P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Grant issue: aided school managements to back stir
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The executive of the Punjab Aided School Managements Association today passed a resolution to support the agitation to be launched by the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union on July 25 against the state Finance Department’s directive to phase out the grant-in-aid of these schools.

A meeting of the executive of the association was held under the chairmanship of Mr Daljinder Singh, president, in Ludhiana. Representatives of the managements of various schools participated in the meeting. Mr M.L. Chopra, adviser to the union, was also present.

Mr Mohan Lal, secretary of the Association, told The Tribune on the phone from Ludhiana that his organisation would support the agitation to be launched by the union. A coordination committee of the representatives of the union and the association had been set up in this connection.

He said the Punjab Government had created a mess on the education front. It had not only failed to improve the functioning of government schools but also created confusion and uncertainty in educational institutions which had been diligently serving the people for the past 100 years or so.

Mr Mohan Lal said these schools were charitable institutions being run by reputed organisations, including the SGPC, the Chief Khalsa Diwan, the Local Khalsa School Bodies, the Santan Dharam Sabha, the Arya Samaj, Christian bodies, the Jain Sabhas, the Wakf Board and the DAV Education Trust. The Lachhman Singh Gill government had given 95 per cent grant-in-aid to these schools in 1967.

Mr Chopra said the Barnala government had given pensionary and other benefits to teachers and other employees posted in these schools. The Beant Singh government implemented the decision of the Barnala government. However, the present government had even stopped pensionary benefits to all employees who retried after May 31, 2003. Nearly 10,000 persons would be derived of their retirement benefits.

Now there was a move even to do away with the pay parity between employees of these schools and their counterparts in government schools.

He said the Punjab Government was issuing no-objection certificates to hundreds of commercial educational institutions for affiliation to the CBSE. Many such schools charged a high fee and take a hefty sum as donation from parents.

While the present government was giving liberal concessions to industrialists and other influential groups, its attitude towards education was deplorable, he added.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal said the government’s move to phase out the grant was a big assault on the education sector. In a statement, the President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the government was trying to play with the future of thousands of school students belonging to the poor sections and the lower middle class.


Bush apprised of Sikh issues
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, July 23
Dr Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, used the opportunity at the state dinner hosted in honour of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, at the White House to lobby for Sikh issues with the US President, Mr George Bush, and Indian Prime Minister besides with the key members of the Bush Cabinet.

During dinner Dr Rajwant Singh talked to the US President regarding the issue of allowing Sikhs to serve in ‘US Armed Forces with turban and beard’. The Defence Secretary Mr Donald Rumsfeld and US Vice-President Cheney reacted positively to the issue and took note of it. Conferring with Indian PM about the turban issue in France, Dr Rajwant claimed that Dr Manmohan Singh said he had shared his concern with French President Jacque Chirac at the G8 meeting held recently.

Regarding the difficulties faced by Sikhs in the West in wake of 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, in New York and London with Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, the chairman of the council urged for more support from the Government of India on mistaken identity problems in USA and Europe.

The state dinner was attended by the First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, Indian industrialist Rattan Tata, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Andrea Immelt, wife of head of General Electric Co., Paul Wolfowitz, President, World Bank, Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Justice, and Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of World Sikh Council — America Region (WSC-AR), Dr Tarunjit Singh, met President of Conference of European Churches (CEC), Rev. Jean-Arnold de Clermont and shared concern over the recent increase in hate crimes against Sikhs and Muslims in Europe following the London bomb attacks.

The meeting held in Indianapolis, Indiana of National Association of Ecumenical and Inter-religious Staff (NAEIS) recently called upon CEC to work for reducing religious intolerance while Rev. Clermont offered to work with Sikhs in Europe to prevent religious intolerance and hate crimes. The NAEIS annual conference also adopted a resolution condemning terrorist attack and use of violence to take revenge. 


Providential escape for bus passengers
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, July 23
One passenger sustained injuries while over 50 others had a providential escape when a Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation bus in which they were travelling overturned on the busy Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Patiala highway at Dhankasu village, near here, this afternoon.

According to eyewitnesses, the bus suddenly took a right turn and fell into a ditch filled with rainwater along the highway adjacent to Dhankasu Kalan Chowk. At least six other persons also had a narrow escape as the bus rolled down into the ditch just five yards away from a tea vendor where they had gathered.

