P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Services of 200 teachers terminated
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 23
Finally, the Punjab Government has dispensed with the services of nearly 200 teachers working in various government schools across the state, who had obtained jobs on the basis of fake degrees. The orders have been issued to the teachers through the District Education Officers.

In Gurdaspur district, services of five teachers whose degree have been reportedly found to be fake have been terminated. Those who have terminated from the service are Harbhajan Singh, Sukhwant Kaur, Hardayal Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Gurdeep Singh.

The DPI, Secondary, Mr Randhawa, when contacted said the registration of criminal cases had also been recommended against the teachers.

Degrees of many other teachers are still in the process of verification. Some of universities like those in Bodh Gaya were not cooperating with the verification of degrees. However, the department would not spare any one found to have submitted fake degrees.

The scam regarding the recruitment of teachers on the basis of fake degrees was first brought to the notice by The Tribune. Many of candidates secured fake BEd. degrees from universities which were situated outside the state. They were recruited against the posts of ETT teachers when the SAD-BJP government filled 7,230 posts.

Taking a notice of the PIL filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the basis of Tribune report, the court directed the Department of Education to inquire into the matter. On the directions of the court, the department formed committees to verify the degrees of all the recently recruited candidates.

The inquiry opened Pandora’s box. The degrees of nearly 135 teachers were allegedly found to be fake. The fact that startled the authorities was that all degree secured from the Maghad University of Madhya Pradesh were found to be fake. On the basis of initial report submitted to the court, the department ousted 135 teachers from service. Registration of fraud cases was also recommended against the guilty teachers.

However, keeping in view that all degrees secured from Magadh university were fake, the department ordered a further inquiry into the matter. The committees were directed to verify the degrees of all candidates who secured degrees from universities situated outside the state.

In the subsequent inquiry, degrees of 200 more candidates were found to be fake. The sources, told The Tribune, that if the government ordered an inquiry into the degrees of candidates recruited in other departments also on the same basis it could turn out to be the biggest scam in the state.

Besides the new recruitments, many old employees have secured promotions and financial benefits by acquiring fake degrees from such universities, the sources told.


Setback to Jathedar Patna Sahib
SGPC resolution says no alteration in ardas acceptable
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23
In a major setback to Jathedar Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, the general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today unanimously resolved that the Sikh Panth won't accept any alteration in the daily 'ardas' at any cost.

The resolution passed in the presence of Giani Iqbal Singh described the deletion of the words — 'praying to Almighty for easy access to Nankana Sahib and other Sikh shrines in Pakistan which were separated from the Sikh Panth after Partition' from the 'ardas' by Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib — as an attempt to create division in the Sikhs.

It may be mentioned here that Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib, and Giani Rattan Singh, Deputy Jathedar, Takht Hazoor Sahib, had caused flutter in the Sikh circles with the announcement at the first meeting of 'International Advisory Committee' of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), held at Lahore last week, that the words 'easy access to Sikh shrines' had been deleted from the daily 'ardas' being performed at Takht Patna Sahib.

Jathedar Iqbal Singh had informed the PSGPC that the decision to alter the ardas was taken following the decision of government of Pakistan to allow Sikh babas to carry out kar sewa of the gurdwaras there. However, the resolution of the SGPC said no individual, whatsoever high post he is holding, had no right to change the 'ardas' which was finalised after eight years of marathon discussions (from 1936 to 1944).

Taking a serious note of amending the 'ardas', the SGPC resolution urged Jathedar Akal Takht to take up the matter in the meeting of Sikh clergy as per Panthic traditions.

Earlier, the issue of 'ardas' was also taken up in the meeting of Sikh clergy today.

Meanwhile, another resolution sought the restoration of complete 'maryada' in all Sikh shrines in Pakistan.


Makkar’s appointment as SGPC President surprises everyone
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
The newly appointed president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, must not have believed his ears that he had been elevated to the highest post of the organisation.

