P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Police investigating telecast of Khalistan programme
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
News channel, Zee News, bowing to public sentiments in Punjab, today expressed “regrets” at having inadvertently hurt the feelings of the Sikh community by telecasting the programme on the issue of “Khalistan”.

On the other hand, the Punjab Police has started an exercise to find out what could have led to the telecast of the programme fraught with dangerous consequences for the national unity and integrity.

The regrets were conveyed in the news bulletins at 6 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm, respectively. The news reader said “The programme was aimed at uncovering the designs of separatist ideologues in Punjab in which we have been successful as the Police had arrested them following the programme”. The news reader went on to add: “ The channel respects the feelings of the Sikh community and did not want to hurt anybody”.

Meanwhile sources in the Police said The Director-General of the Punjab Police, Mr S.S. Virk has held discussions with senior officers and asked them to work on all “possibilities and aspects of the telecast”.

All those who could have gained from the telecast will have to be traced out, says the DGP’s instructions. The suspicion is on certain lobbies that could have gained from the telecast which had the potential to hamper or delay the opening of free-trade between India and Pakistan, confirmed a senior official. At present a majority of the trade is carried out through the sea-route between Mumbai and Karachi.

Programmes where separatist ideologues claim to be working to form “Khalistan” could go against improvement in Indo-Pakistan relations, is the opinion among senior Government functionaries.

The police is trying to find out if some investment that was coming to Punjab was affected by the “fear psychosis” generated by this programme.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has already held a high-level meeting to “contain the damage”. Sources in the Government said it was possible that someone’s economic interests were being hurt at the progress made by Punjab.

Also the fact that the people who were interviewed had no relevance in the state’s politics or the masses.

Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code has been included in the case registered by the police against the separatist leaders arrested yesterday. This section deals with the offence relating to publishing or circulating any rumour or alarming news with intent to create feelings of enmity, hatred, or ill-will between different religions, groups or communities.


House condemns TV programme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The controversial television programme relating to "Khalistan" received a rebuff in the Punjab Assembly here today. The Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal joined hands to condemn the programme and unanimously adopt a resolution to protect "the hard-earned peace in the state".

The Chief Minister also announced the formation of an inquiry committee to find out who all were involved in airing and producing the programme. The Akalis walked out of the House demanding that a Judge be appointed for conducting a time-bound inquiry.

The Chief Minister also turned down a request for a CBI inquiry made by the President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The Chief Minister said there was no need for it as such an inquiry would take years to complete and the people could not wait to know the truth.

Before moving the resolution against the programme the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, made an emotional statement on the floor of the House saying " no individual or institution attempting to disturb the peace in the state will be allowed to do so and anybody abetting any terrorist activity shall be locked up".

The Chief Minister blamed the Akalis, saying "you people have destroyed the state".


Printed material on ‘Khalistan’ found in Chohan’s house
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 10
The police seized hand-written and printed material relating to ‘Khalistan’ from the office of the Khalsa Raj Party and house of Khalistan ideologue Jagjit Singh Chohan at Tanda yesterday.

Mr Harish Kumar, Superintendent of Police (Detective), Hoshiarpur, told reporters here today. He said copies of letters written by Dr Jagjit Singh to the United Nations Organisation (UNO) on formation of Khalistan were found in these files.

Referring to the flat atop of the building of his house and a charitable hospital adjoining it. Mr Harish Kumar said the flag was also seized only “Akal Sahai” was printed on the flag and no word relating to Khalistan or the Khalsa Raj Party was found on it. He said the computer seized from his house was without central processing unit .


DIG to head probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
The Punjab Police today issued orders to appoint the DIG, Intelligence, Mr B.K. Uppal, as head of a panel of officers to probe the telecast of the controversial programme relating to "Khalistan".

The others on the panel are Mr S.P.S Basra and Mr S.K. Asthana.

The inquiry will focus on the motive behind and timing of the telecast and the persons responsible for it.


Farmers’ property not to be mortgaged for loan up to Rs 1 lakh
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 10
Farmers in Punjab will no longer need to mortgage their property for a loan of up to Rs 1 lakh, stated Chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, Dr GS Kalkat, today while interacting with reporters after the Regional Kisan Mela where he promised the farmers to take up their demand of the withdrawal of VAT on cotton with the state government.

