P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bureaucracy comes under fire in Assembly
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Members of the Treasury Benches and the Opposition today joined hands in the Vidhan Sabha in launching a massive attack on Punjab bureaucracy, accusing it of inefficiency and inept in responding to the needs of development and industrialisation of the state.

What initially started as a suggestion that the Executive Committee to be constituted under the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board should be headed by a minister and not the Chief Secretary, snowballed into an unprecedented attack on the state’s bureaucracy during discussion on the Punjab Industrial Facilitation Bill.

Mr Manpreet Singh Badal (SAD), while welcoming the setting-up of the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board, held that the responsibility of heading the Executive Committee should not be left to the Chief Secretary. Instead, a member of the House, preferably a minister, should head the committee and contain some other elected members on it than making it an all-bureaucrat show. It was proposed that besides the Chief Secretary, the Executive Committee would have two Principal Secretaries and two administrative secretaries as its members. Besides, the chairman was authorised to nominate two members of the Board on it.

He held that the bureaucrats were not as responsive to the needs of the people as members of the House were. Incidentally, when the role of bureaucrats was being criticised, the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, who was present earlier in the officers’ gallery, had left. A number of other senior bureaucrats were present.

Responding instantly to the demand, the Punjab PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, announced that he would head the Executive Committee and got the amended draft approved by the House.

Later, when the Punjab Industrial Facilitation Bill came up for discussion, once again Mr Manpreet Singh Badal proposed that since everyone wants that Punjab should reverberate with its industrial units becoming operational again, it should not be left to the bureaucrats to head the high-powered Empowered Committee.

Except for the Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, all remaining 14 members on the proposed Empowered Committee were serving or retired bureaucrats.

The proposal was supported by Mr Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon (Akali Dal) and Mr Tikshan Sood (BJP).

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said while the Punjab bureaucracy fumbled in developing Mohali as an information technology centre in past 10 years, Chandigarh had come up with an IT Park in a short span. He said that Punjab bureaucracy was unresponsive. Rather, it discouraged entrepreneurs from setting up their units in Punjab.

He said the difference between Chandigarh and Punjab was the incubation period. While Chandigarh had established the infrastructure to lure units which were initially planning to invest in Punjab, Mohali was still to do anything.

He said now when the Chief Minister had promised Rs 200 crore for infrastructure development, Mohali’s industrialisation would get a fillip.

While wrapping up discussion on the Bill, the Chief Minister accepted the suggestion saying that the Industries Minister would head the Empowered Committee. He said the flight of industry from Punjab to neighbouring hill states was because of tax holiday and other concessions announced by the previous NDA government at the Centre.


Vidhan Sabha passes nine Bills
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Isolated instances of acrimony between the Treasury Benches and the Opposition notwithstanding, unanimity dominated proceedings in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today, which, besides clearing two of nine Bills without a dissent, also resolved not to let bureaucrats head high-powered committees.

Earlier, the House also agreed to defer the Lovely Professional University Bill and the Punjab School Education Board (Amendment) Bill to a later date — October 18 — for discussion.

Interestingly, a number of suggestions made by the Opposition, especially about legislators or ministers heading high-powered committees, got an instant endorsement from the Treasury Benches. Other suggestions, including exemption to handicapped persons from payment of toll tax, revising VAT tariff on a number of items used by a common man and making one-time tax on lotteries linked to quantum of business were also accepted by the ruling party for consideration.

The only Bill which witnessed a lengthy debate was amendment to the Punjab Value-Added Tax (VAT). It was during discussion on this Bill that the Finance Minster, Mr Surinder Singla, advised the Akalis not to dream of returning to power again.

Former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who had initiated debate on the Bill, was prompt to challenge the Treasury Benches to recommend the dissolution of the House and seek fresh mandate from the people of Punjab.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh held that since no preparation was done before introducing VAT in the state, the industry were in a state of flux. Eleven amendments have already been made, but set off to the industry for the purchase of raw material was yet to be carried out.

Trade and industry reeling under the new dose of taxes, he said, was adversely affecting the economy of the state. Contrary to the belief that after the introduction of VAT, all other taxes will go, central sales tax (CST), octroi and excise were being charged.

He assailed the Congress for its oft-repeated slogan that it was a party of the common man.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh also lamented that brick-kiln owners and stone-crushers had been exposed to the whims and fancies of the inspector raj.