For Mr Makkar, who till recently was fighting for being appointed the Ludhiana (urban) district president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), the elevation to the post of the SGPC president must be unbelievable. In fact, he could not manage even the district presidentship as a Tohra loyalist. Mr Hira Singh Gabria was nominated to that post and he was left sulking as the state vice-president.

Most of the people in general and the Akali leaders in particular reacted in awe after learning that Mr Makkar had been elevated to the post. Although Mr Makkar has been a member of the SGPC for quite sometime, but he was never in the reckoning for the post. His only qualification, besides being a staunch loyalist of the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is that he enjoys a modest and clean image.

Given the power, authority and influence of the SGPC president, Mr Badal would not have liked a strong and influential leader to be appointed to the post. While everybody was sure that Mr Badal would nominate some less influential and staunch loyalist as the president, but nobody could imagine that he (Mr Badal) would pick up too ordinary a person leaving everybody surprised. Mr Makkar in the saddle, Mr Badal would not have any problems in handling the SGPC as he likes.

Party sources are attributing the elevation of Mr Makkar to the post to Mr Badal's long-term strategy of nominating his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, as his successor. With SGPC president on his side, he will obviously feel more powerful and may find the succession process relatively easy.

Moreover, the appointment of Mr Makkar comes at a crucial time when the party has started preparing for the Assembly elections that are just over a year away. His appointment as the SGPC president may even be a signal to the urban Sikhs across the Punjab as well that the SAD(Badal) recognises their importance in the party. Otherwise, the SAD(Badal) is considered to be a party dominated by the Jat Sikh community.


Makkar’s appointment hailed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 23
As soon as the news that Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar has become the SGPC president, hundreds of SAD workers belonging to Sirhind and Bassi Pathana towns of the district, led by Jathedar Devinder Singh Bhappu and Jagdeep Singh Cheema started celebrations here. They distributed sweets and raised slogans in favour of Mr Badal and Jathedar Makkar.


CM’s ‘relative’ parks car on road, traffic disrupted
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda/Muktsar, November 23
Chaos prevailed in front of the bus stand here today evening when a person terming himself a relative of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh parked his vehicle in the middle of the road causing inconvenience to commuters. Another person posing as a son of a top police official was arrested in Muktsar when he was moving in a vehicle with red beacon atop.

Sources said the person went inside the bus stand premises leaving his Mercedes car (CH03 H 0001) having red beacon atop on the road. The car driver and his gunman stood near the vehicle. There was one traffic cop on duty at the square. Sources said the confusion continued for half an hour, but when more traffic policemen and press photographers reached the spot his driver swung into action. He immediately called up his boss who rushed out of the bus stand before leaving the place.

Surprisingly, traffic in charge Rajinder Kumar said the vehicle was parked on the roadside and there was no traffic violation. He said the person had left before he reached the spot. He abruptly disconnected his phone stating — “you mediapersons make a big issue out of nothing.” However, SSP, Kapil Dev said he would act against the erring traffic cops.

Meanwhile, in a similar case in Muktsar, the Bariwala police arrested a man, who was posing son of a police official, and his two aides. Sources said a police party spotted a car with red beacon atop near a check post and stopped it after getting suspicious of its occupants. The main accused disclosed his identity as Kulbir Singh alias Kaka, son of a police official posted in Chandigarh. Later, he spilled the beans and was identified as Angrej Singh. His “gunman” Saheb Chand revealed that he even arranged a uniform for him for show-off in a marriage ceremony. All three of them have been booked under Sections 420, 419 and 171 of the IPC.


Employees to protest today against 85th Amendment
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, November 23
Angry over the Punjab Government's move to implement the 85th Constitutional Amendment, members of different government employees associations of general categories will hold a protest here tomorrow when Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, PPCC chief, arrives. Mr Dullo will be in town tomorrow on his two-day visit.

The members of various unions and federations have also decided to form a joint action committee to protest against the government from a single platform.

