P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal for live telecast of session
Debate on militancy, Nanavati report
Tribune News Service

Kanjhla (Sangrur), September 8
Leader of the opposition in Punjab Assembly and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Parkash Singh Badal today asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, to convene a special session of the Punjab Assembly for a live telecast debate on militancy in Punjab and the report of Nanavati Commission. He said the SAD was ready to participate in the debate.

Mr Badal was here today to participate in the first death anniversary of Ms Mukhtiar Kaur, wife of Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, MLA from Sherpur. Death anniversary function was organised at the Sant Parma Nand Singh Vaid Manav Kalyan Kendra here. Bhog of “Akhand path” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in memory of Mukhtiar Kaur was held in the morning.

Mr Badal, was accompanied by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD. He said there were attacks on SAD leaders by militants. In one of these attacks Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, then president of the SAD, had to lay down his life, while militants had also Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi. In the Assembly elections in 1991, 24 candidates of the SAD had been killed by militants. Besides, militants considered SAD leaders as enemy number one in those days, he added.

Mr Badal also said the SAD would organise a rally in New Delhi on November 4 on the issue of “Nanavati Commission” report and seek justice for victims of “anti-Sikh” riots. The rally will also put pressure on the Central Government to punish the “guilty” for killing of Sikhs in November 1984.

To a question that Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, wanted to approach the Supreme Court to decide that the Sikhs were not a part of the Hindu religion, Mr Badal said historically and religiously this was a fact that Sikhs were not a part of Hindu religion and had a separate identity. There was no need to procure a certificate from any court. He added such issues created unnecessary controversies, so he did not want to comment more.

Mr Badal said politicians should not be appointed Governors. He said an all-party meeting should be convened by the Centre to have a debate on the issue. He said appointment of non-political persons as Governors would be in the interest of the country.

On free power to all farmers by the Amarinder government, Mr Badal said it was an election stunt and not out of any sympathy for the farmers. He said if Capt Amarinder Singh was really sincere to farmers, he should reimburse the payment of electricity bills to the farmers, paid by them during the past more than three years. He also said corruption was prevalent in the Amarinder regime and the Chief Minister had no control over the bureaucracy as he had no time for officers and the public, he added.

Mr Badal also asked the Union Government to link the minimum support price (MSP) of various crops with the price index, as a petty increase every year by the government in the MSP of crops was not a solution to the problem. He said the MSP increased at the rate of one per cent while the prices of agriculture inputs increased at the rate of six per cent every year.


Level of dissatisfaction high among Cong MLAs
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
To the subtle and systematic campaign launched to win the “hearts and minds” of the party’s rank and file, the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, has got a response which, perhaps, he had himself not expected.

The way party MLAs poured their hearts out and narrated their tales of woe at yesterday’s meeting was a revelation for Mr Dullo, who was profusely thanked for calling the meeting. Though the meeting was called to get feedback and discuss the party’s strategy for the next Assembly poll, it turned out to be a forum against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his core group of Ministers and confidants.

Obviously, by calling this meeting, the echo of which is getting louder every hour in the corridors of the Punjab Civil Secretariat, where Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sits, Mr Dullo won the hearts and minds of many MLAs and others, who got the chance to speak their mind. Have MLAs started getting closer with Mr Dullo? This question must be arising again and again in the mind of Capt Amarinder Singh and his core team of advisers.

The meeting started shortly after 11 am and continued for 10 hours with two short breaks — one for lunch and the other for a Press conference. That the level of dissatisfaction and frustration among MLAs and certain Parliamentary Secretaries and Ministers is so high, may never have crossed the mind of even Capt Amarinder Singh, who stayed away from the meeting. The Chief Minister must be angry with his political managers who had got cancelled a meeting of the party’s legislators that was called by him during the last session of the state Assembly. If that meeting had been held, his government may not have been blasted by his own MLAs in the manner they did yesterday.

“For us, the Chief Minister’s absence from the meeting proved a blessing in disguise. We felt free to say what we wanted in front of his (CM) trusted Ministers who were present”, said certain MLAs. A lot more of what was said at the meeting yesterday has come to light.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who led the charge at the meeting, took potshots at a Minister by recalling his statements. “The Minister always says that Dell, Infosys and Tata Consultancy are coming to Punjab. What has the common man in the street got to do with that? People in villages and towns want pensions and not Tatas. Otherwise, they would say ta-ta to us”.

How many persons have been recruited by the state government during the past three years? Members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board would, perhaps, for the first time complete their tenure without making a single recruitment, said certain MLAs. Even those slots that fell vacant following the retirement of government employees were not being filled at a time when the government was claiming that it had deposited Rs 900 crore, the money that was surplus with it, in the RBI.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba, a former Minister, asked the government to explain why senior Congress leaders like Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Ramesh Singla and Mr Hamir Singh Ghagga quit the party at a time when at the Centre and in the state the Congress was the ruling party.