The following Bills were passed today : The Punjab Plastic Bags (Manufacturing, Usage and Disposal) Control Bill; The Punjab District Planning Committees Bill; The Punjab Mechanical Vehicles (Bridges and Roads Tolls) Amendment Bill; The Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board (Amendment) Bill; The Punjab Technical University (Amendment) Bill; The Punjab Tax on Lotteries Bill; The Punjab Value- Added Tax (Amendment) Bill; The Punjab Entertainment Duty (Amendment) Bill; and The Punjab Industrial Facilitation Bill.


35 paise per km toll for motorists
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Motor vehicle owners in Punjab should be ready to pay 35 paise for each kilometre travelled by them on the roads and bridges of the state.

“This is no price for safer and faster journey on the roads,” said the Punjab PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, while responding to discussion on the Punjab Mechanical Vehicles (Bridges and Roads Tolls) Amendment Bill in Punjab Vidhan Sabha today.

He said since Punjab was getting a loan of Rs 1,100 crore from the World Bank, there were certain conditions of the bank which had to be followed.

“If one can pay Rs 50 for a litre of petrol, there is no harm in paying 35 paise a kilometre for good, smooth and safer roads, which also save time, energy and resources,” Mr Bajwa said.

Earlier, former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, criticised the Bill maintaining that levying of toll was an indirect way of taxation. He said because of poor condition of the roads, the Bill would give powers to the state to levy toll on any road and bridge.

“It was unprecedented that roads and bridges built with public money should also be brought under the purview of toll tax. Only those roads and bridges, which are built by private operators, contractors and companies, are liable for levy of toll tax,” he argued.

Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr Adesh Partap Singh and Mr Tikshan Sood, too, opposed the Bill saying that it would tax a common man.

Responding to the criticism, Mr Bajwa said the government had exempted farmers carrying their produce to markets from payment of toll tax. Two-wheelers, too, are exempted from it. He said suggestion of Mr Adesh Pratap Singh for exempting physically challenged persons from toll tax would also be considered.

The Bill was later passed by the House.


Rs 1.39 crore spent on car purchase
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
For a long time the luxury cars of ministers have been in the news.

Today the Punjab Assembly was informed that the state had to spend Rs 1.39 crore during the past six months on the purchase of cars for use by officers in the state.

The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, gave this information while replying to a question by Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal on expenses incurred on the purchase of vehicles.

Mr Singla said 12 vehicles, replaced with new ones, were condemned. Seventeen vehicles were replaced as these had covered the required number of kilometres as per the guidelines of the Motor Vehicle board.

It may be recollected that the Punjab Government, in the past two months, had provided Toyota Camry cars to ministers while Esteem cars were purchased to replace Ambassadors used by Financial Commissioners and Principal Secretaries.


Assembly remembers quake victims

Chandigarh, October 14
The Punjab Assembly today observed a two-minute silence to pay tributes to those who were killed due to earthquake in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Pakistan.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, informed the House that all efforts were being made to provide relief to the survivors.

He said he was in touch with his counterpart in Punjab province of Pakistan. — TNS


Three of family die in mishap, 30 hurt
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 14
Four persons, including three of a family were killed and 30 wounded in four different accidents in Hoshiarpur district last night.

According to police sources Jony (8), his father Balbir Singh (40) and mother Krishna Devi of Karari village died on the spot while Nirmala Devi and her 6-year-old son of Handwal were wounded seriously when a scooter and tempo trax collided head-on near Jhir Di Khuhi, 70 km. from here last night. Mother and son were admitted in the BBMB Hospital, Talwara. All were going to their home after visiting a patient at Talwara hospital.

Sources said farmer, Anup Singh (80) son of Gajan Singh of Manjhpur was crushed to death by a car while he was going on cycle to his village after selling paddy at Bhangala.

In another accident 28 devotees were wounded when a tractor-trailer they were travelling in to home after immersing idol of Kali at Chohal Dam, overturned near Banjar-Bag here last night. All injured were admitted in the local Civil Hospital from where Jatinder son of Raj Kumar and Lekh Raj son of Ram Lakhan were referred to the PGI Chandigarh and Jalandhar respectively. According to Dr G.P.S. Bedi, Senior Medical Officer, local Civil Hospital, after first aid, seven persons were discharged.


Woes weigh on cotton growers’ minds
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 14
Spate in cotton arrivals coupled with lack of space at the local grain market has led to woes for farmers as they have to wait for days to get their agricultural produce weighed.

