P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dalbir Kaur had been booked for fraud, says Congress
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 1
Even as the family of Sarbjit Singh who is facing death sentence in Pakistan would meet the President and Vice-President of India tomorrow, the “Save Sarbjit campaign” today hit a political roadblock with the production of two FIRs against Ms Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarbjit, and her husband Balwinder Singh on charges of defrauding residents of Bhikhiwind and Uttar Pradesh, respectively.

The Congress leader and sarpanch of Bhikhiwind, Mr Tejpreet Singh Peter, produced some victims allegedly duped by Ms Dalbir Kaur who promised them jobs of constable. He said the Congress would make efforts to refrain Ms Dalbir Kaur from collecting huge donations due to her “shady past”. They alleged that the couple had grabbed the land of a local family. However, Ms Dalbir Kaur while refuting the charges, alleged that Mr Peter and his men were trying to hamper the release of Sarbjit Singh.

While the FIR was registered under Section 420, IPC, against Ms Dalbir Kaur at Bhikhiwind police station on June 23, 1995, another FIR was registered against her husband in Uttar Pradesh.

Ms Dalbir Kaur said she and her family were being framed for political reasons.

The Congress reportedly fired a salvo against Ms Dalbir Kaur after she attacked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for having failed to take up the issue of Sarbjit Singh at an appropriate platform.

Mr Peter alleged that Ms Dalbir Kaur, who had joined the BJP, was never a Mahila Congress president. He said the party had dissociated itself from her when her “shady past” came to the fore. However, Ms Dalbir Kaur said she had proofs of her being nominated as the Mahila Congress president. She described Congress leaders as anti-national. Making appeal to donors across the world, the Congress leaders urged them not to send any donation to Ms Dalbir Kaur who wanted to mint money by highlighting the issue of her brother. Instead, the donations should be sent directly to the family members, including Ms Sukhpreet Kaur (wife of Sarbjit Singh) and her daughters through payees account.

He said his party had collected some donation which would be given to the family members of Sarbjit Singh.


VB indicts eight MC officials
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 1
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) has indicted at least eight senior officers of the civic body in the multi-crore road cutting scam.

The prolonged VB investigation, has allegedly found that at least eight senior and middle-rung officers, including, Xens, SDOs, and JEs, were “responsible causing huge financial loss” to the civic body.

The investigation had got hampered due to political pressure exerted by certain ruling party leaders, who were allegedly patronising those officials.

The alleged scam relates to 13 roads covering 19 km, where some telecom companies had been allowed to lay their underground cables by the MC under terms and conditions which specified that repair of roads would have to be undertaken by the companies after accomplishing the job. To ensure that the telecom companies involved in road cutting operations repaired the roads with good material within a specified timeframe, guarantee money at rate of about Rs 25 per square feet was charged.

The guarantee amount, as per terms and conditions, was to be returned only after the MC was satisfied that road stretches, dug up for laying of cables, were repaired as per specifications. But interestingly, the advance security, which, according to VB sources, ran into crores, was allegedly released by the MC without verifying that the roads had actually been repaired.

Nine of the major city roads, were not allegedly repaired at all by the telecom companies, while, rest of the roads were repaired with inferior quality material. The VB had initiated its probe about a year back.


Teachers to go on mass CL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Teachers of private government-aided colleges and schools in Punjab and Chandigarh will go on mass causal leave on Teachers Day (September 5) to protest against the Punjab Government’s action in creating disparity between them and government teachers.

The Punjab Government had delinked the pay scales and allowances given to the staff of aided colleges from those given to teachers of government schools or colleges. Studies in 160 aided colleges and 480 aided schools will suffer on account of the protest.

The teachers will hold a rally in Sector 17 here and then march to Matka Chowk, Mr M.L. Chopra, Adviser to the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union, said at a press conference here today.

Mr Ramesh Kumar, general secretary, Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union, and Dr Jagwant Singh, general secretary, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, said Punjab and Rajasthan were the only states which had not allowed pension benefits to the teachers of private aided schools and colleges.

The demands of the PCCTU include the implementation of University Grants Commission pay scales on the Haryana pattern, immediate release of grants to BEd colleges and a revamp of the salary disbursement model by implementing the recommendations of the Johl Committee.