The vendor, Mr Balbir Singh, said they ran helter-skelter for safety on seeing the bus coming towards them.

On way from Chandigarh to Sangrur, the bus (PB-11F-9748) started from the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Chandigarh, at 3.45 pm and met with the accident an hour later.

Shopkeepers, rehriwalas and passersby rescued the passengers stranded inside the bus by breaking its windowpanes.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Ashok Kumar, who was injured and is undergoing treatment at the Rajpura Civil Hospital, said the conductor, after issuing tickets to the passengers, proceeded to the front seat and indulged in gossip with the driver.

“While they were gossiping, the driver lost control over the vehicle after suddenly noticing a cyclist ahead resulting in the mishap,” claimed Mr Ashok Kumar.

With clothes smeared with dirty water, the passengers collected their belongings from the bus and boarded other vehicles to reach their destinations.

A police party from the Focal Point, Rajpura, reached the site and removed the bus with the help of a crane. The police said during questioning, Mr Puran Singh, the bus driver, claimed that he tried to save a cyclist who suddenly took a right turn.

No case has been registered.


Commercial use of PSIEC plots allowed in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 23
The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) has decided to allow the commercial use of industrial plots at various industrial focal points in the state.

A decision to this effect was taken by the Board of Directors of the Punjlab Small Industries and Export Corporation during its last meeting chaired by the Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Mr S.C. Agarwal.

The Chandigarh Administration had recently taken a similar decision to allow allottees of industrial plots in the union territory to utilise these commercially after the payment of a conversion fee.

Stating that the PSIEC decision followed the UT example, Mr Agarwal pointed out that the modalities to consider the possibility of implementing this decision in Punjab were being worked out and once the scheme was formulated, the final decision would be taken at the level of the government.

While a policy decision was taken by the Board of Directors on the issue, they however, clearly stated that the change in the use of an industrial plot to a commercial plot would be allowed only after the payment of a conversion fee to the PSIEC. This fee is yet to be determined.

Highly placed sources in the PSIEC added that the decision had also been taken to ensure that the large industrial areas lying vacant in Punjab be utilised by the allottees.

This would also give a chance to those, who are already mis-utilising their industrial plots for commercial purposes, to regularise their establishments after the payment of the conversion fee. Such violations are the highest in the focal points located in Jalandhar, Mohali and Khanna.

This change would allow the allottees of an industrial plot in any of the PSIEC focal points in the state to use their plots commercially. Shops, shopping malls, showrooms, restaurants, banquet halls, corporate offices, hotels and eating joints would be allowed to be constructed on these industrial plots.

There are 26 focal points in Punjab in all major cities with over 10,000 industrial plot allottees who have been given plots by the PSIEC. Other than the PSIEC, Punjab Infotech Limited and the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) have also allotted industrial plots at various places in the state.

However, holders of industrial plots of these agencies would not be allowed this change till similar decisions are taken by the agencies.


Try Hawara in special court: Bitta
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 23
The president of the All-India Anti Terrorist Front, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, today demanded that all cases of terrorists activities lodged against the main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, Jagtar Singh Hawara, should be tried in a special court in Delhi. He said it was risky to keep on moving Hawara for cases registered against him in Delhi, Punjab and Chandigarh.

Addressing a press conference here, he said there was an urgent need to have stringent laws to deal with persons involved in terrorist activities.

Mr Bitta said he would soon meet the President to demand the setting up of a task force of the Army to deal with terrorist cases. With increasing number of terrorist activities, it was the need of the hour, he said.

He said the front would soon file a PIL in the Delhi High Court demanding investigation into the security lapses in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

He said the front would organise a seminar on global terrorism on September 11. “We have invited ambassadors of 40 countries and the Vice-President of India to attend the seminar,” he added.

He said the front had decided to honour the Delhi police for arresting Hawara and policemen who had killed the militants in the Ayodhya temple attack.


Don’t encourage extremists, CPM tells Congress
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 23
The Punjab unit of the CPM today asked the Congress party not to encourage the extremists in the state as such experiments by the Congress had failed completely in the past.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Prof Balwant Singh, state secretary of the CPM, said top Congress leaders, including Partap Singh Kairon, Giani Zail Singh, Darbara Singh and Buta Singh had done experiments to encourage extremists in their respective periods, but failed. He said in view of this, it would be better for the present Congress leadership in the state to refrain from such experiments.

