P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Legislators divided on repeat telecast
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Can there be a repeat telecast of the Vidhan Sabha proceedings ? “Yes, only if the House or the Speaker has authorised it,” says a section of legislators holding that “any recording of the proceedings becomes a property of the House and cannot be used by an individual or organisation without the prior approval of the House or the Speaker.”

Interestingly while a debate has started as to whether there can be a repeat telecast of the recorded proceedings of the House, a number of Punjab Ministers, including the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Ch Jagjit Singh, issued a statement this evening condemning the statement of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, and a General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, for challenging the repeat telecast of select proceedings of the debate on roots and causes of terrorism in Punjab.

These Ministers, including Mr Lal Singh, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Sardul Singh, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Mr Avtar Henry and Mr Surinder Singla, held that such irresponsible utterances of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal were “a direct attack on the freedom of Press thereby undermining the values and ethics of the democratic process.”

On the other hand, others, including from the ruling Congress party, maintain that “repeat telecast amounts to breach of privilege”.

They maintain that under Rule 108 of the Rules of Business of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Secretary is required to prepare a full report of the proceedings of the

House at each of its sittings and shall get them published in such form and manner, as the Speaker may, from time to time, direct.

“If the Speaker is of the opinion that a word or words has or have been used in a debate which is or are defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified, he may, in his discretion, order that such word or words be expunged from the proceedings of the House,” reads Rule 109.

But in case of live telecast and recording, “even expunged word or words” go on the air. And as such a repeat telecast may also carry the “expunged word or words.” It is why, they maintain, the recording of the live telecast has to be submitted to the Secretary of the House, who under Rule 111 of the Rules of Business is the custodian of all records, documents and papers belonging to the Vidhan Sabha or any of its committees or the Vidhan Sabha secretariat,” and he shall not permit any such records, documents or papers to be taken from the Vidhan Sabha chamber and its offices without the permission of the Speaker.

Says Mr Umrao Singh, a former MP and an ex-Punjab Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, “it is wrong to assume that recording of proceedings of the House automatically become property of a television channel or a cable network. It remains very much property of the House and should remain in the custody of the Secretary of the Vidhan Sabha.”

Mr Umrao Singh, who remained Minister for Parliamentary Affairs for two terms, was also honoured as Best Parliamentarian at the 50th year celebrations of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

He further quotes Rule 110(2) which says that a paper, document, or report, printed, published, distributed or sold shall be deemed to have been printed, published, distributed or sold under the authority of the House.

Under 110(1), the Speaker may authorise printing, publication, distribution or sale of any paper, document or report in connection with the business of the House, or any paper, document or report laid on the Table or presented to the House or a Committee thereof.

As such, says Mr Umrao Singh, no channel can either repeat a recording of telecast of the proceedings of the House without the prior permission of the Speaker. In no case, he says, select proceedings can be permitted to be repeated on a cable network or a TV channel.


Amarinder takes to communal politics, says Capt Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 21
Former Finance Minster and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has accused the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of resorting to communal politics to win the Assembly elections which are due in Punjab in 2007. He alleged that the Chief Minister was hell bent on vitiating the peaceful atmosphere of the state.

Addressing mediapersons here yesterday, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said peace loving people of the state did not want to remember the ‘black days’ but Capt Amarinder Singh was trying to open old wounds for electoral gains. He accused the Chief Minister of pursing the policy communal politics as done by the Congress for winning the 1985 Lok Sabha elections.

He emphasised that none would be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere in Punjab. Regarding the debate on militancy in the Assembly, Capt Kanwaljit said the SAD had opposed the debate at the Business Advisory Committee meeting and had instead demanded a debate on more pressing public concerns as condition of farmers, procurement of paddy, unemployment and others.

It seemed the Chief Minister wanted to evade important issues and stressed upon the discussion regarding militancy, which yielded no results, he added. Talking about the law and order situation in the state, the former minister said criminals had no fear of the police and other law enforcing agencies. The crime graph in the city and the state was on the rise.

On the procurement of paddy, he said there was a distress sale of paddy in Gagga, which falls in the constituency of the Chief Minister’s wife. Farmers are forced for distress sell at Rs 110 less than the MSP while they were getting more for their produce in neighboring Haryana.


British surgeon turned back by immigration staff
Writes to hosts in Ludhiana expressing anguish
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
A leading British surgeon, who was to deliver a lecture at Ludhiana tomorrow has been turned back by immigration authorities at New Delhi under un-explained circumstances. The surgeon, Dr R.C.G. Russell, has sent an email to his hosts in Ludhiana saying all this happened even as he had a multiple entry Visa which immigration officials at New Delhi refused to accept.

The doctor was supposed to be on a four day-visit to Ludhiana starting today. Dr Russell is consultant surgeon, Royal College of Surgeons, England

His host in Punjab, Dr Kuldip Singh Kanda, said Dr Russell was to deliver a lecture “There is no room for the gifted amateur in medicine”. This was to be at a national conference organised by the Punjab Medical Association. In addition to this Dr Russell was also to deliver a guest lecture on current management of very common problem of “acute pancreatitis” and bedside demonstration in Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, for the undergraduate and postgraduate students in medicine and surgery.