However, the fiercest attack was made by an MLA from the Ferozepore area. He said the state government took about a year to collect evidence against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to book him in a corruption case. However, against certain present government functionaries, there will be no need to spend so much time. Already, a lot of evidence is available on the loot they resorted to and the wealth collected by them”, he added. In fact, at the meeting he gave details of the property held by an elected government functionary 20 years ago and now. MLAs also laughed at the proposal revealed by a Minister regarding the setting up of separate model villages for SCs.

Disparity in the allocation of funds for development projects in the constituencies of ruling party MLAs was also highlighted at the meeting. “Development funds are being spent only in few chosen constituencies”, certain MLAs alleged.

Some MLAs said that elections could not be won only by allocating funds.


CM, Dullo meet to discuss party issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Within hours of the public slamming of the Punjab Government by party MLAs, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, reportedly held a meeting here today to discuss the issues of the party and government raised during yesterday's controversial meeting.

Sources said certain senior Cabinet ministers were also present during the meeting. The sources said Mr Dullo had tried to remove misgivings that were created following yesterday’s meeting. The impression had gone around that the PPCC chief had provided the MLAs with an opportunity to hit out at the Chief Minister and his so-called coterie.

Another source in the Chief Minister's camp said that MLAs in yesterday’s meeting were giving vent to their anger as no meeting of the legislative council had been held in the past two years.

Sources said the Chief Minister’s camp, though angry over the proceeding of yesterday's meeting, was by and large contented as Mr Dullo had refrained from making any adverse comment against the functioning of the government, especially against the Chief Minister. In fact, he tried to soothe the ruffled feathers of MLAs and made them speak within their limits to avoid personal criticism. Despite this, certain senior ministers have not taken kindly to the outburst by the MLAs. They feel slighted by the criticism and personal attacks made on them by certain MLAs.

The sources said certain ministers advised Mr Dullo to avoid such public display of anger against the government and the Chief Minister as the Assembly elections were less than 16 months away. Meanwhile, both camps chose to downplay today’s meeting between the two leaders by saying that they usually meet each other every week to discuss various issues.


PSEB seeks advance payment for free power
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has asked the Punjab Government to make arrangements for making advance payment to the board in lieu of power which it has started giving to the farmers free of cost from September 1, 2005 to keep the board’s cash flow intact.

Though the PSEB chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, said that he had not written any such letter to state government but he might do that in a day or so.

But a section of senior officials of PSEB told TNS that such letter had been written to state government through the Secretary, Power and Secretary, Finance, Punjab.

Official sources said that in the letter the PSEB authorities had sought that the PSEB must be given Rs 36 crore per month in advance in lieu of free power to be given to the farmers for agricultural use. As per the free power policy for farmers implemented by the state government, the PSEB would become entitled to get more than Rs 430 crore annually.

As per the order of Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC), the Punjab Government was bound to pay reimbursement in advance to PSEB in lieu of free power to the farming sector.

Before extending the facility of free power to farming sector, the state government had been given subsidy of more than Rs 1100 crore to the farmers by supplying them power at subsidised rates. With the facility of free power to farmers, the liability of state government had increased by about Rs 441 crore annually.

A senior functionary of the PSEB, on the condition of anonymity, said that if the state government would not compensate the PSEB per month, its cash flow would get disturbed and ultimately the PSEB authorities would be left with no option other than to cut on its on going developmental projects.

He pointed out that PSEB had been paying for coal and freight for its transportation in advance. The power, which was being purchased from other sources, was being purchased on the letter of credit basis. He added that if the cash flow of PSEB was disturbed, it could affect the functioning of PSEB.

“Though Rs 441 crore is a negligible amount before Rs 7000 crore which is the total revenue of the PSEB. But if it is not paid to PSEB, it will certainly affect the functioning of PSEB and hence a letter of request to get advance monthly reimbursement has been written to state government,” he pointed out.


SC for bail to convicts in jail for long period
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 8
The Supreme Court of India has observed that the courts, particularly those dealing with bail cases, must keep in mind the guidelines laid down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Dharampal versus the State of Punjab case.

In 1999 a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, while dealing with the case filed by Dharampal, had laid down the principle that a convict whose appeal is not heard for a very long period of time ought to be granted bail on the basis of inordinate incarceration.

The judgement in the Dharampal case is frequently cited by lawyers in criminal cases while seeking bail for life convicts who have suffered detention for five years in case of male convicts and four years in case of female convicts.

During hearing of an appeal — Surinder Singh, alias Shingara Singh, versus the State of Punjab - the Supreme Court Bench comprising Mr Justice B.P. Singh and Mr Justice S.H. Kapadia on September 5 noted: “We agree with the submission urged before us that the directions contained in the aforesaid judgement of the High Court are only in the nature of guidelines and the High Court should not be understood to have laid down an invariable rule to be observed with mathematical precision. In fact, in the very first paragraph of the judgement, the learned Judges observed that they were making “an attempt to frame certain guidelines for the grant of bail.”

However, the Bench then went on to say that the rule laid down in Dharampal’s case could be understood to mean that unless a convict has undergone five years imprisonment, he should not be released on bail.

“This would again lead to travesty of justice, because in a given case having regard to the evidence on record and the reasoning of the court convicting the accused, the High Court in an appeal may well be persuaded and justified in granting bail to the appellant even while admitting his appeal,” it observed.

