P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dal Khalsa leader Thekedar shot at in UK
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 14
Separatist Sikh leader Jaswant Singh Thekedar (60), head of the parallel faction of the Dal Khalsa International, was rushed to St Marry Pattingen Hospital in England in serious condition after he was shot at near his house by two youths, one of them a Sikh, last evening.

Thekedar had been declared a Proclaimed Offender and carried a reward of Rs 50,000 after he was accused of throwing parts of cow in temples in Amritsar in 1982. He fled to England via Nepal in 1983.

The Indian Intelligence agencies based in Amritsar and Gurdaspur have sought a detailed report about the incident, as Thekedar is still wanted in a number of cases here.

While, Bhupinder Singh Holland, President International Sikh Youth Federation of Holland, who was present in England at the time of the incident alleged that the assailants were suspected to be hired by Indian agencies, both rival groups of the Dal Khalsa levelled charges against each other.

However, Manmohan Singh, president of the Dal Khalsa, UK, while talking to The Tribune on the phone, condemned the attack and said neither he nor any of his men was involved in the attack.

He claimed that some of the enemies of Thekedar could be behind the incident as he (Thekedar) had earned many enemies in England.

Gajinder Singh, president of the Dal Khalsa and one of the hijackers of an Indian Airlines plane, had expelled him from the organisation in 1986 for his alleged “anti-party” activities.

According to Bhupinder Singh, the car-borne assailants, in their early 20s, had signalled the car of Thekedar to stop near his house at Huston (England) on the pretext of inquiring an address.

When Thekedar lowered the window glass, one of the assailants fired six bullets from his revolver.

Thekedar tried to chase the assailants despite being injured but they managed to escape. Another occupant of Thekedar’s car who had come from Italy to meet him, escaped unhurt.

One of the close confidants of Thekedar, Kewal Singh Dhaliwal told TNS from England that Manmohan Singh had recently threatened Thekedar of dire consequences.

Mr Dhaliwal, however, said Thekedar had identified the assailants and their names would be revealed shortly.


MPLADS funds pumped into Kapurthala
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
Kapurthala, it seems, is a top priority of Rana Gurjit Singh, member of Parliament. This becomes evident from the fact that almost all funds available with him under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for nine assembly segments, including seven falling in Jalandhar, are being pumped into two segments falling in Kapurthala district.

Of the total grant of Rs 1 crore that has been made available for the constituency this year under the Ministry of Planning and Programme Implementation run scheme, only Rs 3 lakh has been spent for two educational institutions in Jalandhar district. The MP has recommended works to the tune of nearly Rs 31 lakh for Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi assembly segments.

As many as 27 recommendations have reached the office of Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, since May this year. Of these, 17 works have been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 21 lakh while the rest are awaiting approval.

Sanctioned works for Kapurthala assembly segment include those pertaining to repair of Balmiki Dharamshala in Sidhwan Dona village, construction of community centre on Mall Road, water supply in city and sewage of Kasso Chahal village. Almost all 12 works sanctioned for Sultanpur Lodhi block pertain to concrete flooring and drainage work being executed through Executive Officer of Municipal Council.

One of the recent recommendations proposed by the MP include those pertaining to purchase of boats in Baupur and Sangrawan villages of Sultanpur Lodhi at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. Another proposal has been sent for water supply works for Bhandal Dona village at a cost of Rs 1 lakh.

As per the details available from the Jalandhar administrative complex, Rana Gurjit Singh has allocated just Rs 3 lakh from his discretionary funds which include Rs 2 lakh for computerisation of the Department of Journalism in Regional Campus of Guru Nanak Dev University at Ladhewali and Rs 1 lakh for building of Baba Mohan Das School.

No new recommendations have been sent to the Jalandhar office for any developmental works, the sources revealed as they said that all funds were being allocated for Kapurthala. They also indicated that the residents of Kapurthala seem to be clearly getting an advantage of polling votes in favour of MP’s sister-in-law during the recent ‘prestigious’ byelections.

Rana Gurjit Singh could not be contacted for his comments despite repeated attempts as he was reportedly busy in meetings.


’84 riot victims make list of demands for govt
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 14
The 1984 riot victim organisations in Punjab have drawn up a list of demands to be put up before the government for consideration. These include residential accommodation for the victimised families and at least one source of income in the form of a commercial or industrial plots allotted either free of cost or at concessional rates.

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, had recently declared that a fresh relief and resettlement plan would be announced for the 1984 riot victims.