In his email to Dr Kanda, Dr Russell narrates “Although the staff at the New Delhi airport was polite, they changed my ticket and put me back on the British Airways flight to London. There was no negotiation. I actually thought that they were making arrangements to let me in until an immigration officer asked me to follow him and took me back to the transit lounge and left me there with a ticket. I did not have your phone number or any contact and could not use my computer”.

He goes on to say that he was upset at the cursory handling, even though. “All I can do is to express my disappointment. My lecture touched on globalisation, and in this day of globalisation to have such a rigid VISA system suggests that your country is not in the real world about which I was going to talk”, Dr Russell has written in his letter.

In his last lines he lets his anguish be known: “I am afraid that the matter ends and I will have no further correspondence on this issue so please do not write back. I know there is nothing that you could do about it”.

The stature of Dr Russell in the field of surgery can be gauged from the fact that he is the Chairman of the British Journal of Surgery, a prestigious journal of surgeons all over the world. He is also the Chief Editor of a text book on surgery called “Love & Bailey” which is known as “bible of surgery”

He has contributed more than 150 scientific papers in the national and international Journal and has performed record number of pancreatic surgeries, including cancer of pancreas and benign conditions.


Tandons return from jaws of death
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 21
Jagdish Tandon and his son Subash Tandon , both residents of Jammu, who were stranded in Pakistan following the devastating earthquake on October 6, returned today after being hospitalised in the neighbouring country. They described the fateful day as the “blackest Saturday” when their relative Basti Ram was buried alive.

The Tandon family had visited their relatives in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, for the first time after Partition in “Karavan-E-Aman” Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus .

The scene at Wagah was moving when the Tandon family received both. Mr Jagdish Tandon reached in a Pakistani ambulance with his fractured leg and was shifted into a waiting Indian ambulance.

Recalling their escape, they said, “While we were sipping tea in the chilly weather on the ground floor of the two-storey house the upper storey collapsed after the earthquake”.

Mr Subash Tandon, however, appreciated the Pakistan authorities for looking after them properly.

Meanwhile, the Tandon family is hopeful that the body of Basti Ram Tandon might be retrieved from the debris of the earthquake, and handed over to them.


Police raids doctor’s clinic for evidence
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 21
The police here to find conclusive evidence to connect the two suspects, Dr Ravdeep Kaur, who allegedly gave money for the judge’s murder, and contract killer Manjit Singh raided the hospital-cum-residence of Dr Ravdeep Kaur.

Meanwhile, the police recovered Rs 4 lakh paid by the doctor to Manjit Singh today. He had concealed the amount in the harmonium which he used on religious functions. Manjit Singh revealed that of the earlier amount of Rs 50,000, the doctor had paid him as advance, he had bought a motor cycle for Rs 38,000. He used it to reach the spot of the crime at Polo Ground.


Green to give way to concrete
Upgrading of highways
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

The trees that will be axed for upgradation of the Balachaur-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya highway.
The trees that will be axed for upgradation of the Balachaur-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya highway. — Photo by writer

Hoshiarpur, October 21
A dense green cover of over 85 hectares will soon be reduced to concrete. As many as 16,000 full grown trees will be axed for upgradation of the Balachaur-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya and the Hoshiarpur-Tanda highways.

The state government has decided to widen and strengthen the highways on a built-operate transfer (BOT) basis spending a sum of over Rs 142 crore on the same.

More than 10,000 trees will face the axe during upgradation of the Balachaur-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya highway. This is one of the pilot projects of the government being taken up on the BOT basis (Phase-I) for the widening of 105-km-long stretch at a cost of Rs 110 crore.

The project has been allocated to Roshan Rajdeep Infrastructures Private Limited, a Pune based company. The government has directed the building and roads wing of the Public Works Department (PWD) to provide land, free of hurdles, to the company by November 30.

The project is likely to start in the first week of December after it gets a green signal from the Ministry of Forest and Environment, New Delhi, for felling the trees.

A majority of trees that would be chopped on are eucalyptus, sheesham, mango and kikar.

At last 6000 trees would be chopped on the Hoshiarpur-Tanda highway. The government has floated tenders inviting private companies for the upgradation of the highway on BOT basis. The 28-km stretch would be upgraded by spending a sum of Rs 32 crore.

Highly placed sources in the PWD said over 55 hectares of forest land on either side of the Balachaur-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya highway would be cleared of trees and other vegetation. The department sent a proposal to the Forest Department seeking removal of trees from the highway. After accessing the value of the trees to be felled and completing other formalities, the Forest Department gave an estimate of Rs 6.30 crore to the PWD for land clearance.

Sources in the department saod the proposal for removing the trees had been sent to the Ministry of Forest and Environment by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Punjab.

The stretch of the highway falls in three forest divisions — Garhshankar, Hoshiarpur and Dasuya with forest land of 22, 29 and four hectares in respective jurisdictions. The government has to pay sum of Rs 2.57 crore, Rs 3.32 crore and Rs 38 lakh, respectively, to these forest divisions for land clearance, and execution of the project.

Sources in the PWD (B and R) claimed that the project would be completed over one-and-a-half years. The highway would be widened from seven metres to 12 metres with certain realignments.