In its order, the Bench held that the guidelines laid down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Dharampal’s case should be kept in mind by courts dealing with applications for grant of bail in a pending appeal.

“It does not lay down any hard and fast rule of universal application. As we have observed earlier, it would be futile to lay down any strait-jacket formula in such matters,” the Bench further said.

With the Supreme Court upholding the law as laid down in the judgement of the Bench headed by Mr Justice Bedi, the convicts, who are in jail for long periods without being afforded the latitude of bail, have reasons to feel happy.


CMC to fill MBBS seats from own merit lists
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 8
Consequent upon the failure of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) to hold counselling for admission to undergraduate courses of the MBBS, BDS and nursing due to delay in the announcement of the PMET and the matter having gone to the Supreme Court, the Christian Medical College (CMC) here has decided to fill the remaining 25 percent seats in these courses from out of all India merit lists, drawn on the basis of its own medical entrance examination.

Stating this here today, the acting director of the CMC, Dr John Pramod, told The Tribune that the apex court had directed all medical, dental and nursing colleges to abide by the time-frame quoted in Mridul Dhar’s case, according to which the last date for joining for candidates allotted seats in the second counselling or from the waiting list was August 30.

Since the state of Punjab could not provide the candidates against the majority seats within the stipulated time, the CMC was entitled to fill the balance 25 per cent seats in undergraduate courses from the test conducted by itself against the stray vacancies, he maintained. The acting director informed that the merit list for all majority applicants had been published stating their rank in each category. The selected candidates would be called for the scrutiny of certificates through a separate notice by the CMC authorities at a later date and the admission process would be completed by September 30.

In a communication to the Vice-Chancellor of the BFUHS, a copy of which has also been sent to chairman, Admission Supervisory Committee, set up by the state government, the secretary of the CMC Ludhiana Society has stated that since the government had failed to provide candidates for 25 per cent vacancies in MBBS, BDS and BSc nursing courses by August 30, the date fixed for this purpose by the Supreme Court as well as the schedule defined by the Medical Council of India (MCI), the CMC was left with no other option but to fill these seats from out of its own merit list.

The CMC management further contended that the colleges of the CMC, Ludhiana, were the only institutions in Punjab to have completed the admission to 75 per cent seats from the minority applicants as per the merit within the stipulated time frame.

“The filling of vacancies under the consequential admissions by the CMC, Ludhiana, is in accordance with the MCI schedule and also as per the recent judgement of the Supreme Court of India in Civil Appeal No 5041 of 2005 arising out of SLP (C) No 9932 of 2004 in case of P.A. Inamdar and others versus State of Maharashtra and others,” Dr Pramod pointed out.


Doctor caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
The lust for money has landed an assistant professor-cum-surgeon of local Rajindra Government Hospital, Dr Harjit Singh Lamba, into the Vigilance Bureau net. He was caught redhanded while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 for doing an eye operation.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that Dr Lamba, working as an assistant professor in the Eye Department of the hospital had demanded Rs 1,000 as bribe from Mr Tarsem Singh, a resident of Majal Khurd village, for operating the eyes of his father, Mr Joginder Singh.

When Mr Tarsem Singh expressed his inability to pay, Dr Lamba allegedly said either he should be given the money or there would be no surgery.

After arranging money, Mr Tarsem Singh went to Dr Lamba today and asked him that he was willing to pay the money. Dr Lamba prepared all documents required for conducting the operation. Later, he accepted bribe from Mr Tarsem Singh.

A team of Vigilance Bureau that had laid a trap following a complaint by Mr Tarsem Singh caught him redhandedly.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhuller, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, said a case had been registered. Search was being carried out in the Ragho Majra house of Dr Lamba, he added.

In the past 40 days, the bureau had caught 12 officials on the charge of indulging in corrupt practices, he said.


Chandigarh blast: red alert in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Within hours of a bomb blast at the inter-state bus terminus in Sector 17 here, the Punjab police sealed the state border with Jammu and Kashmir and started checking all vehicles besides issuing a red-alert across the state.

All district police chiefs have been told to conduct search operations at bus stands, railways stations. The DGP, Mr S.S. Virk, said orders had been issued asking a thorough scan of suspicious looking movements.

Senior Punjab police and men from intelligence agencies reached the spot even as the Chandigarh police was carrying out investigations.

The orders of the DGP have been sent to all district police chiefs. Mohali, adjacent to Chandigarh, was the first to react, the SP asked all SHOs to be check vehicle movement. The SSP Ludhiana, also issued orders in this regard late at night.

The blast comes on the day the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, was scheduled to make a brief stopover on his way back from Shimla. The visit of the Prime Minister was cancelled last evening.


Potable water for Bhakra residents
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Bhakra (Nangal), September 8
Finally after 50 years, people of Bhakra village, who were displaced during the construction of Bhakra Dam, will get potable water through a permanent water supply scheme. The project, costing Rs 25 lakh, is being funded by the Bhakra Beas Management Board and is scheduled to be completed by September 15.