Haryana Roadways bus torched by Dalit mob
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, September 1
An irate Dalit mob, mostly activists of Ambedkar Sena and Balmiki community, today torched a Haryana Roadways bus (HR69-5023) going from Rohtak to Amritsar, on the GT Road here opposite the office of the DSP near Town Hall.

The protesters marched from Balmiki Chowk in Subhash Nagar this afternoon, passed through bazars, shouting slogans and trooped on to GT Road before stopping the Haryana Roadways bus of Sonepat depot. They stormed the bus and forced the passengers out before sprinkling kerosene and setting it on fire. They smashed windowpanes with hockey sticks and baseball bats. The passengers fleeing for safety left behind their luggage which was also gutted.

The driver of the bus, Dharampal, and conductor Ishwar Singh, told newsmen that they were assaulted and had to beg for their lives before managing to free into the adjoining DSP’s office. The conductor said that he fell at the feet of protesters to save himself from their wrath.

The driver simply burst into tears while talking to newsmen. He said he failed to understand what had happened. “I saw a huge crowd on GT Road stopping a car in front of my bus and I also stopped my bus,” he said. “The moment I stopped the bus, the mob stormed it”, he remarked. On learning about the incident, buses of other states, especially of Haryana Roadways, were seen retreating in panic.

The police was caught unawares. However, after the bus was torched, Phagwara DSP Navjot Singh Mahal rushed to the site with a heavy police force forcing the protesters to take to their heels. It was learnt that two leaders of the mob were rounded up while raids were conducted to nab the rioters and the arsonists.

As clouds of smoke were billowing, Jalandhar Range DIG Paramjit Singh Gill arrived there by chance. After getting details of the incident, the DIG directed the DSP to take strong action against the culprits.

It may be mentioned here that activists of the Ambedkar Sena and the Balmiki community, led by Harbhajan Suman, president, Ambedkar Sena, Punjab, had staged a protest march and demonstration to express resentment against the torching of a large number of houses of Balmiki community in Balmiki Colony in Baroda Chowk in Gohana (Sonepat) on August 31 following the murder of a youth, Baljit Siwach, belonging to the Jaat community on Saturday night.

The police has registered cases against more than 10 persons and arrested at least six persons in connection with the torching of a Haryana Roadways bus.

The cases were registered under various sections of the IPC.


Sunam dental college closed, students told to vacate hostels
Tribune News Service

Sunam, September 1
In view of the strike by students, the authorities of local Guru Nanak Dev Dental College and Research Institute today closed the college till students return to classes on their own. The hostels have also been closed and the hostellers asked to vacate the hostels.

The college students have been observing strike since yesterday in protest against the alleged beating up of a hosteller on the night of August 30 by some employees of the college. After the closure of the college the students started an indefinite dharna at the main gate of the college today.

The protesting students alleged that two to three employees of the college had beaten up Himanshu Sharma, a first year student. They alleged that the college authorities were not taking action against them, compelling them to observe strike.

Dr Vikram Sharma, chairman of the governing body of the college, said on the complaint of the students the college authorities had taken action against some employees, while no action had been taken against any student though they had “beaten up” the employees. He alleged that hostellers had been hurling abuses at the employees due to power cuts.


Centre to set up Defence Academy at Kapurthala
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Union Government will set up a Defence Academy in Punjab. Sources said today that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had offered to give the building of Sainik School, Kapurthala, to the Union Government to set up the academy.

The Chief Minister met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Union Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, in Delhi in this connection yesterday. The sources said the formal announcement to set up the academy would be made after completing all relevant formalities at official level.

Earlier, the previous BJP-led government had promised to set up an academy for the training of junior commissioned officers of the Army at Anandpur Sahib. The then Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandez, had made an announcement in this regard in 1999. But everything remained on paper.

The sources said the Punjab Government now wanted that Sainik School should be shifted to Dasmesh Academy at Anandpur Sahib to pave way to set up the Defence Academy at Kapurthala.

Sainik School has 192 acre of land and it is enough to set up the Academy. There would be provision for admission of 25,00 students in the proposed academy. They would be admitted after completion of Class X. The project would be worth Rs 100 crore.

