P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal defends Jagir Kaur
Indictment by gurdwara judicial commission
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 24
Asserting that the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was with SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal today said the Bibi could not be held responsible if some persons had failed in depositing of fees of their wards to the SGPC-run institutes.

Mr Badal, who was here to visit residence of Major Kapil Vinayak, who had sacrificed his life while fighting insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir last week, asked those Akali leaders to deposit fees, whose wards were studying in SGPC institutes and who had not deposited the fee.

I am of the view that if some industrialists had taken loan from the government and some other instititutions and they had failed to repay it or had defaulted on some similar grounds, it does not mean that the Industry Minister or head of those institutes should be sacked. The party is behind Bibi Jagir Kaur,” said Mr Badal while commenting on recent judgement of the Sikh Judicial Commission.

Mr Badal, who was accompanied by Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD secretary, said that Bibi Jagir Kaur would remain SGPC chief till a decree was passed by a civil court as per the existing norms. He said his party would challenge the decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“Captain Amarinder Singh is misusing the commission, which, had disqualified 12 members during the last SGPC election. It is the same Kashmir Singh Patti, who, was dubbed once as ‘rubberstamp’ of late Mr Tohra by Captain Amarinder Singh. Actually, Captain Amarinder Singh wants to capture the SGPC,” alleged Mr Badal.

Referring to the stir of the ETT teachers, Mr Badal said the condition of the unemployed ETT teachers was pitiable, who, were lodged in Ludhiana jail, which, was visited by him on Saturday. He said the government should hold talks with the ETT teachers”. Mr Badal, said adding the government had failed to deliver on all fronts and it had no right to stay in power. “ It is ridiculous to that the PPCC chief had indicated that corruption is no issue. Tomorrow they will say development is no issue,” said Mr Badal. Consoling the family of Major Vinayak at their Gurjaipal Nagar residence, Mr Badal said Major Vinayak had done the country proud. He said those who had laid their lives for the country their families should be extended maximum benefits as no nation could forget its martyrs.


Chandumajra counters Badal on Bibi issue
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 24
Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), today asked Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Parkash Singh Badal not to compare the defaulters of the government financial institutions with the defaulters of the “Guru ki golak”. He said by doing so, Mr Badal was considering the Sikh religious shrines equal to industrial units and this action of Mr Badal would decrease the faith of Sikhs in their religious shrines.

Professor Chandumajra was commenting on yesterday’s statement of Mr Badal in which he had said that if any industrialist was found to be a defaulter of any government financial institution, the government did not remove the Industries’ Minister or the Secretary, Industries. So, going by this logic, Bibi Jagir Kaur could also not be removed. Mr Badal had said this in reply to a question on the removal of Bibi Jagir Kaur as member and president of the SGPC by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC).

Talking to The Tribune over the phone today, Professor Chandumajra alleged that Mr Badal was commercialising the religious places. He also questioned Mr Badal whether the property of the SGPC trusts was not the property of the SGPC? Was Bibi Jagir Kaur not chairperson of these trusts, being SGPC chief? He said if Bibi Jagir Kaur was chairperson of the SGPC trusts, then she was fully responsible for every activity of these trusts.

Professor Chandumajra also said more than 15 years ago, the late Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, then president of the SGPC, had given Rs 30 lakh to the Sikh Educational Society. At that time, the supporters of Mr Badal had filed a case in the SGJC to get back the money. Ultimately, Jathedar Tohra had to return the amount. So, in the case of Bibi Jagir Kaur when she had written off huge fees (Rs 2.55 crore) outstanding against the wards of the rich leaders, then why the SGJC could not interfere in the matter and announce its decision?


Ex-minister, SGPC-run college Principal
trade charges

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 24
A former Akali minister, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, and Principal of the SGPC-run medical college, Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, today crossed swords over alleged favours doled out to certain MBBS students and ‘misappropriations’ at the time of admission.

While the son of Mr Grewal had passed the MBBS course about two years ago , the daughter of Dr Dhaliwal is still a student of the college. Both Mr Grewal and Dr Dhaliwal levelled serious charges against each other which is likely to boomerang in the coming days.

Mr Grewal said that it was correct that his son Hiteshinder Singh, who is a graduate of the first batch of MBBS students of 1997-1998, was admitted on the basis of his merit under the donor category (as a great grandson of Mr Mohinder Singh Sidhwan, former SGPC member), when there was no son, grandson applicant of the said category in that year. However, Dr Dhaliwal alleged that the admission of Mr Grewal’s son was in violation of the rules as the prospectus did not mention that the son of ‘parnana’ (a great grandfather) could be admitted under the ‘donors category’.

However, Mr Grewal justified the admission of his son on the plea that a student who was allegedly adopted by an SGPC employee had challenged Hiteshinder’s selection in the high court for the same reasons was dismissed by the high court. Dr Dhaliwal, however, alleged that the case was dismissed for want of relevant documents which were not submitted by the then principal of the medical college.

Mr Grewal claimed that a fees schedule was mentioned in the prospectus of the said year and category and his son had paid all the dues when he qualified in 2003. Dr Dhaliwal even released his security of Rs 1 lakh after completion of his course and he was issued no-dues certificate before the release of security. However, Dr Dhaliwal alleged that the security was withdrawn under pressure from the then SGPC chief and hence the amount was still outstanding against the candidate.

While Mr Grewal challenged that Dr Dhaliwal was ad hoc principal who was selected without advertisement of his post, the latter (Dr Dhaliwal) said that he was a regular principal as per the official record.

Mr Grewal alleged that Dr Dhaliwal was defaming the Alkali leadership at the behest of the government. He further alleged that the daughter of Dr Dhaliwal whose selection was quashed by the high court with no relief from the apex court is continuing her studies in college in spite of a letter from the Secretary Medical Education Punjab, as he had some understanding with ruling Congress to defame the Akali leadership.

Refuting the charges Dr Dhaliwal said that his daughter was continuing her studies even as legal opinion sought by Baba Farid Health University went in her favour.

To a query of Mr Grewal on who paid for litigation in the case of his daughter, Dr Dhaliwal said that such questions should have been asked at the trust meeting of which Dr G. S. Grewal (brother of Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal) is a member.


Monsoon helps generate 600 MW at Ranjit Sagar dam
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 24
The good monsoon has helped the PSEB authorities to generate optimum power at the Ranjit Sagar dam. For the first time since its construction the PSEB authorities have been able to operate all the four turbines of the dam and generate 600 MW power.

Earlier, just one or two turbines were operated at the dam generating power ranging from 200 MW to 300 MW. The dam authorities could afford to operate all the turbines as it meant release of excess water that could have flown to Pakistan from the silted up Madhopur head.

The Chief Engineer, Ranjit Sagar Dam, Mr P.L. Saini, said the decision to operate all four turbines of the dam was taken when the water level rose to over 521 metres. Earlier, since the construction of the dam the maximum water level attained had been 518 feet.