The market recorded an arrival of 2,950 quintals of cotton yesterday, while as per market committee sources they had a capacity of weighing 2,000-2,500 quintals of cotton daily. Bumper arrival of paddy in the market has also left little space for the cotton growers to dump their produce.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Bohad Singh, a farmer from Jaisinghwala village who had come to the market yesterday said his cotton had invited a bid of Rs 1,719. He said he didn’t expect his turn for weighing cotton for another two days due to increased rush. He said there was nobody to look after his paralytic wife and small children back home and he was feeling helpless.

Sukhdev Singh and Bikar Singh, farmers of Gehri Bhagi village, said they were waiting for their turn for the past three days, but their cotton is yet to be weighed. Jugraj Singh of Kot Bakhu village rued that he too had been putting up at the market and was not even able to celebrate Dasehra. Jang Singh and Major Singh said paddy farmers had occupied a lot of space in the market leaving hardly any place for cotton growers to unload their stock. They said cotton heaps were lying on roads.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said weighing problem had cropped up due to increased arrival in the past few days. He said he would hold a meeting of the officials concerned tomorrow morning and would ask them to initiate necessary measures. He said he would also visit the grain market tomorrow to take stock of the procurement process.

Meanwhile, the market saw the arrival of 2,300 quintals of cotton today, of which Markfed purchased 100 quintals and CCI 350 quintals, while private buyers made brisk purchase. The highest price that cotton fetched today was Rs 1,847. About 6,000 quintals of cotton arrived in Muktsar market, of which both government agencies procured 30-35 per cent and the average price was Rs 1,800.

Reports of increased arrival have also been received from Malout, Gidderbaha, Abohar and Fazilka, with Abohar witnessing the highest arrival of 16,000 quintals.


Bid to kidnap boy foiled
Ravinder Sud

Hoshiarpur, October 14
District police has foiled an attempt to kidnap a 10-year-old Sunil Kumar son of late Mr Sarabjit Singh of Sibo Chack by the two Sadhus yesterday.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, Senior Superintendent of Police, stated here that an information was received by the Mukerian Police about the kidnapping of Sunil Kumar by some unidentified persons from Latifpur village. After receiving information Mukerian police arranged special nakas in the area to nab the kidnappers. District police control room had also informed all the police stations in the district in this connection. Police parties were formed and had been sent in the area for the search of Sunil Kumar.

Meanwhile, mother of Sunil Kumar, Kamlesh Kumari, widow of Sarabjit Singh, reached the Mukerian police station and told that her husband died about 2 years ago and she was working as daily wager. She said that she along with her son Sunil Kumar came to her maternal house at Latifpur village from where some unidentified persons kidnapped her son while he was playing in the street.

Police party along with Kamlesh Kumari started search of Sunil Kumar jointly. During search they found Sunil Kumar with two Sadhus outside the village Latifpur near Bhangala.

The Sadhus were arrested by the police and Sunil Kumar was recovered. They were identified as Mahant Mangalpuri, and Parkash Giri.

During interrogation, the duo revealed that they gave toffees and money to lure Sunil Kumar and took him with them. They consumed liquor and served the same to Sunil Kumar. After taking the boy along with them they planned to introduce him in begging. Their further interrogation was being done.

A case under Sections 363 A and 34 of the IPC had been registered against the Sadhus in Mukerian police station.


Punjab’s LPG quota restored by Centre
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The Central Government has restored the quota of LPG for Punjab, ending the shortfall faced by the state last month. The state had quota of about 24,000 metric tonnes which had been slashed to 22,000 tonnes by oil companies following the urgent closure of an LPG bottling unit of a leading company based in Gujarat.

The Minister for Food and Supplies, Mr Avtar Henry, gave this information to the Punjab Assembly while replying to a call-attention notice by the Congress MLA from Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, here this afternoon. The Union Petroleum Minister had promised the restoration of the quota, said Mr Henry amidst the thumping of desks by the Treasury Benches. He assured the House that checks were being carried out to curb any blackmarketing in LPG. Thirteen persons had been arrested in various cases while LPG cylinders were being weighed regularly to check pilferage.