Earlier, a Martial Arts Academy was set up at Anandpur Sahib by spending several crore of rupees. However, this academy failed to take off though it had one of the best campuses in this part of the country.


Old couple found murdered in house
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 1
An old couple was murdered in their house located in the cantonment here last night by some unidentified persons. Bodies of Mr Ved Prakash Bhola (72) and his wife, Mrs Chander Prabha (66) were found this morning. Sharp-edged weapons were used to kill the couple. The couple is survived by two daughters, Deepti and Rupali, both married here. Elder daughter, Deepti Bhola is married to Vishal Kad and Rupali Bhola is married to Munish Ahula, who resides opposite Bhola’s residence at 147, Sant Lal Road in Ferozepore cantonment. Mr Ved Prakash was a prominent businessman dealing in manufacturing of metal goods.

According to Rupali, younger daughter of the couple, her parents lived alone at their residence for the past several years after both sisters were married. Rupali said that she last saw her mother at 9 p.m. yesterday evening while she was standing outside the house. She added at 9.30 p.m., she saw two vehicles, one white scooter and a black motorcycle parked outside her parent’s residence and thought that someone might have come to meet them. When she woke up today morning and

went out to drop her child to the school, she saw her parents house locked from outside. Rupali said that she got panicky as her parents rarely moved out without informing her. Meanwhile, her elder sister, Deepti with her husband, also arrived there and started making enquiries where they could go early morning without informing them.

Rupali told that together they made calls at all places where they thought her parents could possible could go. Then her father-in-law, Mr Harish Ahula and others climbed up the neighbouring house to have a peep inside the Bhola’s residence. They found the couple lying dead in the courtyard of the house. Mr Vishal Kad said they informed the police about the incident.

Mr Karamjit Singh Sandhu, SP (Headquarters), Mr Harinder Singh SP (Detective) and other senior police officials arrived at the spot with a forensic team and dog squad.

The body of Mrs Chander Prabha was found lying close to main entrance of the house and that of Mr Ved Prakash Bhola in a small garden adjacent to main entrance. The police found strains of blood in a small room near the entrance and at various places in the courtyard, which shows that the couple resisted before being murdered. Lockers and almirahs were found open and rooms probably searched by murderers before leaving the scene.

Family sources told that Mr Bhola had sold some property located in Sadar Bazaar, Ferozepore Cantonment few day ago and the transaction included cash to the extent of Rs 17 Lakh which they had kept at home and someone might have got wind of it, which led to the crime .

Mr Harjinder Singh, SP (Detective) did not rule out the possibility of some insider being party to the crime.

Bodies were sent to the civil hospital, Ferozepore for a post-mortem examination. People including relatives and friends, gathered outside the residence of the couple after hearing about the murder.


SAD to go ahead with protest plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Former Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, says that an apology by the Prime Minister and the constitution of two subcommittees for relief and resettlement of the 1984 riot victims was not enough.

Talking to newsmen here today, Mr Dhindsa said the Akali Dal would go ahead with its proposed action of holding demonstrations both in Delhi and in Punjab in protest against the failure of the government to take action against those responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh violence.

Referring to the Nanavati Commission report, Mr Dhindsa said the UPA government was yet to initiate any action against those found guilty by the commission. In certain cases, the commission held that there was credible evidence of their involvement.

Mr Dhindsa said that for the first time in 21 years, the media and almost all political parties other than the Congress supported the dal demand for action against those involved in the worst carnage in the history of free India. Now after 21 years, the government had set up two committees and promised to take action in three months. “We will wait and decide our future line of action,” said Mr Dhindsa reiterating that the dal would hold the protest rally in November in Delhi.

Mr Dhindsa said that even in both houses of Parliament all parties, including the Left, came out in support of the riot victims.

Criticising the Punjab Government’s decision on energy bonus, Mr Dhindsa said that hardly 5 per cent of the farmers in the state had land holdings up to 5 acres with 5 HP motors. “It is just a gimmick,” he said.

He said that some of the splinter groups of the dal were basically the creation of the Congress and as such held no serious threat to the Shiromani Akali Dal. Though the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) was opposed to the state government, its actions helped the Congress, he added.