Apprehending a dark future ahead after the implementation of the Amendment, different student organisations have also decided to join the protest.

Mr Surinder Kumar Saini, district president and state vice-president of the General Categories Welfare Federation, while talking to The Tribune here today revealed that with the implementation of the 85 Amendment, employees of not only general categories but also of reserved categories would be affected adversely.

The government's decision to implement the Amendment would benefit Class I and II (gazette officers). "Only 5 per cent employees of the reserved categories would be benefitted while other employees and unemployed youth from reserved categories would again be left uncovered," claimed Mr Saini.

Terming it a political stunt, Mr Sewa Singh Saini, chairman of the PWD Workers Union, Hoshiarpur, said the government has taken the decision keeping in view the ensuing Assembly elections. The members of various other federations have also criticised the government for not sticking to the Janjua Judgement.


Vigilance nabs Excise Inspector
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 23
Mr Ranjit Singh, an inspector of the Department of Excise and Taxation, who was posted at Information Collection Centre (ICC) at Khanauri in Sangrur district was arrested today by the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab for possessing assets disproportionate to his sources of income.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Patiala, said that Mr Ranjit Singh was having assets worth more than Rs 7 lakh. A case in this connection has been registered.

In another case, Mr Darshan Singh, a godown supervisor, Raw Material Depot of Punjab State Small Scale Industries Corporation, was arrested for causing a loss of Rs 17 lakh to the department by allocating raw material to a unit in Dera Bassi without following norms. He added that Mr B.K. Garg, Depot Manager, who was also involved in the case, was yet to be arrested. A case in this connection has been registered against both at Patiala Vigilance Bureau police station.

He said that these two officials took cheques from that unit for allocating raw material but did not check financial health of the unit. When the cheques were presented in bank, those bounced. Thus the officials caused loss to the department.

In another case, Gurmeet Singh, a constable working as assistant in charge, Rifle Club Police Lines, Patiala, was caught taking a bribe of Rs 300 from Mr Devinder Singh for issuing him rifle training certificate needed by him to take license of a rifle with him. A case in this connection has been registered.


ISI trying to revive terrorism: Virk
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, November 23
The ISI of Pakistan is trying to foment trouble and revive terrorism in the state but the police is vigilant enough to defeat their sinister designs, stated Punjab Police chief, Mr S.S. Virk, while talking to mediapersons at Police Lines Recreation Centre here today.

Mr Virk was here to preside over a range-level meeting of senior police officials on issues pertaining to law and order, crime and police functioning, which was attended amongst others by Mr Chander Shekhar, ADGP (Law and Order), Mr Rajinder Singh, IG, Bhatinda Zone, Mr I.P.S. Sahota, DIG, Ferozepore Range, besides SSPs and GOs belonging to Ferozepore, Muktsar and Moga districts.

Mr Virk stated that the police had recently apprehended several youths who admitted to have received training in Pakistan for the revival of subversive activities in this border state.

He said that several wanted hardcore terrorists like Paramjit Singh Panjwar and Wadhawa Singh Babbar, believed to be in Pakistan, were always on the hunt for unemployed and disgruntled Punjabi youths, who could be easily lured to carry out subversive activities in the state.

About the steps being initiated to bring these hardcore criminals to book, Mr Virk said since India and Pakistan had not signed any extradition treaty, the process was somewhat tedious but still the force was making concerted effort to bring them here.

Mr Virk asserted that the terrorism in Punjab had been totally eradicated but hastened to add that there were few splinter remains, which were being dealt with.

He said that various agencies trying to restore militancy were neither getting public support nor their sympathy now. He admitted that there was a lurking danger of revival of not only Sikh militancy but also Islamic militancy but the police was taking all necessary steps to nip them in the bud.


BJP backs Bir Devinder
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 23
The local unit of the BJP has come to the support of the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, demanding a CBI probe into his allegations of financial bungling by the Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhry Jagjit Singh.