The full generation from the Ranjit Sagar dam would continue till the water level reached 520 metres. As of day the water level at the dam was 520.83 metres. This means for another at least 10 days of optimum generation could be made from the dam. If the good monsoon continued and the water level reached 523 metres the floodgates of the dam would also be checked for the first time.

However, due to full generation about 20,500 cusecs of water was being released from the dam. The storage capacity of the Madhopur head works was just 15,000 cusecs. The rest of water was being released downstream Ravi into Pakistan. Had the government constructed the Shahpur Kandi project along with the Ranjit Sagar the state could have been saved from power crisis and excess water could also have been conserved.

The rise in the water level in the lake of the Ranjit Sagar dam has come as a bolt from the blue for the Forest Department. The nursery brought up by the Forest Department in the Donera area under the Japan-aided project has been submerged in water. Since the water level at the dam had never rose above 518 metres the Forest Department had brought up its nursery at the same level. However, the record rise in water level this year inundated the Forest Department nursery.

The Forest Department officials claimed that about 85 per cent of saplings were removed from the nursery before the water level rose. However, the sources said the infrastructure of the nursery had been damaged.


PSEB scheme to curb losses
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 24
Perturbed over huge transmission losses, rampant theft of electricity and damage to transformers, the Punjab State Electricity Board management has initiated steps to put an effective check on the same.

What the PSEB management is planning is that every consumer in the agricultural sector using tubewell motors will be provided with an individual transformer from the 11 KV transmission lines . By doing so the PSEB would be able to reduce transmission losses to a great extent.

Not only this, this system would not allow farmers to indulge in theft of power as they would not be able to put ‘Kundi’ connection on the 11 KV high tension wires. This would also save the transformers, which were getting damaged in large number in the agricultural sector due to overloading.

Official sources said the PSEB management had been trying to bring transmission losses down which were about 24.1 per cent at present. Though the transmission losses in the state were not as high as compared to other states, they had been taking a heavy toll in terms of revenue.

Sources added that a committee constituted by the PSEB to work on this plan had given its nod. He said if the PSEB management did implement the scheme, it would be introduced in a phased manner.

Mr B.K. Bindal, member, PSEB, when contacted, said if the PSEB management accepted the plan, work on it could be started in the next six months. He added that the work could be finished within seven years at the cost of Rs 1600 crore. He added that PSEB would be able to save much on account of reduction in the transmission losses, theft of electric power and damage to transformers.

He pointed out that a similar plan had already been implemented in the industrial sector by the PSEB and it could be introduced in the domestic sector also.

Throwing light on the other benefits of this scheme, Mr Bindal said as one transformer would be allotted to each consumer in the agricultural sector, he or she would not only take care of the transmission but would also not allow anyone to steal power as it would be a direct loss to him.


Hawara’s case: questions yet unanswered
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 24
Even after the interrogation of the main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, Jagtar Singh Hawara, by the Delhi and Chandigarh police, there are many questions which still remain unanswered.

Hawara in his confession to the Delhi police, a six-page copy of which is also available with The Tribune, said he was in constant touch with Babbar Khalsa International chief based in Pakistan Wadhawa Singh when he was lodged in Burail Jail. Wadhawa Singh had instructed him to escape from the jail along with two other accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora.

But it is still a mystery that how he was in touch with Wadhawa Singh. The investigation into this is yet to come to light. During a raid into Hawara’s room in jail, the police had recovered a mobile phone and some cash.

If he was communicating with Wadhawa Singh through mobile phone then who had provided the same to him. And if he had received information through some persons in the jail then who are they and how they were linked with Wadhawa Singh, the facts yet are to be investigated.

Hawara had also revealed to the Delhi police that two accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, Tara and Bheora, were still in touch with Wadhawa Singh.

Besides this Hawara had admitted to the Chandigarh police that he was having a huge amount of money while he was lodged in the jail. But how did he get the amount is still not known.

Police sources said every year on June 9 Hawara and other accused in the jail used to observe “ghalugara divas” to pay homage to those killed during Bluestar operation. Not only the jail inmates but the jail officials also took part in it. Langar used to be organised which was funded by Hawara.

The interrogation of Hawara by the Delhi police also revealed that he had managed to cultivate several accused lodged in the jail to help him escape from jail and also to execute his plan. This happened despite the clear-cut guidelines of the jail manual that the hardcore criminals should be kept in separate cells.


Punjabi becoming popular in Canada: writer
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Even heard of Chinese girls toping in Punjabi language examination? Probably not. But a miracle of sorts has happened. Alice Chu and Tania Chu, both girls of Chinese bloodline, have achieved the distinction and stood first and second in Punjabi language examination in University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. Obviously, they outsmarted Punjabi students, who also sat in the examination.

This phenomenon explains the growth of Punjabi language in Canada especially in British Columbia province where Punjabis have campaigned hard to secure a second language status for Punjabi on par with the languages such as French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.

Mr Sadhu Binning, an acknowledged Punjabi writer, who is the only Punjabi to achieve the distinction of being on the British Columbia Arts Board for three years, told TNS in an interview here that the next step of the Punjabi Language Education Association would be to secure respectable status for Punjabi language at the national level in Canada.

Actually, his sub-caste is Barring. But while enrolling himself in school, his name was misspelt as “Binning” and from Sadhu Barring he become Sadhu Binning.

Mr Binning, who migrated to Canada in 1967 and settled in Vancouver, has been teaching Punjabi in University of British Columbia since 1988. Both Chinese girls were his students in undergraduate course. He says that many students of Chinese, South Korean and other nationalities chose Punjabi as an optional subject at the undergraduate level degree course. They have to secure at least 12 credits from the language they opt for.

Mr Binning, who hails from Chaheru village, near Phagwara, says that Punjabi is a part of regular course in nine high schools and six elementary schools in British Columbia province. Besides, it is part of the course in the Department of Asian Studies in the UBC.

He says that the Punjabi Language Education Association, of which he is a vice-president, is trying to convince the Federal Government of Canada to provide second language status to Punjabi at the national level. French as language enjoys this status. Mr Binning, who has always remained on the forefront in the struggles waged to seek due recognition for Punjabi Canada, says that “ the only way for Punjabis to stay attached to their roots, their religion and culture in Canada is through their language”.

Mr Binning,who has authored several plays and 15 Punjabi books, including four books of Punjabi poetry, two books on short stories, one novel and two books based on his research works, had been associated with the publication of popular Punjabi magazine — Vatno Dur (far away from motherland) — from 1976 to 1983 in Canada. Later in 1989, this magazine’s name was changed to as “Vatan” (country) because by then Punjabi settlers had started accepting Canada as their country.