About 1500 villagers residing in Bhakra are eagerly waiting for this day.

Union Minister for Power P.M. Sayeed, during his visit to Bhakra Dam on June 20, interacted with villagers and directed the Chairman of the BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, to make arrangements for providing clean drinking water to the villagers. Mr Sayeed gave a three-month deadline to complete the project.

Batan Singh (84) said when they shifted their residences during the excavation of the dam, the government had assured them that they would get free water and electricity. However, despite their best efforts, they were neglected by the government. Now after 50 years, he said, they would at least have potable water.

Another 69-year-old villager Om Parkash said during summer, life became hell for them due to shortage of water.

“We feel neglected as the main office of the administration is about 100 km from here. Besides, hardly anyone visits this place to hear our grievances. A water supply scheme started in 2004 by the Himachal Government did not work out,” said Balwinder Singh, another villager.

The Chairman of the BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, said the problem of shortage of water in Bhakra village would be solved with the water supply scheme. “We will complete the project by September 15 and hand it over to the Himachal Government for the distribution of water to the villagers. However, water treatment plant and water supply would be looked after by the BBMB,” he said.


Work on stage II of Kandi canal to start
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, September 8
To bring overall socio-economic uplift of the Kandi area, the Kandi Area Development Administration wing of the Punjab Agriculture Department is likely to start constructing Rajiv Gandhi Kandi Canal in the third week of this month.

After the completion of the Kandi Canal Stage I, the administration would construct 70.50-km-long and 50 m wide canal (Kandi Canal Stage-II), at a cost of about Rs 180 crore. The project, starting from Ajowal village near Hoshiarpur to Thopia village in Balachaur, would be completed in two phases, benefiting over 218 villages of Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts.

Sources in the department stated that only five families of Kaunla Gaunspur village near Hoshiarpur would be shifted as their houses have come in the alignment of the canal.

Mr V.K. Mantrao, Chief Engineer of the project, said that in the first phase of the project, a 25-km stretch of the canal would be completed while the rest length will be taken up in the second phase. Payments had been made for 80 per cent of the land acquired from landowners as per the rates fixed by the state government.

He maintained that after the completion of the canal, 72,900 acres would get irrigation facilities. A water discharge of 258 cusecs would be utilised for irrigation through this canal.

Mr Mantrao claimed that after the success of Kandi Canal Stage –I project that had been proving a boon for the farmers of scores of villages that fall along the canal in the Shivalik foothills from Talwara to Hoshiarpur, the state government had also given a green signal for the launching of its second phase.


Awareness can check spread of AIDS: Neil
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
Dr Neil Abell, Associate Professor at the Florida State University (USA) laid stress on the self-disclosure that could help in preventing of HIV/AIDS menace. This is the only message that can help to control its spread. He further said social workers, NGOs and NSS volunteers could create awareness and educate masses. He delivered a lecture on “HIV/AIDS stigma: awareness, acceptance and action in health care and social services” at Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

The university in collaboration with American Embassy, New Delhi organised the seminar. Prof Gurupdesh Singh, coordinator welcomed Dr Neil Abell and Dr R.S. Jain while Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean, academic affairs presided over.

In USA, Prof Neil said the HIV positive sufferer discloses his positive status. He said the spread of HIV/AIDS was brought down by awareness in the USA. Laying stress on yoga/meditation, medical adherence and Nutrition were necessary for the treatment of such persons.

Dr M.P.S. Ishar, Director, Research, Prof Sukhdev Singh, Dr Sajjad Hussain, Dr M.S. Gill, Dr B.S. Chadha and a large number of students of different departments participated in the discussion. Dr Ishar and Dr Gill also honoured Prof Neil and Dr Jain by presenting mementos.


‘Gas leakage’ from fertiliser plant hits cotton,
paddy crop

Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
Cotton and paddy crops in hundreds of acres surrounding National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) has been hit by alleged gas leak from the plant. However, the NFL denied gas leak from the plant.

While farmers from Siwia village were a worried lot, the NFL officials reportedly denied meeting them. About 100 acres of cotton crop belonging to 24 farmers of the village has been ruined.

The “gas leakage” also left a burning impact on paddy crop in villages close to the plant. The affected farmers under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the village panchayat today met Bathinda SDM, SK Singla, who had asked the Chief Agricultural Officer and the Executive Engineer of the Punjab Pollution Control Board to probe the matter and submit reports to him within a day.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Gurjant Singh, a farmer from Siwia village, lamented that cotton in his six acres land had almost been burnt due to “gas leakage” from NFL plant and he had lost hope of reaping a rich harvest this year. Another farmer Joginder Singh had similar story, while Jagga Singh’s paddy crop in eight acres had been hit. Mukhtiar Singh said leaves of his cotton crop had been burnt.

Hardas Singh’s crop in 15 acres of land had also been affected. Sources said trees along the Behman Minor had also undergone the burning effect. Block president of the BKU Amrik Singh Siwia alleged that he along with farmers had gone to meet the NFL officials, but they refused to meet them.