In a press note issued here today, the general secretary of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Harcharan Singh Saini, said the Chief Minister had given a clean chit to the minister without holding an inquiry and this was unethical and a wrong thing to do.

The local BJP members also celebrated the victory of the JD (U) and BJP in Bihar elections.


Sukhbir for probe into Punjab land scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Former Union Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal General Secretary, Sukhbir Singh Badal, yesterday alleged that there was a nexus between the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Dubai-based EMAAR MGF real estate and infrastructure development company.

Mr Badal demanded a CBI probe into what he described as “the unprecedented land scam in Punjab”. The company had already started amassing money from unsuspecting Punjabis in the name of housing projects near Mohali.

The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) was forced to issue a notice to the said company following intervention. The company advertisement had solicited applications along with advance money from potential investors even before proper clearance and sanction had been taken from the competent authority for the said project.

The most shocking aspect of this MoU was that the government itself agreed to acquire land for the company’s use, giving clear indication of the kind of clout that the company enjoyed with the Chief Minister.

Mr Badal asked the Chief Minister to explain why the government had been forced to issue notice to a company with whom he had signed an MoU only four days ago.

Mr Badal said when Akalis came to power, all such colonising activity would be reviewed and , wherever necessary, rejected.


Special remission to prisoners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Punjab Government has granted one-year special remission to those prisoners who had been convicted and confined in jails till November 15, the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.

An official spokesman said here today that all such cases were required to be sent to the Governor for his approval prior to the issuance of orders sanctioning remission.

The benefit, however, would not be admissible if the sentence of death had been commuted to one of imprisonment for life for culpable homicide with wrongful confinement for extortion or culpable homicide with rape, offences where the victim was a child under the age of 14, any conviction for criminal conspiracy in connection with the above crimes, if the prisoner was involved in ghastly murder or double murder or a crime connected with terrorism. The remission would also not be granted to those convicted of dowry death.

The balance of the sentence of imprisonment for life would be remitted subject to the usual terms and conditions if the prisoner had maintained good conduct in jail and had not committed any major offence within the past three years or had not been involved in any crime inside the jail or outside while on parole.

Stating that these were one-time instructions only, the spokesman added that these would not be applicable in cases of conviction which had been investigated by the Delhi Special Police Establishment or cases investigated under any central Act other than the CrPC, misappropriation or damage to central property, cases relating to the Foreigners Act and the Passport Act, and foreign nationals.


Heritage fest begins on lukewarm note
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, November 23
The inaugural function of the Punjab Government-sponsored five-day third Amritsar Heritage Festival, today proved to be a damp squib for want of people participation.

Mr Sardool Singh Bandala, Excise and Taxation Minister, was scheduled to be the chief guest during the inauguration of procession from Town Hall. However, he did not arrive and in his absence Mr Sunil Datti, Mayor, flagged off the procession, which concluded at Ram Bagh gardens.

The Punjab Government initiated the festival here and at other historic cities of the state with a view to attract tourists.

Nihang Singhs of Baba Daya Singh from Sur Singh village mounted on horses and elephants were leading the procession.

Following them were tableaux, in which the students of BBK DAV College for Women showcased traditional Punjabi music items like ‘Jago’, ‘Sithniya’ and songs related to marriage.

Akhara, traditional way of exercising, and kabbadi were also displayed by youth. The procession passed through Maha Singh Gate, Burj Akali Phoola Singh, Bus Stand, Chowk Hussainpura and reached Ram Bagh. In the absence of poor management, traffic long jams were witnessed on the route. The district administration also failed to rope in local people.

At noon, a cultural programme was presented at the Ram Bagh gardens by local artistes, including Manpreet Sandhu, Kulwinder Shahi, Surinder Farishta, Aka Ghule Shah, Cherry, Baljinder Kaur Rimpy, Master Lakshar, and students of the Khalsa College for Women, BBK DAV College, Government Girls Senior Secondary School.