Dr Kalkat said he had held a meeting with banks like the State Bank of Patiala, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India in this regard. He said loan under the scheme would be extended to a group of farmers for a particular project. The entire loan amount would be handed over to the farmers and the government would pay its one third as subsidy direct to the bank. He also advocated reduction in rates of interest for farmers.

He had also recommended capital subsidy for the farmers to the state government as per WTO norms, under which they could be given subsidy for tube-wells, dairy farming and fish farming etc. He said the commission had hired a consultant firm to find out the feasibility of conversion of maze into ethanol, a constituent of petrol. He said if it turned into a reality it would help in diversification, besides curtailing import of petrol.

He said the firm would submit its report by the middle of the year, following which the commission would approach the government on its basis. He stressed on boosting marketing of the farmers’ agricultural produce, as they were getting only 40 per cent of their actual price, while the rest 60 per cent was being pocketed by middlemen.

He said they were working on a proposal to certify the farmers’ produce that would pave the way for its export. He appeared to farmers to use recommended pesticides in adequate quantity at an appropriate time.

Exhorting farmers to reduce area under paddy Dr Kalkat said: “If you didn’t switch over to other crops in near future watertable would deplete to such an extent that you won’t be able to cultivate anything on your land.” He urged them not to sow paddy before June 15, as it took a heavy toll on water table.

When asked as to how far an ordinance could help restrict the farmers, he said though it was difficult to implement such norms on a huge population, still it could work. He said new crops like oils and pulses needed to be introduced among farmers and their remunerative prices should be ensured.

He said the government was importing oils and pulses worth Rs 14,000 crore annually and there was a huge domestic market for farmers. There was a huge gap between the price that farmers were getting for their pulses and their market price.

He said the government could afford to pay a little more to these farmers. With the Reliance deciding to set up business hubs in rural areas, small farmers could take to fruits and vegetables. Regarding rising land rates, he said it was a good sign of progress, but after selling land the farmers should utilise the money for productive purposes.

Earlier, Dr BS Dhillon, Director, Research, PAU, urged the farmers to opt for early maturing varieties of paddy and also cultivate vegetables for domestic use. The mela witnessed unsavoury scenes when Chand Singh, a farmer, interrupted a speaker and raised the issue of seizure of illicit cotton seeds in Rama Mandi. PAU officials pacified him stating that the matter was out of the varsity’s jurisdiction.


Panel to upgrade border points for trade
Ashok Sethi & Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, March 10
The Union Government has decided to constitute a core committee for improving the infrastructure at the Wagah land route and Attari international railway station. The committee will be set up under the chairmanship of the Secretary (Border Management), Ministry of Home Affairs.

It will make recommendations for improving the infrastructure at both these vital border transit points to facilitate trade and upgrade the consequent security requirements, due to the expected boom and faster movement in trade between India and Pakistan.

The ministry has also proposed to appoint a consultant in the committee. The proposal is aimed at making preparations for a detailed project report in this regard.

The Member of Parliament, Mr Navjot Sidhu, had moved a calling attention motion in the Lok Sabha in its session last month. Following this, the Ministry of Home Affairs conveyed its acceptance of the motion sent earlier by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Consequently, the Union Home Secretary visited the border points to review security and infrastructural arrangement.

The matter was discussed again with the representatives of the agencies concerned, including the Punjab Government. The MP had visited the border last month to assess the problems faced by people and especially the importers and exporters. The MP subsequently took up the matter of the prevalent conditions that completely lacked physical and non-physical infrastructures and demanded the formation of a committee

Meanwhile, local exporters to Pakistan rue that lack of infrastructure has caused immense hardships and hurdles in the free flow of trade with Pakistan.

Mr Om Parkash Arora, Chairman of the Indo-Pak Exporters Association, said even perishable items were not been given priority clearance.

A consignment of tomatoes that was readied for export on March 7 was delivered four days later while green chillis were not allowed to be sent through the land route and had to make way in coaches that damaged the entire consignment.

At present, at least 50 trucks full of fresh tomatoes are awaiting clearance, says Mr Rajdeep Uppal, member of the Amritsar Traders and Exporters Association.

"The trade these days is running on the whims and fancies of certain agencies at the border and lack of clear-cut guidelines have made matters worse," added another trader. 