All his plays highlight the problems faced by Punjabis in settling and evolving in the country of their adoption. His book — Jugtu — is one of the most popular pieces of Punjabi literature. He has been a member of the Writers Union of Canada and is also on Editorial Board of “ Rung” and “Events”, both well established literary English magazine in Canada.


Divorce cases on the rise in Punjab
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
This is one figure that Punjabis would like to forget at the earliest. The land of fertile soil, contributing maximum foodgrains to the national pool, could well be the land of most per capita divorces also.

In the last few years, courts in various districts of Punjab have witnessed a sharp rise in the number of divorce cases. Over 15,000 divorce cases are pending in various lower courts of the state’s districts. Ludhiana, said to be the richest district in Punjab in terms of per capita income, leads the way. Experts believe that over 5,000 cases of divorce are filed every year.

Data collected by The Tribune shows that around 2,900 matrimonial cases are pending in various courts of Ludhiana. Of these, a whopping 1452 cases relate to divorce petitions under the Hindu Marriage Act, 998 pertain to pleas for grant of maintenance and around 425 deal with criminal offences related to divorce. These include dowry cases.

The holy district of Amritsar holds the dubious distinction of having the highest number of divorce cases with pleas for payment of maintenance. The district is over-all second when it comes to pending divorce cases under the Hindu Marriage Act. On the last count, a whopping 2,280 cases relating to divorce were pending in courts in the districts.

Third on the list is Jalandhar, where around 2,250 cases are pending.

As for the districts with the least number of pending divorce cases, they are Kapurthala (380), Fatehgarh Sahib (459) and Mansa (550).

Commenting on the increase in divorce cases in Punjab, leading social scientists say the same can be attributed to women empowerment and the fact that Punjab is getting a metropolitan makeover.

“Women are now emancipated and, therefore have a desire to enjoy more autonomy, which the men may not be ready to grant. Also, better education and increasing awareness means that women are now refusing to take things for granted. Increase in number of working women has also resulted in competitiveness within the household, often leading to rising aspirations. This partly explains why Punjab is witnessing more divorce cases,” says Dr Pramod Kumar, Director, Institute of Development and Communication.

In fact, such is the burden on the courts dealing divorce cases that one of the first steps that Mr Justice H.S. Bedi did after taking over as Executive Chairperson of Punjab Legal Services Authority (PLSA) was to order holding of Special Lok Adalats for matrimonial cases.

“We felt, they were the need of the hour. We have disposed of thousands of cases. In many cases, we have also effected compromises between the parties,” says PLSA Member-Secretary H.P.S. Mahal.

Data also shows the sharp differences between the grounds on which men and women seek divorce.

While women cite cruelty, harassment for dowry and impotence as the main reasons for their quest for freedom from the matrimonial alliance, the most common reasons forwarded by men are cruelty, failure of girl to fulfil her matrimonial obligations and adultery.

“The part pertaining to dowry is mostly included to harass the boy’s family. In the last few years, I have seen a sharp rise in the number of divorce cases filed by the women,” observes Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Raman Walia, who has handled many divorce cases.


Dullo to retain PPCC team
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, said today that he would retain the existing team of the PPCC and also the district level office-bearers. He said for the time being he would assess their performances.

Mr Dullo also clarified that he had no differences with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and it was all “the media hoax”. In fact, he added, he would ensure that the people were told about the achievements of the Congress government in the state.

Mr Dullo, who was on a private visit to the city, while talking to a select group of journalists, said a wrong impression had been created among public that he and the Chief Minister were not carrying on well. He said, “In July and August I along with the Chief Minister would be addressing at least 12 joint party functions, including the death anniversary function of Beant Singh, the Quit India Movement anniversary and some other important party programmes”.

While asserting that the the PPCC would work in tandem with the government, he wondered how was it possible that the party and the government would take different paths. “We will work together and ensure that the expectations of the people are met”, he said.

He said his priority was to strengthen the party at the grass-roots level and ensure close coordination with the government. He pointed out that the government could only implement the party agenda and all promises made in the election manifesto. He regretted that some of his statements were being blown out of proportion to create an impression as if he and the Chief Minister were at draggers drawn.


Cadres upbeat over Dullo’s appointment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
The appointment of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo as President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has aroused high hopes in the Congress circles since he is considered as a nominee of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi. Mr Dullo, who is a Dalit with a Sikh face, has been personally chosen by Ms Gandhi to win over the Dalit votes who form the highest percentage of the population in the state.


Govt ‘wasting money’ on foreign tours
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 24
Dr Joginder Dyal, state secretary, CPI, Punjab, on Friday alleged that Congress government had failed on all fronts as its Chief Minister, ministers and MLAs had been wasting money meant for the welfare of people on their foreign tours.

Dr Dyal, who was here to lead the party protest against alleged failure of the district police to nab those accused of murdering a party activist said the Congress which came to power by making tall promises, had forgotten them.

Dr Dyal said though the farmers’ condition had been deteriorating and industries were closing down, the state government had not been doing anything to check the decline. Instead, it was trying to implement the policies of WTO by introducing privatisation in every sector.

He claimed that the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had distanced itself from the people.

Reacting sharply to the statement made by newly appointed president of the PPCC, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, that every official would have to respect Congressmen failing which they would have to pay a price for the same, Dr Dyal said Mr Dullo was not running the government and if any official was found following his diktats, the CPI would launch an agitation against him.

He pointed out that a campaign against the shortcomings of Capt Amarinder Singh’s government would be launched jointly by the CPI and CPM in the state in September.


BSP chief’s ultimatum to govt
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 24
Reacting sharply to an attempt to rape case being registered against one of his party leaders, the state Bahujan Samaj Party president, Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, on Friday gave an ultimatum to the state government to initiate a thorough probe into the matter and withdraw the “false case” registered against him.

The Badhani Kalan police had booked the party general secretary from Nihalsinghwala, Mr Kashmir Singh Butar, in an attempt to rape case following the statement of a woman hailing from Butar village a couple of days back.

A local court on Friday sent him to judicial remand. Another accused in the case, Mahinder Singh, is still absconding.

Addressing a gathering of party workers at Badhani Kalan, Mr Karimpuri alleged that the police had deliberately implicated Butar in a false case in connivance with some people, as he used to intervene in cases of the poor and help them out.

He said a party delegation today met the Moga SSP and DIG, Ferozepore range, in this connection. He said a six-member team of the party probed the matter and found that there was no truth in the allegations levelled against Butar.


6 Dal Khalsa men implicated, says Dhami
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 24
The Dal Khalsa has asked the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to stop police ‘terror’ unleashed on Sikhs for their ideological leanings.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, president of the dal, Mr Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, expressed his anguish that the police had cracked downed on his organisation twice in four months. Reiterating the demand of the dal for the right to self-determination for Sikhs, he said their movement was peaceful.