In Punjab, some of the relief schemes announced following the riots by the then Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala were partially implemented but many similar relief measures announced by successive governments have not seen the light of the day.

Other than immediate implementation of the schemes already announced by successive governments, members of these organisations have demanded additional facilities and benefits from the government.

According to Mr Sukhvinder Singh Bhatia, president of the 1984 Sikh Massacre Affected Welfare Society, Punjab, majority of the schemes announced by the Badal government should be executed forthwith.

“This includes the allotment of over 700 LIG and MIG houses to victims at Ludhiana and Patiala, 400 commercial booths were to be given to victims at Ludhiana and another 200 booths were to be given to victims at Mohali and Patiala. As many as 500 ration depots were to be given to the victims across the state. But all this till today remains a paper scheme,” said Mr Bhatia who is scheduled to meet the Punjab Chief Secretary Mr Jai Singh Gill, next week with this list of demands.

Riot victims have also demanded that the government should give the victimised families free accommodation and in cases where the government has charged cost of the plots or houses from them, the money should be refunded. “The government should waive the interest that the government has charged us for these houses,” pointed out Mr Harpal Singh, general secretary of the 1984 Danga Pirate Parivar Society, Mohali.

The 1984 Sikh Massacre Affected Welfare Society will also be demanding the allotment of industrial plots or commercial sites near the area of their residence. “As many as 12 industrial plots across the state and 150 commercial booths have been given to the victimised families. While the booths were given to the victims at less than half the allotment rates, industrial plots were given at the allotment rate. No concession was given. We are now demanding that we should be given these sites for which we are ready to pay the government half the allotment rate,” said Mr Manohar Singh of the society.

The society will also demand end of discrimination with regard to implementation of these schemes and proper implementation of the reservation schemes for these victims in professional colleges.


Prosecute Tytler, Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar,
says Sukhbir Badal

Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 14
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said that apology by Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, in the Rajya Sabha four days back on anti-Sikh violence in Delhi in 1984 would not heal wounds of hundreds of Sikh families who lost bread-winners and were rendered homeless. Mr Sukhbir Singh demanded prosecution of senior Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar, Mr H.K.L. Bhagat, and others responsible for the violence.

Demanding the setting up of fast-track courts to take action against the guilty persons he (Mr Badal) accused the UPA-government led by the Congress party delaying the presentation of the Nanavati report and ATR to save Congress leaders.

Talking to reporters at Kot Kapura 12 km from here, today the MP who was on a tour of the area accused Congress governments of indifferent attitude towards minority communities since the independence.

Criticising the Punjab CM, Capt Amarinder Singh and his colleagues and many other senior state Congress leaders for levelling false charges against his father (Mr Parkash Singh) for encouraging militancy in state he blamed wrong policies of the Congress party for militancy. Accusing the state government of claiming credit for concessions given by the SAD-led BJP government to people, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal also flayed government for failing to honour the promises made to people during last Assembly elections. He alleged none was feeling secure in state. Mr Mantar Singh, MLA Kot Kapura, and many senior leaders of party were present on the occasion.


Punjabis keen to end bias in govt jobs in Norway
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Though Indians have token presence in Norway, yet they have earned a respectable place among Norwegians. Indians are playing a significant role in the medical services of that country. Among the 7000 Indians, 90 per cent are Punjabis.

There are about 200 Punjabi doctors in Norway. In fact, there are NRI doctor families. For example, Mr Amarjit Singh’s son and daughter, daughter-in-law are all doctors. Mr Zorawar Singh, a Punjabi boy, has achieved the distinction of being the first Indian to join the Norwegiani Air Force as a Captain.

Mr Surjit Singh, President of the Indian Welfare Society, Norway, who acts as a livewire between the Norway Government and Indian settlers there, told The Tribune in an interview here that now the NRIs were also making their presence felt in other professional services.

“Our children are mentally far sharper and intelligent. They are highly qualified and have a good image because they have not fallen prey to gangsterism and drugs yet”, says Surjit Singh, who migrated to Norway in 1973 from Bhadurgarh Chhanna village, near Devigarh( Patiala).

Mr Surjit Singh, who is also a social and political activist, says that now NRIs have built up a strong case for their entry in the mainstream civil services of Norway. “ We have a feeling that our entry in these services is somehow blocked. Indians feel that Indians are discriminated while selecting people for civil jobs”, he added. Only one NRI, Ms Neeta Kapoor, holds a director level post in the government there. In political arena, Indians are not that active in Norway.

“NRIs do take part in politics but at the lower level. It is not Like Canada or the UK where they are holding high offices,” adds Mr Surjit Singh.

The issue of discrimination has been taken up with all the main political parties of Norway and they have assured to do away with the bias, he added. He is close to Ms Kristin Halvorsen, Head of the Socialist Leftist Party. Ms Kristin is said to be highly talented and considered future leader of that country. Accompanied by Mr Surjit Singh, She visited the Harmandir Sahib recently.

Whenever India faces crisis or natural calamity, Indians send financial help liberally from Norway. “ We sent Rs 1 million to PMs Relief Fund during Kargil war”, says Mr Surjit Singh, a staunch nationalist, who has relentlessly fought against radical Sikhs. At one stage radical Sikhs had stopped the entry of Surjit Singh in a gurdwara at Oslo, the capital of Norway. He has brought many Sikh youths, who had gone astray to the mainstream and also got their names removed from the black list, which was prepared by the Union Government.

Every year, Indians hold a three day cultural-cum-sports festival in Oslo from August 19 to 21. They also organise an exhibition of portraits of Indian freedom fighters, Babbar Akalis and legendary martyrs such as Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Kartar Singh Saraba and Shaheed Udham Singh.

The Norwegian Government had been giving financial support to teach Punjabi in Oslo. However, it was discontinued recently. “ We are trying to revive it”, said Mr Surjit Singh. However, in the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Oslo, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu is taught.


Australian with 19th century links with India remembered
Plaque to be unveiled in Mussoorie today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
More than 140 years after his death, a plaque in the memory of Australia’s earliest novelist, John Lang, who lived in India in the mid-19th century, will be unveiled in Mussoorie on the Independence Day tomorrow.

The commemoration could not have been better timed. Lang, writer, barrister, editor and traveller, was a friend of India and of freedom. He represented Indians, including the Rani of Jhansi, in their legal fights against the East India Company — which did not earn him friends among the British authorities.

The plaque dedicated to Lang will be unveiled at the Christ Church, Mussoorie – the oldest church in the Himalayas — in the presence of local community figures and Australian High Commission representative. According to Rev Erik Templeton, the current priest, “the church’s 19th century records show that Lang’s funeral rites were performed by the then Christ Church chaplain.

“Today, nearly a century and a half after Lang’s death, we have an active congregation keen on preserving this church as an important part of the town’s history, and we are delighted to be adding this memorial inscription to the story this church building has to tell of the past,” he said.

Lang’s grave was discovered by Mussoorie resident and eminent author Ruskin Bond in 1964, a century after his death. Lang was also a writer, who wrote 11 novels, plays, short stories and a travel book. He is considered to be Australia’s first novelist.

“For a long time John Lang has been a forgotten figure, but now he is enjoying wider interest, both in Australia and India,” said John Fisher, spokesman for the Australian High Commission.

Lang reflected the love of freedom and adventure as well as frustration with the authorities that has come to characterise the Australian character. The developing Australian trait to challenge injustice — to seek a “fair go” — was apparent in Lang’s defence of Indians seeking legal redress in British-controlled India.

The plaque is sponsored by Mr Medcalf and Mr Crittenden. “It is appropriate that the plaque is located in the town Lang loved and where he worked and died,” said Mr Medcalf.

Lang was born in Parramatta, Sydney, in 1816. He moved to India at the age of 25 after living in England where he studied law. Lang is also remembered for his role in publishing and editing a popular newspaper, The Mofussilite.


BC family leaves village fearing for life
They have done so to avoid arrest: police
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 14
A member of Backward “Mehra” community, Dass Singh, has “virtually” become homeless as he along with his wife and daughter has been reportedly living in the house of his brother-in-law at Dhuri for the past three weeks, fearing for their lives from some persons of his native Narike Kalan village in Malerkotla tehsil.

In his letters to Punjab Chief Minister, Punjab Chief Secretary, Punjab Police Chief, Sangrur District Magistrate and Sangrur SSP, Dass Singh has alleged that around two years ago his son, Chamkaur Singh, and Jasbir Kumar, belonging to an upper caste, had quarrelled over cricket gear in the ground of Primary School of Narike Kalan village. Jasbir Kumar and his friends allegedly threatened to kill his son.

After this, he sent his both sons, Chamkaur Singh and Satnam Singh, out of the village for studies.

Dass Singh claimed that on May 4, the boy and his friends tried to beat Satnam Singh up at Salar village. However, Satnam Singh managed to escape.

He further alleged that on July 14 some youths came to his house and attacked him and his family members. He received an injury on his head in the attack.

He went to Amargarh village’s hospital for treatment but finding the attackers there, he returned home.

However, on July 16, his brother-in-law got him admitted to the Dhuri Civil Hospital. After he was discharged from the hospital, he along with his wife and daughter, went to his brother-in-law’s house at Dhuri. They had been living there since then, he said.

He said he had no knowledge of the whereabouts of his two sons, who had fled after the attack on the family.

However, SHO, Amargarh police station, Tarn Rattan, when contacted over the phone yesterday, said Dass Singh had in fact attacked Jasbir Kumar in July when the latter along with others had gone to his house to make a complaint.

Dass Singh and his family members again “beat up” Jasbir Kumar and the latter had to be admitted to the Malerkotla hospital, he said.

He added that on the basis of a complaint by Jasbir Kumar, a case was registered against Dass Singh and his family members under Sections 341, 323, 506, 148 and 149, IPC, on July 17.

He said Dass Singh and his family had left the village fearing arrest by the police and not due to threat to life, as claimed by him.

In the letters, Dass Singh has appealed for security to the family, rehabilitation in Narike Kalan village, and registration of a case against the attackers.

President of the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan Jai Singh said his organisation would take up the case with the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP.


4 hurt in freak mishap
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, August 14
Four occupants of a Tata Safari had a miraculous escape when their vehicle fell from an overbridge on the GT road early this morning. The vehicle rolled down and dashed against the surface of another road, injuring the occupant.

According to the police, Mr Sachin Singh, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Vivek Singh from Faridabad and their friend, Mr Pickle from New Delhi, were traveling in the Tata Safari (DL-4CU-4711) from Ludhiana to Faridabad.

Mr Sachin, who was driving the vehicle, lost control of the vehicle which rammed into a light pole on the road. After jumping the road divider and breaking the electricity pole, the vehicle jumped to the other side of the road.

Receiving information of the accident, ASI Harjinder Singh, along with his team of highway patrol, reached the site and extricated the occupants with the help of passersby. The injured were taken to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, and were discharged after first-aid. They later boarded a bus for Delhi.

No case was registered.


Badal hits back at CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Hitting back over the allegations of fanning militancy, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today claimed that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had “close relations” with militants and continued to “help them.”

Referring to Capt Amarinder Singh’s statement that Mr Badal should apologise for the deaths in Punjab during the phase of terrorism in the state, Mr Badal said, “It was the Congress that gave birth to militancy to weaken the Shiromani Akali Dal.”

He went on to add that 29 Akali candidates fell to militants’ bullets in the aborted state Assembly elections in 1990.

Mr Badal rubbished Capt Amarinder Singh’s charge that the Akalis had instigated Sikh youths towards militancy and said such tactics were aimed at deflecting people’s attention from the state government’s non-performance. The Congress was wanting to raise the bogey of terrorism by showing recoveries of RDX and arms.


Liberalise Indo-Pak visa policy, says Kuldip Nayar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 14
Commending the efforts of the people of both countries in establishing peace, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar and a strong votary of Indo-Pak cordial relations said the desire to extend the present peace process had created congenial atmosphere for liberalising visa regime.

Addressing a gathering of academicians, intellectuals, parliamentarians, journalists, jurists and eminent theatre and film personalities of India and Pakistan at a seminar organised at Guru Nanak Dev University, he stressed upon the need to strengthen people-to-people contacts and appealed to both countries to liberalise visa policy.

These eminent personalities were sharing views on a common platform at a one-day seminar on Indo-Pak Relations-Problems and Prospects “organised” by the Centre for South-Central Asian Studies of the University in collaboration with Indo-Pak Dosti Manch, Folklore Research Academy and International Punjabi Culture Society here.

Mr Nayyar said the peace process initiated between the countries was irreversible at the people’s level, which in itself is a guarantee of peace.

Ms Asma Jehangir, Human Rights Activist, of Pakistan, in her address said the people of India and Pakistan want peace. She said the governments of both countries could not establish peace, and it was only the people who had compelled the leaders to establish peace among both countries. 


Kuldip Nayar leads candle-light march
Sanjay Bumroo
Tribune News service

Wagah, August 14
A joint candle-light procession was held at the Wagah joint check-post here tonight.
Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, actress Nandita Das, Outlook Editor Vinod Mehta, MP from Baramulla Mohammad Shaheen, Justice Rajinder Sachchar led the march from the Indian side, while MP Imtiaz Hussain and Manzoor Ahmed, Human Rights activist Asma Zahangir took part from the Pakistani side.

Meanwhile, the police lathicharged a crowd that had gathered to watch a musical programme at Anaz Mandi, Attari, today.

The programme was being organised by the Folklore Research Academy to celebrate Independence Day.

According to Mr Satnam Manik, spokesman for the academy, when the crowd complained about the security arrangements at the venue, the police resorted to a mild lathi charge. However, no one was hurt in the incident.


Mansa hopes for special package from CM
Tribune News Service

Mansa, August 14
With the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, set to unfurl the Tricolour on Independence Day here, people are hoping for an announcement for development schemes.

According to sources, the successive governments had turned a blind eye towards the demands of the district as it had no representation in the state government. In the absence of a big political leader from the area, there was nobody to take up the issues of people.

Residents are expecting a special package for the all-round development of the area. Those from an academic background would like to hear an announcement for the establishment of a medical or engineering college.

The MLA, Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, and other Congress leaders are also looking forward to get something for their constituencies.

Sources said any big announcement for the district, could bolster the vote bank of the Congress.

Among the main demands of the area are filling posts of teacher and doctor, setting up of more educational institutions, decongestion of traffic through construction of bridges, issuance of special connections for tubewells, and reconstruction of roads.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders’ invitation to the Chief Minister to their homes for lunch has been rejected with the district administration saying it wasn’t possible. Sources said these leaders had made several rounds to Patiala and Chandigarh in this regard.

The CM’s refusal to accept the invitation has led to speculation. While a government official said the CM didn’t want to visit anybody’s home, as it was a government function, a senior party leader said the CM was unhappy with the factionalism in the party here.


No water, dug up roads for Majithia Enclave residents
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 14
Residents of Majithia Enclave are a harried lot. Water supply project that was started with much hope and fanfare has become a source of harassment for them. The Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board started work on it almost a year ago, but has not made attempts to complete it. No one is paying heed to the residents’ complaints despite repeated representations, says the president of the Majithia Enclave Development Association, Mr K.K. Sharma.

The work started in September 2004 as MP Preneet Kaur had promised to lay water pipes in the colony. Almost a year later, the residents are still without the precious commodity. Pipes have not been laid for almost half of the houses in the enclave. These include houses in the D and J blocks and houses at the back of the market, says Mr Sharma. He alleges that instead of all these houses in the enclave, Gurdarshan Nagar and Bharat Nagar colonies have been brought in the circle of this project. This has been done in spite of Bharat Nagar not being within the municipal committee jurisdiction.

Substandard material was used by the contractor of Ramkey firm, alleges the association. Whenever a test run is conducted, the roads get flooded while taps stay dry. The residents are a harassed lot as the board has neither supplied water to the enclave nor repaired the roads that were dug up to lay the pipes. The contractor has not even bothered to fill up the dug up area properly, endangering lives of the residents. When the situation was highlighted by The Tribune in March, the contractor started work on one section of a road but left soon afterwards. Only a quarter of a road was repaired, alleges the association. The work was also undertaken in a haphazard manner. The restoration work is still not complete.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the residents said the board decided to act after repeated complaints by the association. The Chief Engineer of the board held an inquiry, which Mr Sharma calls an eyewash as the association was not told about it in time.

“The Chief Engineer, Mr H.G. Arora, held an inquiry on May 4, and called me on the telephone. I told him that he should have given the information a week in advance through a registered letter, according to the Punjab Government norms,” Mr Sharma said.

“The inquiry was totally one-sided. It is unacceptable to us as we neither know the context of the inquiry nor its result. No time, date or venue of the inquiry was given, ” he added.


PPCB asks civic bodies to set up treatment plants
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 14
Taking its first step towards implementing the Supreme Court’s directions, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has asked all civic bodies of the state to set up effluent treatment plants in their slaughter houses, so that, solid waste and effluents coming out of them could be treated before being finally disposed off.

Coming down heavily on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for its alleged failure in ensuring proper treatment of slaughter houses’ effluents and solid waste, the apex court has asked the CPCB to ensure the implementation of guidelines. In turn, the CPCB has directed the state pollution control boards to ensure that there was no further delay, or laxity in the implementation of the Environment-Protection Act 1986 and the Section 18-1-B of the Water Act.

The PPCB has directed all civic bodies, including Cantonment Boards, which, have their own slaughter houses, to set up treatment plants so that solid waste and effluents, like blood, which, ultimately pollute water sources in one or the other way, could be treated. Except for Amritsar, no Municipal Corporation of Punjab, including Jalandhar, was running slaughter houses, even though, it was mandatory for the civic bodies to set up slaughter houses under the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Act.

Due to this residents of these cities were forced to eat meat of doubtful origin. They had to solely dependent on the assurances of meat shop owners or private slaughter houses, most of which, were not even registered with the municipal corporations. Ironically, a small number of municipal committees or nagar panchayats were having the facility.

“We have sought action plans from representatives of civic bodies. We are giving them 15 days to comply with the prescribed norms and to set up treatment plants as soon as possible. There will be no compromise on the implementation part and we will go by whatever has been prescribed by the CPCB,” said Mr. Harbir Singh, a senior Environmental Engineer and head, PPCB Jalandhar office, while talking to The Tribune.

He further said any laxity or violation could land the civic bodies in trouble. It could even result in initiation of criminal proceedings again erring officials.

On the other hand, a few civic bodies have pleaded that they were under financial crunch and there were very few animals, meant for slaughtering in their areas. As a result would be difficult for them to set up treatment plants.

“We have advised the civic bodies to engage some professionals, who, could provide them with designs of slaughter houses in accordance with the prescribed norms,” Mr Harbir Singh added.


Shortage of dental surgeons: DCI chief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 14
Dr Anil Kohli, President, Dental Council of India (DCI), said here today that there was a shortage of trained dental surgeons in the country.

Dr Kohli said over 200 dental colleges across the country were producing untrained doctors. Besides, sub-standard equipment and outdated syllabus were playing havoc with students’ career.

Addressing newsmen after inaugurating Dental K-The Clinicians Forum, Dr Kohli said since 1983 the curriculum for Bachelor in Dental Surgery (BDS) had not been updated to incorporate the latest advances in dental sciences.

Dr Kohli, who received this years B.C. Roy and Padma Bhushan awards, said disparity in fee structure was a disturbing trend. He said while in Punjab the annual fee was Rs 65,000 whereas in Uttar Pradesh the institutions were charging more than Rs 2.5 lakh. He strongly advocated uniform fee structure throughout the country for the benefit of students.

Dr Kohli found that 10 out of 12 colleges in the country were not fulfilling the basic norms set up by the DCI. He said dental colleges of Rohtak and Shimla were two of them. He was against allowing private players to establish medical institutes in the country. He said dental colleges in Patiala and Amritsar were not having adequate faculty for both graduates and postgraduate classes.


Kin of deceased staff of PSEB seek jobs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Kin of employees who died while in service of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) now want the board to change its rules and allow jobs for them.

Last year the PSEB had amended its rules and allowed the payment of cash compensation to kin of employees who had died while in service. The next of kin want that jobs be given to them as their fathers were carrying out risky duties for the PSEB. Sources said the PSEB was already over staffed and it started paying cash compensation between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of deceased employees.

Some of the relatives had accepted the cash dispensation while hundreds were waiting for jobs, said Mr Mohinder Pal, president of the PSEB Mritak Mulazim Sangharsh Samiti. The samiti is a body of dependents of deceased PSEB employees. Since all other government organisations were offering jobs to the kin of the deceased employees, it was appropriate for the PSEB to follow suit, he said.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee, Punjab, and UT, Chandigarh, has demanded that the PSEB change its rules. General secretary Gurmel Singh Sidhu demanded that the government should get implemented its policy of giving jobs to kin of deceased in all boards and corporations of Punjab. 


Market committee contractors threaten to stop fee collection
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 14
Contractors have threatened to stop collection of fee from the Pathankot market committee. The contractors have written to the Secretary, Mandi Board, Ms Seema Jain, expressing their inability to do the job.

The tiff between the contractors and local traders has been going on since the allotment of contract this year. This year due to transparent and open bidding the contract for collecting market fee had registered an unprecedented increase of about 150 per cent from Rs 1.80 crore to 3.87 crore.

During to the hike the contractors increased vigil to check market fee evasion. They set up nakas at Sujanpur and on roads leading to Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh and started charging fee from traders carrying vegetables and fruits on carts and small vehicles.

The traders resented this and staged dharna and rallies against the fee being levied on products being taken on the observed roads. Under pressure from the traders and local politicians the police registered cases against workers of the contractors and desisted them from setting up nakas outside mandi areas.

The contractors, however, maintained that there was large scale evasion of market fee at Pathankot and they had to set up nakas outside mandis. Meanwhile, Ms Seema Jain admitted that the market committee contractors had given a representation expressing their inability to carry on with the contract. The negotiations with the contractors were going on. However, if they insist on withdrawing from the contract then fresh auction could be held for the same, she added.


Market Committee observes vanamahotsava
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 14
A special project for the widening, strengthening and re-carpeting of the roads the costing of approximately Rs 10 crore has been sent to the Chief Minister for approval according to Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary. He was addressing a function organised by the Market Committee Bassi Pathana, to inaugurate “ Vanamahotsav” in the district.

He also planted a sapling on the premises of the Market Committee office. Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner presided over the function and she also planted a sapling.

He appreciated the efforts of the District Mandi Officer in initiating a campaign to plant sapling on the premises of the Market committees offices of the district. He highlighted the importance of trees and said if we had to save our coming generations from pollution, plantation of saplings was the only means.

In her address, the Deputy Commissioner urged the government as well as social organisations to come forward to help the administration in making Fatehgarh Sahib a green district. She said saplings would be provided at subsidised rates and would also be given free of cost to organisation and panchayats. She assured residents of Bassi Pathana town that various development projects would be initiated soon in the town and a Subdivisional office would also be constructed.

Mr Ramesh Gupta, District Mandi Officer, said roads upto 54 km had been repaired in the district and out of these 18 roads fall in the Sirhind constituency.

Ms Manisha Trighatia, SDM, Bassi Pathana, Mr Harinder Singh Kang, Chairman, market committee, Mr Gurwinder Singh Dhillon, Chairman Block Samiti, Bassi Pathana, Mr Om Parkash Tangri and Mr Charanjeev Channa, president, MC, Sirhind also addressed the gathering.


Farmers threaten indefinite fast over land acquisition
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 14
The Ujaara Roko Sanghursh Committee Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sanghera villages has threatened to resort to an indefinite fast if notification No. 4 of the Punjab Government pertaining to acquisition of about 376 acres of farmers of these villages was not cancelled. The government plans to acquire the land of these three villages for setting up industrial units under the joint venture of Trident Group of Industries and Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC). These include a sugar mill of 12,500 tonnes capacity, a paper mill sheeting and garmenting involving an approximate investment of Rs 2,000 crore.

The decision to go on an indefinite fast was taken at a joint meeting of the committee held at Baba Ala Singh Park Barnala today. It was attended by Mr Roop Singh, president, Fatehgarh Chhannna and Dhaula, and Mr Bhola Singh, president, Sanghera.

Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, president, Punjab Khetiwadi Kisan Vikas Front, stated that as per a decision farmers would observe August 15 as protest day.

Mr Kulrian further stated that from August 16 the committee would start a relay fast in front of SDM, Barnala, office.


Govt to revise paddy custom milling rates: Saini
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 14
Mr Tarsem Saini, President of the Punjab Rice Millers Association, has disclosed that the Central government had agreed to revise the custom milling rates of parboiled and raw rice.

He said the Union Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs had authorised the Tariff Commission to study the  custom milling rate. The commission had also started its exercise and was collecting the relevant data from all the states concerned.

He added that a meeting between Tariff Commission and the representatives of rice millers of all the concerned states took place on July 22 at Commission’s office at New Delhi.

Mr Saini was on a thanksgiving visit to the town after assuming charge on his re-election for two year term of the rice millers’ body. He thanked the local millers for posing faith and extending whole hearted support to elect him.

Regarding the recovery notices pertaining to crop year 2001-02, by which the custom milling rate of  parboiled rice has been reduced from Rs 20 to Rs 13 per quintal, Mr Saini  said that the matter had been discussed with the appropriate authority, which had clarified that a necessary amendment in this regard was being carried out.

He cautioned the rice millers regarding forthcoming problems likely to be faced by the industry. He said that once the food bowl of the nation the state was being ignored by the FCI.

He said that with ever increasing production of paddy crop in the rice consuming states like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, there was virtually no taker of  Punjab’s rice.

The transit cost of the Punjab rice due to its geographical position might be the one reason.

He accused the FCI and Centre government for having indifferent attitude towards Punjab’s rice industry.

He said that despite multiple increases in overheads, the government had not increased custom milling price of paddy for the last eight years.

Rather, the custom milling price of parboiled rice had been decreased from crop year 2001-2002.

He emphasised on the need of unity and business wisdom to overcome from the current crisis.

Later speaking on behalf of local millers, Mr Subhash Aggarwal a veteran rice  millers assured their full cooperation to Mr Saini.


Fake currency racket busted
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 14
The police today claimed to have busted a fake currency racket and a gang of power cable thieves. The police recovered fake currency notes and power cable from their possession.

Police sources said the Bariwala SHO, Mr Gurmail Singh, who had set up a naka near Harike Kalan, got a tip-off that Labh Singh, a resident of Motlewala, Darshan Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Jaswant Singh, Sewak Singh and Paramjeet Singh had formed a gang and were making fake currency notes at Labh’s home. The gang was also involved in circulating fake currency.

When a police party was on its way to raid Labh’s residence it came across a car coming from the opposite direction near Maradkalan. The police stopped the car on suspicion and asked its occupants to reveal their identity. The driver identified himself as Labh Singh, while others were his accomplices.

On carrying out a search, the police recovered fake currency worth Rs 43,000 from Labh Singh, Rs 22,000 each from Darshan Singh and Gurmeet Singh, and Rs 12,500 from Jaswant Singh.

The police then raided Labh’s home, but his aides got a wind of what was in store for them. Sewak Singh and Paramjeet Singh ran away with the machine they were using for making fake currency notes. A case has been registered against all the accused under Sections 489-A, B, C, D, and 124-A of the IPC.

In another incident, the CIA in charge, Mr Ram Parkash, who was patrolling near Focal Point of Lambi Dhab in the wake of Independence Day celebrations, received information about a gang of thieves involved in the theft of power cables. He set up a naka and soon spotted a white Gypsy coming towards Muktsar. When the police waved the vehicle driver to stop, two of its occupants jumped out of it. Both of them were arrested and a country made pistol and three cartridges each were recovered from them.

The police also recovered about four quintals of power cable from their vehicle. A case has been registered against Sukhwinderpal Singh, Amit, Preetam Singh and Vicky, for theft and possessing firearms. 


Two die under mysterious circumstances
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 14
Two persons, including a woman, were found dead at their respective homes under mysterious circumstances here today. Both of them reportedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance.

The deceased have been identified as Paramjeet Kaur, who was the mother of two children, and 21-year-old Amardeep, both of whom were neighbours.

Unconfirmed reports said Amardeep had an affair with Paramjeet, but unable to live together they decided to take the extreme step.

Both of them were found dead in their homes in the wee hours today.

The police has handed over their bodies to their family members after a post-mortem examination.


ETT teachers to show black badges to FM
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 14
Thousands of unemployed ETT teachers will show black flags to Finance Minister, Surinder Singla as a mark of protest at Faridkot, where he will unfurl the Independence Day flag tomorrow.

As per a press note issued here today, Mr Jagsir Singh Sahota, district president, Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, alleged that Mr Singla had been creating obstructions in the regular appointment of unemployed ETT teachers.

He said despite the recommendations by the Bhattal committee, this issue had remained untouched at the meetings of the Cabinet.

He said when the ETT teachers had been struggling for the past one and a half years for their regular appointment, Mr Singla had been making all efforts for their contract-based appointments at the Cabinet meetings.


Private college principals meet VC over demands
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 14
A deputation of the Association of Principals of Non-Government Colleges affiliated to Punjabi University, Patiala, led by its president Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, called on Mr Sawarn Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, to discuss various issues and problems being faced by the private colleges affiliated to the university.

According to Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, president and Principal of Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, the Vice-Chancellor heard their grievances and problems and agreed to review the procedure of the recruitment of lecturers on ad hoc/ part time basis and it was decided that in future their recruitment would be made by the managing committees and due permission would be sought from the university before the teacher joins the duty.

He also agreed to review the merit criteria for the recruitment of lecturers on regular basis and also agreed to increase the academic weightage.

He said the Vice-Chancellor agreed to relax the norms for the recruitment of Principals in B.Ed colleges subject to the approval of NCTE Delhi.

He accepted the demand of the association for the introduction of more professional and vocational courses in private colleges. He assured to relax the norms for starting these courses and agreed to increase the seats in these courses keeping in view the decline in admission to BA, B.Sc, B.Com and other degree courses.

He said the Vice-Chancellor decided to send a deputation of the college Principals under the Dean, College Development Council, Punjabi University, on a study tour of various renowned institutions in Punjab as well as in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pardesh.

Dr Walia expressed satisfaction over the meeting and thanked the Vice-Chancellor for accepting their demands.

The meeting was attended by Dr S.S. Virdi, Dean, Academic Affairs, Dr Paramjit Singh, Registrar, Dr R.S. Ghuman, Dean, Colleges.

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