Sarus sighted in Punjab
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Here is good news for crane lovers. Agricultural fields and marshy areas on the border of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are home to the Sarus crane.

The Sarus, revered as a symbol of fidelity, is the only resident breeding crane in India. It is the tallest of all the 15 species of cranes in the world. It attains a height of upto 6 feet, with a wingspan of 8 feet.

Mr Prabhat Bhatti, a Nangal-based bird watcher and wildlife photographer, has spotted a flock of Sarus crane a number of times in his area. Last Sunday, he recorded 15 birds, including three young ones, between Santoshgarh village and Taliwal village in Una district, which is close to Nangal. He also photographed them.

The Sarus crane is the state bird of Uttar Pradesh. Though it is found in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan, its population is fast dwindling. The paddy fields are the preferred breeding spots of the bird.

The Red Data Book — a compendium of species facing extinction — has put the bird in the “vulnerable” category. A survey by the Dehra Dun-based Wildlife Institute of India in 1999 showed a nationwide count of 1991 birds.

In the survey, the maximum birds were counted in Uttar Pradesh (1019). In Himachal no bird was sighted, while in Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana the count was 24 and three, respectively. In Haryana, three Sarus were recorded in the Sultanpur National Park.

Dr Onkar Singh Brraich, Scientist (Environment), Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, who had sighted a pair of the Sarus in the Hajipur area of Hoshiarpur district two years ago, says the bird is non-migratory, though it makes short seasonal movements.

He attributes its downfall to the increased use of pesticides, changing cropping patterns, degradation of wetlands and marshy areas and high-tension electricity lines.

Mr Gurmit Singh, Deputy Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, says the sighting of the Sarus cranes in the Nangal area is good news. He says during the Wildlife Institute of India survey no bird was sighted in Punjab.


‘Pak offensive, India defensive on peace front’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 23
Pakistan is more offensive and India is bit defensive on the peace front, even as the governments of both countries are busy making their efforts to improve bilateral relations in the light of aspirations of people on both sides of the international border.

These are the feelings of Ms Riffat Kahlon, member of the Pakistan’s National Assembly, and her husband Col Zaved Safdar Kahlon (retd), former District Nazim of Narowal district of Pakistan, who are currently on a visit to Punjab.

Though the couple observed that more initiatives to meet the degree of warmth, developed among people on both sides, were required to be taken at the level of the governments, they predicted that the day was not far off when more congenial atmosphere and love would fill the air of the Southeast Asia and when the two countries would shun their petty egos and start living as good neighbours forever.

“The governments of the two countries have no choice but to bow to yearnings of their people, who love each other and who feel that they are from the same roots. We are elated to observe that there is not only lot of warmth among people, but, atmosphere is pretty hot here and there. If governments feel the temperature of public feelings, they would have to take requisite steps to broaden the sphere of the ongoing peace initiative,” said Col Zaved Kahlon while talking to The Tribune.

He, along with his wife, paid a visit to his old friend Tarlok Singh Padda’s residence at Dalla village near Quadian and later to that of Jalandhar-based veteran Akali leader Kuldip Singh Wadala.

Observing that India is a wonderful country and people are full of love here, Col Kahlon and his wife, however, expressed some of their reservations about the pace of the ongoing bilateral peace process.

“Pakistan is offensive and India is defensive on the peace front. Response is seemingly not that warm from the Indian side as compared to that of Pakistan. An example of this is the way the opening of the LoC in Kashmir was delayed for two-three days despite a call from President Pervez Musharraf. Pace is not the same. Speed is not the same (of India),” said Ms Riffat Kahlon and Col. Kahlon. 


Ariana Afghan temporarily suspends operations
Our Correspondent

Rajasansi (Amritsar), November 23
Afghanistan airlines Ariana Afghan, the first to start international flight between Amritsar and Kabul, has temporarily suspended its operations due to the non-feasibility of cargo and flight passengers.

