vans and cars reached the venue early from villages all over the state.

Even though the supporters had made it clear to the Chandigarh police that the march was going to be peaceful, a strong posse was deployed in the area.

Party general secretary Charan Singh Lohara said the arrest of Mr Mann only proved that the Sikh community was still not enjoying the freedom of speech and expression. In an attempt to highlight this, they had tied their hands and sealed their lips.

The protesters later submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd.), regarding the “violation of civil and political rights in the state”. They claimed that the judicial remand of Mr Mann was extended without his being produced in court.

They said the party was convinced that the state government was acting in a revengeful manner against Mr Mann for his dissenting political views. “He is being targeted for his systematic exposure of human rights violations in the state and his untiring efforts to restore civil norms....”


SAD to hold conferences of Hindus
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 11
Mr Parkash Chand Garg, national vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has said, “The life of common man has become unsale in the regime of Capt Amarinder Singh as the law and order situation is deteriorating day by day.”

Talking to mediapersons here last night, he said an atmosphere of terror was being created by the Amarinder government after the arrest of Jagtar Singh Hawara, chief of Babbar Khalsa International in India, by the Delhi Police. He said on the pretext of links with Hawara, a large number of youths were being picked by the police. He said the SAD would not allow breach of peace in any way in the state.

He said the party would organise five big conferences of Hindus to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood among various communities. He said Hindus would get due share in the next SAD government. He said these conferences would be organised at Bathinda, Sangrur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar. The dates for these conferences would be announced by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, he added.

He also said that the use of unparliamentary language against SAD leaders by Capt Amarinder Singh was also a serious matter, that showed that he was facing frustration these days. He said Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to fulfil promises made to the people of Punjab during the last Assembly elections.

The SAD would expose the poor performance of the Amarinder government and would create an atmosphere in which every Punjabi would feel safe, he said. His party would also control the bureaucracy when it came to power. Party workers had been asked to prepare lists of officers who were “looting” the public, so that they could be ‘punished’ during the SAD regime, he said.


Pollution level high in 4 Punjab cities
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Going by a report on the status of air pollution in Punjab, living in four major cities in the state is dangerous.

The report, “A State of Environment, 2005”, prepared by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, is based on data of the Punjab Pollution Control Board. The board monitors the pollution levels regularly in 19 areas of Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Mandi Gobindgarh, Batala, Bathinda, Dera Bassi, Naya Nangal and Mohali.

According to the report, the presence of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the air in Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar remains high throughout the year, even in residential areas. The maximum values (up to 550 microgram per litre) have been observed in various parts of Ludhiana. The permissible annual average limit is 140 microgram per litre. This could be attributed to the increase in the number of vehicles. The SPM level is high in the industrial area of Mandi Gobindgarh also.

The high levels of pollution impair liver functioning effect genetic changes and cause blood-related abnormalities.

Surprisingly, the sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide levels at all locations remain within the permissible limits. Even in certain areas of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar, the values for gases have shown a marginal decline. This could probably be attributed to smooth traffic due to the widening of roads and the construction of flyovers. During the festival season in (October-November) the SPM level is high in Amritsar, especially in the Golden Temple area, which is categorised as a sensitive area. Ludhiana and Jalandhar also showed high SPM, especially in commercial areas.

The board has identified 15,547 polluting industries under various provisions of water and air Acts. Out of these, 9,465 units have been listed under the red category (highly polluting units).

It says most of the polluting industries are using coal or rice husk as fuel. The number of large and medium-scale industrial units rose in the state from 122 in 1966 to 638 in 2002, whereas the small-scale units increased from 8,023 in 1966 to 2.3 lakh in 2001.

Fifteen industries in the state deal with ozone-depleting substances. Out of these, 11 industries deal with refrigerators and air-conditioners. Most of these units are located in the Pathankot and Batala areas. The board is issuing notices for the phasing out of these units.

The number of four-wheelers, especially cars, in the state has also increased about nine times in the past two decades and two-wheelers 13 times.

Another factor adding to the pollution levels, according to the report, is the burning of wheat and rice straw in fields during the harvesting season. About 70 per cent of the rice straw and 30 per cent of the wheat straw are burnt, causing heavy air pollution.


Tehelka papers tampered with: forensic report
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 11
Forensic examination of documents pertaining to the Tehelka scam has established that certain portions of the additional summary of evidence (SOE) recorded in the case of Brig Iqbal Singh had been doctored. This implies that a serving brigadier, against whom allegations of tampering with witnesses’ statements were levelled during proceedings of a general court martial (GCM), could face action.

Prosecution witness Aniruddha Bahal, who had masterminded a sting operation which had caught senior politicians, bureaucrats and military officers demanding and accepting bribes for fictitious arms dealers, had during his deposition before the GCM last month accused Brig S.S. Gill of adding certain words and statements to his answers which had given only as “yes” or “no”.

The court had, thereafter, forwarded the documents to the GCM’s convening authority to be sent for forensic examination to the Government Examiner of Questioned Documents (GEQD, Shimla).

Deposing before the court today, Mr Mohinder Singh, forensic expert at the GEQD, said that scientific examination of the said documents in different light arrangements, using scientific instruments, lens and video spectral comparator revealed that in some portions of the SOE the dots representing fullstops had been altered to represent commas. He added that the tint of the inks representing fullstops and commas was different.