A 1.85-km-long bypass would be laid near Balachaur that would rejoin the Ropar-Phagwara highway. Apart from this, 4.8 km of the highway would be four-laned at Garhshankar, Majari, Samudran, Chabbewal, Chaggran and Chhawani Kalan to avoid congestion.


Hussain brothers to regale Patiala audience
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 21
Music lovers in Patiala will be able to enjoy the soulful renditions of the ghazal maestros, Hussain brothers, Ustad Ahmed Hussain and Ustad Mohammed Hussain of Jaipur.

They will perform at the Central Public Library Auditorium, here, on Sunday at 6.30 pm.

The event is being organised by the Mehak Cultural Forum to celebrate its fifth foundation day.

The brothers are inheritors of a rich classical culture. Music flows in their blood. Born in 1951 and 1953 in Jaipur, the brothers are heirs to renowned music family. Their father the late Ustad Afzal Hussain was a great musician of his times. Rigorous training started in childhood itself. The duo performed as child artistes and were, even then, acknowledged as prodigies.

Today they have a unique skillful personal style, which they have blended to perfection, even though the two ustads have very different voices. These differences are woven together harmoniously in a wonderfully balanced rhythmic union and modulation.

Their fame has travelled far and wide. Like their music, their popularity goes much beyond the narrow geographical and linguistic confines. They have reached beyond the seven seas with their art; music lovers in far-away Big Apple, New York, have established a fan club.

The famous duo performed before Fakaruddin Ahmed, the then President of India, in 1976 and the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi released their LP record in 1982.

Hussains started their journey in 1958 and have attained dazzling heights. They have 52 cassettes to their name.

They also tread the world of popular art, and dazzle with their knowledge and expertise.

King of romance, Yash Chopra, acknowledged their talent and they obliged him by singing a soulful sufi quawwali in the blockbuster movie Veer-Zara The qawwali was picturised on Shah Rukh Khan, who goes to Pakistan to meet his lover at the dargah of a Sufi saint.

They sang, “Aya hai dar par diwana”. This is a chance for music lovers in this once royal city to pay obeisance to their music.


“Music connects us to Almighty”
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 21
When music traces its lineage through three centuries, harmony seems just the right note. And in case of Bhai Awtar Singh, the eleventh generation raagi of the Kapurthala Raagis, this harmony is not sheer melody, it has spiritual underpinnings too.

“Music connects us to the Almighty. Sound or naad becomes the all-pervasive anhad naad. However, of late, music has become just a diversion. Times have changed. Shortcuts rule the roost. Hard work has become redundant for many learners,” says Bhai Awtar Singh.

However, he is not the one to give in to pessimism. He is trying his best to revive taoos, a string instrument that is fast getting lost in the haze of modernity. It was courtesy his unflinching efforts that a few days back the melody of taoos resounded in the precincts of Darbar Sahib after a gap of 70 years.

“Taoos (literal meaning peacock) is a delicate instrument. It is sensitive to temperature and moisture, and is not too easy to carry,” he explains, adding that in the “good old days”, the instrument mesmerised music lovers with its soulful sound that became all the more alluring after a glance at the peacock-shaped instrument.

His sons Ranjit Singh and Kultar Singh are a part of his raagi jatha that also includes his nephew, Bhai Swaran Singh, whose forte is tabla playing. Interestingly, his younger son, Mr Kultar Singh, a qualified mechanical engineer, was earlier into business. “Joining my father in shabad kirtan has been no mean shift. It is a change that has given me a reason to smile. And this smile is not a put-on smile. It comes from the core of my being,” says Mr Kultar Singh.

These days Bhai Awtar Singh is working on a four-volume book about musical notations. His sons are assisting him in this endeavour. It is another matter that he thinks that the book will be his tribute to the “sanctity of music”, as he told us during his visit here today in connection with the Baba Jassa Singh Kapurthala Heritage Festival being organised by the Kapurthala Heritage Trust in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage.


Pharmacists resent government apathy
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 21
Ravinder Luthra, Gurinder Singh Sodhi, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Punjab State Pharmacists Association, state unit and Shashi Kant, president, Ferozepore unit, in a joint statement here yesterday alleged that the consecutive governments in Punjab had remained indifferent to the demands of pharmacists of the Health Department.

They said it was only after a prolonged strike of 62 days that the scale of pharmacists was revised in 1990 and 50 per cent of them were granted higher selection grade and chief pharmacists were given a separate scale. Thereafter no demand of the pharmacists had been accepted. Their demands include change of designation of pharmacists to pharmacy officers, after four years of service, senior pharmacy officers after nine years of service and chief pharmacy officers after 14 years of service.

Besides this, the pharmacists are demanding prescription rights in the absence of medical officers, registration as medical practitioner after 10 years of service and implementation of the amended Pharmacy Act of 1976 and the formulation of a definite transfer policy.

They alleged that for the past 10 years no vacancy of pharmacist had been filled despite the fact that their number had been reduced from 3500 to 2500 due to superannuation and some to them leaving the job.