Budget: Kanwaljit attacks, Bir Devinder defends
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
While the Akali MLA and former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, attacked the Punjab Budget, the Congress MLA and former Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, described it as brilliant work done on the fiscal front to put the state on the fast-forward mode of development.

Taking part in the discussion on the Budget proposals, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that Finance Minister Surinder Singla had played a big joke on the people of the state by announcing certain proposals but not making provision for funds in the Budget.

The ruling party had tried to appease its MLAs by announcing the allocation of Rs 25 lakh for each of them for the development of critical infrastructure, but there was no allocation of funds in this regard. The same was true in the case of the Ashirwad scheme, he added. No provision of funds had been made for sports infrastructure. The allocation of Rs 2 crore to the Sports Department was meant for the Indo-Pak Punjab games, he asserted.

The proposal to hand over hundreds of dispensaries and primary schools to village panchayats was made without making any allocation of funds. Employees, who were promised the moon, had been ditched. They had not been given the promotional scale on the completion of four, nine and 14 years of service. The setting up of the Pay Commission would harm their financial interest because the government would give nothing to them till the submission of the report by it.

The failure to give jobs to 30 lakh unemployed youth was a sure sign of the failing economy of Punjab under the present government. The government had abolished 50,000 posts, including 29,605 in the Education Department alone, and 45,000 posts had not been filled. He said the government failed to take its due from the 12th Finance Commission.

While a small state like Himachal Pradesh had got Rs 10,000 crore, Punjab had got only Rs 3,200 crore, he added. The entry of realtors in Punjab was being projected as investment of Rs 52,000 crore to befool the people . Not a single penny had been invested in the manufacturing sector. People and industry were facing a bad time because of frequent power cuts.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the income of farmers had declined by Rs 1,250 per acre and the state's agriculture had a negative trade balance of Rs 1,500 crore. The state's debt had shot up to Rs 53,000 crore, which signified that Punjab's economy was in a shambles. The government had put a burden of Rs 2,317 crore by way of imposition or enhancement of various taxes.

The average rate of tax under VAT increased from 6 to 10 per cent, registration fee was hiked from 6 to 9 per cent, electricity duty was increased from 4 to 10 per cent and octroi on electricity in the urban areas was hiked from 6 to 10 per cent. With the implementation of VAT, other taxes such as the CST and central excise should have been removed, but that had not been done. 


Inside Babudom
CS to hold review meetings
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Within a few days of the verbal lashing of the bureaucracy by the Legislators in the Punjab Assembly, the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, has drawn up a programme to keep the officialdom “on its toes”.

This includes strict monitoring of work at all levels and the Chief Secretary will oversee all matters which are important to the Government in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

Sources in the Government said Mr Lakhanpal, acting on directions of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has made it clear to all Administrative Secretaries that a monthly review meeting will be convened by him to keep track of all pending schemes and plans of the Government. Officials said this review meeting had not been convened at the Administrative Secretary-level officials over the past few years.

By planning such a review meeting the Chief Secretary has sent a clear signal that he will not tolerate any slackness in implementation of policies. Actually when he had joined on January 31, he had made it clear that he would appreciate hard work. Before he could implement anything, the Legislators let off steam about two weeks ago in the Assembly. MLAs cutting across party lines were critical of the officialdom.

As the MLAs were blasting-off, Mr Lakhanpal while sitting in the official gallery watched very intently and was visibly serious at the allegations levelled by the MLAs.

Last week the Chief Secretary has convened a meeting of all Deputy Commissioners and gave them clear instructions that they would have to be accessible besides being easily available to members of the public and also the elected representatives of their area. Lack of accessibility at the district-level was one item which was forcefully put across by the MLAs of the Congress.

The Chief Minister has also asked the Chief Secretary to come out with a list of items that are a priority for the Government. These include all items announced in the Budget or assurances made by the Chief Minister in the past on policy matters.

The first review meeting was planned within this week. However, it was cancelled due to the ongoing Budget session.

A senior bureaucrat admitted that Mr Lakhanpal’s move to streamline the functioning of the administration was long needed. On the political front, Congress MLAs have already made it clear to the Chief Minister to control the officialdom.


Hola Mohalla begins at Kiratpur
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Kiratpur, March 10
Hundreds of devotees paid obeisance at historical gurdwaras on the first day of the Hola Mohalla annual festival here today.

The festival began in the morning with religious prayer by Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib Tarlochan Singh at Shish Mehal Sahib.