Prof Balwant Singh said the Congress and the SAD were not keen to resolve the real issues and problems like unemployment, poverty, education etc, instead they were busy in diverting the attention of the people towards other issues like terrorist activities in the state. He said such activities of both the parties were disturbing peace in the state. He also lashed out at the SAD by saying that SAD leaders with their political utterances were providing a base for the activities of the extremists.

The CPM Secretary also said both the parties had been adopting negative approach towards issues affecting Punjab. He said as peace was not stable in Punjab, NRIs were not setting up industrial units in the state.

Prof Balwant Singh said the CPM would launch a morcha in the state from August 16 to August 31 on three issues, namely rozi (employment), roti (bread) and zamin (land). He said 17 jathas would cover 1,000 villages of the state as part of the morcha programme. He said the CPM would make efforts to ensure a piece of land for every landless person in the villages. It would also seek a ration depot in every village for the weaker sections of the society. Besides, it would seek employment for one member of each family, he added.


Bibi’s removal part of Cong conspiracy, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Nankiana Sahib (Sangrur), July 23
Terming the decision of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) regarding the removal of Bibi Jagir Kaur from the membership of the SGPC and its presidentship, as “unfortunate” and a “conspiracy” of the Congress, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), today alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, had crossed all limits as far as interference in the affairs of Sikh religion was concerned. He alleged that the decision against Bibi Jagir Kaur, had been pronounced by the SGJC at his behest.

Mr Badal, was here in connection with a meeting, held to make arrangements to observe the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal at Longowal village on August 20. He said as Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to capture the SGPC he wanted to weaken the SGPC in one way or the other.

Mr Badal also said the president of the SGJC was Amarinder’s “man” as he had been appointed by the Amarinder government. Due to this Capt Amarinder Singh was now directing the president of the SGJC to take “wrong” decisions in order to weaken the SGPC, he added.

He said in the case of industrialists, if any of them was found to be a defaulter of any government financial institution, the government did not remove the Industries’ Minister or dismiss the Secretary, Industries. The same was the case with Bibi Jagir Kaur in the case of non-realisation of huge fees outstanding against the wards of leaders, who had taken admission in the MBBS course in the SGPC-run Medical Science and Research Institute under the NRI quota. So going by this logic Bibi Jagir Kaur could also not be removed, he said.

Mr Badal said the SGJC had not heard the entire case, but had ordered Bibi Jagir Kaur to deposit crores of rupees in the SGPC funds along with interest. He also said the SAD had full faith in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and expressed hope that justice would be done to Bibi Jagir Kaur there.

Regarding the issuance of “white paper” about the alleged “failures” of the Amarinder government during its more than three-year-long regime, Mr Badal indicated that it might take some more time.

Regarding the function to be organised on the occasion of Sant Longowal’s death anniversary on August 20 by the Congress, Mr Badal said the Congress observed Sant Longowal’s death anniversary for political gains while the SAD observed it as a mark of respect to the martyr. He asked the MLAs, SGPC members and other leaders of the SAD to persuade people in a big way to pay homage to Sant Longowal.

Earlier, Mr Badal also attended a function, organised in connection with 21st death anniversary of Jathedar Nachhatar Singh Bhalwan at Bhalwan village, near here.

Jathedar Nachhatar Singh Bhalwan had died during Operation Blue Star at Harmandir Sahib at Amritsar. Besides Mr Badal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP from Sangrur; Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary of the SAD; Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla and Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, both MLAs; and Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, district president of the SAD, also paid tributes to Jathedar Bhalwan.


All SC, ST vacancies to be filled soon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
The Central Government has issued directions to all states to fill the vacant posts for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates without delay.

This was stated by National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Chairperson Santosh Chaudhry here today. She was in the city to hear to the grievances of safai karamcharis. She also paid a visit to Ambedkar Colony here.

Talking to TNS, the former MP said besides the directions from the Centre, she would also coordinate with the states to expedite the process of filling of the vacancies. The aim was to rehabilitate those who still carried night soil, she said. The commission was against this inhuman practice and would work towards ending it in the states where it was still prevalent, she added.

Mr Chaudhry said it had been proposed that this practice would be rooted out by 2007, but for this the people would have to be rehabilitated. “Many schemes have been drawn in this context and the effort would be that all families of such people besides those of scavengers are alternately employed”, she said.