The farmers demanded compensation for the losses. GM of NFL, V.K. Sharma, said there was no leak of gas from the plant and none of the trees on their premises had the effect of burning.


Shopping mall scam report gets ‘quiet burial’
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, September 8
The report filed by the Assistant Commissioner, Gurdaspur, pertaining to large-scale irregularities in the allotment of multi-crore Dr Shyma Prasad Mukherjee shopping complex on Dhangu Road, constructed by the Pathankot Improvement Trust, has been given a “quiet burial”.

Acting on certain complaints in the allotment scam, on September 20, 2003, Assistant Commissioner, Grievance Cell, had completed the inquiry. He had recommended to the government that the entire allotment of the complex be reviewed and also proposed registration of criminal cases against the trust officials who were guilty of manipulating the allotment.

Sources said the trust had framed a scheme in the year 1967 and the revised layout plan of the scheme was sanctioned in 1984. As per the plan the scheme was absolutely commercial.

According to the sources only 14 persons were in possession of the kiosks on temporary basis. The government had agreed to the request of the trust and amended Rule 6 of the Land Disposal Rule 1967.

Interestingly in 1993, total kiosks holders were made 18, but in 2001, the number of kiosks holders was shown as 31 in connivance with the concerned officials. In October 23, 2002, the trust handed over allotment letters to some persons. Some claimants raised much hue and cry and an inquiry was conducted.

The report brought out the fact that the concerned functionaries of the trust, causing huge losses to the state exchequer, had committed large-scale financial irregularities. The trust’s Executive Officer was not available for comment.


LBP seeks action against travel agents
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 8
The Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) today stated that if the Punjab Government didn’t initiate any action against deceiving travel agents of the state before September 16 it would launch an agitation on the issue.

Addressing a press conference here today, the state party vice-president, Mr S.S. Brar, said some Congress leaders were protecting the travel agent who was responsible for sending Veerpal Kaur, a girl from Dhurkot Kalan village, to Singapore, and his party would expose them. He gave a call to all the Dalit organisations of the state to participate in the protest for demanding the necessary measures from the state government for the release of Veerpal Kaur from Singapore in front of the DC office on September 16.

He said the LBP had raised the issue of deceiving travel agents earlier too, but the government didn’t take it seriously.


Spread of dengue fever feared
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, today held a meeting of all the district heads to review the progress made by various government departments.

Addressing the district heads, the Deputy Commissioner stressed the need to create better liaison among various government departments to speed up government recoveries and remove encroachments from government lands. She directed the BDPOs, executive officers and revenue officials to hold meetings in this regard.

She also suggested to the executive officers that they could give the work of collection of house tax to private contractors on the Chandigarh pattern. The collected amount could be spent on the development of the towns. Taking stock of the ongoing construction work of the repair of roads in the district, she said the work on the Fatehgarh Sahib-Mandi Gobindgarh road would be completed soon.

The revelation by Mr H.P.S. Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, of the meeting that there is every possibility of dengue fever spreading in the Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib area created a flutter. The Deputy Commissioner immediately directed Executive Officers and the BDPOs to take preventive measures in the urban as well as the rural areas and launch a cleanliness drive.


Paucity of funds hits health scheme
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 8
The ex-servicemen contributory health scheme has run into rough. Due to the paucity of funds members of the scheme are not getting free medicine as promised in the scheme.

Under the scheme, the members were to contribute a fixed amount according to the rank to become a life member. The members of the scheme were entitled to get free medicine and medical treatment at the dispensaries opened under the scheme.

Sources available here said initially the scheme worked well. Due to the success of the scheme, however, a lot of ex-servicemen became members of the scheme.

A dispensary was opened under the scheme at Gurdaspur. However, due to the increase in number of patients the budget allotted for the scheme fell short. The authorities concerned have written to the army headquarters and Ministry of Defence for increase in the budget for the scheme. The district president of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, Col Dharam Singh (retd.), while talking to The Tribune, alleged that members of the scheme were suffering due to shortage of medicine. He said I had deposited Rs 18,000 to take the membership of the scheme. However, even after that medicines were not available, as promised in the scheme.


Wagah checkpost to undergo renovation
Tribune News Service

Wagah, September 8
Keeping in view the numerous problems being faced by tourists, the Central Government, under the Border Area Development Programme, has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the development of international Wagah joint checkpost here.

Mr Paramjit Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurwaryam Singh, SDM, and Mr Pardeep Katyal, Commandant, Border Security Force, today held a meeting at Wagah and discussed various points.

After the thaw between Indo-Pak relations resulted in manifold increase in the rush from all over the country and abroad. The beating retreat ceremony at the joint check-post has emerged as a major tourist destination where 15,000 to 20,000 tourists visit daily.

Although it has become a major tourist destination, the Wagah joint checkpost lacks various public utilities, including drinking water, public toilets, vehicle parking, etc. There is only one electric water cooler available for thousands of tourists.


Orations for Patiala doctors
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
Dr Harbir Kaur Rao and Dr Rajinder Singh Gupta, Professors of Medicine at Government Medical College, Patiala, have been awarded major orations by the Geriatrics Society of India at its 24th Annual National Conference on Geriatrics and Gerontology held in Pondicherry recently.