The expert testified that the writing succeeding the commas appeared to have been written with an ink of different tint vis-a-vis the original writing, indicating that the words were subsequent additions. Further, the relative size and spacing of various letters and words written after the punctuation marks was not consistent with that of the writing preceding them, the forensic report stated.

Prosecution counsel Arvind Moudgil was of the opinion that the forensic findings make the brigadier liable for disciplinary action under provisions of the Army Act.

Defence counsel Maj R.S. Randhawa (retd) said that evidence of the handwriting expert was the most weak of all evidence in a trial, especially so when direct evidence pertaining to the issue in this case was available.

He added that this evidence was being withheld by the prosecution.

The forensic expert would be cross-examined by the defence tomorrow.


Set up fifth pay panel, says PSSF chief
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 11
Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, Chairman, Punjab State Services Federation (PSSF), has urged upon the state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, to set up the Fifth Pay Commission to settle all the problems, including the removal of various anomalies in the pay scales of the government employees in the state.

Addressing a state-level convention of the PSSF here last evening he said a charter of 21 demands was presented to the Chief Minister at the state-level convention of the PSSF at Patiala on September 1 but still it was lying unattended.

Regretting the delay he impressed upon the Chief Minister to do the needful in the interest of the state. Appreciating the Punjab government for merging 50 per cent DA of the employees in their basic pay, he said that a special campaign has already been launched to enrol over eight lakh members during this year to strengthen the PSSF in the state.

Talking to mediapersons Mr Walia who is also Chairman of the Punjab Khadi Gram Udyog and Village Industries Corporation said Rs 70 crore would soon be released to promote the small scale industry in the rural areas.

In addition, a target of Rs 30 crore had been fixed to give it to the promoters. Reiterating the determination of the state government to weed out corruption at all levels Mr Walia promised to probe the matter regarding the PMET paper leakage through the CBI if no tangible results came out through Vigilance Bureau investigation. However, he assured stern punishment to the erring officials.


World Population Day observed
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, July 11
World Population Day was observed at Jyoti Model School, Preet Nagar, near here today.

Dr S.P. Jagat, Civil Surgeon, Kapurthala, who was the chief guest, said the theme this year would be to “Save the girl child”. The educated and elite could help set the trend. He said the female sex ratio in the state has gone down to 798 against 1000 male.

Dr Yash Mitra, SMO, Phagwara, said the cooperation of all sections, who were generally trendsetters in the community, was essential as imbalance in the sex ratio could lead to an increase in crimes against women.

HOSHIARPUR: A seminar of “Save the girl child” was organised by the Health and Family Welfare Department at the local Government Senior Secondary School for girls under presidentship of Dr Manjit Kaur, Civil Surgeon, here today. Dr Manjit Kaur said to check female foeticide, peoples’ mindset had to be changed as no law alone was sufficient to prevent such an inhuman act. She sought the cooperation of people in making anti-foeticide drive a success.

TARN TARAN: A district-level function dedicated to the “World Population Day” was organised here today in which a large number of people participated.

Dr Sawinder Pal Singh Sohal, Civil Surgeon, Amritsar, was the chief guest. Dr Sohal, addressed the function. Twentyfive women were given cheques for Rs 500 each under the National Maternity Benefit Scheme.


Face of Bathinda changing
Rajbir Sekhon

BATHINDA: Bathinda town, known as the heartland of Malwa region, which has been backward in every sphere of life, has started undergoing a change.

A significant section of women of this town, where a ‘purdah’ system was prevalent and higher education for girls was a rarity, has now started coming out of the shell.

Once confined to the four walls of their houses, girls of this town have now entered the world of showrooms. The idea of leading companies, when they opened their shops here, to employ girls as customer care executives (CCE) seemed to be a big flop as nobody was willing to send their daughters to the showrooms. Surprisingly, now girls, most of them being locals, could be seen sitting at the counters.

After girls started working at telecommunication centres, some jewellery shops, boutiques and automobile showrooms also took the cue and employed young girls. Now women have also followed suit and seemed to have come out of the shell.

It is not an overnight transformation. With the setting up of Asia’s biggest cantonment and National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) plant, people from various parts of country settled down here. They brought the urban culture with them and their interactions with the locals resulted in the broadening their outlook. Parents started sending their daughters to universities and colleges in big cities for higher education.

Apart from it, with the opening up of a number of educational institutions, students from almost all parts of the country started coming here to prepare for competitive exams. Their interaction with the local people resulted a sea change in their thinking, personality and lifestyles.

Though a significant section of women still remains in their houses and are not allowed to work outside but a section of them has started their independent private businesses at their houses like beauty parlours, boutiques, coaching centres, stitching and embroidery centres etc. These types of businesses have not only made women financially independent, they have also given them a sense of pride.

“Earlier, I was quite reluctant to join the job of a CCE due to the orthodox thinking of people over here but after I joined, I saw a change in the way of thinking of the people. I think this male-dominated society has realised that we can also advance mentally as well as economically if given a chance to work,” says Charu, working as CCE at a showroom here.