Ms Chaudhry also issued instructions to the officials of the local municipal corporation that their salaries should be paid through cheques. This decision has been taken as it had been noticed that them were sometimes not paid the entire salary by some unscrupulous employees. She also emphasised that such welfare schemes were the hallmark of the Congress governments.

Those who accompanied her during a tour of the colony included Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma, Chairman of Punjab Export Industries and MLA Ram Lubhaya, MLA Malkit Singh Dakha, DCC (U) chief Jagmohan Sharma, DCC (R) chief Mr Harmohinder Singh, ADC Ajmer Singh, Ambedkar Colony president Kala Hans and president of the All-India Safai Mazdoor Congress Sudesh Gharu.


Rs 4,000 per acre compensation demanded
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked the Punjab Government to announce a compensation of Rs 4,000 per acre for the farmers whose standing crops were damaged during the recent floods in the state.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary-General of the SAD, also expressed concern over the non-starting of girdawari of the crops, damaged due to floods recently, in many parts of the state. He asked the government to send patwaris immediately to those areas where girdawari work had not started yet.

Mr Dhindsa was here today in connection with handing over a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the local Guru Arjan Dev Kust Ashram (lepers’ colony) for constructing houses in the ashram.


Tamil Nadu leaders visit city
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 23
A delegation of the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table of the House of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly comprising leaders of various parties visited the holy city to have a feel of the Punjabi culture.

The leader of the delegation, Ms Valarmathi Jebaraj, said they were on a week-long visit to four states, including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

Here today they visited the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Durgiana Temple and Wagah border.

She said the visit was part of the cultural exchange programme and an attempt by her government to apprise ministers various cultures.


MC blamed for removal of institute boards
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 23
The case involving Ms Davinder Kaur Aulakh, who, has been fighting a lone battle to save her Hoshiarpur-based nursing institute, took a new turn today as she alleged that signboards indicating the location of her institute had been removed either by some unscrupulous elements or the municipal council officials”under political pressure”.

Meanwhile, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Hoshiarpur, has denied that officials of the civic body had removed the sign boards of the Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Nursing and Hospital, headed by Ms Davinder Kaur. He asserted that no official of the civic body could have been involved in the incident.

Ms Davinder Kaur Aulakh, the middle-aged chairperson of Hoshiarpur-based institute had already approached the Punjab police, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) and the National Commission for Women (NCW), headed by Ms Girija Vyas. She has levelled allegations against a senior Congress leader and certain other political leaders of targeting her in order to take over her institute. She also expressed fear that she might be “eliminated”.

Interestingly, immediately after she had approached The Tribune in the last week of June to narrate her tale of woes, her security cover was withdrawn, which, however, was restored as she complained about it to senior police officers.

Though a police probe has been ordered into her allegations by the PHRC, but, she is not satisfied with the way it was being conducted. She alleged that she had been observing that “political pressure was working everywhere” in one or the other way and even certain officials were trying to persuade her to give up her fight against the “injustice” being meted out to her.

Talking to The Tribune today, Aulakh alleged that “her powerful opponents” had come up with a new strategy to harass her and under this all small signboards, which, had been put up at different places in the city to guide people about the location of the institute, had been removed overnight. 


Missing Andhra boy found in Punjab
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 23
An English teacher from a remote Andhra village of Yemmiganur in Khanool district, M. Anjaneyulu, had been searching for his 12-year-old son who went missing on February 19. Having lost all hopes, he had no inkling that the hunt for his son would end in a non-descript village of Punjab.

According to sources, the boy, M. Anvesh Babu, had left his home on a bicycle on the fateful day. He met with an accident and sustained an injury in his head. He lost his mental balance and could not return home. In the meantime a trucker picked him up and left him at a small dhaba in Jalal village of Bathinda while on a trip to Punjab. When some prominent persons of the village got a wind of the arrival of a Telugu-speaking boy in the village, they brought the matter to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, about a month back. The DC asked Phul BDPO Santosh Kumari to look into the case. The BDPO sought help from the panchayat secretary, Mr Labh Singh. Despite being handicapped, Labh Singh left no stone unturned to trace the parents of Anvesh.

Talking to The Tribune, Labh Singh said first Anvesh gave him a wrong STD code and phone number on being asked about any contact with number of his parents. He then established contact with his friend Pal Singh, who had shifted to Hyderabad some time back. Pal called a local policeman and urged him to talk to Anvesh who somehow recalled his address. The cop got in touch with the police station, where Anvesh’s missing report was lodged, following which its SHO talked to Labh Singh. The SHO called him back on his mobile phone from Anvesh’s home leading to interaction between the boy and his father.

During this period, Anvesh stayed at Labh Singh’s home. Though they could not understand his language, he and his father, Jagroop Singh, had developed affection for him. They had tears in their eyes when Anvesh left for his journey home. The Youth Club of Jalal village also played a key role in the restoration of Anvesh to his parents.

M. Anjaneyulu and his brother rushed to Bathinda to recover Anvesh. The DC today presented them before the media. The DC said they had offered Anvesh psychiatric treatment, but his father had denied the same. The administration has made all arrangements for their return journey.

Talking to The Tribune, an emotional M. Anjaneyulu said they had lost Anvesh earlier also, but somehow managed to trace him out. He showered praises on people of Punjab for looking after his son and restoring him to his family. “I had heard that Punjabis are large-hearted, today I have seen it,” he averred. 


Curfew lifted from Sriganganagar areas
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 23
Curfew imposed in border towns of Anoopgarh, Gharsana and Rawla in Sriganganagar district, was lifted at 10 p.m. last night.

The Additional District Collector, Mr Rajender Shekhar Makkar, said today that prohibitory orders, restraining assembly of more than five persons and carrying of lathies and weapons would remain in force.

Curfew had been clamped on Tuesday night as the Kisan Beopari Mulazam Sangharsh Samiti gave a call for “chakka jam”. It blamed the state government for backtracking from 21-year-old agreement on canal water sharing for border districts. The government had cut down the share from 5 to 3.4 cusec per acre.

Janwadi Istri Sabha activists held demonstration in front of the office of the District Collector, Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, to condemn the authorities for alleged “high-handedness” during the “chakka jam” agitation. They demanded that former MLA Het Ram Beniwal, jailed at Ajmer should be released unconditionally. He was arrested following clashes with the police near the new Gharsana grain market on Wednesday.

Demonstrators, led by Ms Durga Swami, clashed with the police, at the collector office, as they insisted that they should be allowed to meet the ADC. The police registered a case against Ms Swami, Rani Dhaliwal, Harjit Kaur, Gomati Shakya, Radha Devi and Balbir Kaur for violating prohibitory orders.

Sources at Rawla said two Home Guard jawans received injuries as farmers pelted stone at their vehicle last evening.

Meanwhile, the police arrested Kalu Ram Thori, a senior activist of the Student Federation of India, in connection with clashes during the agitation. The SFI today said protest marches would be taken out on Monday as the police had falsely implicated students in criminal cases.


Another TB patient loses life
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, July 23
Jambha Bahadur (32), who was declared incurable and was discarded by the tuberculosis hospital here lost the battle for life. Family sources said he died yesterday and was cremated today.

Sources said Jambha started getting regular treatment at the oldest TB hospital in the region here on July 1 but the doctors declared him in curable and refused to treat him on July 9. Finally, an NGO came to his rescue and approached SDM Jaskiran Singh. He not only directed the in charge of the hospital to resume treatment but also contributed Rs 500 from his pocket for buying his medicines. When doctors said blood was required for Jambha’s survival, members of the NGO offered to donate blood. The doctors explained to the SDM that number of TB patients was very high in the region while improvised medicine kits were in short supply.

Jambha, a waiter by profession, was the fourth member of a family to die of tuberculosis. His mother became the first victim while working at a local cotton yarn spinning mills in 2000. Father Dal Bahadur died of the same disease in 2001. Elder brother Bhagat Bahadur was the third victim who lost struggle for survival in April 2003.

Most of the 200 TB patients identified in this area had worked in cotton mills, which had now been closed.

Cases for payment of pending wages and other benefits were yet to be decided by the court. The state government had neither granted funds to arrange medicine kits for the patient nor bothered to renovate building of the TB hospital.


Home Guards to intensify protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 23
The Punjab Home Guard Home Association has decided to intensify its struggle by chalking out a strategy at a meeting to be held on July 27.

The demands of the association include regularisation and parity in the pay scale with the regular police.

Mr Hakam Singh, president, Home Guard Association, said that they had made numerous representations to the authorities concerned regarding their demands, but to no avail.

The association which had been fighting for their demands since 1998 claimed that they would ghereo the Chandigarh bus stand on August 1 and on the same day they had also planned to hold a dharna at Chandigarh’s Matka Chowk.