Dr Rao was awarded the Reckitts Geriatric Oration, 2005. She presented her work on ‘Upcoming scenario of auto-immune disease in the elderly’. Dr Gupta was awarded the GSI Annual Oration, 2005. He had delivered expert talk on ‘Dyslipidemias and it’s management in the elderly’.


Oldman to get pension after two years
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 8
A-78-year old Bachan Singh of Kiratpur Sahib town has been struggling for the past more than two years to get old age pension. He was getting pension under social security scheme till May 2003 as per the Deputy Commissioner order, but thereafter he did not received his pension following a technical mistake committed by the department concerned.

The District Social Security Officer, Ms Rupinder Jaijee, said that due to technical mistake in computer. The cheque to be sent to Bachan Singh of Shapur Bela in Kiratpur Sahib was sent to Bachan Singh of Morinda town. We have detected the mistake today and from next month, Bachan Singh will get pension through his village sarpanch.


Woman tests HIV positive

Abohar, September 8
Another AIDS patient was identified today in rural area. Sources at the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital said she was admitted on Monday. The young married woman today tested HIV positive.

This was the second such case from a village in this subdivision. The doctors have referred her to the PGI, Chandigarh, but the husband said he was unable to bear the travelling expenses. Volunteers of the Nar Seva Narayan Seva Society came to the rescue of the patient and made all arrangements for the journey to Chandigarh by train. — OC


Punjland Beverages, Herbertsons to pay relief
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
Mr Gurdev Singh, president, District Consumer Forum, in a judgement, delivered today has accepted the complaint of Harmesh Singh, resident of Marwa village in the district, against Punjland Beverages Ltd, manufacturer of Bagpiper Club Soda, and Herbertsons Ltd. The forum announced a compensation of Rs 25,000 for causing mental agony and harassment and also awarded Rs 2000 and Rs 500 for as costs for the complaint.

Earlier Mr Harmesh Singh, a resident of Marwa village, filed a complaint with the forum against the two firms alleging that he had purchased six bottles of one-litre Bagpiper Club Soda from Chunni Kalan at Rs 15 per bottle on December.15, 2004 for personal use.

He has mentioned that as he was about to open the bottle for personal use, he was shocked as he found dead flies in one of the sealed bottles. He did not open the bottle. He alleged that the soda he bought was not fit for consumption and it could have caused damaged his health.

He demanded compensation of Rs 75,000 for the negligent act.

Both the respondents contested the complaint and denied that the complainant had purchased the said bottles of Bagpiper Club Soda from them.

However, the president of the forum, in his judgment has mentioned that it was evident from the product produced in the court that it had insecticides and was adulterated. It was a matter of deficiency of services and for the foregoing reasons, the complaint had been accepted.


HC order on nursing institutes ‘not being implemented’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The petitioner on whose PIL the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ordered that nursing institutes which do not have the requisite infrastructure will not make admissions for the 2005-06 academic session, has alleged that in spite of the High Court order, certain nursing institutes were continuing to make admissions.

The High Court had ordered that only those institutes which are certified by the Punjab Nurses Registration Council as having the mandatory infrastructure as per the government guidelines can make fresh admissions.

In a letter addressed to the President of the Punjab Nurses Registration Council (PNRC), Mr Jaskaran Singh Brar has said that in spite of passage of over two weeks after the High Court issued the direction, no action seems to have been initiated by the PNRC to implement the order.

He has also alleged that many institutes are continuing to make admissions in backdate. Mr Brar has urged the PNRC President to not to take the High Court order lightly as it has been doing with the report of the Vigilance Bureau, which was submitted after state-wide raids on nursing institutes.


Medicine dealer’s bail plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
A local court has dismissed the anticipatory bail of a Ludhiana-based medicine dealer, Mr Manoj Jindal, who was accused of forging certain documents to avail of sales tax benefits. The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr RS Baswana, dismissed the bail application arguing that the custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary to investigate the matter in order to find the tampering with of the government securities.

Earlier, the police has registered a case against Mr Jindal on the complaint of a pharmaceutical company Martin and Harris Private Limited. The case relates to the issuance of Form “C” furnished by Jindal Brothers, Ludhiana. Jindal Brothers had purchased pharmaceutical products worth about Rs 5 crore from the company in 2004 and on the basis of Form “C” had availed sales tax concessions worth Rs 45 lakh.


Farmers forced to unload cotton in open as truckers occupy sheds
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
While the arrival of cotton has started picking up, the market committee has not taken any action to remove trucks parked under the sheds of the local grain market, forcing cotton growers to dump their cotton produce under the sun.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Binder Singh, a farmer from Kot Shamir village, said with scores of trucks being parked under the shed, meant for storage of agricultural produce, the farmers had no other option but to unload their cotton in the open.

With clouds hovering on the sky today, he feared that even a light shower would ruin the cotton and they were clueless as to what they would do in such a situation.