Probe ordered into sale of plots allotted to Dalits
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur September 1
The plots allotted to landless Dalits in rural areas of the district are being sold in violation of rules. The fact came to the fore when families of Dalits of Bhakatpur village, about 20 km from here, complained in this regard to Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa Minister for PWD, B&R, Culture and Archives.

Mr Bajwa was at Bhakatpur today to inaugurate a newly laid road to a gurdwara. There some Dalit families complained to him regarding the sale of plots allotted to them by the government.

Mr Bajwa ordered the officers concerned to look into the matter.

Later, during a function organised on the occasion seven families of SAD workers joined the Congress.

About Gurdaspur district he said only the link roads falling in Kanuwan, Gurdaspur and Batala areas were with the PWD. The rest were with the Mandi board.


400 parboiled rice mills face closure
Ashok Grover

Jalalabad, September 1
Following the directions of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has denied permission to release seasonal power connections to all 400 parboiled rice mills of the state subject to the issuance of fresh no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the board.

According to PSEB norms, certain agro-based industries are entitled to avail seasonal connection facility. Hence, it releases fresh power connections on September 1 every year and these are disconnected on request during the off-season period. However, this time, the PPCB had directed the PSEB a few days ago not to release the connections to parboiled mills without obtaining fresh NOCs from them.

Mr Tejinder, Environmental Engineer of the PPCB regional office, Faridkot, said the millers had been instructions to upgrade the existing effluent treatment plants (ETP) before the new shelling season. He said all those who had upgraded the ETPs would be granted permission.

According to reports, only 5 to 10 per cent of the existing ETPs have been upgraded.

Mr Prithvi Raj Doomra, a rice miller, said the ETPs were installed with the approval of the board and it had issued consent to operate on the basis of these units. It was hard to believe that all the ETPs were not up to the mark. The PPCB had empanelled only four qualified consultant firms.

At least three months were required to upgrade the ETPs and about six months to install a new plant. Moreover, a consultant could not supervise more than five units at a time. Thus, it was impossible to upgrade the ETPs in a single year. He said the construction cost to upgrade an ETP was about Rs 4 lakh and the millers should be given time to arrange the funds for the project. He said if the board did not grant permission, it might adversely affect the procurement of paddy.

Mr Pawan Bajaj, another rice miller, said a delegation of the parboiled rice millers of the state along with its president, Mr Tarsem Saini, had met the Chairman of the PPCB Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, in Chandigarh and apprised him of the matter. He said the Chairman had assured them to look into the matter.


Scribes flay booking of Dheer
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 1
A meeting of the local Press Club, presided over by its president Surjit Singh Sohi, was held here today.

In the meeting a resolution condemning the registration of a case against Gautam Dheer of Indian Express and humiliation to him and his family members was passed.

The scribes of the district expressed solidarity with him and termed the action of SIT as an attack on the freedom of press. They assured other journalists’ organisations that the local Press Club would extend all sort of help and co-operation to them and abide by their directions if any agitation or protest was launched in this regard.

They congratulated journalists’ organisations for taking up the issue with the Chief Minister and forcing him to issue orders for Gautam’s release.


Apology sought from CM
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 1
The ex-servicemen wing of the SGPC has condemned the misbehaviour meted out to Col S.L. Dheer by police personnel during the arrest of journalist Gautam Dheer on August 28 in Panchkula.

A resolution was passed calling for a public apology from the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during a meeting here today.


Former PAU VC bereaved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 1
Mrs Surjit Kaur (73), wife of former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and renowned farm scientist, Dr Khem Singh Gill, died here today. She was suffering from cancer.

Besides Dr Gill, she is survived by two sons, Mr Ranjit Singh Gill and Dr Baljit Singh Gill, and daughter Dr Davinder Kaur.

Her funeral will take place at the cremation ground behind Arya College at 12 noon tomorrow.


Vehicular movement along canal banned
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 1
Deputy Commissioner Jaspreet Talwar has banned the movement of vehicles along the Bhakra main canal, which passes through the district.

Orders to this effect were issued under Section 144, IPC, today keeping in view an increasing number of accidents and deaths due to drowning in the canal.

The orders would remain in force till October 28.