The whole town wore a festival look. All gurdwaras were decorated. Despite rain and showers throughout the day, the gurdwaras, including Kot Sahib, Tharha Sahib, Shish Mahal Sahib, Gurdita Sahib, Bivangarh Sahib and Buda Shah Dargah, witnessed a flow of devotees.

The devotees took a holy dip in the sarovar at Patalpuri Sahib and in the Sutlej near the gurdwara.

The celebrations will continue here tomorrow.

Tension prevailed here after Jathedar Tarlochan Singh complained of being attacked by Nihang Singhs. He was attacked by a group of Nihang Singhs while coming out of Kila Anandgarh.

The police has rounded up three Nihang Singhs for their involvement in the attack.


SAD (A) sees conspiracy against Mann
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
The SAD (Amritsar) today alleged that a section of the media had been presenting the view points of party president Simranjit Singh Mann in a distorted manner to create phobia among people.

Mr Mohinderpal Singh, general secretary of the party, and Mr Satnam Singh Behru, president, farmers’ wing, while pointing out that people living in this country and even in the globe were aware of political programmes of the party, alleged that disinformation about Mr Mann was being spread under a conspiracy.

They alleged that the conspiracy was hatched by vested interests after Mr Mann started gaining popularity following the struggle launched by him against the atrocities being committed on the people of Punjab.

They added that people had started coming to the party fold after the present ruling set up, led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, failed to deliver and the Opposition, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, failed people in their hard times.


PGI team visits jaundice-hit areas
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 10
A team comprising doctors from the PGI, led by Dr Ramesh Kumar, yesterday visited the jaundice-affected areas in Mandi Gobindgarh in the district.

Certain areas of the town have been in the grip of jaundice for the past many months. Despite all precautionary steps taken by the District Administration and the Health Authorities, fresh cases of jaundice continue to surface. The disease has claimed at least four deaths.

The team took the blood samples from the affected patients and confirmed the presence of hepatitis E virus in their blood. Dr Rajesh said there was no need to panic. He said the patients should take complete rest for two months instead of running after quacks and untrained doctors.

Later, the team held a meeting with Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, here and apprised her of the situation. The doctors said the death rate due to the disease was very low — three per 10,000. They suggested to clean and check the leakage in sewer lines and water supply pipe lines to prevent sewage getting mixed with potable water.

People should use only boiled water.

Taking serious note of the situation, particularly in Mandi Gobindgarh, the Deputy Commissioner imposed a ban on the use of Tulu pumps. She also directed the officers concerned to properly mix chlorine in the potable water supply.


Move to privatise dispensaries irks doctors
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 10
The move of the Punjab Government to hand over government dispensaries in villages and city slums to private hands through zila parishads has caused anguish among government doctors.

According to a notification, the Rural Development and Panchayats Department will select doctors through zila parishads by April 21 and employ them on contract.

According to the PCMS Association, each doctor will be given Rs 30,000 per month and will have to retain pharmacists and Class IV employees out of this amount.

The association apprehends that the implementation of the proposed system will lead to the immediate transfer of at least 1,300 doctors, at least 1,300 pharmacists and at least 1,326 Class IV employees.

This move is aimed at handing over government dispensaries to big sharks indirectly, say Dr Kamaljit Singh and Dr Munish Malik, office-bearers of the association.

Dr Hardip Singh, state president of the association, has criticised the move.


Residents go on rampage

Amritsar, March 10
Residents of Sur Mandi Mohalla, opposite Sadar police station, went on the rampage following non-arrival of a senior local Congress leader during a scheduled programme.

Peeved at the turn of events, people of the locality, who had made elaborate arrangements to appoint Mr Ramesh Sonkar as president of the locality, blocked the road. They pelted stones, upset arrangements and raised slogans against the leader. They alleged that the leader deliberately avoided attending their function and had done the same twice earlier. — OC


100 safai sevaks to be recruited
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 10
The local Municipal Council has decided to recommend action against colonisers who have carried out development activities within the municipal limits in violations of the norms.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the civic body held here yesterday. It was also proposed that the building plans of the colonisers would not be cleared.

The civic body cleared a proposal to recruit 100 more safai sevaks on contract to improve sanitation. The employees would not only clean areas falling within the town, but also villages falling under the municipal limits. A sum of Rs 29.33 lakh would be spent in this regard.