Mr Baldev Singh, another cotton farmer from Katarsinghwala village, said the concerned authorities should have made proper arrangements for unloading cotton, especially, when they had got huge sheds erected for the purpose.

He said when he brought his cotton produce to the market, he was surprised to see so many trucks parked under the sheds meant for unloading agricultural produce. Mr Mukhtiar Singh of the same village and Mr Sukhmandar Singh of Bathinda also rued that they did not get a suitable place to unload their cotton produce.

Mr Devraj, an ‘arhtiya’ at the local grain market, said a shower would be enough to wash

away the hopes of the farmers who had brought their produce to the market, as the market witnessed a lot of water-logging. “Why have made these sheds if not for keeping the farmers’ produce safe,” he asked.

He said four unions of different vehicles had come up in the area, close to the market, and their

vehicles could be spotted parked under the shed.

When contacted, the market committee chairman, Mr P.K. Gupta, said some of the trucks had been removed, while others would soon vacate the sheds. He said notices had also been issued to the shopkeepers who had kept their stock outside.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said he had called a meeting of market committee officials after The Tribune carried a news report on this matter last week. He said on the

committee chairman’s plea he had passed a written order for the same and had also assured full assistance in removing the trucks.


Farm experts review cotton project

Barnala, September 8
Representatives of Sir Rattan Tata Trust, Mumbai, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and Punjab Agriculture Department yesterday visited Rureke Kalan, and Dhoorkot village to monitor the integrated pest management cotton project.

The team comprised Dr Arun Pandhi, Coordinator, Sir Rattan Tata Trust, Mumbai, Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, Joint Director, Punjab Agriculture Department, Dr Ashok Dhawan, state coordinator, Cotton Project, PAU, Ludhiana, Dr A.S. Dhatt, Director, Post Harvesting Technology, PAU, Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal, Chief Agriculture Officer, Sangrur, and Mr Dalip Chand Malhi, Agriculture Officer, Barnala region.

Dr Arun Pandhi said at Rureke Kalan the Tata Trust had adopted 56 villages of Punjab (two villages each in 28 blocks) to help cotton growers in obtaining good yield and profit. He revealed that by adopting 53 more villages in Punjab next year with an approximate monetary help of Rs 23 lakh, the Trust aimed at reviving the green revolution.

Mr Boota Singh, Mr Major Singh and Mr Ajaib Singh, farmers of Rureke Kalan, informed the team that they experienced a twofold benefit as the yield increased. Reduced spray of pesticide had also resulted in savings. Similarly, Mr Sukhraj Singh, Mr Buta Singh and Mr Bikar Singh, farmers of Dhoorkot told the team that three sprays earlier resulted in less yield of cotton crop whereas under IPM project the gain had doubled.

Mr Bikar Singh complained that certain dealers were selling mixed seeds of cotton in bags whereas pure cotton seed offered double yield.

Mr Dalip Chand Malhi, Agriculture Officer, Barnala, informed that in Sangrur 10 villages adopted under IPM cotton project were Rureke Kalan, Dhoorkot (Barnala block), Mallian, Pakhoke (Shehna block), Bhadalwadh, Wazidke Kalan (Mehal Kalan Block), Rattangarh Pattanwale, Jarhon (Sunam block) and Kotla Lehal Alampur (Lehra block).

Mr Balwinder Singh Sohal, Chief Agriculture Officer, Sangrur, said there had been an increase in cotton growing area in Sangrur ranging from 35 per cent to 40 per cent this year. — OC


Session on farm labourers today
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 8
Speedy decline of the farm sector because of disinterest of the state governments and pitiable lot of farm labourers are likely to come up for discussion during the three-day national delegate session of the All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha to be organised at the local Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall from September 9 to 11.

Representatives of farmers and farm labourers from 12 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan and Punajb, would ponder over issues like as to how farming class and farm labourers were being driven towards poverty by new economic policies and for none of their faults.

Apart from impractical land reforms, farmers and farm labourers would jointly identify areas, for an instance West Bengal, where land reforms were being rendered ineffective, primarily to help big landlords, industrial houses and to enable MNCs to acquire huge chunks of land.


Sarpanch arrested
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 8
The Ropar police today arrested Sarpanch of Sukhgarh village Gurmeet Singh, for taking Rs 75,000 for settling a murder case. The police had arrested Swaran Singh on the charge of murdering Kuda Singh on August 25.

While addressing a press conference, the SSP said Gurmeet Singh was arrested on a complaint lodged by family members of the suspect, Swaran Singh. The police confiscated Rs 75,000 from his possession. He was arrested under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Giving details, the SSP said after the arrest of Swaran Singh, the police had questioned his two son, Gurjit Singh and Gurpreet Singh, in connection with the case.

Gurmeet Singh had allegedly approached Swaran Singh’s wife, Rajinder Kaur, demanding Rs 75,000 which was meant to be given to the police to settle the murder case. Harchand Singh, a relative of the murder suspect had paid the amount to the sarpanch in the presence of Rajinder Kaur.


Fake journalist held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
The district police has arrested a fake journalist at Mandi Gobindgarh town of the district who was allegedly fleecing the people in the name of broadcasting their news on an electronic news channel.