According to internal feasibility report of the airlines, the non-commissioning of cargo terminal and loss of passenger booking, including business travellers to the war-ravaged country has been the main hurdle. The flight was operating once a week earlier, but in the past six months only six flights took off.

Only one flight took off last month and no flight has taken off this month, admitted Mr Prithvi Raj, Manager, Ariana Afghan. The killing of a kidnapped Indian in Afghanistan has further created tension and would adversely affect the flight operations.

The fact that Delhi airport was better equipped for cargo-handling with lesser costs to exporters/ importers, has attracted bulk of operations from Kabul. Besides facilities for re-routing goods arriving from several countries to Kabul, it was favoured for international aid, re-building and construction contracts worth crores.


PUDA employees hold protest rally
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 23
A protest rally was organised outside the office of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here today by the Punjab Field and Workshop Workers Union against anti-employee policies of PUDA.

The protesters said some employees yesterday resorted to a 24-hour hunger strike in support of their demands but this action had failed to move the authorities concerned.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Saini, general secretary of the association, said if the PUDA authorities failed to concede to their demands the agitation would be intensified.

The president, Mr Suresh Sharma, said a protest would be held on December 15 and 16 in the home town of the Punjab Chief Minister and a three-day hunger strike would be organised in the second week of January next year at Mohali if the demands of PUDA employees were not conceded to.

The protesters demanded that the services of 54 daily wage workers who were sent from PUDA to the Municipal Corporation in Ludhiana should be regularised and class III and IV employees be promoted after formulating service rules in this regard.

Their other demands include the release of allowances that were withdrawn by authorities concerned, an end to the contract system and jobs on compassionate grounds to the kin of employees who died during service.


Council warns Kharar octroi contractor
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 23
The local Municipal Council today warned the octroi contractor to abide by the rules laid down by the civic body failing which his contract would be cancelled after one month.

A decision to this effect was unanimously taken at the monthly meeting of the council held here. Its President, Mr Charanjit Singh, said a number of complaints against the octroi contractor were received from the local Vyapar Mandal, council employees and others.

It was alleged that employees of the contractor were harassing residents by levying fines and compromising fee even when the contractor had no right to do so. A decision on fines for octroi evasion was to be taken only by council officials.

The President of the council said workers of the contractor beat up certain council employees recently and a police case had been registered. It was decided that the octroi superintendent and the octroi clerk should be shifted to the Sadar octroi post from the office so that they could handle issues relating to octroi evasion and imposition of fines.

The House decided to approach the Ropar Deputy Commissioner for provision of land for a sewerage treatment plant. Mr Charanjit Singh said the Punjab Pollution Control Board had pointed out that the council was violating pollution control norms, but the civic body was helpless as it did not have land to set up the plant.

It was also decided at the meeting to provide the service of funeral van to the residents free of cost within municipal limits while a fee of Rs 5 per km would be charged if the van was used for places falling outside the limits.

A proposal linked to the development of council land that falls in Sunny Enclave was cancelled. It was decided to get the land transferred on the name of the civic body before chalking out plans for its development.


Councillor not administered oath
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 23
The SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, could not administer oath today to a municipal councillor who was declared elected through a notification issued on September 22.

Mr Sandhu said that the Ropar Deputy Commissioner had appointed him a convener for administering oath to Mrs Anju who was declared elected from ward no. 4. As such he had written a letter to the Executive Officer (EO) of the council for immediate action. But the council failed to take any action in this regard.

The SDM further said that instead of making arrangements for administering oath, the EO wrote back a letter saying that this could not be done as the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered a status quo on September 29 in the case of Mrs Joginder Kaur.

Mr Sandhu said that the court had not given any stay orders but only a status quo on September 29 while the notification in favour of Mrs Anju was issued on September 22.

Mrs Joginder Kaur was declared elected in municipal elections from ward no 4 but her opponent, Mrs Anju, had alleged that irregularities had taken place in the elections. She had filed a petition challenging the result and a recounting of votes was later done.


Action against sarpanch, panchayat secy recommended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
The Deputy Commissioner has asked the SSP to register a police case against a sarpanch and a panchayat secretary for misappropriating Rs 2.44 lakh from their panchayat funds.

In a statement released here today, the DC said residents of Joganand village lodged a complaint with him regarding embezzlement of panchayat funds. He had asked the BDPO, Mr Iqbal Singh to investigate the matter.

In his probe report, the BDPO revealed that sarpanch, Kulwant Singh and panchayat secretary of Nathana block Mahinder Singh embezzled Rs 2.44 lakh from grants sanctioned for various development works and funds raised from panchayat resources after the panchayat came into being on August 8, 2003.

He said the sarpanch was found guilty of misusing panchayat funds for his personal interests, while the panchayat secretary, who was supposed to monitor its proper expenditure, indulged in dereliction of duty by conniving with him.

While recommending police action against both of them, the DC appealed to the sarpanches and panchayat secretaries to utilise grants sanctioned for the development of villages in a proper way.


Khalra’s wife seeks DGP Virk’s dismissal
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 23
Ms Paramjit Kaur, wife of the slain human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra and other members of the Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) called for immediate dismissal of Mr S.S. Virk, Director-General of Police, Punjab, for his statement extending support to the police officials indicted by the CBI court recently in the sensational Khalra murder case.

Besides Ms Khalra, Mr Satwinder Pal Singh Palasaur and Mr Kirpal Singh Randhawa, Deputy Chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, in a joint press statement issued here today said the DGP statement amounts to having scant regard of the court order.

They noted with concern that the statement Mr Virk has not only hurt the feelings of the Sikh community, but also exposed that there was ‘police raj’ in Punjab.


Holiday for cops on poll duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced one week’s holiday for Punjab Police personnel posted on election duty during the Bihar Assembly poll and parliamentary and Assembly byelections in country.


Notice to Hawara on his wife’s petition
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 23
Mr Jaspal Singh Chugh, Additional District Judge (Ad Hoc), Fast Track Court, Sangrur, today issued a notice for January 3, next year, to Jagtar Singh Hawara on a petition filed by his wife, Balwinder Kaur, under Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, for the annulment of her marriage with Hawara. Hawara is reportedly the chief of the Babbar Khalsa International in India.

Earlier in the day, the District Judge entrusted the petition, filed by Balwinder Kaur, to the Additional District Judge (Ad Hoc), for further proceedings.

In her petition filed yesterday, Balwinder Kaur had sought the annulment of her marriage to Hawara on the plea that she had been cheated by Hawara who had introduced himself as Sahib Singh. At the time of the marriage, she and her family did not know that the man she was marrying was Jagtar Singh Hawara. She also mentioned in her petition that she had learnt that Hawara was already married and had not divorced his previous wife. Had she known that the man was Hawara and was already married, she would not have given her consent to the marriage. In the light of this, she prayed to the court to annul her marriage.

Balwinder Kaur is in judicial custody in connection with a case registered against her and others by the Dhuri police on June 19 last.


Switch over to dairy farming, Kang tells farmers
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 23
Camps will be organised for creating awareness among the public about the welfare and development schemes launched by the government so that people can avail benefits.

This was stated by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, while inaugurating an animal welfare camp at Manakpur Sharif village, near here, today. He said under the plan suvidha camps were being organised in the state.

The minister appealed to the farmers to switch over to dairy development for economic prosperity instead of sticking to the traditional way of farming. He said that injections for veterinary use were being imported for the welfare of animals. Last year 1.25 lakh injections were imported to keep animals free from diseases and an equal number were being imported this year also.

Mr Kang said that a training centre had been set up at Chitamali village at a cost of Rs 2 crore in order to educate farmers of the area in modern dairy methods.


Khalsa College collaborates with Oxford college
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23
The local Khalsa College has entered into an agreement with Oxford Business College (OBC), UK, to offer joint enrolment to the students of BBA, B.Sc (computer science) and MBA courses.

Ms Cynthis McLaughlin, Director (Southeast Asia) OBC, while talking to mediapersons here today said it was for the first time that the OBC had affiliated with any college in India. She said Khalsa College had been chosen for its venerable academic reputation, hightech infrastructure facilities and the global vision of the management for its students.

Mr Satyajit Singh Majithia, president of the governing counsel, Khalsa College, said students from Punjab would be benefited with this academic affiliation as they could now complete their first year of Bachelors in the holy city and one year in Oxford. He said this would give them the global exposure of education, which was required in today’s world.

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, Khalsa College, said this was a historical landmark in the globalisation of education in this part of the country. He said the University of Sunderland would award degrees in the UK.


Pbi varsity introduces new subject
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 23
The Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, inaugurated “re-birth an exhibition of miniature painting” by students of the Department of Fine Arts in the Fine Arts Gallery, Kala Bhavan, here today.

This display of the miniature will remain open till November 28.

According to a university press release, Punjabi University has started a rare subject, “Miniature” in the Department of Fine Arts.

Miniature painting has its roots in the ancient art and cultural history of India. Material, method and subject matter are found in the old Sanskrit texts.

Illustrated Buddhist palm leaf manuscripts, Jain manuscripts, Mughal miniature, Rajasthani and Pahari miniature and Sikh miniature portray the rich cultural heritage of India.


Students discuss Right to Information Act
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 23
Mr Lalit Bhatia, DGP, Vigilance and Security, PSEB, interacted with the students of the Department of journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, here as part of an informative session being held for students of the journalism Department here today.

Elaborating on the Right to the Information Act, Mr Bhatia said the law had been aimed at providing progressive, practical and meaningful information for the realisation of a practical regime.

A citizen should exercise this right judiciously and use it as an effective weapon against corruption, Mr Bhatia remarked in response to the queries of the students.

It is the responsibility of the media to clear any clouds of uncertainty to the law so that it meets its objective of empowering citizens, he added.

Mr H.P.S. Walia, Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, expressed a desire to initiate a public debate on the issue. He stressed that the media could utilise this law to yield information from the bureaucracy.

To ensure transparency in the system, the students should be provided with copies of their answersheets after evaluation, Mr Walia suggested.


2 modern labs opened at engg college
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 23
Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, S.K. Salwan inaugurated the flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) and communication skill labs of the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College. These have been set up at a cost of Rs 45 lakh.

Dr Salwan said the FMS lab was a part of R&D centre being set up in college for meeting industrial requirements for training and consultancy. He said in the age of the Information Technology language formed the basic aspect in science, technology and management studies.

The labs would prove to be a great help for the engineering students preparing for GRE, CAT and TOEFL tests, he added.

The Principal of the college, Dr D.S. Hira, said Rs 35 lakh had been spent by the college management to set the FMS lab and Rs 10 lakh for the communication skill lab.

The Registrar of the PTU, Dr M.S. Grewal, Prof A.P.S. Sethi, Head of Mechanical Department, Prof Amritbir Singh, Head of Applied Sciences Department, Prof I.P.S. Gill, Placement Officer, Prof J.S. Oberoi, Prof Jasmine Kaur also addressed the inaugural function.


Folklore exhibition today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 23
A folklore exhibition-cum-competition will be the highlight of the 36th foundation day celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev University to be held on November 24. Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, will inaugurate the competition.

Prof Barun De, Bishop of Delhi, Rt Rev Karam Masih and a distinguished Punjabi Scholar, Prof Jagbir Singh will deliver lectures on the life, teachings and philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev.


Details of student strength sought
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 23
The DEO (secondary schools), Mr Piara Singh, today directed all the Principal of the senior secondary, high and middle schools to submit details about strength of the students.

The strength of students will help to find out the requirement of the teachers in each school.

There are schools, which have teachers more than the requirements while on the other hand some schools lack required teachers, added Mr Piara Singh.

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