Earlier, Harinder Pal Singh Bedi, Sub-Divisional Officer, Irrigation, Punjab, had raised the issue with the Deputy Commissioner.

In his letter to the DC, he had mentioned that people used the road along the canal for leisure purposes like driving, picnic and swimming. Since, these were dirt tracks with no railings on the sides, chances of one falling in the canal were always real.


Bhattal to tour Australia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
A delegation led by the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, will visit Australia from tomorrow.

The delegation is scheduled to hold discussions with the Queensland University of Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Technology, Sydney, and Victoria University of Technology.

Mrs Bhattal said that there had been a tremendous growth in the field of technical education in Punjab. At present, there were 45 engineering institutes and colleges with 14,880 seats. At the diploma level, Punjab had 48 institutes of engineering and 17 institutes of pharmacy.


Bibi Jagir Kaur not allowed to go abroad
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 1
The SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, was denied permission to go to the USA for six weeks by the Additional Session Judge, Patiala, Mr Bhupinder Singh, here today. Mr Bhupinder Singh dismissed the application seeking permission and passed and pronounced an oral order in this regard.

“He will probably dictate the order tomorrow to state the grounds on which the plea was dismissed,” said Mr Satnam Singh Kaler, Bibi Jagir Kaur’s counsel.

Bibi Jagir Kaur is facing trial in the alleged murder of her daughter Harpreet Kaur in 2000. She had earlier been denied permission to go to Pakistan about four months back.

Meanwhile, Prof Mohinder Pal Singh, general secretary, SAD (Amritsar), and Mr Brijinder Singh Sodhi, legal adviser of the party, have welcomed the decision.

The party appealed to Mr Parkash Singh Badal to drop her from the party as she was giving the Sikhs a bad name.

Mr Sodhi said the party was exploring a possibility of moving the relevant court to restrain Bibi Jagir Kaur from distributing funds as largesse.


high court
Pak prisoners
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 1
A PIL has been filed in the High Court, seeking directions to the Union Government and the Punjab Government to release 50-odd Pakistani prisoners languishing in Central Jail, Amritsar.

The petition has been filed by Panchkula-based Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) through its president, Mr Ujjal Singh Sahni.

Taking up the petition, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta issued notice of motion for September 22.

The petitioner has also sought directions to the Punjab Government to submit a status report about the prisoners’ detention in prison. This includes the date on which these persons were taken into custody, the offences they were charged with and the sentence imposed upon them.

Saying that even foreigners are entitled to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner has also submitted media reports in support of his contentions.

Most of these prisoners, he has pointed out, were not involved in any serious offences but had only strayed into the Indian territory. Also, they had already served their sentence period.

He has stated that in view of the improved relations between India and Pakistan, it was expected that some steps would also be initiated to release these prisoners.


Woman killed for dowry
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 1
The gruesome murder of a woman allegedly by her husband and in-laws has come to light. According to FIR lodged with the Jalalabad police by Harbhajan Lal of Chack Dabwala village of Fazilka subdivision said his sister, Soma Wanti (29) was married to Hans Raj of Mohkam Arian village of Jalalabad Subdivision about 8 years ago.

He alleged that her husband and in-laws had been asking her to bring Rs 2 lakh from her parents as they wanted to purchase some agricultural land. Parents of Soma Wanti expressed their inability. Following this, she was allegedly harassed by her husband and in-laws.

Yesterday, Soma allegedly informed her brother of threat to life on telephone. Upon which Harbhajan Lal and his father Hukum Chand rushed to Mohkan Arain village.

As they reached the village, they found that injuries were being inflicted on Soma that was caused by her husband, Hans Raj, his elder brother, Om Parkash, their father, Lakha Ram and mother, Dharmo Bai with sharp edged weapons. As a result of this she died on spot.

Soma was reportedly working as an anganwari worker and was survived by two minor children.

A post-mortem was conducted in the local Civil Hospital, today. The police has registered a case against all the accused, who are stated to be absconding.


Skeleton of taxi driver recovered
Our Correspondent

Phagwara September 1
The city police today recovered a skeleton from a nullah on the outskirts of Phagwara. Sources said the skeleton was of Naresh Kumar,a taxi driver, who was kidnapped from Pandori village in Adampur area in September last year, robbed and murdered. His body was dumped near Phagwara byepass. SHO Sadar police station Lakhwinder Singh Mal confirmed it.