Mr Luthra alleged that since the government had adopted a dilly-dallying policy towards the demands of pharmacists, the newly elected state executive committee comprising presidents and secretaries of the association from all districts of Punjab would meet in Jalandhar from October 23 to work out a strategy for the acceptance of their demands.


Gurdeep confesses to Rs 22 lakh dacoity
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 21
Gurdeep Singh, a close aide of Jagtar Singh Hawara, the main accused in Beant Singh assassination case, today confessed to his links with Hawara and his involvement in several cases, including dacoity and under Explosive Act in various parts of the state.

The facts surfaced during interrogation of Gurdeep Singh by CIA staff, Ropar.

The CIA staff also rounded up several persons on the statement of Gurdeep Singh and raided several other places to recover arms and ammunition, said the police sources.

Gurdeep Singh, after being remanded to police custody till October 27 by a Kharar court, is lodged in the CIA headquarters in Ropar for further interrogation.

The police sources said Gurdeep Singh confessed to his involvement in Rs 22 lakh dacoity in Patiala and that he supplied Rs 5 lakh to Hawara from the amount.

He also committed 9 lakh dacoity in Fatehgarh Sahib.

The police sources said Gurdeep Singh had several hideouts and associates in the district which had helped Hawara to hide his arms and ammunition. The associates of Gurdeep Singh had also helped Hawara to carry out his activities.


Police martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 21
The Ropar police today paid tributes to those police personnel who laid down their lives while performing duty at Shaheedi Yadgari Divas” organised here at the police lines. A total of 921 police personnel laid down their lives in the country including four of Ropar out of 45 in Punjab this year.

Every year on October 21, police personnel organised Shaheedi Yadgari Divas to remember the police personnel who sacrificed their lives, said the SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh while addressing the gathering.

Giving the details, he said on October 21, 1959, 10 jawan’s of the CRPF had laid down their lives in Ladakh while fighting with the Chinese army. Thereafter the force in every part of the country paid tributes to those Jawan’s and also to police personnel who sacrificed life in the year on this day, he added.

Fatehgarh Sahib: The district police on Friday organised a function to commemorate the sacrifice of martyrs of the police of the district at the Police Lines.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP presided over the function. Sixteen members belonging to police martyr’s families were honoured.

Addressing the function, Mr Varinder Kumar said it was only the Punjab police, which had succeeded in curbing terrorism, whereas in the history of World, wherever terrorism had started it had not been wiped out completely.

He said the brave jawans and officer’s of the state police faced terrorism with gallantry and they not only sacrificed their lives but their families also for the cause of the people and to save their lives and properties.

He said that it becomes our moral duty to extend all possible help to such families, who have lost their breadearner for our safety. He said NGOs should come forward and give special respect to such families on public functions and should be ready to cater to their every need. Mr Narjinder Singh Sekhon SP (H), Mr Pritpal Singh Virk SP (D), Mr Pritpal Singh Thind DSP Fatehgarh Sahib, Gulzar Singh, Chairman, Punjab Police Pensioners’ Association, also addressed.

Barnala: Mr G.Nageshwara Rao, SSP, Barnala, today paid glowing tributes to the police martyrs of the nation on the occasion of the Police Commemoration Day the Police Lines Complex here.

He honoured families of 33 police martyrs and heard their grievances and problems.

Mr Rao also distributed blankets on this solemn occasion to martyrs' families.

Earlier, Barnala policemen, under the stewardship of Mr Surinderpal Singh Parmar, SP (Headquarters), Barnala, organised a parade to mark the day.


24 students hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 21
About 24 students of Jagat Sewak Khalsa College were injured when their college bus overturned after colliding with a Scorpio vehicle near Mehna police station yesterday afternoon.

Sources said the incident occurred when the bus was on its way to drop students hailing from Dhurkot Talli, Mehro and Bahona villages. The bus collided with a vehicle coming from the opposite direction.

Three of them sustained serious injuries and were rushed to Ludhiana, while the rest were admitted to the Civil Hospital here.


Barnala’s birthday
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 21
The 80th birthday of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, Tamil Nadu, was celebrated by his well-wishers and supporters here today.

Mr Gurjinder Singh Sidhu, president, Malwa Sabhyacharak Welfare Club, Barnala and a staunch supporter, informed this correspondent that club activists gathered in Chawla Restaurant today where a cake was cut to mark the celebrations.

Mr Sidhu revealed that supporters of Mr Barnala were eagerly waiting for his return on November 12 after successful completion of his term as Governor.


Doctor, SDO, patwari convicted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
An SDO, a doctor and a Patwari have been convicted by special courts in corruption cases.

A spokesperson for the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, said Mr Jodh Singh, SDO with the PWD, Rajpura, was sentenced by the court for two years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 5,000. He was caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 from complainant Ajmer Singh, a contractor, for extending his contract period.

Dr Kashmir Singh was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 1,200. He had stolen a certificate of Mr Kashmir Singh and got entry into government service, whereas his real name is Balwant Singh.

In the third case, Jalor Singh, Patwari, Mehma Sawai, Bathinda District, was sentenced to one-and-half-years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2,000. He was caught red-handed accepting Rs 6,000 as bribe from Gurdev Singh of Mehma Sawai village for registering the transfer of his land.