He claimed that six activists of his group had falsely been implicated in a case on June 8 for carrying out a march to mark the anniversary of Bluestar operation. He said the dal activists had only raised slogans in favour of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale while holding placards showing his (Bhindranwale’s) picture and ‘damaged’ Akal Takht. He added that this act did not come under sedition charges and had been blown out of proportion by the police.


Lack of ‘political will’ delaying SEZ in Amritsar
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, July 24
The lack of will on the part of the government is responsible for delaying of establishment of Rs 1,100 crore ‘Special Economic Zone’ in the holy city.

Alleging this Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP MP from Amritsar, today said that the state government was showing lack of political will by not acquiring land necessary for the establishment of the SEZ. He said the government was contemplating to divide the special economic zone into small pieces, which was against the definition of SEZ described by Ministry of Commerce. He said at least 1000 acres of land was required for the project. But due to vested interests the government was making excuses by saying the land was too costly to be acquired. He said he would be raising this question in coming Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Talking to media during his visit to a hosiery shop in Nehru Shopping Complex here, Mr Sidhu said Amritsar was the gateway to Central Asian countries and had potential of becoming hub of trade and industry with the establishment SEZ. He said it would provide employment to large number of youths getting hooked to drugs and criminal activities due to unemployment. He added that he had full confidence in Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh who, he said, listened to the grievances of people rising above the party politics.

Stressing on the establishment of Amritsar Development Authority he said ‘Amritsar Development Authority was a must for the progress of holy city’. He added there was not a single approach road to the Golden Temple visited by lakhs of devotees daily. He said the Galliara project (beautification of the surrounding of Darbar Sahib) had been hanging fire since its start in 1988.

The MP also raised the question of alleged discrimination being meted out to the state by the Central government. He said while neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir were being given facilities of tax concessions granted by the Central government, Punjab was being discriminated against by categorising it as a disturbed state.


Bikaner canal work: minister recommends probe
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, July 24
Mr Narpat Singh Rajvi, Industries Minister, Rajasthan, has said he will recommend Ms Vasundhra Raje Scindia, Chief Minister of the state, to order a probe into the alleged digression in remodelling of the Bikaner Gang canal. The Rajasthan Government had paid Rs 167 crore to the Irrigation Department, Punjab, for the project in this district.

Mr Rajvi, who arrived here on Friday to attend a function, said the Rajasthan Government had gone through the reports and complaints submitted by the farmers of Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts. Farmers settled in villages located on the banks of the canal were scared by the cracks on both sides of canal that developed after the completion of remodelling work. Though some of the cracks had now been repaired but many vertical cracks could be still spotted. The Kisan Sangharsh Samiti had prepared videotapes that would be presented to the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Rajasthan.

Some residents of Khippanwali and Azamwala villages alleged that the contractors had used substandard material. They accompanied a team of newsmen this morning to Burji number 332, 333, 334 and 335 to prove their point.

What haunted small farmers was a six feet-wide strip on both sides of the canal had eroded after first discharge of water and rain. Even the banks near the siphon that supplied water to Roopnagar – Azamwala subcanal was found damaged. The authorities had not bothered to raise wall on other side of the bridge near Burji 332 which could lead to a tragedy. Moreover, roads had not been constructed on the either sides of the bridges. The bullock carts could slip and fell in the nearby khuds.

Seepage of water due to cracks and sinking of wall near the siphon posed another hazard. This could flood their fields and damage crops. This would affect fertility of agriculture land as floodwater carry away sand with it.

Surprisingly, officials had not bothered to check before making payment to the contractors whether the banks of the canal were levelled, farmers said.

Some farmers of Khippanwali village alleged that the contractors have influenced the officials concerned. Seepage of water from the remodelled canal was also reported from Roopnagar village located near the Indo-Pakistan border.

The farmers said they would join a deputation of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti to meet the Chief Minister and the Special Secretary Irrigation to demand a probe in to remodelling of the canal that is a lifeline for farmers of Sriganganagar district.


Tension over possession of Gurdwara Shahid Ganj
Varinder Walia and Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 24
Tension gripped the city following a bid by two warring factions to take possession of Gurdwara Shahid Ganj, B Block, where a Sikh-Nirankari clash had claimed the lives of 13 persons, belonging to Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Damdami Taksal, led by Bhai Fauja Singh on April 13, 1978.

Panic prevailed in the morning when Baba Ram Singh, head of the parallel faction of Damdami Taksal, visited the gurdwara premises along with his supporters.

Some of the supporters of Baba Ram Singh reportedly took control of the gurdwara.

Earlier, Baba Nirbhai Singh, who was made in charge of the gurdwara by late Baba Thakur Singh, the then Jathedar of Damdami Taksal, had supported Baba Ram Singh for taking possession of the Sikh shrine, it is learnt.

However, Mr R.P.S. Brar, district police chief, said the situation was under control and Baba Ram Singh had already left the place. He, however, said the police was keeping a close vigil on the events.

The iron gate of the gurdwara had been bolted from inside to prevent any attempt of the supporters of Baba Dhuma to enter the shrine.

The supporters of Baba Ram Singh said he was made Jathedar of the Damdami Taksal, a Sikh seminary, during his lifetime by giving him “Dastar” (turban) in America.

However, Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma, Jathedar of Damdami Taksal, Chowk Mehta, was formally installed as chief of the taksal after the death of Baba Thakur Singh.

Recently, at least 150 members of the taksal had joined the parallel taksal, led by Baba Thakur Singh.

Baba Dhumma told the TNS that he won’t let any of his followers to enter in any sort of scuffle.

However, he said the Damdami Taksal had written to the administration for vacating the “possession” from the followers of Baba Ram Singh.

Talking to the TNS, Baba Ram Singh, claimed that Bhai Nirbhai Singh had given him in writing that he (Baba Ram Singh ) was the “real Jathedar” of the taksal and he should take over the charge of gurdwara premises.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, and Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president, Sant Samaj, however, appealed to both factions to maintain cool. While Jathedar Vedanti said he would bring truce between the factions of the taksal on August 3, Baba Bedi said he had invited both factions on July 29.

Baba Ram Singh said he was ready to accept any verdict of the Akal Takht regarding the possession of the gurdwara premises.


Amritsar awaits tourist park
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Thanks to the indecision of the Punjab Government, Amritsar awaits a modern tourism park which was expected to transform the infrastructure and encourage the influx of tourists to the historic city. The proposal has been in the pipeline for more than three years now, said sources.

Coming in the way of the tourism park is a plan to carve out more and more housing colonies rather than develop the much-needed infrastructure for the tourist park. A piece of 188-acre land identified for the tourism park has been held up for one reason or the other. A report on the requirement of infrastructure in Punjab says this tourism park is needed immediately as the city now has several international flights and the Golden temple is popular among tourists.