It may be mentioned here that Naresh Kumar was one of the victims of the four serial killers arrested by the Hoshiarpur police on August 29. They confessed that they had kidnapped, robbed and murdered him. A team of Hoshiarpur and Phagwara police had jointly launched a search operation yesterday in this area for finding out the body with the help of the arrested gangsters.


Man held for stealing wheat

Abohar, September 1
The police has nabbed Jagdish Kumar Bishnoi, a resident of Sankad village in Jalour district, allegedly for stealing 500 bags each containing 50 kg of wheat from a truck parked near Bikaner, official sources said here on Thursday. The police has recovered 50 bags from his possession. The other accused, Balwant Singh, Kastura Ram and Kewal Singh, were still at large. — OC


Raipur law college students protest against fee hike
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 1
Students of L.LB (1st year course) of the Punjab College of Law, Raipur, held a protest rally against the increase in fees by the college management. The fees, which was Rs 23,990 at the time of the admission has now been increased to Rs 32,500.

The students have alleged that during the time of counselling, they were told that they would not have to pay anything other than the fees submitted during the time of admission. Now, the management had increased the fees, citing a university letter. Not only this, quite a few students have faced harassment on the issue. The college officials have been calling at their homes to harass parents and students alike.

“We were told that the amount submitted at the time of admission was all, that was the fees for the whole year. But now out of the blue, they have started asking us for more money, ” said Gursewak Singh, a first year student. “Not only that, they even called a lot of students at their homes. I had given a mobile number for contact. They called me and talked to me thinking it was my father. They said I was not behaving well and was trying to incite other students. Then they added that we should pay the additional fee if I was to stay as a student there. Ashish, Harvinder, Ashutosh are others who received such calls. Some girls also received calls. ”

“Seven or eight students have already withdrawn from the college. Parents of girl students were allegedly told that their wards sat with guys. A married student has already withdrawn from the college. There has been no such increase by the law college at Dhainthal”, he added.

The protest was led by student leaders Harinder Singh Sandhu, Pardeep Singh and Harjit Singh. Sawarnjeet Singh, state general secretary of the Student Federation of India, addressed the students. He said the management was trying to fleece the students. Such private institutions were out to make money by all means. Last year too, they had tried to increase the fees of law and B.Ed courses, he alleged.

The student leaders said if the management didn’t take back its decision, the students would be forced to continue their struggle.


Govt empowered to suspend education board
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 1
The government has become all powerful in the matter relating to the Punjab School Education Board acquiring powers to remove the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman or even suspend the board if the government was not satisfied with its functioning.

According to the Punjab School Education Board (Amendment) Ordinance, 2005, issued by the Punjab Governor, a copy of which was received here today, the state government may by notification in the official gazette remove any member, including the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, but other than an official member, if the willfully refused to carry out the provisions of this Act, abused powers vested in him and if it appeared to the state government that his continuing in office was deterimental to public interests.

The ordinance further said if the state government was satisfied that the board was not functioning properly or was abusing its powers or was guilty of corruption or mismanagment, it may suspend the board and make such arrangement for the functioning of the board as it may deem appropriate, provided that the board was reconstituted within a period of six months from the date of its suspension.

The board shall appoint a person to be its Secretary from a panel prepared and sent by the state government consisting of the officers of the state government and the eligible officers of the board for a term of three years, which may further be extended by the board for a period of two years. If a person was appointed as Secretary from amongst the officers of the state government, his appointment shall be treated on deputation and it shall be governed by the relevant rules or policy instructions of the Punjab Government.

Three members of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, who were earlier nominated by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, will now be nominated by the state government.

The ordinance said if any dispute or doubt arose as to whether or not any person was eligible for membership of the board or had incurred any disqualification, whether before or after becoming a member, it shall be determined by the state government, whose decision shall be final.

Subject to the provisions of this Act, the board shall arrange for preparation and sale of text books or other educational material with the prior approval of the state government.

However, the copyright of the material developed, published and printed by the board shall vest with the government. The government would also prescribe conditions for the affiliation of the institutions.