According to a press release issued by Mr. Varinder Kumar, SSP, Mr. Gurpinder Pal Singh, ASI, got secret information that a bogus reporter, who claims himself to be the reporter of ETC Punjabi channel is collecting Rs.280/- per person in the name of showing their photos on the channel. He said that the police took him in the custody and during interrogation he revealed his identity as Kamaljit Singh alias Pappu, resident of Nogawan village in the district, and admitted that he was not authorised reporter of any news agency or channel. Rather, he was fleecing people. The police has registered case u/s 419,420 IPC.

The police has also arrested a lady identified as Harvinder Kaur alias Bholi resident of Amloh town, and recovered 420 gm of opium from her. The police claimed that she used to sell opium where as her husband succeeded in escaping. Mr Daljit Singh Rana, DSP, Amloh, said that further investigations are going on.


Admissions on despite UGC notification
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 8
The off campus study centres of certain deemed universities are duping students.

In a notification issued by the UGC on his website, Mr V.K. Jaswal, Under Secretary, has said the commission has not approved the study centres of any deemed university. The notification comes after a numbers of individuals and organisations sought classification as regards a large number of study centres being run by deemed universities.

From Punjab, queries were sought particularly as regards Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur; Allahabad Agriculture University, Allahabad; and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Sardarshahar, Rajasthan.

The UGC has clarified that deemed universities are not permitted to affiliate any college or institute. These can start new departments on their campuses. Campus centres can be started only with the prior permission of the UGC or the state government concerned.

The UGC has clarified that these universities can offer distance education programmes through their own study centres only and that too with the prior permission of the UGC and the Distance Education Council. Private franchises are not been allowed in their case the notification has clarified.

Despite the UGC notification, the off-campus centres of many deemed universities are taking admissions.

Some affected students complained to SSP Pramod Bhan, about the off-campus centres of deemed universities being run in the district.

A complainant Mr Sanjeev Sarpal alleged that the Gurdaspur based study centres of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education are admitting students for the BTech and MTech courses despite the UGC notification.

The SSP was not available for comments.


Law students boycott classes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
The on-going agitation of the students of the Law Department of Punjabi University took a new turn today when they boycotted the classes to lodge their protest against the high-handedness of the authorities concerned and non-acceptance of their demands by them.

The students of the Law Department, who were agitating against the refusal of the authorities concerned to accept their demands since yesterday, today took out a march and held a rally in front of the main gate of Punjabi University where they alleged that whenever they raised their voice peacefully for their genuine demands, they were painted as goondas and thrown out of the university by the authorities concerned.

They said that university authorities had not been accepting their genuine demands which included the abolishment of internal assessment system in the Law Department, hostel facility for students who had been doing doctorate degree, M. Phill and Post-Graduation courses in different streams, scholarship for research fellows, filling up the vacancies of teachers existing in various departments of the university campus and setting up of libraries in all the departments.

The other demands included the setting up of reading rooms in each girls hostel, setting up of digital online library within the premises of the main library and to get its outer reading rooms opened for 24 hours for the students.

Yesterday the students and teachers of the law department levelled allegations and counter allegations against each other. Two students — Rajinder Singh of Punjab Students Union and Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal of Student Federation of India (SFI) — were suspended and their entry banned in the university campus by the authorities concerned yesterday.

Mr Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal, state vice-president, SFI, in a press note issued here alleged that on the one hand the university authorities had been taking action against those students, who were raising their voice in a peaceful manner for their genuine demands, on the other hand the university authorities had been taking no action against a lecturer, who had been facing a cheating case.

He said that the students had also lodged a complaint against a teacher of the law department to the university authorities but no action had been taken against him so far. He added that students had been getting threats from a section of those who were close to the university authorities to bring the agitation to a complete halt.


Bifurcation of PAU flayed
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 8
Pandit Mohan Lal SD College for Women Gurdaspur, got a financial help of Rs 3 lakh from unexpected quarters. The authorities of the college were surprised to receive the grant from the MP Local Area Development Fund of the Rajya Sabha member and the former Chief Election Commissioner, Mr M.S. Gill, as they had never asked for it.

Mr Gill while talking The Tribune, said after reading about Pandit Mohan Lal in The Tribune he decided to do something to commemorate the first industries minister of the joint Punjab. On searching, I found a college in Gurdaspur in name of the former minister for which the financial grant was given.

Mr Gill also condemned the decision of the Punjab Government to bifurcate the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU). The creation of veterinary university out of the PAU would not give expected benefits. On his recent visit to the USA, the Prime Minister penned an agreement for financial and other help to the Indian agriculture universities.


Govt schools to be named after Jallianwala martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Parliamentary Secretary, said today that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had approved his proposal to name government schools in various parts of the state after the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh.

He said more than 300 Indians were killed in Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. Most of them were Punjabi youngsters.

He said the state government would also make a request to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to bring back the belongings of Shaheed Udham Singh from England. Shaheed Udham Singh’s diary, in which he had concealed his revolver, his leather purse and revolver were lying in a museum in the UK.

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