A majority of the people who visit the Golden Temple do not stay back even for a day at Amritsar as no facilities exist. And these visitors are high-spending NRIs from UK, the USA, Canada and Australia, says the report. These cash-rich devotees leave Amritsar after paying obeisance. They prefer to stay in cities like Chandigarh or Delhi, where all facilities exist.

The plan for the tourism park lays down an elaborate arrangement by which these people can be attracted to stay back in Amritsar. Hotels ranging from two star to five star, which will suit all budget categories of visitors, had been planned. Proposal for constructing shopping malls, where the visitors can buy souvenirs and spend their time shopping for Indian textiles, was also there.

A food court is a must as Amritsar has a rich tradition of non-vegetarian and vegetarian food. Since most of the famous shops are located in old and busy parts of the city, children of the visitors, normally very particular about cleanliness avoid the gastronomic flavours of Amritsar. All famous eateries can also open their outlets in the food court, pointed out, Mr Harpal Singh who represents the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and is involved in suggesting infrastructural needs for the state.

The plan also envisages various entertainment facilities. The need is to provide daily performances of giddha, bhangra and other traditional dances, likely to strike a chord with the visitors.

Even if a thousand high-spending tourists stay back for one day in the holy city, its economy will change, observed Mr Harpal Singh, while adding that private players in parties were keen to invest.


Heritage Patiala artistes excel in UK
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 24
Endowed with enthusiasm and aesthetic versatility, 43 artistes of the Heritage Patiala excelled in the 59th International Musical Eisteddfod festival held at Llangollen in Wales (UK).

Prof Rajpal Singh, director of the organisation, disclosed that the organisation had been participating in the festival since 1995 where it competed with folk artistes from over 60 countries. In the under 16 category 24 student artistes of DAV International School won the second prize in folk dance competiton while Nurpreet Kaur of the same school also bagged the second position in individual performer category. The Heritage teams had got the first position in 2003 and 2004. The team also had the honour of sharing the stage with popular dance icons, Lesley Garrett and Jonathan Lemalu during July 5 concert.

In the individual folk dance category for seniors, Bhagwant Singh Bhangu from Shri Guru Angad Dev College got the second place while the team comprising of 20 boys and girls was awarded the third prize.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles as a patron of the festival, had commended the festival for the Nobel Peace Prize in view of its contribution for creating peace and harmony among the participating countries. The winners will be honoured at a state level function to be organised shortly. at the Punjab Kala Bhavan.


Kharar to have modern press room
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 24
Punjab Chief Parliamentary Secretary for Sports and Youth Services Welfare Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi has announced to set up a modern press room in Kharar. While the Kharar Municipal Council will provide a piece of land, the state government will provide ultra-modern requisite infrastructure like telephone, fax, computer, printer, scanner, Internet, furniture, etc, besides raising the building, on the pattern of one recently opened at Chief Minister’s Office in Chandigarh.

Delivering address at the installation ceremony of the Kharar-Kurali-Morinda Union of Journalists, a unit of the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ), in Kharar last night, Rana Sodhi responded to the demands listed in the memorandum submitted by CPUJ district convener Nitin Jain in affirmative and assured them all help from the state government to working journalists in the field.

Municipal Council chief Charanjit Singh announced to provide a piece of land for the building. Assuring to implement the Right to Information Act in letter and spirit across Punjab, the Chief Parliamentary Secretary said the access to official information at public offices would no more be a problem for journalists but he urged them not to misuse official information and ensure its use for the betterment and development of state.

Responding to the demand from CPUJ president Vinod Kohli, Rana Sodhi assured them to help in fulfilling soon the promise made by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to provide one acre to the CPUJ in Mohali for setting up training centre for mediapersons.


4,000 delegates to attend IMA conference
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 24
Nearly 4000 delegates from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, Italy, Singapore and India will take part in the the 39th Annual National Academic Conference of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) ACADIMA-2005.

Dr R.C. Garg, President, Punjab IMA-the host Unit — informed that three-day long would be hosted by the Punjab IMA at Ludhiana from October, 21 October 23 this year. He revealed that delegates from India and abroadwould share research experiences and expertise on medical specialities and superspecialities in medical science.

Dr Garg added workshops on eight medical science disciplines-echo-cardiography, critical Care, CPR (BCLS/ACLS), EEG, TMT, endoscopy, ultrasound and yoga in two medical colleges of Ludhiana- Dayanand Medical and Christian Medical onthree days would also he held.

The Punjab IMA Chief the organising committee comprised Dr Ketan Desai, — the chief patron, Dr Sudipto Roy, — National IMA president, Dr Sanjiv Malik — national IMA President (Elect), Dr Vinay Aggarwal,— secretary general and Dr Gursharan Singh, — National Co-ordinator-cum-Organising Secretary.

The state-level organising committee comprising Dr S.B. Khurana, Chairman, Dr R.C. Garg, Punjab IMA President, Dr G.S. Gill, Punjab IMA President (Elect) Dr Yashbir Dewan, Conference secretary, Dr Gurpreet Wander, Scientific Secretary, Dr L.S. Chawla, Dr Santokh Singh, Dr Rajinder Kaur, Dr T.S. Kler, Dr Manmohan Singh and Dr D.S. Cheema (patrons).


CDPOs lock horns with anganwadi workers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
The issue of rotten eatables has put the CDPOs and supervisors of anganwadi centres at loggerheads with anganwadi workers.

In a statement released here on Friday, the CDPOs and supervisors have made it clear that if the anganwadi workers, who “misbehave” with higher staff, were not dealt with strictly they would stop the supervision of anganwadi centres. They have demanded disciplinary action against these workers. They said the responsibility of the material supplied to anganwadis lay with the anganwadi worker concerned and village panchayat. They alleged that the CDPOs were being “harassed” by the police and the Vigilance under the pretext of pension cases and they were being rounded up in false cases. They warned that that if the government did not withdraw these cases they would stop pension work.

On the other hand, the Anganwadi Workers Union has already announced that it would stage a dharna in front of Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla’s residence in Bathinda on July 25 to demand reinstatement of workers of Mehma Sawai and Nehiawala centres. The state union president, Ms Hargobind Kaur, said the state government was inclined to give a clean chit to the department officials involved in rotten eatables’ scam. Anganwadi workers of the district also held a meeting yesterday and decided to keep anganwadi centres closed on July 25 as a mark of protest.


Govt drive to help SC youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
To provide self employment to Scheduled Caste youth, the Punjab Government has launched a special campaign to provide land for shops and sites for booths in the first phase. During second phase, financial assistance will be provided to them to construct the shops.

Giving this information here today, an official spokesman of Social Security Department, Punjab, said a sum of Rs 15,000 would be advanced as capital subsidy to the beneficiary for the purchase of plot or booth site.

Another sum of Rs 50,000 would be provided by the Punjab Scheduled Caste and Finance Corporation (PSCFC) through its direct lending scheme for the construction of shops or establishments.

Ventures earmarked in the scheme are karyana shop, dairy farming, shoe making, hand loom/power loom, scooter or cycle repair workshop, electronic shop and piggery.


Hike in sewerage rates flayed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
The CPI has condemned what it termed “abnormal enhanced rates” of sewerage and water supply in the city. The CPI (City) secretary Mr J.S. Ghai, described the state government’s decision as undemocratic.

He said the state government’s notification mentions new rates as per measurement of plots. A person having a three-storey building on five marlas would have to pay less as compared to an individual having a single storey structure on 10 marla plot.

He said this uneven and undemocratic decision of the state government had burdened citizens.

Had the election of the Municipal Corporation been held in due time such anti-people decisions would have been checked, he added.


Women delegation crosses over to Pak

Amritsar, July 24
An 11-member women delegation led by Ms Shashi Sahil today crossed over to Pakistan from Wagah joint checkpost to participate in the “aman march” (peace march) at Karachi and Lahore.

Ms Sahil said the motive of the march was to awaken people for peace and brotherhood around the globe. She said the Indian delegation comprised members from various states, including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. The “aman march” would be held in Lahore on July 25 and in Karachi on July 26. — OC


Vajra summer festival ends
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 24
The five-day-long Vajra summer festival, aimed at keeping wards of Army personnel engaged in creative activities and building self-confidence in them, concluded here today.

Lieut-Gen Mandhata Singh, General Officer Commanding, Vajra Corps, was the chief guest. Major-Gen B.J. Gupta and other senior Army officers witnessed the talent of young children.


Call girl case suspect shifted to hospital

Jalandhar, July 24
Ved Parkash, the owner of local Kumar Hotel, who was arrested and remanded in judicial custody in the July 8 call girl episode, has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital as he complained of pain in his abdomen.

Ved Parkash and a Kapurthala-based rice mill owner, Narinder Kumar Nindi, were sent to judicial custody. They were lodged in the local central jail. — TNS


Most revenue cases settled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
The Punjab Government today claimed that 91.36 per cent of the total revenue cases had been disposed of during last financial year that ended on March 2005. These revenue cases include partitions, mutation, khasra girdawari, lambardari cases, village common land Act, Package Deal Act, Tenancy Act and rent suit etc.


4 cotton mandis to get funds for makeover
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Cotton growers in the region will now have a better platform for selling their produce in the otherwise competitive market. This is possible as four more cotton mandis at Abohar, Bathinda, Gidderbaha and Kotkapura were sanctioned grants for the upgradation of infrastructure by the Technology Mission on Cotton (TMC), Union Ministry of Textiles, at a meeting held in Mumbai last week.

The projects seeking financial assistance for giving these mandis a new look was forwarded by the Punjab Mandi Board to the Centre so that Indian cotton could compete in the international market. Besides these, two more mandis at Fazilka and Sardoolgarh are in the pipeline.

The secretary of the board, Ms Seema Jain, told TNS that the mandis would be equipped with concrete floors and crop-grading laboratories, besides pucca roads and raised platforms with adequate facilities for the disposal of rain water.

Giving details, Ms Jain said separate zones were being set up in market yards so as to maintain the quality of cotton and get contamination-free crop. Concrete flooring on the auction platform would ensure that the quality of cotton did not deteriorate due to dust and other foreign matter originating from other commodities arriving in the market during the cotton season, she explained.

The mandis were also being equipped with hi-tech laboratories for determining the grade standards of cotton by using sophisticated cotton testing equipment, weigh bridge for getting accurate weights of the produce, besides a host of other facilities on the auction platform. “All this will go a long way in ensuring that farmers get the best possible price for their produce. It will also put the cotton economy on a sound footing,’’ she added.

The other highlights of these mandis would be a farmers’ rest house, farmer information centre and a canteen where farmers can relax and eat. A part of the funds will also be used on constructing the boundary walls and purchasing vacuum cleaners for the cleaning of mandis, besides providing fire-fighting equipment and parking places.

Meanwhile, Mr B.M Vithal, Project Coordinator of the TMC, said the mandis were being upgraded with the help of the Rs 90 lakh sanctioned by the TMC and the rest was being spent by the mandi board. The TMC had been set up by the Union Ministry of Textiles to find solutions to problems in cotton production, processing and marketing.

While the project at Mansa is near completion, the one at Rampura Phul is under progress. Of the total cost of Rs 181.95 lakh for the Mansa mandi, the TMC has chipped in its share of Rs 90 lakh and the rest is by the mandi board. Similarly, the total cost of the Rampura Phul market is Rs 181.95 lakh. These steps will be a boon for the cotton growers in the region as the area under cotton cultivation has grown from 4 lakh hectares last year to 5.75 lakh hectares this year.And it is for the first time that Bt Cotton is sown officially in the state. Nearly 16 lakh bales arrived in the mandis this year and this figure is likely to cross 20 lakh bales next year.


Animal Husbandry Dept to recruit 600 docs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 24
The visit of Mr D.S. Bains, Secretary, Animal husbandry, Fish and Diary Development, here yesterday provided an opportunity to the employees of the department to vent their grievances.

A deputation of the Punjab Animal Husbandry Services Association (Feed and Fodder) led by its chairman, Dr Jagdish Singh Randhawa, apprised Mr Bains of their demands. These included revival of the freezed post of Joint Director (Feed and Fodder), filling two vacant posts of Fodder Development Officer and sanction of salaries of entire feed and fodder staff.

He said Mr Bains assured them that sanction of salaries of the staff would be granted within a couple of days and the two posts of Fodder Development Officer would be filled shortly. Mr Bains said that action had already been initiated for the revival and filling of the freezed post of the Joint Director.

Apart from this, the Secretary said the government had allowed the department to recruit 600 doctors and 800 pharmacists on contract. He said they would soon fill the vacant posts which would help them accomplish their tasks.

Mr Bains chaired a meeting of doctors and pharmacists of the Animal Husbandry Department last evening. He stated that the state government would spend Rs 11.65 crore on improving the breed of cows and buffaloes. He said the state had 60 million buffaloes and 25 million cows.

He said livestock of eight districts, adjoining neighbouring states and Pakistan, were being vaccinated to prevent foot and mouth disease.


Pollution board’s warning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
In a move to check the menace of industrial units running in residential and even commercial areas, the Punjab Pollution Control Board has asked all Punjab entrepreneurs to shift their industrial units to designated industrial areas from non-designated areas by September 30.

Disclosing this, Mr Malwinder Singh, Member Secretary of the board, said this was the last chance for the entrepreneurs and no further extension would be given in any circumstances.

He warned that suitable action for violation of the provisions of environmental laws would be taken by PPCB against those industrial units that would operate in non-designated areas after September 30.


Municipal poll soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
The State Election Commission, Punjab, has said the general elections of 26 municipal committees and nagar panchayats would be held soon after consulting the state government.

Mr C.L.Bains, State Election Commissioner, said on Friday that electoral rolls of all these municipal bodies had been published after revision. Copies of these electoral rolls were available in offices of sub-divisional Magistrates concerned. All concerned could check their names in voters lists.

Mr Bains said that the municipal bodies, of which electoral rolls had been revised and where elections were due to be held, are Machiwara, Maloud, Ghanaur, Makhu, Dirba, Moonak, Goraya, Balachaur, Bhikhi, Bariwala, Begowal, Dhilwan, Khemkaran, Rajasansi, Ghagga, Bholath; Cheema; Shahkot, Khanori, Sahnewal, Mullanpur Dakha, Handaya, Bagha Purana, Patran, Dharamkot and Amloh.


Widow kills sons to marry paramour
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
In a shocking incident, a widow has been booked for killing her two children four days after her husband’s death. She murdered her sons reportedly to get married to her paramour.

According to sources, accused Manpreet Kaur’s husband Harjeet Singh died under mysterious circumstances at Jagaram Tirath village four days back. She reportedly had an affair with Binder Kumar of Mansa.

Sources said her husband was a drug addict and neither his death was reported to the police nor a post-mortem examination done.

Following his demise, she wanted to marry Binder Kumar and her sisters, Neeta and Kanta, were supporting her. Both of them were pressuring their family members to remarry Manpreet to Binder. But, both the families were against this proposal. Manpreet’s family asked her to stay with them as she had two kids.

Thinking her children to be an obstacle in her marriage, she along with Binder and her sisters conspired to eliminate them. Manpreet administered her children, seven-year-old Narinderpal and two-year-old Anmol, a cough syrup laced with some poisonous substance yesterday afternoon. Both were rushed to a Mansa hospital, but one of them died on the way and while the other died last on reaching the hospital.

Their bodies have been handed over to their family members after conducting a post-mortem examination. The police has registered a case against Manpreet Kaur, Binder Singh, Neeta, and Kanta under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC.


10 murdered over illicit relations in a month
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
The case of a woman killing her two children five days after her husband’s death only to marry her paramour is a bizarre one.

In most of the cases husbands killed their wives. There has been a case where a son killed his mother and her paramour. This incident took place at Malkana village of Bathinda on June 18. Jagdeep Singh killed his mother Amarjit Kaur who was also the village sarpanch and her “paramour” Balkaran Singh with the help of his three aides. Sources said Jagdeep was so much upset over the relationship that he continued to hit their bodies even after the police’s arrival. One June 27 the Muktsar police cracked a murder case in which Vijay Kumar and Sandeep Singh had killed their friend Harjeet Singh of Malout as he had developed illicit relations with the latter’s wife.

They strangled him by the side of a canal, tied his legs, and hit him with an iron rod, before throwing his body into it. On July 6 the Bathinda police arrested Gurlal Singh of Kamalu village on the charge of killing his wife, Hardeep Kaur. He became suspicious about her character and murdered her when she didn’t answer his queries regarding a phone call. Another unusual case was that of a man who killed his married sister. On July 18 Jagsir Singh of Talwandi Sabo murdered his sister Raj Kaur, who had returned after having some dispute with her in-laws.

He strangled her near a canal and threw her body into it. On the same day a suspended cop, Beant Singh, shot his wife, Paramjeet Kaur, and her paramour, Gurnam Singh, at Charewan village of Muktsar district. He knew about their affair and on the fateful day after spotting them together brought his friend’s firearm to kill them.

A police official, said the perpetrators of crime in these cases normally didn’t think about consequences of their deeds, while in some cases they commit crime in a fit of rage. He said people in urban areas hide facts in such cases, while in rural areas these things come to light easily. Psychiatrist Dr Vandana Singla attributed increase in such crimes to the effect of cable TV and media and lure of materialistic comforts.


Mother poisons 3 minor sons, dies
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 24
Suman, a mother of three children, yesterday administered some poisonous substance to her three minor sons, Sunny, Mani and Rahul. Later, she also consumed poisonous substance with the intention to kill herself and the children in one go at Dhanaula village (near Barnala) about 30 km from here. It is alleged that she had taken this harsh step due to some domestic dispute.

When The Tribune contacted the SHO Dhanaula, Mr Paramjit Singh, over the phone last night, he said due to consumption of some poisonous substance Suman and her son Mani had died, while Rahul and Sunny were under treatment at a Patiala hospital. He said no case had been registered against anyone.


Class VII student gangraped
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 24
A Class VII student (13) was allegedly gangraped at Pandori Ran Singh village, 10 km from here, yesterday. A case under Sections 363, 366 and 376, IPC, has been registered by the Chabal police against five youths of the same village.

Police sources said today here that the accused had been identified as Dharminder Singh, alias Sanni, Satnam Singh, alias Satta, Sukhwinder Singh, Bawa Singh and Harjit Singh.

The mother of the victim, in a complaint to the police, alleged that her daughter had gone to the village school when Dharminder, Satnam and Sukhwinder took her forcibly to their tubewell and gangraped her.

All the accused are said to be absconding. The victim was medically examined at the local Civil Hospital today.


Five thieves nabbed with silver idols
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 24
The police has arrested five thieves and recovered goods and silver idols from them.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said the Sirhind police had erected a naka at Brahman Majra, near railway crossing, and signalled to stop a three-wheeler tempo loaded with household goods. The driver tried to fled but all five persons in the auto were nabbed.

The police said during their interrogation they revealed their identity as members of a gang led by Tarsem Singh Neelu and they were going to sell the stolen goods.

The SSP said they were thieves who struck in temples and stole the costly idols. He said some of their companions were in jails and some were active outside.

He said they worked with the white-washing contractor as daily wage worker and after recee of that particular kothi or place, they planned their strategy.

The police has recovered silver idols stolen from Shiv Mandir near PNB, Sirhind. Similarly, the police has recovered gas cylinders and other household goods from them. They were produced in the court of the CJM, who remanded them in the police custody for two days.


Same marks in PMET twice!
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 24
In a coincidence a candidate, Suhel Pal Singh, alias Ankur, (Roll No. 425091), has secured same marks in PMET-2005 re-conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University on June 30 as he had got in the earlier exam conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

A comparative study of the detail marks cards of the candidate obtained from both universities makes an interesting reading.

Suhel alleges that it is impossible to obtain same marks in both exams. He says marks in three subjects have been reshuffled. There is every possibility that the answer sheet of the second PMET held by GND varsity has been lost and thus has not been evaluated.

He says he has requested the Registrar’s office to issue the original result card based on the actual evaluation of the answer sheet through speed post but the Registrar’s office refused to accept the post.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of the university, said the chapter was closed now as the university had given 72 hours time to the students to examine their own answer sheets.