PTU students go on fast
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 1
Demanding change in examination rules, first-year engineering students of Punjab Technical University went on fast on the campus here today.

The students demanded that they be allowed to sit in the second year classes, even as the PTU authorities have been saying that this was not possible as they had not cleared four subjects out of the total nine as per the university rule.

The students demanded that the previous rule of “1 to 5” be made applicable to them under which they could clear the first semester courses till the fifth semester. 


70 selected in talent hunt show
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 1
As many as 70 candidates were selected out of 180, who participated in the Sara Talent Hunt here today. The selected candidates would take part in the semifinals to be held on September 17 at Central State Library.

In the auditions today 15 boys and an equal number of girls were selected for the fashion show category. In the kids category 24 were selected.

The final would be held on September 24. JB Thapar from Ambala, Sanam Khora from Panchkula and Shubham Chandarchur from Patiala were the judges.


NRI gives $ 10,000 for scholarships
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 1
Mr Amar Singh Gill, an NRI from the USA, handed over a cheque for $ 10,000 to Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, here today. The cheque is for the Rural Students Scholarship Programme of Yadvindra College of Engineering.

Mr Gill also pledged to donate an equal amount next year. He is the President of APCO Petroleum Company. Giving this information, Dr B.S. Mann, Professor In charge of the Resource Mobilisation Department, said a Canada-based NRI, Mr Harkiran Boparai, and Mr Harry Mann had also assured the Vice-Chancellor of sponsoring a number of rural and poor students of the college.


Punjab committed to economic development: Jagjit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Punjab Government has expressed its commitment for creating a progressive economic environment to benefit both workers and industry in the state. This was disclosed by Mr. Jagjit Singh, Labour, Employment and Local Government Minister, Punjab, while addressing an interactive session at the CII here today.

He said that the Punjab Government was keen to generate more employment, apart from all-round economic development. The Punjab Government, he said, was in the process of constituting a high-powered committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister that would look into various suggestions given by the industry in order to bring in more transparency and simplification of procedures in labour laws in the state.

He said the Labour Minister, Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Labour Commissioner and representatives from the CII would be the other members of the special committee. He urged the industry to respond positively to the government’s reform initiatives such as the self- certification scheme.

He disclosed that the empowered committee under the leadership of the Chief Minister had already given approvals for around 60 mega projects to be set up in the state worth Rs 16,954 crore. The minister was of the view that there is need to create friendly environment between workers and industry so that more and more investments could be brought into the state.

Mrs Harsimrat, Principal Secretary, Labour & Employment, Punjab said that security should be given to the workers so that labour problems can be avoided. She also said that we should follow the recommendations of the second National Labour Commission, which aims at addressing the issues of the employer and the employee amicably.

In his address, Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary - Industries & Commerce, Punjab, said that labour laws need to be flexible to attract investments in the state which could produce more jobs for the youth in Punjab. Mr Agrawal also mentioned, it can be observed that China, with its competitiveness, is becoming the manufacturing hub for the whole world. “Labour laws are a human issue” said Mr Som Prakash, Labour Commissioner, Government of Punjab, pointing out that “social security is as imperative as industrial development”.

Some steps taken by the state government on labour reforms in the state highlighted at the function included declaration of IT industry as ‘Public Utility Service’, allowing women workers to serve round the clock in IT service oriented units, extending working hours for women in manufacturing units, increase in number of working hours, only one inspection in a year of an establishment under all the laws, only one challan of an establishment under one act, common inspection book under all the 27 Labour Laws, under the EPF Act and ESI Act, etc.


SCO auctioned for Rs 38 lakh
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 1
The Phagwara Improvement Trust pocketed Rs 38 lakh for a built-up shop-cum-office at an auction held at its office today.

According to a press note of the trust, under its scheme No. 1 the shop-cum-office (S-33-A) was auctioned for Rs 38 lakh against its reserved price of Rs 35,26,500 in the presence of Improvement Trust Chairman Balbir Raja Sodhi, Local Bodies Department Regional Deputy Director Sarojini Gautam Sharda, Phagwara Tehsildar H.S. Dhaliwal, Executive Officer of the trust Jatinder Singh and other officials of the trust.

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