Brahmpura’s election upheld
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 21
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today upheld the election of Shiromani Akali Dal Vice President Ranjit Singh Brahmpura from the Naushera Panuan constituency in Gurdaspur district.

Mr Brahmpura had won from the constituency in the 2002 Punjab Assembly elections, defeating his nearest contestant, Master Jagir Singh of the Congress by a margin of 5934 votes.

However, the Congress nominee and a voter, Mr Balbir Singh, had challenged the election on the grounds of electoral malpractices and voting irregularities. However, after the death of the Congress candidate, his petition became infructuous.

As for the Balbir Singh’s petition, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh dismissed it.


Cotton prices crash
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 21
With Nafed withdrawing its support to Markfed and the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) making limited purchase, cotton prices crashed to as low as Rs 1,750 per quintal in various markets of the cotton belt today.

Markfed, which was earlier making purchase on behalf of Nafed, is reportedly facing paucity of funds and failed to make any purchase in Bathinda, Muktsar and Gidderbaha today.

Experts said both agencies had reduced their buying.

They said both agencies made aggressive buying a few days back, which led to cotton prices crossing the MSP, but they didn’t made any effort to sustain that level and instead left the market at the mercy of exporters and traders.

Subsequently, the cotton prices fell below the MSP and today they ranged between Rs 1,750 and Rs 1,835.

They said the agencies should play their assigned role, as the government was there to reimburse their losses. They said if the CCI and Markfed had maintained a level of purchase it would have cut down chances of a glut in the market.

In such a scenario, there could be a further decline in prices leading to losses to cotton farmers, they averred.

Meanwhile, sources said 3,650 quintals of cotton arrived in Bathinda market today, of which the CCI procured 900 quintals and Markfed nil.

Sources said Markfed had not purchased cotton for the past two days, as “arhtiyas” denied them the same due to alleged delay in payment.

When contacted, OSD (Cotton), Markfed, M.S. Brar said there was some labour problem in Bathinda market due to which purchase could not be made today.

He denied that the agency was facing any fund crunch, though he admitted that now they were not making purchase on behalf of Nafed and were procuring cotton from their own funds.


BKU workers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 21
The followers of the Bharatiya Kisan Union today jammed traffic on the National Highway-10, outside the new grain market, to express resentment over alleged fleecing of farmers by officials of the local market committee and private traders.

Movement of vehicles through the grain market remained suspended till noon.

The farmers, led by Mr Parduman Singh Beganwali, state adviser, and Mr Gurjant Singh, block president, of the BKU, sat on a dharna at the entrance to the grain market. Trolleys and jeeps were also used to block the highway road.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, state president of the union, said the Union Government had fixed Rs 1835 as MSP for certain varieties of Narma cotton and Punjab Government had endorsed the same.

But none of them knew that the varieties listed in the orders relating to the MSP had not been grown this time in Punjab.

The Cotton Corporation of India and the Markfed were directed by the governments to offer the MSP only for the selected varieties.

Farmers in Punjab had this time opted for Bt cotton varieties but the maximum rate available was less than Rs 1835 whereas the same quality had been purchased by the government agencies in other states at Rs 1980 per quintal.

Such kind of double standards would not be tolerated, he warned. Mr Lakhowal urged the Union Government to compensate the cotton growers by paying additional amount of Rs 145 per quintal.

Mr Manjit Singh Qadian, general secretary of the BKU, addressing the protest rally demanded the Union Government should ensure purchase of cotton not less than the MSP in Punjab.

He warned the officials and junior employees, including mandi supervisors of the local market committee, against allowing underhand deals in cotton.

The BKU demanded that Sulemanki border should be opened to facilitate trade via Fazilka border with the Punjab province of Pakistan.


Paddy crop damaged
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 21
Due to a 70-feet breach in the Budhlada branch canal at Daula Singh Wala village, near Sunam canal water entered the fields of Chaovas village (Jakhepal) last evening and damaged standing paddy crop in about 40 acres. The administration yesterday started work on plugging the breach and assured the villagers that water would be released in the canal slowly at the earliest. It may be recalled that residents of several villages of Mansa district use the water of this canal for drinking purposes.

According to an official of the administration, the canal was built 25 years ago and is now in a dilapidated condition. Besides, the canal has also broken stretches at several places. In view of this, the canal needs repairs immediately.

The Deputy Commissioner ordered the XEN, Irrigation Department, to make an assessment of the breaches and broken stretches of the canal, so that the same could be plugged and repaired on priority basis. He also said he would take steps to arrange financial assistance for the affected farmers.


Central Administrative Tribunal
Re-determine vacancies in forest service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed the Ministry of Forests to re-determine the vacancies to be filed by promotee officers in the Punjab cadre of the Indian Forest Services.

Citing a judgment by the Jabalpur Bench, the tribunal has directed that “the ministry to determine the vacancies after including the state’s posts in deputation quota and thereafter take necessary steps to fill such additional posts that may come to the quota of promoted officers as per the rules”. The ministry has been asked to comply with the directions within three months from the receipt this order.