When asked about any sort of harassment at workplace, Charu says, ”To my surprise, nobody has ever dared to misbehave with me in the past about one year, which I though would be a routine feature in the job of a CCE in a ‘Bathinda town’. It’s a big change”.

Not only this, women of this town have also started frequenting places like health clubs, cyber cafes and swimming pools.

Interestingly, now a days people have started spending more on the education of a girl child. Parents have been paying the hefty fees at tuition centres so that their daughters could get quality education and could pass various competitive exams. A survey of private coaching centres revealed equal ratio of girls and boys preparing for competitive exams. A number of girls studying in various colleges exceed the number of boys in local colleges of this town.

Ms Raj Gupta, Principal, Swami Vivekanand Girls College, said media exposure and awareness among locals had brought about this change. She said, “A large section of women in villages of this district is still in “purdah” but definitely women in this town have become more independent. It is a very positive transformation that will lead to better society.”


Three die of suffocation in well
Our Correspondent

Ferozepur, July 11
Three persons reportedly died due to asphyxiation when they went down to check fault in an electric motor installed in the well in their fields in Attari village, here last night.

According to information, the deceased have been identified as Rupinder Singh and two labourers, Ranjit alias Sonu and Resham Singh.

Ranjit, who was working in the fields of Major Singh, went in the 22-foot-deep well to check the error in the functioning of the motor but he did not come back. Alarmed by his sudden disappearance in the well, Resham too went down but met the same fate.

Thereafter, Rupinder Singh also entered the well to pull them out but got stuck up. Meanwhile, people gathered around the well. They decided to take out gas from the well with the help of a fan.

After a lot of efforts, Major Singh and a few other people managed to enter the well and take out their bodies.


Six of family hospitalised, food poisoning suspected
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 11
Six members of a family of Gobindpura mohalla here were today hospitalised for suspected food poisoning. They included Gian Chand, his wife Simro, son Kulwinder, daughters-in-law Jasbir Kaur, Saroj Bala and sister-in-law Kanta. Three women were in a serious condition and Simro was critical.

The SMO, Civil Hospital, Phagwara, Dr Yashpal Mitra, told newsmen that these cases were suspected to be of food poisoning. Everybody was out of danger, claimed Dr Mitra.

A majority of the patients complained of drowsiness, nausea while everyone had loose motions and vomiting, it was learnt.

Surjit, another son of Gian Chand, who had escaped food poisoning as he had eaten outside home at a shrine, told newsmen that all family members had dined at home last night.

They had eaten “koftas”, a vegetable cooked from “ghiyas”.


Villagers shocked at jawan’s death
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 11
Residents of Tharyal village near here have felt a shock after receiving the information of the death of jawan Parmodh Dhiman attached with 7-Dogra Regiment at Jammu and Kashmir. His father received this information from the Commanding Officer of the unit.

Later, a large number of villagers gathered at the residence of the jawan, who laid down his life fighting militants in Doda district. According to family sources, his body is expected to reach late night today. The martyr was a bachelor. Parmodh will be cremated with full military and state honours tomorrow, according to family members.


Indian prisoners in Pak end fast
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
As many as 64 Indian prisoners languishing in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan ended their fast today.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, International Bhai Mardana Yaadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, said the jailed Indians had been on fast since July 8 in protest against the inhuman treatment method out to them.

Mr Bhullar said he had received a fax from two jailed Indians Baljit Singh and Gurjit Singh who informed about the plight of the prisoners. Following this the society president said he faxed letters to Pak Punjab CM, Mr Parvez Elahi, Principal Secretary Mirza Sikandar and Adviser to CM Raja Ijas.

A team of doctors was rushed to the jail to provide succour to the fasting prisoners. This was informed to him by CM’s adviser on the telephone.


Bus stand, low-lying areas inundated
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, July 11
The monsoon showers that lashed the town on the morning of July 5 and 6 brought some respite to residents but there was no end to their woes as water accumulated in many areas, thanks to the ill-preparedness of the local Nagar Council. The worst-hit were the bus commuters who had to wade through knee-deep water at the bus stand.

Most low-lying localities, especially in the old areas, remained inundated. Residents of Subhash Nagar, Hargobind Nagar, Chadha Market, Gaushala Road, Labour Colony near Industrial Area, Mehli Gate, Katehra Chowk also had to face a tough time, as the sewerage system remained clogged.


Journalists form body
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 11
In order to safeguard the rights of the working journalists and making contribution to social work, a joint union under the banner of Kharar-Kurali-Morinda Union of Journalists was set up here yesterday.

The journalists of this area were already attached to the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists.

The following have been unanimously elected office-bearers of the new body: patron-Mr Krishan Parvej Premi; president-Mr Ashwini Sachdeva; senior vice president-Mr Devinder Singh Chauhan; vice-presidents-Mr Harish Bathla and Mr Amarjit Singh Dhiman; general secretary-Mr Darshan Singh Sodhi; secretary Mr Manoj Girdhar; joint secretary-Mr Pritpal Singh Longia; organizing secretaries- Mr Kuldeep Sharma and Mr Manoj Joshi; finance secretary-Mr Rajiv Singla; adviser-Mr Gagan Suri.