Parents allege fraud in admissions
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 24
Parents of 64 candidates invited for admission by the Mody Institute of Technology and Science (MITS), Lakshmangarh, Rajasthan, have alleged fraud in the admission to the B. Tech programme.

In a letter, to the Joint Secretary (AIEEE unit), Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi, angry parents and students have alleged that the institute did not have a set criteria for selection and students were not selected on merit.

Parents have alleged harassment as students were called for admission through a letter dated July 2 and asked to bring bank drafts of approximately Rs 1 lakh. When they reached there they found the situation to be different.

The institute, a deemed university, did not give enough credit for the All-India Engineering\ Architecture Entrance Examination (AIEEE) scores. Students with lower ranks in the exam were placed higher on the merit list. Students from Rajasthan were preferred as the RPET rank was given preference ahead of the national-level exam.

Students from state education boards of Punjab, Haryana and Assam were not considered while the advertisement placed by the institute clearly said that students from all state and central boards would be considered.


Unemployed teachers protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 24
On a call given by the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union (UEET), various teachers unions, along with other organisations and the family members of protesting teachers, held a rally near the residence of the Chief Minister amidst the heavy cordon the police here today.

The rally passed through the main streets of the city. The protesters were demanding regular recruitment of elementary teachers and the release of the detained teachers. On reaching the Yadvindera Public School chowk, near the CM’s residence, the protesters were stopped by the police.

Various speakers highlighted the fact that the state government instead of providing employment to the youth was putting them in jails and using violent means to suppress their genuine demands.

Ms Jasbir Kaur Sahota vice-president , UEET, said though more than 6,000 posts of elementary teacher were lying vacant, the government was not doing anything to fill the vacancies.

Mr Nirmal Singh, general secretary, UEET, said the use of force by the government could not stop them from protesting for their demands.

The rally was supported by the Bhartiya Kissan Union, Khet Majdoor Union, Government Teachers Union and the Elementary Teachers Union.


Need to check criminalisation of politics stressed
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 24
Criminalised politics in India is even more dreadful and dangerous than Aids. Politics sans principles becomes the basis of criminalisation. The irony is that there are no statesmen, but there are only politicians in our present polity .

These views were expressed by Dr R.S. Ghuman, Dean, College Development Council, Punjabi University, Patiala, on Saturday. He was delivering his presidential address at the University Grants Commission (UGC)-sponsored seminar “Criminalised Politics in India” hosted by Sant Baba Attar Singh Khalsa College, Sandaur, 30 km from here.

While asserting that politics has been criminalised in India, Dr Ghuman said that the characterisation of politics based on finer values and principles was the need of the hour. He made it clear that arresting this evil might sound very difficult today but positive observations and comments of the scholars could turn into reality tomorrow.

Dr H.S. Deol, former Commissioner, Linguistic Minorities of India, who was the star speaker of the seminar, while presenting his paper on the topic, remarked that the world of crime very badly dominated the state where criminals themselves had become leaders. Dr Deol regretted that almost all political parties had made culture of crime as the centre of their political activites and that was why in the top leadership of all political parties crime reigned supreme.

Dr Deol exhorted patriots and intellectuals to come forward so that a strong public movement could be shaped for the restoration of democracy in the true sense and evil of the criminalised politics eradicated from Indian society.

Dr Prithipal Singh Sohi, Department of Political Science, Mr Satish Dhawan Government College, Ludhiana, while presenting his paper on the topic, said nowadays “power” was more significant than “morality”, which made problem of criminalisation more ticklish and intricate in politics.

This absorbing topic evoked very overwhelming response from more than 100 scholar delegates belonging to Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Prof P.C. Sharma, Principal of the host college, was of the view that India must turn to the presidential form of government in wake of the ever-increasing menace of criminalisation of politics.


Vanamahotasava inaugurated at KV-I
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
To augment the green cover in the cantonment area, a Vanamahotsava was inaugurated at Kendriya Vidyalaya-I here on Friday. The Chetak Corps has launched this initiative to make Bathinda station one with a balance ecosystem and a role model for the country.

The plantation drive under the vanmahotsava would witness plantation of about 70,000 saplings of fruit bearing, medicinal and ornamental trees, besides injecting two lakh neem seedlings using manual, mechanical, and aerial methods. This time Lt-Gen O.P. Nandrajog conceptualised the shift of focus to planting fruit, medicinal and ornamental tree instead of hardy trees and shrubs like eucalyptus and kikar, as these trees would lead to a financially self-sustaining and eco-friendly military station.

On this occasion, Mrs Kiran Nandrajog, president, Chetak AWWA, joined the GOC, Chetak Corps, and a schoolchild to plant saplings of Pipal, Banyan, and Tulsi trees.


Threat to wind up small pharmaceutical units
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Accusing the union government of conspiring with bigger and multinational pharmaceutical companies to wipe off small scale units, as many as 7,000 pharmaceutical units, have threatened to close their units and hand over the keys to the Prime Minister next month.

“Once we close our units, nearly 10 lakh people employed by us would be on roads,” says Mr Jagdeep Singh, president,Punjab Drug Manufacturers Association. “All our efforts, including representations to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and others, during the past six months, have evoked no response.

“Despite all inputs available for redress, the union government has been indifferent.It can be safely presumed that the UPA government has entered into an understanding with the large units to close down small scale units because they are the sole gainer. Otherwise, interest of 7000 units and jobs of 10 lakh workers could not be overlooked. Manufacturers and their workers are bitter with the UPA government for taking their livelihood away,” says Mr Jagdeep Singh.

In a letter addressed to the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Punjab Drug Manufacturers’ Association, held that the revenue from small scale units was always insignificant to the Central government. It was the employment provided to 10 lakh workers directly that was considered more important. All the association has been demanding that the recommendations made by various administrative departments and ministries besides the PMO should be implemented. Exemption limit should be restored and rate of excise duty reduced , to bring it at par with January 7 pre- notification level, so that exempt hill states continue to enjoy reasonable advantage, he said.

Prior to the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) based excise notification of January 7, less than 10 per cent excise was payable by small units on ex-factory price of medicines. The previous NDA government had provided tax holiday to Himachal, Uttaranchal and J&K in 2002 to facilitate development. The January 7 notification increased the excise burden of small units to 30 per cent by changing methodology of evaluation (increasing their advantage) and simultaneously reducing the excise exemption limit of Rs 1 crore to one third overnight.

“Increase in total taxation from 10 per cent to 35 per cent (including VAT) has made us uncompetitive and we stand no chance of survival against produce from exempt states, where more units are coming up,” says Mr Jagdeep Singh.

He reveals that Chief Ministers of 12 affected states have written to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. The worst hit states are Punjab, Haryana, UP, MP, Rajasthan, AP, Maharashtra, TN and Gujarat.

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