PSEB engineers get management tips
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 23
On the concluding day of a workshop on “Advanced Management Development Programme” for engineers of the local thermal plant, here today, Mr R. S. Sohal, General Manager of the plant, said there was a dire necessity to convert the PSEB to a system-driven organisation on the lines of the NTPC.

He said the programme was held by Chandigarh Educational and Consulting Group comprising Dr K.K. Uppal of the UBS, Chandigarh, and Dr A.S. Chawla, Professor of Punjab School of Management, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Mr Sohal said if such exposures continued and the top management delegated full powers and fix accountability across the board from the chief engineer to junior engineers, the PSEB could provide world-class services to its consumers.

Mr Virinder Singh, Director, HRD, said: “If the PSEB managers and workers do not change their style of functioning, the organisation is bound to disintegrate and that the respite from unbundling given by the government should be used to modernised it through the introduction and implementation of modern management techniques.”


Medical bodies hail DA merger
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 23
Acting on a long-pending demand of various medical associations of state, the Punjab Government has issued instructions to merge the dearness allowance (DA) up to 50 per cent into basic salaries of the government doctors.

In a press note, Dr D.S. Bhullar, chairman, in-service wing IMA, Punjab, said that various medical association, including Senior PCMS Association, In-Service Wing of Punjab and Indian Medical Association (Punjab) welcomed the decision of the state government. He said the decision of merger of DA into basic salaries of doctors would bring about parity between employees of Centre and state governments.

Dr D.C Sharma, general secretary, Senior PCMS Association, said that new formula would benefit the doctors to the tune of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per month.

Patiala: Mr Kartar Singh Sidhu has been elected chairman of the MES Builders Association of India. The other office-bearers are senior vice-chairman: Mr Madan Kharbanda, vice-chairman: Mr Subhash Kumar Kansal, honorary. general secretary: Mr Ravinder Singh Puri, honorary joint secretary: Mr Harcharan Singh Jwanda, honorary joint secretary: Mr Rupinder Singh Sodhi, honorary treasurer: Mr Rajesh Bansal, public relation officer: Mr Harbans Lal Singla, member: Mr Rajiv Kumar Goel and member: Mr Bhajan Kamboj.


Seminar on free legal aid
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 23
To create legal awareness at the grass-roots, the District Legal Services Authority today organised a seminar regarding free legal aid and Lok Adalts at Ishar Hel village in the district in co-ordination with Directorate of Field Publicity and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The seminar was presided over by Mr Nanu Ram, Assistant District Attorney ( Legal Services) Fatehgarh Sahib. A large number of people attended the seminar.

Addressing the gathering Mr Nanu Ram said that people belonging to SC/ST, children, women, mentally and physically handicapped, industrial workers, victims of natural disasters, victims of human trafficking, under custody and any persons having annual income less than Rs 30,000/- were entitled to get free legal aid in courts, which includes counsel fee, processing fee and other miscellaneous expenses. He also highlighted the benefits of Lok Adalts, which were proving very effective. in providing speedy and expensive justice by way of settlement of cases by mutual understanding.

Mr Hakam Singh, field publicity officer, delivered a lecture on iodine disorder. He said its deficiency in diet can cause miscarriages, gastric, brain disorder and retarded psychomotor development.

Mr Jaswinder Singh Sidhu Advocate also addressed.


Protest against MC

Phagwara, July 23
Instead of the soulful rendition of hymns that is usually associated with parbhat pheris, residents of Wards No. 9 and 26 were today surprised to see a totally different parbhat pheri in which participants performed “siapa” of the authorities and raised slogans against the Nagar Council, Phagwara, at 4:30 am. They were protesting against the supply of contaminated drinking water and insanitary conditions. — OC


Indian prisoner repatriated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 23
The Pakistani Rangers repatriated Suresh Baba, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, from the Wagah Joint Check Post, here today. He had crossed over to Pakistan inadvertently. He was lodged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The Indian prisoner was handed over to the BSF ‘s company Commander, Mr R.S. Yadav. He was sent to India without emergency certificates.

The prisoner, seems to have lost the balance of mind. He was put to questioning by BSF officials. Relatives of Suresh had also reached Wagah to receive him.


Mann sent to judicial custody till Aug 6
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 23
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simaranjit Singh Maan, who was arrested on sedition charges and provocative speeches at Gurdwara Mao Sahib near Phillaur on June 5, was produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Phillaur, Mrs Jaswinder Kaur today, who sent him in judicial custody till August 6.

There was heavy police presence when Mr Maan was produced in the court. Even scribes were not allowed to meet him. Manjit Singh Dhesi, DSP, Phillaur, asked mediapersons to leave the place as mediapersons were not allowed to meet Mr Mann.

Meanwhile, Simaranjit Singh Maan handed over a detailed letter to the SAD (Amritsar) General Secretary Dr Harjinder Jakhu, copies of which were later distributed to the newsmen by Mr Jakhu.

In the letter, adressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr Maan has raised a nine-point demand charter and urged the Prime Minister to implement the human rights agenda agreed upon by Manmohan Singh and George Bush during his visit to the USA.


DSP Khosa relinquishes charge
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 23
The Vigilance Bureau has finally relieved Mr Surjit Singh Khosa, DSP, Vigilance, from his duties though he was reportedly suspended a long time back. The state government had placed him under suspension for allegedly falsely implicating a Tehsildar in a corruption case. Vigilance sources revealed that though, Mr Khosa was officially suspended on July 15 but he relinquished the charge on July 18.

The Vigilance Bureau had arrested Mr Rajeev Verma, posted as Tehsildaar in Ferozepore, for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 red-handedly in his office on March 10, 2005, but Mr Verma had vehemently denied the allegations. While accusing the Vigilance Bureau of concocting the story, he had asserted that the raiding team led by DSP Surjit Singh had themselves thrown that amount beneath his table during the raid in order to falsely implicate him.

The work pertaining to the Revenue Department had remained totally paralysed in the entire district for two days following the arrest Mr Verma as hundreds of revenue officials had come out in the open in protest against his arrest.

The Revenue Officials Action Committee claimed that the court had granted stay on registration of a piece of land in question so there was no way the Tehsildar could effect its registration and demand bribe for the same.

Following widespread protests by the revenue officials, Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, Financial Commissioner, Revenue, visited the town and assured the revenue officials of an independent enquiry into the case.

Thereafter, Mr Ishwar Chander, DIG Vigilance, carried out the investigations in connection with this case. The arrest of Mr Verma had also created ripples among the political circles as he was considered close to certain politicians haling from this district.

Later, after thorough investigations, the case against Mr Verma was withdrawn and in its place, the government ordered suspension of DSP Surjit Singh Khosa, who had conducted the raid and arrested the Tehsildar.


Plantation drive inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 23
To make Fatehgarh Sahib a green district with a pollution-free environment, a tree plantation drive under the “Plant Tree, Save Fatehgarh Sahib” scheme has been launched in the district.

All educational, religious, social and even political parties would be involved in this drive, said the Deputy Commissioner while inaugurating the drive initiated by the Lions Club Sirhind at Government Senior Secondary School Sirhind yesterday.

Addressing the function, the Deputy Commissioner urged the NGOs to come forward in a big way in this drive, saying the Forest Department would give them plants at subsidised rate of 50 paisa under the farm forestry scheme.

The forest department had been directed to plant and look after the ornamental trees in all government buildings in the district. The DC urged schools to plant as many trees as they can in their play grounds and vacant lands, which would not only keep the environment of the schools clean but would also be a source of income.

Mr S.K. Khera, president, Lions Club, Mr Ashwani Kaura, secretary, Mr Charanjiv Channa, president, MC, Sirhind, Squadron Leader Santokh Singh, Mr Harish Duppar, and Mr Gurmukh Singh Badri Dham and Mr Bhupinder Singh Lok Sewak also spoke on the occasion and planted saplings.


Fake travel agent held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 23
The district police has arrested a fake travel agent on the charge of fleecing people on the pretext of sending them abroad illegally. The wife of the travel agent, who allegedly used to help him in the illegal business, has also been booked, but is at large.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said Gurmukh Singh and Kuldeep Singh, residents of Bhagwanpura village under the Amloh police station had complained to the police that Bahadur Singh and his wife Narinder Kaur, residents of Bhadal Thua, had struck a deal with them for sending them to Italy on a valid visa for Rs 12 lakh.

They alleged that they gave Rs 5 lakh as advance to the couple, which gave them a date on which they were to accompany it to Delhi.

They alleged that Bahadur Singh took them to Thailand and kept them there for some time and then brought them back to India.

When they demanded their money back, Bahadur Singh refused. The SSP sai the police conducted an inquiry and the couple was found guilty. The police has arrested Bahadur Singh, whereas his wife Narinder Kaur is still at large.


Killer of teenager arrested
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 23
The Kapurthala police today solved a blind murder case, according to Kapurthala SSP Tejinderpal Singh. A teenager Sukhwinder Singh, alias Binder, of Khojewal village was allegedly murdered by Gurwinder Singh, alias Dimple, of Maksoodan. He was today arrested under Sections 302 IPC and the weapons of offence, including a “datur” and an autorickshaw, were seized from him.

As per details of the case, Rakesh Kumar had complained to SHO, Sultanpur Lodhi Police Station on July 18 that his brother, Binder, was missing.

Nineteen-year-old Binder was found dead with marks of blunt and sharpedged weapons on his body.

On investigation, the police came to know that Binder accompanied Dimple in an autorickshaw to Maksoodan. He was repeatedly hit with stones and datur, and then thrown into a well.

The police also learnt that Binder had made two girls of Maksoodan his sisters. Dimple who desired to be the don of the area, used to tease them to which Binder objected to it. Nursing ill-will towards Binder, for daring to ask the “don” not to tease the girls, Dimple chased to murder him. He took Binder for a ride and brought him to Maksoodan to murder him.

Dimple wanted to be a big don like the villains of Hindi films. It was his first lesson in murder but it landed him in police lock-up.


Two get 5-year jail term for robbery
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 23
The Chief Judicial Magistrate at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, today sentenced two persons to five years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each for robbing a lady doctor, official sources said.

Three youths allegedly hatched plan to rob the residence of Dr Roshan Lal Dhingra located at Jawahar Nagar Colony. The miscreants, on March 17, 2001, reportedly introduced themselves as students and told Dr Dhingra’s wife, Dr Keerit Dhingra, that one of them had some problem in his eye.

When she allowed the accused to enter the house they took out a pistol and after threatening her looted gold ornaments and Rs 13,000 in cash.

Later, on the doctor’s complaint a case under Section 392 of the IPC was registered.

During investigation the culprits were identified as Harsh Khera, Vivek Goswami and Sunil Netewala. They were arrested on March 23, 2001. Harsh, however, jumped bail and is still absconding.


Minor girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 23
A minor girl committed suicide at her residence in Bhanu Langa village of Kapurthala here yesterday.

Harpreet Kaur, strangulated herself by tying a knot around her neck and hanging herself with a hook from the ceiling.

The girl was said to be mentally disturbed for the past few years and had not been studying after passing her plus two examination.

A case under Section 174 has been registered and statement of the father of the deceased, Mr Lal Singh, has been recorded by the police.


PMET re-evaluation report to be submitted by July 25
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, July 23
Even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to submit its report on re-evaluation of the 21 controversial questions of the PMET 2005 examination, conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), on July 27, Mr Ashok Ganguly, Chairman, CBSE, affirmed that the report would be submitted on July 25.

Mr Ganguly today said as per the directive of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, report on re-evaluation of the 21 controversial questions, which were part of the PMET 2005 examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) on June 30, would be submitted by the Monday evening.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday directed the CBSE to constitute a high-power committee of experts to re-evaluate the controversial questions.

He said as directed the committee of the board would comprise two experts each for the four subjects of PMET examination.

Talking exclusively to this correspondent the CBSE Chairman said that the board’s priority was to remove obsolete material from the curriculum and to incorporate new subjects to prepare students as per the existing global standards. For this reason new subjects including Disaster Management and Environment, had been included in the curriculum.

The other thrust area was to increase practical work and reduce theory. Therefore, marks for science practical examination had been increased from 25 to 40, he added.


Video conferencing centre opened
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 23
Punjabi University, Patiala, today set up a video conferencing centre as a part of Consortium of Education Communication Centre (CECC) being established by the UGC at the national level to connect the various academic institutions.

The centre was inaugurated by the Chairman, UGC, Prof Arun Nigvekar, through the video conferencing, which has been set up at the multimedia Centre of the university.

Prof S.P.S. Virdi, Dean, Academic Affairs, interacted with UGC Chairman and said that that Chairman was appraised about the plans and projects of the university to reach out to deprived sections of the society.

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