Meanwhile, a verbal duel ensued between Mr Lal Singh, Power Minister, and a former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh (SAD), on the issue of giving 200 units of free power to Dalits. While wanting to say "200 units," Capt Kanwaljit Singh by mistake said 200 megawatts ( this happens to be the power demand of a city like Chandigarh). At this Mr Lal Singh said: "Mein pehlan eehnan nu unit te megawatt da matlab samjha deevan". The Captain, who by then had realised the slip of tongue, took umbrage at the minister's attempt to teach him the basics of power supply. The Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, intervened and said:‘‘Tussi mantriji swaal da jawab deyo." In his reply, Mr Lal Singh also by mistake used the word megawatt instead of unit leading to laughter among the Akalis.

Mr Lal Singh admitted that the state could not start the scheme as it did not have data on which persons were Dalits among the power consumers. The data was being collected but the free 200 units would be calculated from September 1, when the scheme was announced.

On the reported incident of a private person having access to important files of a minister, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal wanted action to be taken. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said he had not read the media report but promised that he would get it inquired into.

To a separate question, the Chief Minister also promised that he would look into what could be done about the demand to route sugarcane sale to sugar mills through cooperative societies.

An important issue about the hike in the sewerage and water supply rates in Mohali was raised by Mr Bir Devinder Singh. The government said this decision was based on the recommendations of the Cabinet subcommittee on fiscal reforms. Mr Bir Devinder Singh protested that the new rates were very high .

Mr Manpreet Singh Badal raised the issue that schools had been upgraded but teachers working in these were not being paid salaries. The Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, said there were 66 such teachers.

Replying to a question on the restoration of pensions to teachers of aided schools, Mr Johar said he was yet to receive the court order in this regard. Once it was available the government would consider all options, he added. 


Foreign dreams turn into nightmare for 12 Indians
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, October 14
Iran Police allegedly misled 12 Indian youths, who were duped by their travel agents, to enter Pakistan on the night of October 7, claimed the president of International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society here today.

The society chief said Chanchal Singh, hailing from Ambala, called up from Taptan border area of Pakistan alleging that the Iran Police had pushed them into Pak territory on October 7 night when all of them had cold and high fever.

He said before that they languished in a jail for 11 days and were made to walk on snow for another six days.

He alleged that the police snatched woolen clothes, money and their passport from them adding that they wrote three letters to the Indian Embassy in Iran, but received no reply.

Chanchal Singh further alleged that the police had taken $ 500 each from them promising that they would be sent to a Tehran gurdwara.

On October 7, the Iran Police took them to some distance and asked them to walk in a particular direction so as to reach the gurdwara.

Instead they landed in the Pakistani Rangers’ custody, Chanchal revealed.

They told them that they were Indian youths who were caught by the Iran Police while they were trying to migrate to Greece and now they were heading towards a gurdwara in Tehran.

These youth were stunned to know that they had entered Pak territory. They were taken to Taptan police station, where they realised that they had actually crossed over to Pakistan.

The society chief said till no action had been taken against these youths, as earthquake struck Pakistan next day.

Chanchal Singh said these youths had pleaded for help from the Indian Government and added that he would write to the Prime Minister in this connection.

In another case, five Punjabi youths, including Gurjit Singh and Manjit Singh, who were languishing in Kot Lakhpat jail, had written to the society that their 15-day sentence got over five months back and their other aides were lodged in Queta jail.


Cops in dock over illegal possession of quarters
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 14
The district administration has recommended action against some policemen and an employee of the public Health Department who were caught holding illegal possession of four government quarters here.

Sources said the administration had received a complaint that government quarters having numbers C-12 to C-21 and H-75 to H-80 were evacuated in view of widening work of a road. But, the department concerned didn’t demolish the quarters and taking advantage of the situation others had taken their illegal possession. They also had illegal water and power connections at the quarters.

Taking serious note of the complaint, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, asked officials to carry out a surprise check on October 11 and submit a report to him on the next day.

A team of officials led by the GA to DC, Mr KPS Mahi, inspected the quarters on October 11. The team found Mr Hem Raj, an electrician with the Public Health Department, in quarter no. H-77, ASI Nachhatar Singh with family in H-78, and staff of police patrolling party in H-79 and H-80. They were illegally possessing the quarters and drawing power through ‘kundi’ connections. The team found quarters from C-12 to C-21 and H-75 to H-76, which were in a dilapidated state and were declared unsafe, vacant.

The DC has asked the SSP and the Public Health Department officials to take necessary action against their erring employees. He has also ordered the PSEB authorities to act against those who were drawing power through illegal connections. The PSEB informed the DC that it had snapped all the illegal connections and were initiating action against guilty.