After listening to the case moved by six Punjab State Forest Service (Class II) officers, the tribunal quashed the impugned order of the ministry. The ministry had rejected the representation of the officers for inclusion of the state’s posts in deputation quota in calculating the promotion vacancies in the Punjab cadre of the Indian Forest Services.

The applicants had claimed applicability of the decision given by the Jabbalpur Bench in the case of KK Goswami and others v/s Union of India. And another decision of the Kolkata Bench in the case of DK Basu and another V/s Union of India.

The Union Government amended the rules with effect from January 1998, but the effect of the amendment could not be given retrospectively. One of the applicant, Mr J.S. Samundri, had come before the tribunal earlier also in 1999, seeking direction in to account the state deputation reserve. The case was disposed with directions to decide on the representation within six months. Following this the ministry rejected the representation of the officers. The other applicants are: Mr MS Dhillon, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Swaran Singh, Mr GR Sahibi and Mr Rajinder Singh.


10 Agriculture Dept employees found absent
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 21
In raids conducted in various parts of the state, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa found many officers not present in their seats.

Mr Randhawa while talking to The Tribune stated that he carried out surprise checks at various offices of the Agriculture Department. Ten of the 36 employees posted at the Ropar office were not in their seats without any reason.

The show-cause notice would be issued to the employees found absent at Ropar and action would be recommended against them. A raid was also conducted at the Nawanshahr Agriculture Department office. Here four employees were found absent, but later it was found that they had gone on a tour.

He stated that the direction had been issued to deputy commissioners across the state to take steps to prevent hoarding of fertilisers. It has been made mandatory for the traders to display the amount of fertiliser available with them and rates at which it is to be sold.


SHO suspended
Our Correspondent

Batala, October 21
Dr Jatindra Kumar Jain, Senior Superintendent of police (SSP) said here today (Friday) that SHO Kotli Surat Malli had been suspended and in his place Mr Ravail Singh had been appointed.

He added traffic in charge Batala Hardeep Singh had been appointed SHO-Ghaniye Ke Bangar Police Station and in his place an Mr Parhlad Singh of Ghaniye Ke Bangar was appointed traffic In charge, Batala.


Eight injured in clash
Our Correspondent

The farmers who were injured in a clash at Nanbera village on Friday.
The farmers who were injured in a clash at Nanbera village on Friday. — Photo by J.S. Virdi

Rajpura, October 21
In a clash between a debt-ridden farmer and “musclemen” of two commission agents, eight persons, including six family members of the farmer, were injured.

The injured were admitted to the Rajpura Civil Hospital. The police has registered cases on the complaints of both the parties.

Giving details of the incident, the police said farmer Chattan Singh of Nanhera village, near here, alleged that around 7.30 am two commission agents, Didar Singh and Thakur Dass, along with 20 armed persons, tried to forcibly take possession of his land. In order to take possession of the land, they started ploughing the land.

The farmer called his family and they tried to prevent them from ploughing. The “musclemen” and the commission agents allegedly attacked them. In the clash, farmer’s father Ranjit Singh, his wife Gurdial Kaur, his son Gurjeet Singh, his brother Jaswant Singh and Balwinder Kaur, wife of Jaswant Singh, were injured.

The police said Kashmir Singh, son of Didar Singh, and Ujagar Singh, both members of the rival group, were also injured.

The Shambu police has registered a case against Thakur Dass, Didar Singh, Kashmir Singh and Lajja Ram. On the other hand, the police booked Chattan Singh, Gurdial Kaur, Gurjeet Singh, Jaswant Singh and Balwinder Kaur.


Corruption case against SHO
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 21
The Vigilance bureau today registered a case of corruption against Mr Naurang Singh, SHO Tarn Taran city police station allegedly possessing properties disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Mr R.P.S Bajwa, Vigilance Chief, said here today that the accused possessed properties of more than Rs 2.59 crore. A case under section 13(1), (E) R/W 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against him. The police has already arrested him in this regard.

The vigilance official nabbed Palwinder Singh, a constable posted at Kot complex chowki under the Civil Line-police Station allegedly for demanding and accepting bribe of Rs 2000 for releasing arm licence of Jaswant Singh, of Patti tehsil.


2 die, 29 hurt as bus rams into tree
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 21
Two persons were killed and 29 others injured when a minibus (PB-08AN-5833) of Simran Coach Bus Service rammed into a tree near Nandachuar village, 18 km from here this afternoon. All injured were admitted to Civil Hospital.

Gurbachan Singh died on the spot while Satwant Kaur, both of Bhanura village under Bhogpur police station succumbed to her injuries at the Civil Hospital here.

All passengers of Bhogpur village came to Baba Sewa Singh at Pathralian village to get treatment for various ailments. After getting examined and taking medicines, they were going to their village when the bus met with an accident.

Injured Joginder Kaur and Manjit Kaur said bus was going on high speed when the driver lost control and it hit a tree.

Dr Manjit Kaur, Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur, said Daljit Kaur wife of Balkar Singh, Balwinder Singh son of Darshan Singh and Darshan Kaur of Datta (Saidepur) village were referred to DMC Ludhiana as their condition was critical.

Mr Sukhwinder Pal Singh, ADC (General), said Rs 5000 each had been provided to the above said referred patients from the District Red Cross Society for treatment.