Abolishing octroi not easy, says MC staff body
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 11
The Punjab Nagar Palika Karamchari Mahasangh has asked the state government to disclose the alternative plan to provide compensation in lieu of the Rs 750 crore deficit that the state will be facing once octroi is abolished.

Mr Balwant Singh Sandhu, president of the mahasangh, said abolishing octroi was not an easy task.

He said it would be difficult to compensate revenue loss and challenged the financially trapped state government to disclose the alternative if it had found any.

Mr Sandhu said before octroi abolishment, a decision should be taken regarding the future of the employees working in all MCs in the state.

He said the previous government, in order to gain political mileage had also taken a similar decision before the Assembly election which had led to the financial crisis at that time and finally the High Court had to intervene. The High Court had reversed the decision of the state government and octroi was imposed again.


7 suspended for negligence of duty
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
The Punjab State Social Welfare Board (PSSWB) Chairperson, Ms Ratna placed under suspension seven staff members of different social welfare centres under the Border Area Project in the district today.

According to a press note, during a surprise visit to the six centres operating in various villages in the Ajnala and Wagah border areas, she found that all staff members posted at Thoba and Gaggomal village centres were absent. She immediately ordered their suspension for negligence in duty.

Those placed under suspension were craft teachers Nirmal Kaur and Mohinder Kaur, Bal Sevikas Balwinder Kaur and Kuldeep Kaur and midwives Kaushalya Devi and Shanti Devi.

She also suspended supervisor of these centres Ms Usha Bayala. She has sought written explanation from Social Welfare Officers, Mr Anil Kumar and Ms Usha Toor.

Later, she inspected the border area centre at Bhikiwind and complemented the staff for their laudable work done in that area under various social welfare project.


Two die of snake bite
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 11
Two persons, including an 18-year-old girl and a migrant labourer died after being bitten by a snake at Brahman Majra village in Sirhind town today.

The girl’s body was cremated, but the family members of the migrant labourer have planned to take the body to a tantrik in Nainakot village near Patiala, who treats persons bitten by snakes.

According to reports an 18-year-old girl living in slum area had gone out in fields to answer the call of nature when she was bit by the snake. She reportedly died on the spot. The migrant labourer Ramu, was working in the fields and was bitten by the same snake. He fell unconscious, and was taken to the doctor, who declared him brought dead. The people of the surrounding area called a snake charmer, who after a struggle overpowered the snake.


Awards for physically challenged staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
In order to encourage physically challenged employees the Punjab Government has decided to institute state awards to be given to those who show dedication.

The state awards will be given to persons who are adjudged the best skilled workers in their fields. Outstanding physically challenged employees of the state government, corporations, boards, public sector undertakings and private sector undertakings and self-employed persons will be considered for the cash award.

An amount of Rs 1 lakh has been provided during the Annual Plan for 2005-06.


Norway’s leader crosses over to Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
Ms Kristin Halvorsen, leader of the Opposition in Norway’s Parliament, left for Pakistan through Wagah joint check post today.

She had arrived here to garner support for her Leftist Socialist Party in the forthcoming elections.

Describing her stay here as successful she said she was happy with the Punjabi hospitality and warmth.


Van Mahotsav celebrated

Patiala, July 11
Celebrating Van Mahotsav, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Secretary Mr Malwinder Singh started tree plantation drive by planting a sapling at the Rose Garden here today. Mr Malwinder Singh called upon all the sections of the society to launch an vigorous tree plantation campaign to reverse the negative changes taking place in the environmental because of the pollution. TNS


High court
PMET: Second exam result challenged in HC
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for July 18 on a petition filed by 37 candidates challenging the result of the recently held PMET-2005 re-examination.

The petitioners, Saumil Garg and 36 other candidates, have prayed for quashing the result of the re-examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University on June 30. They have also sought an inquiry into the conduct of the examination.

The re-examination was held following the cancellation of the result of the first examination conducted by Baba Farid University, Faridkot, on June 5. The result of the first examination was cancelled by the government when it was discovered that the question paper had been leaked. A Vigilance inquiry is already on in the matter.

The result of the second PMET examination was declared on July 2, with the university also declaring that candidates who wished to see their answer-sheets could do so by depositing Rs 2,000. Also, candidates could see other candidate’s answer-sheets by depositing Rs 5,000.

The petitioners have stated that they checked the answer-sheets and found many discrepancies and mistakes. Some such discrepancies/mistakes mentioned in the petition are wrong answer code key for 20 questions; failure of university to provide correct answers for six questions and some question papers having 201 questions instead of 200.

Another glaring discrepancy in the second list, the petitioners have stated, is that many candidates who were nowhere in the top 500 ranks in the first list are now among the top 100 in the second list.

In support of their contention, the petitioners have stated that the candidate who was ranked 1850th in the first list has secured the first rank in the fresh list. This candidate, the petition says, got only 52 per cent marks in his 10+2 examination.

Similarly, the second and third-ranked candidates were placed at 4388th and 1776th in the first list.

Claiming that when they and their parents brought the discrepancies to the notice of the university officials, they were threatened and even manhandled, the petitioners have also stated that they were being coerced to give unconditional undertaking that they are satisfied with everything.

After hearing their counsel, Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal issued notice of motion for July 18. Notices were issued to the Punjab Government and the two universities.


PMET paper leak: judicial custody for doctor
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 11
A court here today remanded in judicial custody for 14 days Dr Vinod Khanna of Ferozepore one of the four accused in the purchase of PMET paper leaked out on June 4 a day before test by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Faridkot. After keeping him in custody for three days to know details of the leakage and sale of the said paper by him the Vigilance Bureau (VB) produced him in a court and did not press for his further remand. Two of the three other accused Balwinder Singh of Muktsar who was running a coaching centre there and Nand Kishore, an employee of the Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital here are already in judicial custody whereas fourth accused Kamaljit Singh was granted bail by a court last week.

According to reports Dr Khanna, who was nabbed by the police in the paper purchase case on June 14 last month and was allegedly evading the Vigilance Bureau got judicial remand after a few days of his arrest.

However, the Vigilance Bureau got his production warrant on July 8 and presented before the CJM and demanded his remand for interrogating him in connection with the sale of paper to others and allegedly collected huge amounts.

After hearing the views of the VB the CJM granted his (Dr Khanna) three days’ remand to it.

On June 6 the government asked the police to go through the matter. The police arrested three employees including Buta Ram, Ramesh Kumar and Rakesh Kumar who allegedly sold the paper. The police also arrested the four above-said accused in the paper purchase case. The government later handed over the case to the VB of the state. A three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by an SP-rank officer was constituted which took the case on June 15 and later arrested Surinderpal Kapoor, Superintendent of the University and a relative of Buta Ram who was also allegedly involved in the leakage of the paper. The SIT also raided the office and residence of the Vice-Chancellor here a few days ago and seized his laptop containing the entire paper and some other computer sets from the university office.


600 Lok Adalats to be held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab State Legal Services Authority (PSLSA) will organise 200 seminars and 600 Lok Adalats during 2005-06.

According to Mr H.P.S. Mahal, Member-Secretary, PSLSA, this will be part of the authority’s endeavour to impart free legal service to all eligible persons in Punjab.

The 600 Lok Adalats will include permanent, quarterly and special Lok Adalats for bank loan cases, matrimonial cases, cases under Section 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act and cases of Co-operation Department.

Mr Mahal also stated that during 2004-05, as many as 224 seminars were conducted and 153 permanent Lok Adalats organised, in which 1,306 cases were taken up. Of these, 454 cases were disposed and compensation to the tune of Rs 2.46 crore was awarded.

He said during the same year, 174 quarterly Lok Adalats and Special Lok Adalats were held in which 18,377 cases were taken and 10,014 cases were disposed of.

An amount of Rs 48.13 crore was the amount of compensation paid in these adalats.

Mr Mahal said 2724 applications were received for free legal aid which was granted to 2706 litigants.


Woman who slapped husband in court discharged
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 11
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today discharged the woman who had slapped her estranged husband in a courtroom of the High Court on July 8.

Discharging the woman in the matter of criminal contempt, the Bench comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal observed that she had already spent two over days in custody.

The woman, Ms Vijay Bharti of Hoshiarpur, had been sent to custody till further orders by Mr Justice Uma Nath Singh, in whose court the incident took place. He had also ordered initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against her. Immediately thereafter, she had been taken into custody.

Ms Bharti had slapped her husband during hearing of the habeas corpus petition filed by her, seeking her minor child from the alleged illegal custody of her husband. The petitioner has been living separately and has alleged that her husband had kidnapped their child.

On Friday, when the hearing was on, the woman suddenly delivered a resounding slap to her husband. While the provocation for the step was not known, her mother, who was also present in the court, was heard saying that her husband had kicked her, leading to the reaction from her.

Today, during hearing, the woman’s counsel apologised on her behalf and stated that she had not committed the act intentionally. He said it was just a reaction on her part and she was submitting unconditional apology for the same.

The Bench then noted that she had already spent over two days in custody and there was no need to punish her any further. Therefore, she was discharged.


Cotton growers’ hopes submerge, dept denies damage
Tribune News Service

Mansa, July 11
Though the Agricultural Department has been denying any damage to paddy and cotton crop following rain, reports of hundreds of acres cotton crop being destroyed are pouring in from various parts of the district.

According to sources, paddy crop, for which rainwater is beneficial, has also been damaged in different pockets of the district. The sources said prior to the rainfall last week cotton farmers of the district had watered their crop with the help of generators, but unexpected heavy showers submerged their hopes.

The District Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta chief, Mr Ram Singh, today claimed that about 5,000 acres of cotton crop had been submerged in the Mansa block alone, while about 1,500 acres of paddy crop had also been affected. He said that about 2,300 acres of cotton had been inundated in the Jhunir block, while this figure was about 2,000 acres in the Sardulgarh block. He said even today cotton crop in Ubha, Musa, Dhilwa Burj, Kotli, Kharak Singh Wala village Khokhar Kalan, and Kalel Sing Wala, was submerged.

On the other hand, the BKU (Sidhupur) leader, Mr Ruldu Singh, claimed that about 500 acres of cotton crop was inundated in Khayala village alone. The union leaders alleged that the agriculture department officials were gathering details sitting in their offices instead of venturing out in the fields.

Meanwhile, various BKU factions have demanded from the district administration that the affected farmers be given due compensation and their debt be waived.


Governor visits fish farm
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 11
The Governor of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today visited the fish farm of Mr Parminder Singh Sidhu at Samsher Nagar village. Mediapersons were, however, not allowed to meet the Governor as they were told that he was on a personal visit.

According to sources the Governor stressed the need for diversification of crop and urged the farmers to adopt other means of income such as dairy farming, fish farming, poultry farming. He also discussed various government-sponsored farming welfare schemes being implemented in the state.

He also discussed with the officials the problem of marketing being faced by farmers and he highlighted the arrangements being made by the government in this regard. He said due to continuous plantation of paddy in the state, the water level had gone down and if this trend continued the coming generations may face water problem.

The Governor also inspected an exhibition organised by the District Fisheries Department. Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Varinder Kumar SSP, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu former Chairman, PPSC, Mr Gaganjeet Singh Youth Congress leader and officials of the Fisheries Department were also present on the occasion.


Inside Babudom
Punjab Police officers resent government move
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Last week, the Punjab Government claimed to have ended a two decade old controversy by allowing long serving Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) officers to stay on in the Punjab Police on “special terms and conditions”.

It now turns out that the government may have created some sort of division within its force and ruffled the feathers of cops of the Punjab cadre. In private, IPS officers of the Punjab cadre point out that some of the officers of the CRPF and the BSF had come to the state after terrorism was over. These people should not have been allowed to stay back. There should have been a clear distinction between pre-militancy and post-militancy tenure. A cut-off date could have been fixed, said another senior cop and went on to ask “why reward those who played no role in curbing militancy.”

The Punjab Police Service Officers, who occupy posts junior to the IPS cadre, are clearly angry and will soon be deciding their strategy. The PPS Officers Association is yet to come out in the open but in private, officials had resented the move.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his Cabinet colleagues, in a decision on July 5, had allowed CRPF and BSF officers to stay on in Punjab. A rider had been put. It said the “outside officials” will enjoy the seniority of their own force and not be “absorbed” in the Punjab cadre. A separate cadre will be created and once their batchmates in the CRPF or the BSF were promoted they can claim the same rank here, the Chief Minister had then explained to media persons.

The logic of the government was that some of the officers did exemplary work during the days of terrorism. These men were posted in districts like Tarn Taran or Bathinda and it was a reward for their work. The Chief Minister had justified the move saying “these boys (CRPF/BSF officers) have spent close to 90 per cent of their careers in Punjab facing bullets during the bad times.”

An IPS officer said actually at one time it was suggested that those CRPF or BSF officers, who served during the days of militancy should be allowed to stay on. It was then mooted that they be deemed to have joined the Punjab Police as direct DSPs from the day they came here on deputation. This proposal was dropped.

Another senior officer while praising the role of these “outside officers” said: “How can one forget a man like Mr Khubi Ram from the CRPF? He agreed to work as SP (Operations), Taran Tarn, in the late 1980s when at least two IPS officers of the Punjab cadre declined in the what was then a hotbed of militancy. Another such officer is Mr A.K. Pandey, who was the personal security officer to former DGP, Mr K.P.S. Gill. For a few years Pandey accompanied Mr Gill everywhere and could have been felled by a bullet himself in the case of attack.

Similar sympathies were evoked by a Punjab IPS officer for Mr S.P.S. Basra, Mr S.K. Singh of the BSF, formerly, SP (Operations), Bathinda and Mr R.C. Sethi, who lost a leg when militants attacked the car of former DGP, D.S. Mangat, at Ludhiana.


Woman beaten up, tied to tree by kin
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
A woman of Gorenangal Left under Ajnala tehsil was allegedly abused and beaten up by her relatives. She was allegedly dragged, thrown into dirty water and her face smudged with cowdung before she was tied to a tree.

‘Awaaj-e-Awaam’, a social organization comprising Mr Daniel B Das, Dr Harbhajan Singh Ajnala and Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, in a report issued here today alleged that Ms Paramjit Kaur of Gorenangal was beaten up in the presence of other residents of the village. When Sarpanch Pal Singh and others tried to intervene, they were also abused by accused Wasan Singh, Lakha Singh, Chanan Singh, their wives and other relatives of same village.

When the victims approached Ramdas police station for making a complaint they were told to go back and end the matter with a compromise, alleged activists of the organisation. They alleged that when they approached the accused family, they said that Paramjit Kaur used to abuse them and they had taken revenge on her.

Ms Vibhu Raj, district police chief, Majitha said that she had verified the matter from the SHO. She said the incident was the result of personnel enmity. She added if a written complaint was made she would verify facts and take action against the accused.

The victims have written to the CM, the DGP, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the Deputy Commissioner and others in this regard. The organisation demanded action against the accused and the policemen.


Dowry claims another life
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 11
A case of dowry death was reported from Mirzapur village in Dasuya police station of Hoshiarpur district yesterday.

According to police sources, Sohan Singh, son of Joginder Singh, in his complaint to the police stated that his daughter, Randip Kaur, was married to Harjinder Singh of Mirzapur on February 28, 2005. He alleged that Harjinder Singh, his mother, Hardeep Kaur and father, Piara Singh, used to torture Randip Kaur to bring Rs 2 lakh from her parents. On July 9, 2005 Randip Kaur consumed poison resulting in her death.

Dasuya police has registered a case under Section 304 B of the IPC against the accused.


440 cases of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, July 11
The police has arrested two persons, Fateh Singh and Bhairon Singh, for smuggling 440 cases of countrymade liquor. Besides recovery of the illicit liquor, the police has also impounded a ‘tipper’ used by the suspects in transportation.

Following a tip-off, a police team laid a naka and stopped the tipper. After a search the police found that the tipper was loaded with gravel that was covered with a tarpaulin sheet. The police smelt a rat and found cardboard cases covered with a thin layer of gravel.

The police arrested the truck driver and its accomplice and after questioning them, found that they had been plying the tipper with a fake registration number (PB-12A-4351). It also recovered some other number plates (with fake registration number of Rajasthan) from the vehicle which were being used by drivers in entering different states.

Mr Raghubir Singh, the Investigating Officer, said the duo had been smuggling the liquor from Chandigarh and adjoining areas at cheaper prices and sell it on retail basis in Rajasthan.

A case has been registered against the two under Sections 467, 472, 473 of the IPC and the Excise Act. 


Folk singer’s son goes missing
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 11
Folk singer Gurminder Sidhu’s son has reportedly gone missing. The police has registered a case and has started looking for him.

The police has also interrogated two youths with whom he had left just before he went missing. In her complaint to the police, Gurminder stated the youths, Vicky, who is a handicapped, and Babbu, took her son, Laljeet Singh, along with them saying that they had some work in district courts.

The complainant said earlier too her son would leave with these youths and stay at their homes for two or three days. This time when he didn’t return his family members asked these youths about his whereabouts, but they expressed unawareness about it.

However, they said he had gone to a take-bath in a canal, but they didn’t know where he went after that. A migrant labourer, who was also present near canal, has corroborated their claim.

Finally, the family members lodged a complaint with the police on July 7. The police said the youths were interrogated, but nothing came out of it. On the other hand, Laljeet’s brother, Arman Singh, alleged that the police was not taking action in the matter. He alleged that while the family was worried about Laljeet, they were also receiving threats. Gurminder also told the police that they were receiving threats from her husband, Balbir Chotia, and his brother, Labh Chotia, who had allegedly attacked her home the other day.

However, Chotia denied the charge saying that he had gone to a programme on the day mentioned by Gurminder. Chotia also clarified that though Gurminder had worked with him as co-artist, they never got married.


Gangs of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 11
The Batala police has busted two gangs of robbers. Jewellery weighing 94 gm, one car, three revolvers, seven live cartridges, one toy pistol, one iron rod and 11 bottles of beer have been recovered from them. A 13-year-old girl was also recovered from them.

Dr Jatindra Kumar Jain, SSP, told mediapersons here today that the police had got information that five persons, Kulbir Singh, Surjit Singh, Inder Pal Singh, Baldev Singh and Ranjit Singh, armed with deadly weapons, were heading towards Vinzhvan village in a white Maruti car (PB-02-N-6915). The car was intercepted and on enquiry, the driver disclosed his name as Piara Lal of Chittorgarh. On checking, jewellery and arms were found in the car. Later, a case was registered against the occupants of the car.

On interrogation, it came to light that the gang was involved in robberies. A member of the gang, Kuldip Singh, had been a member of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), Panjwar group.

Kuldip Singh and his accomplice, Manjit Singh and Nimma, had murdered a man at Bhogpur village. After the crime, he joined the police as an SPO at Ferozepore. Later, he was arrested in the murder case and dismissed from the department. Thereafter, Kuldip Singh formed a gang with Surjit Singh, Inder Pal, Baldev Singh and Ranjit Singh and started looting people.

During interrogation, the accused admitted to having committed a number of robberies and thefts.

Another gang of robbers, comprising Kamaljit Singh and Baldev Singh, was also busted.


Prisoner dies under mysterious circumstances
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 11
Gurpreet Singh who was undergoing imprisonment in the Barnala sub-jail for his involvement in 13 cases of crime, died under mysterious circumstances today.

Mr Nageshwara Rao, SSP, said Gurpreet Singh was shifted to the sub-jail from Central Jail (Bathinda) on May 29.

He either ate something in the morning or complained of some problem and was rushed to the Civil Hospital but he died there.

The SSP said prisoner was facing 13 criminal cases, including five TADA cases.

He said the cause of death was not known initially, the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, had ordered a magisterial probe.

The body was sent for a post-mortem examination and videography was also done.

Dr Baldev Raj Gupta, SMO, Civil Hospital, said a three-member board of doctors had been constituted to conduct the autopsy of the body.

He said Gurpreet Singh was brought to the hospital in a critical condition.


Man held with fake passport
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
The immigration staff at Amritsar International Airport, Rajasansi, nabbed Harpreet Singh alias Happy, a resident of Kapurthala district for allegedly possessing fake passport.

Mr Vivek Kumar, Immigration Officer, in a complaint lodged at the Rajasansi police station under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, IPC, stated that during his checking he found a fake passport. He was trying to board an Uzbekistan flight.