Drive to identify kids with poor eyesight
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 14
The District Blindness Control Society(DBCS) has launched a special survey to identify people, particularly children, having problems in this district. To monitor the programme 30 medical teams has been constituted to visit every primary school to identify the problems. This was stated by Mr Alok Shekhar Deputy Commissioner cum Chairman of the DBCS at a level function organized at the DBCS yesterday saying that 20 per cent of the children out 1.20 crore people affect with different blindness problems in the country, the Deputy Commissioner send disclosed 7 percent of them had poor sight.

Dr P.S. Sandhu head of the Opthaplomology Department of the Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital and Technical Adviser of the DBCS said a survey was conducted in 1995 in which out 1.75 lakh children more than 2400 had problem of and given treatment free of cost and the spectacles. Later an eye camp was also organised at the Multipurpose School in where 100 were examined. 


Furniture godown gutted
Our Correspondent

Batala, October 14
A furniture showroom and godown was gutted in a devastating fire that broke out on the premises of Vishal Furniture House, here on Thursday. The fire, which broke out at 9 pm, could not be controlled till 11.45 pm and furniture goods worth Rs 20 lakh were destroyed. Fire fighters could not control the fire as fire hydrants did not work and no water was available. Then fire fighters were requisitioned from Amritsar and Gurdaspur and with their help the fire was put off.

The possible cause of the fire was stated to be fire crackers and it started from the top of the double-storeyed building. Senior Superintendent of Police Dr Jatindra Jain, Subdivisional Magistrate Parnit Bhardwaj and MC Executive Officer Kashmir Singh also reached the spot to supervise the rescue operation.


Farmers’ body vents ire over poor procurement
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 14
A large number of farmers, under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), led by Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the union, today blocked traffic for about four hours on Sunam-Patiala road and Sunam-Jakhal road at the ITI Chowk in Sunam, about 13 km from here.

They were protesting against the non-procurement/slow procurement of paddy by the government agencies in various grain markets and procurement centres.

Though the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) had today started the blockade for an indefinite period at the Sunam ITI chowk, yet it lifted it after an assurance by the Sunam SDM on the smooth procurement of paddy.

However, the blockade of the road by the farmers did put an adverse effect on the vehicular traffic to some extent.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan said the SDM had assured them that as the procurement of the paddy had already started in various grain markets and procurement centres, the farmers would not face any difficulty in the procurement of the paddy.

He further said the SDM had also asked them to inform him immediately, in case they felt that the paddy was not being procured by the government agencies in any of the procurement centres.

Mr Ugrahan also said that they had got the information that the paddy had been today procured in the procurement centres of Ugrahan, Chhajli, Cheema and Namol villages. 


Pregnant woman set afire; husband held
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 14
A pregnant government schoolteacher Parveen Bala (27) of Basti Hazoor Singh locality here was allegedly burnt to death by her in-laws for dowry last night.

According to the FIR lodged with city police, Fazilka, by Sanjeev Kumar, his sister was married to Manish Kumar Dhawan about seven months back.

The family had reportedly given sufficient dowry at the time of the marriage. However, for more dowry her husband, his mother Chander Kumari and sister Rinka allegedly tortured Parveen. Barely after three months of the marriage, Parveen had come to live with her parents at Malout.

Thereafter, she went to her in-laws house after an assurance was given in this regard. Despite this, they continued to maltreat her.

Sanjeev Kumar further stated that on the fateful day he received a telephone call from her sister to take her from there, but by the time he reached there he heard cries of his sister who had been set afire. Seriously burnt Parveen was immediately rushed to the local Civil Hospital.

She was referred to Ludhiana in view of her critical condition, where she succumbed to her burns. Her husband and mother-in-law are also working as teachers in nearby government schools.

A case has been registered under Sections 304-B, 498-A and 406, IPC, against Manish Kumar, Chander Kumari and Rinka. Her husband and mother-in-law have been arrested.


Man robbed of Rs 55,000
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 14
Two unidentified motor cycle-borne youths snatched a bag containing Rs 55,000 from Mr Ram Parkash Kapila, a small savings agent, while he was going on his cycle near Tanda bus stand today.

According to police sources, Mr Kapila withdrew the amount from a branch of Punjab National Bank, Tanda, and was going to his house at Urmur. The sources further said one of the snatcher was clean-shaven and the other was keshdhari. After snatching the duo fled.

The Tanda police has registered a case.


Couple done to death in Ropar
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 14
In an alleged case of contract killing, a couple of Agampur village was brutally done to death by four persons in the lure of money.