Four varsity students booked
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 21
Cases were registered against four students sitting on fast in front of the main library who were arrested yesterday by the police from Punjabi University, Patiala. They were presented in the SDM’s court but refused to furnish a bond for bail, saying the bail had to be unconditional. They have been sent to jail and now would be produced in the SDM’s court on Monday.

The university authorities continued to act against the agitating students flouting court orders and suspended seven more students and banned their entry on the university campus. The four students currently in jail are among the seven suspended. The suspended students are Raminder Patiala, Dharminder Patiala, Rajeev Kumar, Gurpreet Singh, Harvinder Harry, Teg Bhadur Singh and Varun. The Punjabi University Students Confederation and the Punjab Radical Students Union have condemned the university authorities for the move. Student leaders have accused the university authorities of arm-twisting tactics against the students while the management has repeatedly levelled charges of outside interference in the university affairs.


Gang of cheats busted, 3 held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 21
The police has busted a gang of criminals that used to book goods in trucks having fake registration numbers and siphon it off on the way.

Three trucks have also been seized from their possession. Three members of the gang - Buta Singh, Raj Kumar and Kashmir Chand have been arrested. During interrogation, they revealed that they used to tamper with the chassis number and engine numbers of a vehicle too, besides changing its number plate.

They also got made registration copies made of these vehicles at the rate of Rs 1,700 per copy.

They were caught when they were trying to sell goods worth Rs 24 lakh. A case has been registered against them under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 472 and 485 of the IPC.


Man kills wife
Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 21
A woman of a nearby village here died at the hands of her husband yesterday on Karva Chauth night while trying to save her paramour.

Jagga Singh killed his wife with an axe last night when she tried to save Harjit Singh, a Home Guard jawan, at his residence in Jaulian village, 10 km from here.

According to police sources deceased Seema, a mother of three was having illicit relations with Harjit and she eloped with him a week back before returning on the fateful day.

Jagga consumed liquor in the evening and pretended to be asleep thinking that Harjit might come to his house. Taking him asleep Seema opened rear window and Harjit sneaked into the house. Jagga, who was waiting for the moment, tried to assault him with an axe but failed as Seema caught him providing Harjit an opportunity to flee. Irked over this Jagga axed his wife and informed the Bhawanigarh police.


Ravinder Ravi tipped as VC
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Punjab Government has forwarded the name of Dr Ravinder Ravi, former Principal of Government Medical College, Patiala, for appointment as the Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. He will replace Dr J. S. Gujral, who has tendered his resignation.

The new appointment and the resignation of Dr Gujral require the approval of the Governor of Punjab, Gen S. F. Rodrigues (retd), who is the Chancellor of the university.

The Governor was away to Kapurthala today and the matter may be taken up for decision tomorrow, sources in the Punjab Government confirmed.

Meanwhile, the government was under pressure to send a panel of names as there were a couple of more aspirants for the post. Till late in the evening only one name had formally been sent to the Governor.

Dr Ravi, who has held the post of Director, Research and Medical Education, hails from a family of doctors. He is a surgeon. Among medical circles, he enjoys the reputation of being clear in his thoughts.

Last month the Vigilance Bureau, while submitting a report on the Punjab Medical Entrance Test (PMET) examination paper leak scam, had said that Dr Gujral was not directly involved in the leak and added that it was a “supervisory failure” on part of the Vice-Chancellor as his personal staff was directly involved in it.

The bureau had recommended major penalty for the Vice-Chancellor for administrative lapses and other cases of financial mismanagement at the university. These lapses like bungling in appointments, promotions and recruitment of staff came to the notice of the bureau during its investigation into the paper leak case.

Now the government has suggested to the Governor that some of the lapses were not under the role and responsibilities of the Vice-Chancellor. The sources said departmental action could not be taken against Dr Gujral in view of this.

The PMT examination was conducted by the university on June 5 and its question paper had been leaked.

Meanwhile, the sources said at a personal meeting Dr Gujral had told Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that there was no proper office for the Vice-Chancellor and the university was being run from a dilapidated rented premises. It was not possible for him to maintain tight administrative control over the staff. In fact, there were no proper rooms, lockers or security system to ensure safety of the examination papers.


Studies hit with teachers on poll roll revision duty
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
For a period of one month — starting today — the studies of students in thousands of government schools in Punjab will suffer badly. There will be a huge shortage of teachers as a large number of them have been put on duty to revise the electoral rolls in the state. Another 30,000 posts of teacher are already lying vacant.

Today these teachers started their work with the Election Department which will carry on till November 21. The rehearsal for the final revision of the poll rolls was carried out yesterday.

Sources said normally the Election Department uses the services of teachers for the revision of the electoral rolls. This time it was proving to be more harmful as thousands of posts were lying vacant.

Even as data from all schools across the state was yet to be available with the education wing, the sources said about 20,000 teachers out of the entire strength of nearly 65,000 primary and secondary school teachers had been put on poll duty.

In Government Senior Secondary School, Tripuri, Patiala, 40 out of the total strength of 60 teachers have been deputed for the revision of the electoral rolls. In the Government Middle School, Khanna, four out of five teachers are on this duty. In Government Middle School, Faidpur, Amritsar city, six out of the eight teachers are on duty with the Election Department.

Sources in the Education Department said the deputy commissioners of the respective districts had used the services of the teachers at their own level. The DCs were empowered to do so. The shortage of teachers had been brought to their notice, said senior officials of the Education Department.

The worst hit would be schools where just one or two teachers had been working originally. Several cases of primary schools where the lone teacher had also been put on election duty had come to light.

Already, government schools in Punjab are facing stiff competition from private schools.


Principals discuss higher education in India
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 21
A conference of principals of NAAC accredited and non-accredited colleges of Guru Nanak Dev University yesterday deliberated on the challenges being faced by higher education in India. It discussed the quality of education, parameters of assessment of higher education institutions, contribution of education to national development, and promotion of technology, among three things.

Prof V.S. Parsad said education was a dynamic process which was influenced by social realities, particularly the inter play between democratisation of education, and globalisation. In this context, he said the quality of education had assumed added importance.

He said the NAAC had identified five core values for institutions for higher education. These included contribution to national development, fostering global competition among students and inculcating a value system in students.

Prof K.K. Bajaj, academic consultant of NAAC, spoke on the quality initiatives in accredited institutions: He stressed on a coordinated, visionary and dynamic approach to bring quality in education. He highlighted the issues of research consultancy and extension teaching-learning and evaluation, infrastructure and learning resources and establishment of a quality assurance cell.


Non-teaching staff hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 21
On a call of the employee union of private-aided colleges, the non-teaching staff of the local Mata Gujri College today organised a protest march, and hold a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in support of their demands.

The staff raised slogans against the government Mr Harinder Singh, president of the union said they had been demanding the implementation of the pension and gratuity scheme, merger of 50 per cent DA, regularising the 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges and lifting the ban on recruitments. He said the government had not been accepting their demands.

He urged the government to concede their demands.

Later they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.


Students protest against ‘anomalies’ in fee
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 21
Protesting against the alleged irregularities in their fee structure, the students, under the banner of Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), of DAV College today burnt copies of their fee receipts and prospectus

In a statement released here, the DAV unit’s president, Mr Rinku Bansal, alleged that the college had charged Rs 1,673 more from every student.

He said as per the prospectus the fee for BA was Rs 3,927, only but the college was charging them Rs 5,600.

Similarly, Rs 200 more were being charged from the physical education students. He said they had approached the college principal and the district administration on the matter, but it could not be resolved.

Mr Bansal alleged that the management was threatening the students instead of sorting out the issue.

To protest against the management’s attitude, Mr Bansal said they would take out a protest march in the city on October 26 wearing black cloaks and holding black flags.


Panel to review fee of medical colleges
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 21
The Punjab Government has constituted a five-member high powered committee to review the fee structure of all medical, dental and other related colleges in the state. The committee will initiate concrete steps to implement the decision of the Majithia Committee in this regard. This was stated by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Refuting any leniency or concession in granting permission to the management of Lovely University to run its institute at Jalandhar shortly, Ms Bhattal also denied violating directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in giving recognition to all nursing institutes in the state which had deposited affidavits of having proper infrastructure. She disclosed that the recognition to five nursing colleges had been cancelled.

In reply to a question she said a preliminary report from the Vigilance Bureau against officials of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot responsible for the leak of the PMET paper on June 5 had been received and a final decision in this regard would be taken after the final report comes. Confirming the resignation of Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor of the university, she said the government would take stern action against the guilty in the paper leak case.

While promising to start the construction of the BFUHS complex shortly, she gave an assurance for providing the requisite infrastructure, including staff to medical colleges in Faridkot, Amritsar and Patiala in the next two months. Expressing concern over the alleged suicide of a student, Amit , due to ragging in one of the reputed institutions at NIT in Jalandhar on October 11, she said the matter was also under consideration for taking action against the guilty and officials of the management.


Bhattal opens youth festival
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 21
Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today stated that the new Vice-Chancellor would soon be appointed at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. The Deputy CM was in the city to inaugurate a youth festival.

Mrs Bhattal admitted that the PMET paper leakage created an embarrassing situation for the state government.

She said the Vigilance probe into paper leak revealed dereliction of duty by the university officials.

She said the construction work of the university building would also be kicked off soon.

Regarding staff crunch at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, she said the government was seriously contemplating filling up of vacant posts soon.


More items likely on trade list: Pak MP
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, October 21
In order to boost bilateral ties with India, the Pakistan Government is likely on go ahead with the proposal to add hundreds of commodities to the list of goods permitted for import-export with India.

This was stated by Ms Tahira Asif, member of the National Assembly, Pakistan, in an exclusive talk with The Tribune here.

Member of committees constituted for economic affairs, commerce, interior and statistics ministry in Pakistan, Ms Asif stated that the commodities being permitted for export-import with India was likely to go up to 400 from 127.

There was a tremendous change in the policies of the Pakistani Government under which it was looking for stronger trade ties with neighbouring countries, especially Indian and other SAARC nations.

Ms Asif said there had been a major increase in the FDI foreign direct investment in Pakistan, which had contributed to its improved fiscal condition.

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