PRSU activists, students lathi-charged
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 11
The police today resorted to a lathi-charge on activists of the Punjab Radical Students’ Union (PRSU) and students at the traffic lights chowk, here, when they staged a dharna and blocked the road. The police also held six leaders of the PRSU after the cane-charge.

Talking to The Tribune at the police station, Sanjiv Mintoo, state president of the PRSU, said besides him, Gursewak Singh, Harwinder Singh, Ms Birpal Kaur, Ms Sunita and Ms Soni had been arrested by the police. He claimed that they had been holding a peaceful dharna when the police resorted to the lathi-charge.

Mr Darshan Singh, in charge, city police station, denied that the police had lathi-charged the protesters. He said the police had registered a case under Section 188 of the IPC against the protesters.

Mr Mintoo said that the college authorities had denied admission to many students who had cleared the plus two examination on the plea that all seats had already been filled as per the admission criteria. He said the PRSU was of the view that all plus two pass students should be admitted to B.A. I in the Government College as many of them were poor and could not afford fee of the private colleges.

Earlier in the day, PRSU activists and students held a rally on the college campus. They also raised slogans against the college authorities and later marched towards DC office to submit a memorandum.


Fee for homoeo colleges too low, say managements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Crying foul over the report of the Justice G.R. Majithia Committee on fee structures in medical colleges of Punjab, the managements of homoeopathic colleges today demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the methodology adopted for fixing the fee of various institutions. Briefing mediapersons here today, the Punjab Homoeopathic Medical Colleges Management Association said it was shocked at the low fee suggested by the committee for homoeopathic colleges. The association said “this is a conspiracy to kill homoeopathy in the state as the colleges will close down if such fee structures age adopted.”

The general secretary of the association, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh, alleged that no committee member visited the colleges before finalising the report. The CBI, he said, should be asked to find out what formula was used for fixing the fee. He claimed all four homoeopathic colleges in the state had very good infrastructure and it was wrong to club these with colleges opened in rented buildings in shopping areas.

Meanwhile, the nursing colleges had been allowed a fee ranging between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 per annum for a diploma course, said the association. In the case of homoeopathic colleges the lowest fee suggested by the Majithia committee was Rs 11,500 per annum per student while the highest was Rs 17,500 per student per annum. The fee for all four colleges was different.

Mr Tejinder Singh added that the colleges were paying anything between Rs 70,000 and Rs 80,000 per month as electricity charges. Another Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh per month was the wage bill of the teachers and the supporting staff. He suggested that the fee needed to be Rs 50,000 per student per annum.


Another top PTU official in soup
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 11
While Punjab Technical University (PTU) is already conducting inquiries into the alleged irregularities made by two top officials in the examination branch, serious complaints pertaining to the use of unfair means in paper checking by yet another senior official from the secrecy branch of the university has come into light.

It has been alleged that the officer, who earlier was a lecturer in an affiliated college at Fatehgarh Sahib, had been working in connivance with a lecturer of the same college is running a racket under which they together made huge amount from students for getting their papers cleared.

Since the officer concerned often decided as to which set of papers was to be checked from which college, he would always send those sets of papers to the teachers he had established links with. Citing specific complaints, sources pointed out that a senior functionary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had allegedly contacted the officer for getting his son doing BE (electronics) passed. The student and his father were told in advance as to where the answer sheets were being sent so that they could approach the lecturers for getting their work done.

In another case, it has been pointed out that the officer allegedly had sent answer sheets of mathematics attempted by students of Fatehgarh Sahib to a college near Ropar and students from the college had started approaching the lecturer concerned of the college even before the sheets reached destination.

In yet another instance, father of a mechanical engineering student residing in Kapurthala, who is working as a police officer, reportedly got his son passed taking the help of the officer. The officer allegedly took personal interest in getting the students’ answer sheets checked from a lecturer working in a Jalandhar college. The concerned lecturer concerned was known to the officer as he was a passout from the same college in Fatehgarh Sahib.

Written complaints in this regard against the officer have already been sent to the registrar of the university, Dr M.S. Grewal. Dr Grewal confirmed having received the complaints and said that he was getting these verified. He said an inquiry had been marked and a senior PTU officer had been deputed to check those specific instances mentioned in the complaint. The complainants have clearly given the names of students, their roll numbers, fathers’ names and the lecturer involved in the racket along with the officer.

The complaint has also been brought to the notice of Vice-Chancellor, the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Financial Commissioner of Technical Education Department and Director of Vigilance, Punjab.


‘Jail bharo andolan’ threat by teachers
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 11
The teachers from all over the state working in aided school will hold protest in front of the office of the DPI, Punjab, in Chandigarh on July 25 against the policy of the Punjab government to withdraw grant to aided schools and also against ban on pension, said president of the Punjab Aided School Teachers Gurcharan Singh Chahal.

Giving details, he said that there about 10, 000 teachers were working in the 500 aided school in the state. “We have come to know that the Punjab government has decided to stop grant to the aided school,” he said adding that if the Punjab government remained adament on the decision, then would launch ‘jail bharo andolan”.

He said that the Punjab government had already stopped the pension to the teachers of these schools since 2003, he added.

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