Police sources said the deceased, a childless couple, Jagtar Singh and Manjit Kaur, had stayed for a long time in Dubai and settled in the district few years ago. The deceased had recently came in contact with a tantric, Labh Singh, who had assured them to have a baby with his “supernatural powers”. On October 5, the couple had left for Ropar to meet Labha Singh but did not return back.

The sources added that the two were done to death by four persons, comprising a relative of the deceased, Amarjit Kaur, Kulwant Singh, Sanjay Giri and the tantric. After killing the couple, the accused cut their bodies into pieces and threw it in the Bhakra canal passing through Solakhiyna village. The police has began search operations but still not able to trace the bodies.

A case under Sections 302, 364, 201, 34 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered. The police also raiding several places to arrest the accused.


Cop held for graft

Moga, October 14
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today arrested a head constable of the police posted at Billaspur post under Nihalsinghwala police station of this district on alleged graft charges.

Head constable Sarabjit Singh demanded Rs 25,000 for the disposal of an application given by Amarjit Kaur against Devinder Singh of Billaspur.

The applicant had complained that Devinder Singh had unlawfully taken possession of house belonging to Amarjit Kaur. — PTI


Punjabi varsity VC’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 14
In support of the agitation being run by the student organisations in Punjabi University, Patiala, the activists of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) and the Punjab Students Union (PSU) today burnt the effigy of Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor at the Akal Degree College in Mastuana Sahib, about five km from here.

The protesters also held a rally and raised slogans against the Punjabi University authorities.

Addressing the rally, Mr Sanjiv Mintoo, state president of the PRSU and Mr Gurmukh Singh Mann, state general-secretary of the PSU, said the students of the Punjabi University were not alone in their struggle, and they had now support of the entire student community.

Both leaders said under the garb of internal assessment, the students were being exploited in the educational institutions. They also alleged the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor was acting as a “dictator” in the university.

The rally was addressed among others by Gurjit Rana, a PSU leader Gurvinder Soni, a PRSU leader, Kulbir Kaur and Sunita Nastik.


Student unions hold protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 14
Three students organisations — Punjab Students Union, Students Federation of India and Internationalist Democratic Students Front — held a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on a call by the Panjab University Students Confederation. The demonstrations were a part of the ongoing protests by the students of the Punjabi University, Patiala, against abolishing the internal assessment in the Law Department and non-fulfilment of other demands.

The students were demanding the intervention of the state government to resolve the deadlock between the students and the university management. The students raised slogans against the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, and then blocked the Nabha-Patiala road to “send across the message that if the issues were not resolved then the students would intensify their protests”, according to Raminder Singh Patiala, state president of the Punjab Students Union.

Student leaders Raminder Singh Patiala, Rajinder Singh (PSU), Harmandeep Singh Gill (SFI), Gurpal Dhaliwal (SFI) and Gurbakhshish Kaul (IDSF) addressed the students. They asked the government to take police action against three university officials for using caste-based comments against student Chamkaur Singh. 


Staff of private aided colleges court arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
About 500 teachers and staff members of the private aided colleges in Punjab were arrested here today. They were proceeding towards the state Assembly to protest against the suspension of pension to teachers and staff who retired after June, 1 2003.

The protestors, about 1,500 in number, were accompanied by a former Minister for Higher Education, Mr Mohan Lal, at Matka Chowk. Mr Mohan Lal, a former teacher, is also a pensioner. The Chandigarh Police was ready with water cannons and teargas shells. An emissary of the government promised that the matter would be looked into. The protestors did not relent and courted arrest.

The arrested persons were taken to the Sector 17 police station here, where former Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, addressed the gathering.

The matter was contested in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which granted restoration of pension benefits.

The Adviser of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers & Other Employees Union, Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, said the matter should be taken seriously. The Punjab Government, is yet to even invite the representatives of the union for discussions, he alleged. The protestors were released later. 


School children used to promote
computer centre’s business

Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 14
Schoolchildren today participated in an awareness rally organised by a private computer centre apparently, to propagate business. The owner of the computer centre with garlands around his neck led the rally, waving to the passersby. A vehicle carried a large hoarding of the commercial centre besides other publicity material.

Parents of many students rang up offices of newspapers here to express concern over the misuse of children for commercial purpose. They wondered how principals of more than 10 private schools here dared to force students for traversing five-km route on foot. 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |