P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Singla positive on state’s fiscal health
Each MLA to get Rs 5 cr for development
Amirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, December 8
After putting the fractured economy back on rails, the Capt Amarinder Singh government has envisaged a massive plan for the overall development of the state for which all legislators would be provided with a special grant to the tune of Rs 5 crore each for undertaking developmental works in their respective Assembly segments, revealed Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, while talking to mediapersons at Guruharsahai, 35 km from district headquarters here today.

He was, however, evasive when asked whether this special grant would be extended to all MLAs in the state irrespective of the party to which he belonged to.

Mr Singla was here to attend the bhog ceremony of Mrs Mohanbir Kaur, elder sister of Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Youth Affairs and Sports.

He was accompanied by Chowdhry Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Government, Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Mohinder Rinwa, MLA, Chairman, PSTC, Mr Kewal Dhillon, vice-president PPCC, Mr Anoop Singh, President, DCC, and scores of other senior Congress leaders.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was supposed to attend the bhog had sent Mr Singla on his behalf, who along with his other colleagues, used the state helicopter to attend the bhog.

Mr Singla said the Congress regime had already fulfilled most of the promises it had made to the people of Punjab in its election manifesto.

On the issue of abolition of octroi, Mr Singla said the state government was looking for some alternative sources for generating Rs 750 crores being earned through octroi collection in the state at the moment.

He said the government was studying all options like introduction of entry tax, local area development tax and some other options as suggested by the National Institute of Public Finance, New Delhi, but all sections of society, including industrialists and traders, would be taken into confidence before reaching any final decision to be taken before April 1, 2006.

He said it would be ensured that the common man was not put under any kind of burden or inconvenience due to the introduction of an alternative taxation scheme.

Reacting to Mr Sukhbir Badal’s outburst against the CM’s proposed trip to Dubai to look at Emmar Group’s infrastructure projects, Mr Singla said Emmar was a renowned company which had been given nod for FDI worth Rs 9000 crores in the country by the Union Cabinet in a meeting chaired by PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Out of the amount, the company intended to invest Rs 5000 crores in Punjab only.

He added that Sukhbir Badal should desist from issuing such irresponsible statements which would adversely effect the forgein investment in the state.

About the unbundling of the PSEB in the state, Mr Singla said any decision in that regard would be taken later keeping in view the provisions of the Electricity Act being introduced at the national-level.

About discontinuation of the grant-in-aid to the private-aided schools, Mr Singla said the Badal government decided to withdraw it in a phased manner but reverting that decision, the Congress regime had decided not to discontinue with the same.

Mr Singla informed the state government had also decided to purchase new luxury cars for the three Chief Parliamentary Secretaries of the state and additional 10 more new cars would be purchased for use of the Parliamentary Secretaries as old vehicles had already done more than the stipulated mileage.

Mr Singla revealed that over 12000 posts of teachers in government schools and another 1300 posts of government doctors would be filled soon.

About the current fiscal condition of the state, Mr Singla said he would like to place all facts and figures during the next Vidhan Sabha session but at the same time he added that the fiscal condition was stable and an amount to the tune of Rs 1196 crores had been deposited by the government with the RBI.


CM advised against Dubai visit?
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
A divided opinion has emerged around the Chief Minister’s proposed dual-purpose visit to Dubai. One, he is scheuled to see for himself the quality of infrastructure built by Emmar MGF Land Private Limited and the second is to attend the Doon School Alumni meet — both in Dubai.

Behind the scenes, people within the inner-most circle of the Chief Minister have also advised him not to visit the projects of the infrastructure company, it is learnt. The opinion of his advisers is that it could send out a wrong signal to people. Less than two weeks ago the same Dubai—based company had faced the ire of the Punjab Urban Development Authority for prematurely issuing advertisements inviting applications for residential plots without availing any licence from the authorities concerned.

PUDA had contended that the company had issued advertisements without having any sanctioned plan. Several people booked plots with Mohali and Kharar based property dealers. The Dubai-based company washed its hands off, saying they had not issued any advertisement and the property dealers had acted on their own.

This had sent an erroneous impression to people who invested and the case was blown up in the media. The Chief Minister, it is learnt, was convinced that there was nothing wrong as one arm of the government — the PUDA — had taken corrective action when it found an error.

However, another group close to the Chief Minister sees no harm in the purposed visit. A slew of ministers and officials, including the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, the PWD Minister, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, and the Secretary, Finance, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, among others, are scheuled to accompany him.

Among the people likely to attend the Doon School Alumni meet include the Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer, among several leading lights of Industry, politicians and famous people. Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, a nephew of former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and an MLA from Gidderbaha, is also to be among those at the Doon School meet.

People advising the Chief Minister against visiting the infrastructure company, however, have no problems with the Doon School meet. It is a personal matter, they opine. Meanwhile the State Government has sought permission from the Union Ministry of External Affairs for the visit.


Statewide strike by PSEB staff
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, December 8
On a call given by the PSEB Employees Joint Forum, employees of the board observed a strike all over the state in protest against the non-implementation of their demands, including the proposed privatisation of the board.

Prominent among the unions which took part in the strike were PSEB Employees Federation (AITUC), Technical Services Union (TSU), Bijlee Mulazim Front, Workers Federation, Punjab Raj Majdoor Sangh, Ministerial Services Union and the Thermal Employees Coordination Committee.

Rallies were held in front of the main gate of the PSEB against the proposed move of the Punjab Government to privatise the board.

Mr Karam Chand Bhardwaj, president of the PSEB employees forum, claimed that the strike was successful and that cash collection centres across the state had remained closed.

Mr Bhardwaj said supply at the 132 KV grid substation at Gidderbaha remained interrupted due to some fault and added that employees of the hydel project at Shahpur Kandi, Mukerian and Joginder Nagar and at thermal plants at Ropar, Bathinda and Lehra Mohabat observed total strike.

Neither the state government nor the board’s management had extended any invitation to the unions to solve their problems which included regularisation of work charged employees, stopping of contract and outsourcing work and grant of jobs to the kin of employees who had died during service.

HOSHIARPUR: Employees of PSEB observed a strike in protest against the non-implementation of their demands.

Mr Om Parkash, leader of the employees’ forum, claimed in a press note that cash collection centres of the board remained closed.

NAWANSHAHR: The PSEB employees observed near total strike in protest against the Power Bill, 2003, and the move to privatise the board. The employees organised rallies in front of their respective PSEB offices and raised slogans against the state government.

ROPAR: Various employees’ unions, including the RTP employees Joint Action Committee, Thermal Plant, and the PSEB Employees Federation (INTUC), observed strike to protest against the unbundling of the PSEB. 


Board to take action

Patiala, December 8
The PSEB management has decided to initiate legal and disciplinary action by enforcing the principle of “no work, no pay” against employees who participated in today’s strike.

Contrary to the claims of unions leaders who claimed total strike, the board Chairman, Mr Y.S Ratra, in a press note said: “The strike had virtually no impact on the PSEB secretariat and other offices of the board situated in Patiala.” — TNS


DC seeks report on ‘violation’ by temple management 
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, December 8
The Deputy Commissioner, has written to the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation (MC), to implement the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding ‘status report of the action’ against 12 shops constructed on a prime land, worth crores, by the Durgiana Temple management in alleged violation of a lease agreement with the MC.

In the letter, dated December 5, a copy of which is with The Tribune, the Deputy Commissioner demanded MC’s progress report on action against alleged violation and asked it to send its reply within four days.

Mr Surinder Arjun, President, Temple Management, when contacted, said he was shocked over the stand of the district administration which had held a meeting with the temple, head a month back, and doubts had been cleared in presence of the Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti.

He shot a letter today to the Deputy Commissioner recalling his earlier meeting and buttressed the stand that demolition could not be undertaken.

The temple management chief, who is also the district Congress General Secretary , maintained that some mischievous elements were bent upon sullying the name of the temple management.

The Commissioner, MC, Mr K.S. Kang said the MC was looking into the matter afresh.

The prime land in commercial area was leased in May 2002 to the temple authorities by the MC purportedly for a primary school in 972 sq yards.

Mr S.S. Sharma, a resident, had raised the issue of alleged violation.

Earlier, the MC had written to the district administration urging for additional police force to undertake demolition of the said shops.

Replying to these letters, the District Magistrate asked for status report as MC’s requirements were sanctioned and were at disposal of the MC.

Incidentally about 17 shops constructed during the SAD-BJP tenure were never demolished when the temple management was in the hands of then ruling party combine.

The present Congress-controlled management has sought to draw parallels with the earlier alleged “illegal” constructions to justify their own. 


Did Vigilance Bureau frame Jail Superintendent?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Was the Superintendent of Central Jail, Amritsar, Capt S.P. Singh (retd), framed by Vigilance Bureau officials in an alleged case of embezzlement? Yes, if one is to go by the ‘‘facts’’ of the case gathered by the Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Jails), Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, who is all set to take up the issue with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

‘‘Certainly I will take up this case with the Chief Minister at the earliest as Capt S.P. Singh was an honest officer and commanded respect among convicts and others in the jails wherever he served because of his honesty,” said Mr Birmi without going into the details of the case.

Capt S.P. Singh was arrested on November 17 along with Deputy Superintendent of the Jail and two house wardens on the charges of embezzlement allegedly to the tune of Rs 36 lakh in the distribution of ration to prisoners. A team of 30 vigilance sleuths had conducted the raid to arrest the Jail Superintendent and other officials.

However, Mr Birmi said that there was shortage of only 25 kg of dal and one quintal of wheat which is insignificant in a jail where, 2,500 inmates were housed. Moreover, he said, this shortage was not in a day but in a ration stock that was purchased months ago. “If it is calculated on the basis of ration that is daily provided to such a large number of inmates in a jail like Amritsar that means the shortage of dal was only 100 gram per head”.

Mr Birmi said he had got the information that there was a background with regard to the suspected framing of the Jail Superintendent. Months ago three prisoners, who were taken to court from the Amritsar jail, had escaped from police custody. However, one of them surrendered in the court a few days after the escape. However, the police registered a number of cases, including one of firearms, against him.

The escapee denied that he was involved in any case and said that he had voluntarily surrendered in the court. Certain police officers, who were allegedly involved in the registration of cases against the escapee, felt that the Jail Superintendent, Capt S.P. Singh, had tutored the escapee to deny his involvement in the cases.

The case will take a new turn with Mr Birmi taking up the matter with the Chief Minister. It is not first time that Vigilance Bureau officials have faced similar allegations. 


Municipal Council eyes revenue, forgets safety
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, December 8
The sparse and costly land can force authorities to go to any extent in this town. The effort of the local Municipal Council to construct a shop around a working transformer of the PSEB is a clear illustration of the fact.

The authorities of the Pathankot Municipal Council have employed men to dig the foundations of a shop on the Gulmohar Tourist Complex road here. Significantly, the foundations have been dug around a PSEB transformer which is being used to supply power to the surrounding areas.

The digging around the transformer has weakened the pole supporting it. It has resulted in tilting of the transformer towards an existing shop.

The residents of the area are alleging that digging is threatening life of the people owning shops or working in the area. Besides, a slight damage to the pole can paralyse the power supply to the entire area.

The PSEB authorities have also protested against the digging. They even pleaded the men hired by the council authorities to stop digging but to no avail.

The Municipal Council authorities said digging of the foundation in question was being carried out to save the land from encroachment. The council can earn about Rs 10 lakh by constructing a shop in the area and putting it on sale.

The application for removing the transformer from the area had been moved before the PSEB authorities, they added.

The authorities, however, failed to explain as to why they could not wait for the transformer to be removed before proceeding for the construction.

The encroachments on the PSEB land to a life-threatening extent is common in this town. The encroachers have carried out constructions under the vital 33 KV power line passing through the town.

As per rules, no construction can be carried out at least within 11 feet of vertical clearance from the 33 KV line. However, here 33KV lines can be seen virtually touching the roofs of the houses and commercial establishments.

To add to it, people have even taken the electric poles supporting the high-tension wires inside their buildings.

The land on which the poles, supporting the high-tension wires, are set up is acquired by the PSEB. Despite this, no firm action has been taken against the encroachers which encourages others to repeat the acts.


Mann for defence varsity at Anandpur Sahib
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 8
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), here today criticised the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for pitching to establish a defence university at Patiala.

He said his party had been working to set up the university at Anandpur Sahib, the birthplace of the Khalsa. He furnished a copy of a letter written on June 7, 2004, to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, urging him to set up the university at Anandpur Sahib. He mentioned in the communication that a letter bearing signature, of 26 Members of Parliament was forwarded to his predecessor, Mr A.B. Vajpayee, on July 18, 2002.

Mr Mann opined “Anandpur Sahib is a place where a doctrine took birth after which all invasions from the north on the subcontinent were stemmed and the frontiers of India extended to Afghanistan and China”.

He said the then Defence Secretary, Mr Ajay Prasad through a letter on November 20, 2003, had assured him that establishment of a national defence university and its headquarters were under examination and the government would consider his representation while taking a final decision in the matter.


Sukhbir irrational, say two ministers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Reacting to a statement of former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Badal, with regards to the proposed visit to Dubai by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, two Congress Ministers of Punjab said Mr Sukhbir Badal was being envious and irrational because his father, former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, could not fetch such mega investments for the state.

The Local Government Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, and Housing and Urban Development Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, said Mr Badal had levelled frivolous allegations against the Punjab Chief Minister’s proposed Dubai-visit.

The plan was to attract huge investment for housing, urban development, infrastructure, roads and bridges from World renowned infrastructure company Emmar MGF Land Private Limited.

The estimated cost of the entire project was pegged at Rs 1000 crore. The Ministers also said that it was the bounden duty of a State Government to facilitate prospective entrepreneurs and investors and in this case too the State Government acted within its defined parameters for extending regulatory concessions.

Moreover, the Government of India was constantly encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to propel the economic scenario in the country and it was obligatory on the part of the Punjab Government to attract investments from abroad. The Government , they claimed, was committed to make Punjab a front running state in the country.

These Ministers said that the State Government had not deviated in any way from the set procedure of the guidelines for the mega projects as far as the signing of the MoU with this company was concerned.

The statement further asked Mr Sukhbir Badal to cross check the facts with the quarters concerned and verify the contents of the MoU singed between the Punjab Government and Emmar MGF Land Private Limited rather than harping on such unwarranted issues to gain cheap popularity in the media.


25 per cent of development funds for SCs
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 8
The state government has decided to spend 25 per cent of the funds sanctioned for development works for the welfare of Scheduled Castes (SC), stated Mr Niranjan Singh, Chairman, Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Caste, at a meeting with administration officials and representatives of various social organisations here today.

Highlighting the state government’s efforts in this direction, the chairman said books worth Rs 16 crore were disbursed free of cost to 14 lakh SC children, while Rs 22.1 crore was given as scholarship to SC girl students. He said the commission had recommended simplification of Shagun Scheme.

He stated that the commission had the power to issue warrant against officials showing laxity in the implementation of Prevention of Atrocities Act.

He said the commission received 354 complaints under this Act in 2004, of which 136 were redressed. This figure had risen to 493 this year and 66 had been redressed. He said all Deputy Commissioners and SSPs had been asked to implement Prevention of Atrocities Act for SCs strictly. “The DC and SSP concerned will investigate the scene and lodge an FIR without any delay. An officer of at least the rank of a DSP will probe into the incident.”

The chairman said the commission would forward its recommendations to the state government on the basis of people’s feedback after completing its tour of the state in the coming four months.

He said 35 schemes for economic development of SCs were being run in the state, which included attendance scholarship, pre-metric scheme and free stationery schemes.

He said a dedicated social security fund of Rs 450 crore had been formed to facilitate smooth implementation of these schemes. Deputy Commissioner Mandeep Singh, SSP Pawan Kumar Rai and all SDMs of the district attended the meeting. 


War memorabilia to be housed in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The Punjab Government has decided to collect World War I and II memorabilia from ex-servicemen who had fought in the two wars.
Chief Parliamentary Secretary Malkiat Singh Birmi today said the memorabilia would be kept at a war museum in Ludhiana.

He said there were 9,000 surviving ex-servicemen of both wars in Punjab and they would be contacted for memorabilia.

He said besides, the Flanders Field Museum and Imperial Museum at London had agreed to loan certain items to the museum. There were certain items that would be exchanged with these museums, he added.

Mr Birmi, who along with Principal Secretary, Defence Services, Geetika Kalha visited the Flanders Field Museum, said a lot of material was available in that museum regard Sikh soldiers.

Even, Bhupinder Singh, an NRI who lives in Holland, had a collection of letters written from the war front by Indian soldiers to their families. However, most of these did not reach their destination.

Ms Kalha said an Ahemdabad-based institute had been given the task to design war galleries at the Ludhiana museum.

“In a period of two years, we would be able to do something worthwhile,” she said.

And they were also planning to set up separate galleries of memorabilia of 1948, 1965, 1971 wars at the Ludhiana museum, she added.


“Kaurs” launched 
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
In a world changing at a fast pace, even the name has become a statement of one’s personality.
In a country like ours, the name not only identifies one as a person but much more, including his or her religion and even sometimes caste. There are communities which use specific words as suffixes with their names which enables to reveal their identity. “Singh” and “Kaur”, is used particularly by the Sikh community because these relate to its religion.

But for the past few years, the use of the word Kaur with their names by Sikh girls and women is on the decline. There has been a preference to either use sub-caste with the first name or only to confine to the first name without having any other addition to the name.

Concerned over the development, four Sikh women based at four different places around the globe have come out with a magazine “ Kaurs” which was launched at a function here today. Famed writer, Mrs Dalip Kaur Tiwana, and IAS officer, Mrs Ravneet Kaur, who have not shed “ Kaur” from their names unveiled the inaugural issue of the “ Kaurs” at the launch ceremony.

Roma Kaur, the Toronto based Editor of the Kaurs, said that the magazine was not only confined to the concept of “Kaur”. She said the magazine of course would be the voice of Sikh women and would focus on their identity but its basic objective would be to realise the importance of woman in society.

“The magazine would be a peep into the mind of women”, she said. “ It was our tribute to a girl child”, she added. Asked how she felt about Sikh women who do not use Kaur with their names, Roma Kaur said that “ I believe that such women do not accept their identity”. She said that “Kaur” reflected humility, sacrifice, dignity, grace and above all a great religious identity.

“Kaurs” will be a bilingual bi-monthly and encourage women writers from across the globe to express themselves in English and Punjabi. Roma Kaur is accompanied by Chandigarh based Malwinder Kaur, Chicago based Karamjit Kaur and Toronto based Daljit Kaur in the venture of publishing this magazine.


Pak poets take part in fest
Tribune News Service

Wadala Veeram, December 8
Many renowned Punjabi poets from Pakistan today participated in the Second Shah Mohammad International Festival here today even as organisers vowed to retrace the heritage belonging to Shah Mohammad.

The festival was organised by the Shah Mohammad Memorial Trust and the Almi Punjabi Virasat Foundation which is dedicated to Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, the founder of The Tribune.

Among those who came from Pakistan to participate in the mela included Anju Qureshi, Anjum Salimi, Irfan Sadiq, Jahid Nabi and Naim Saqib. Dr Harbhajan Singh Bhatia, Professor, School of Punjabi Studies, GND varsity presented a paper.


high court
Contempt notice issued to Gen J.J. Singh
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a contempt notice to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen J.J. Singh, and the Commanding Officer (CO) of 9 Mahar for April 28, 2006.

The notice was issued on the petition filed by Daljit Singh of Amritsar, seeking the initiation of contempt of court proceedings for not implementing court orders.

The case pertains to the petitioner’s representation to the COAS and the CO of 9 Mahar for giving him a permanent job in the Army in lieu of his father, Company Hav Surat Singh, who was killed during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi.

At the time of his killing, Surat Singh was travelling from Delhi to Mathura. After he turned major, the petitioner applied to the District Sainik Board, Amritsar, for a job in the Army on compassionate and priority basis. However, his request was turned down on the plea that there was no such rule under which he could be appointed.

Following the February 5, 1995, decision of the Punjab Government, the petitioner applied for a job in the Army, but was again refused. The government had decided to give government jobs to children of the riot victims who were killed between November 1 and 9, 1984.

He then filed a petition in the High Court. His petition was disposed of after the counsel for the Union Government told the court that the petitioner must make representations to the COAS and the CO, 9 Mahar.


Kalam to interact with cotton growers tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 8
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would be visiting Gehri Buttar village in the district on Saturday. He would interact with cotton growers of the village that had been adopted by the Vardhman group-led consortium of spinning mills under its village cluster adoption project.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said the President would land at Bhisiana Air Force Station in the afternoon, from where he would head towards the village in a chopper. He said all arrangements for the President’s hour-long visit were being made on war footing.

Mr Rajesh Singla, manager (cotton), Vardhman, told The Tribune that the President had expressed his desire to visit one of the villages adopted under the programme. He claimed the cotton production in these villages had been 55 per cent higher then the state’s average.

Aimed at transferring technology to farmers’ fields for raising productivity and upgrading the quality of cotton, the project was started in five-village clusters falling under Bathinda, Faridkot, Mansa and Muktsar districts.


Blind murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 8
The district police today claimed to have solved a blind murder case with the arrest of Jagtar Singh, alias Tara, a resident of Benra village, near Dhuri. As per the police, Jagtar Singh had “killed” Chaman Lal, a milkman, whose body was found near Benra village on the Sangrur-Dhuri road on October 5 last. Chaman Lal had gone to Benra village from Dhuri on his bicycle to bring milk from there.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, said here today that complainant Raj Kumar, an uncle of the deceased, had earlier pointed the needle of suspicion towards Swarn Singh and Rulda Singh, both residents of Benra village, in the murder of his nephew. But during police investigations both were found innocent. So a special police team under the supervision of SP (D) Surjit Singh Grewal was formed to trace this blind murder, the SSP added.

The SSP said during investigations the name of Jagtar Singh, alias Tara, came to light, so he was asked to appear before the police to explain his position, but he continuously avoided the police. However, he produced himself before the police the previous day and confessed his crime. He further said Jagtar Singh had told the police that Chaman Lal had declined to give him Rs 7,000 for the milk sold by him to Chaman Lal so he killed Chaman Lal with an iron rod on the night of October 4. 


Two held in murder case
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 8
The Ropar police today claimed to have solved the three-month murder case of a Morinda resident with the arrest of two persons from Sangatpura village of Samrala. A city resident, Pritpal Singh, was arrested for murdering Karnail Singh while Hardeep Singh of Samrala was held for providing shelter to the murder accused.

Police sources said Pritpal was arrested this morning from the residence of Hardeep. The accused had given poison to Karnail, a resident of Baldev Nagar in Morinda, in some edible items on September 27.

When the condition of Karnail deteriorated, the accused had left him in hospital. Before his death, Karnail gave a statement to the police that he was given poison by the accused.

This fact was confirmed in the post-mortem report of the deceased, the police sources added. The accused had stayed in various places, including Assam. For the past some time, the accused had been given shelter by Hardeep.


Couple shot

Gurdaspur, December 8
Assailants murdered Jarnail Singh and his wife, Binder Kaur, both residents of Chan Chak village, near Gurdaspur, last night. The assailants entered the house of the couple in the village and locked the watchman in a room.

They fired at point-blank range on the faces of the sleeping couple. The face of Jarnail Singh was smashed badly due to bullet injuries. He had bullet injuries in eyes and face.

Jarnail Singh used to run a small sheller and flour mill in the village. Police sources said that he inherited the entire property of his father that left his kin estranged. The murder was discovered this morning when a villager came to the flour mill. The bodies of the couple were later recovered from the house. The police has registered a case. — TNS


2 jawans killed

Pathankot, December 8
Two Army personnel were killed in a road accident near Jandwal village here last night. The victims have been identified as Rajinder Singh and Gurinder Singh. The accident took place when the victims were going on a motor cycle which collided with a truck. — OC


SLIET alumni urged to promote education
Tribune News Service

Longowal (Sangrur), December 8
Delivering the convocation address at the eighth annual convocation of the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) here, Dr Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, today called upon the post-graduate, degree, diploma and certificate courses alumni of the institute to contribute one per cent of their income as charity towards education.

He said their contribution would certainly play a vital role in the promotion of educational activities and help the educational institutions.

Dr Boparai further said it was an important day in the life of recipient of degrees, diplomas and certificates of this institute, as they would be bright and young leaders of tomorrow.

He said that as about two crore jobs would be available in the world in the future, so the talented students would be benefitted with more job opportunities.

Dr Boparai also said majority of the people of the country lived in villages, but the benefits of science and technology were particularly insufficiently available in the villages.

He further said the villagers still depended upon traditional skills and methods in their vocation, having little awareness of mechanical aids or computerised systems.

He said there was a dire need to bridge this gap between the urban and rural people.

On the occasion, post-graduate degrees, bachelor degrees, diplomas and certificates in various disciplines of engineering and technology were awarded to 784 students.

As many as 17 students received post-graduate degrees while 218 received bachelor degrees, 319 diplomas and 230 certificates.

Dr Swarn Singh Boparai and Dr V.K. Arora, Dean, Academic, Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, gave away the degrees to the students.

Dr N.P. Singh, Acting Director of the SLIET, awarded diplomas and certificates to the students. Dr Boparai also gave away medals and certificates to the meritorious students of the degree, diploma and certificate courses.

Dr V.K. Arora, Dean, Academic, PTU, Jalandhar, who was present on behalf of the PTU Vice-Chancellor, focused upon developing competence in technology and its management as an integral part of our strategy for industrial development.

He said knowledge-based industries would have greater relevance rather than traditional labour intensive industries.

Dr N. P. Singh, Acting Director of the SLIET, informed the gathering that the SLIET would have deemed university status very soon He said at present the SLIET was running 12 certificate, 10 diploma, 8 degree and 4 post-graduate programmes while the institute was also planning to start integrated degree programmes and more post-graduate programmes in the near future.

He also said entrepreneurship, industry, institute interaction, effective training and placement cell in the industrial hubs of India were the priorities of the SLIET.


Scholar honoured by Kalam
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 8
Prof D.D. Bhatti, a Sanskrit scholar from Malerkotla, was conferred Presidential certificate of honour from the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on December 6. A special function was organised in Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. He got it for his outstanding contribution to Sanskrit literature.

Talking to The Tribune this evening here, Prof Bhatti said the award had been announced earlier and he was already getting a life fellowship of Rs 50,000 per annum. The fellowship was being given to him by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, he added.

Prof Bhatti has done a research on medical aspects in the Vedas. He has authored 17 books and 300 articles in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Sanskrit, published in India and abroad. The Punjab Government also honoured him with the Shiromani Sahitkar Award in 1992. In June he visited Northern Illinois University DeCalb, Chicago, and delivered a series of lectures on Indian culture there. He was honoured by the university and other institutions there. Now he has been invited by the Houston University, Texas, USA, for delivering a lecture on the Vedas in July 2006. 


Material meant for disabled given to BEO
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 8
Items worth lakhs purchased under the Union Government’s Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and were lying undistributed at the Government Secondary School (Boys) here have now been handed over to the block elementary education officer no 1 and 2 for distribution.

These items were to be distributed among physically challenged students under the scheme. The material comprises 31 tricycles, 29 wheel chairs, 20 crutcher and 15 hearing aids. These items were sent to the school in last June but were lying undistributed.

A news in this regard was published in The Tribune on December 6.

Mr Piara Singh, Principal of the school, today that undistributed was to be given to needy students belonging to tribal families, who had migrated to other places and were untraceable.

The Principal added some of the material was kept in the school and some had been handed over to the Block Elementary Education Officer no 1 and 2. This material would be distributed among needy students in January, 2006 at a special camp, he added.


Placement drive at engineering college
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 8
Punjlloyd, a New-Delhi-based 4000 crore construction company started its placement drive in Punjab at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC), Fatehgarh Sahib.

College principal Dr Dilbag Singh Hira said Punjlloyd was looking for graduate engineer trainees in mechanical, civil and electrical and electronics engineering. Dr Hira said the company would place these engineers at company sites all over India and overseas. He said more than 300 final year students from seven engineering college of the state were appearing in test and group discussion for jobs at BBSBEC.

Dean, Training and Placement, Prof IPS Gill, said the company had a distinguished record of successfully executing numerous projects in pipelines, tankages & terminals, process plants, power and civil construction. He said the selected students would get handsome salary. 

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