A proposal related to the extension of municipal limits attracted arguments from councillors. While some of them favoured extension in the limits, others said limits should only be extended after the civic body was able to properly develop areas already falling within the municipal limits.

According to a proposal, the octroi contractor was asked to increase the income from octroi by 20 per cent, but the contractor showed reluctance in this regard. As such, the council decided to take the work octroi collection from new areas under municipal limits in its own hands.

The House also decided to suspend a safai sevak on the charge of dereliction of duty and also for allegedly using abusive language under the influence of liquor.


Stir threat over closure of road
Tribune News Service

Lalru, March 10
The alleged closure of a link road in this area by the Nahar Group of Industries has stirred a hornest’s nest with the Sarpanch Union threatening to launch an agitation on the issue.

At a meeting here today, the union alleged that closure of the link road, constructed by the Punjab Mandi Board, by the Nahar management would virtually cut off several villages, including Magra, Jalalpur and Bassi villages.

The union demanded that in case the link road was closed, the existing alternative road should be augmented for the convenience of the residents. The alternative road should be registered in the name of the Punjab Mandi Board or the gram panchayat.

Meanwhile, the factory management claimed that the land on which the link road was constructed was acquired by the Punjab Government and was handed over the management later. The management had constructed an alternative road in place of the link road, it claimed.

Official sources informed that as per the revenue records the link road fell in the area owned by the management.


Play against foeticide
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
The local National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) presented the 56th show of “Daairey”, a Punjabi play, at Baradari Gardens today.

The chief guest was Mr A.P. Dubey, Manager, State Bank of Patiala, District Courts branch, gave away the prizes and cash awards to all artistes of the play. He said converting the serious theme of female foeticide into an interesting stage play was a difficult task, but the artistes accomplished the task skillfully.

Mr Shyam Lal Gupta, managing director of a local hotel, and Mr P.C. Tiwari, Joint Secretary, PSEB (retd), stressed the need for women empowerment in the larger interest of society.


Drug addiction worries Sant
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, March 10
Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of the Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, today called upon the people to wage a war against drug addiction.

Addressing a religious congregation here, the Sant expressed concern over the menace of the drug addiction among youth.

Mr Lal Singh, Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Punjab Cabinet ministers, Mr Raj Khurana, MLA, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, former minister, and Mr Rajinder Raja, president of the Municipal Council, were prominent among those present on the occasion. 


Dhami gets 14-day judicial remand
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 10
A ‘Khalistan’ sympathiser, Kanwarpal Singh Dhami, has been sent to 14-day judicial remand by a local court here today.

Dhami of the Akal Federation was arrested by the Mohali police yesterday on charges of sedition and making anti-national statements. He was picked up from the premises of Guru Asra Trust being run by him in Phase VII, Mohali.

Talking to mediapersons here Dhami said that the Punjab Government should look after the welfare of about 200 orphaned children of slain terrorists who were being looked after by him and his wife in Mohali till the time he remained in jail.

He said that he did not know why he had been arrested all over again when he had already undergone imprisonment on similar charges earlier. And the demand for Khalistan was also not new, he added.


Two held under Official Secrets Act
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 10
The police here apprehended two persons including an Army jawan, from a city hotel allegedly for passing on Defence documents to a Delhi-based person identified as Amit Kumar alias “Tikku” who being considered to be a Pakistani agent of a operative based at Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi.

According to police sources, Mr Palwinder Singh, SHO, Mamdot police station, who was deputed for highway patrolling on the Ferozepore-Fazilka road, got information that some persons in connivance with an Army jawan were exchanging Defence document for money to Delhi-based Pak operatives in a city hotel. 


Railway official held for graft
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, March 10
The CBI today arrested the Chief Inspector of Works, Northern Railway, Pathankot, from his office while he was allegedly demanding and accepting Rs 20,000 as bribe from a contractor to clear his bill.

During the searches, the CBI claimed to have recovered documents pertaining to property and several bank accounts of the official.

Sources in the CBI said the anti-corruption branch had registered a case under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Pradeep Kumar Sharma, Chief Inspector of Works, Northern Railway, Pathankot, after arresting him.

A complaint was made to the investigative agency in this regard by Mr Ramesh Kumar Dahia, an approved railway contractor. Mr Dahia, a resident of Hisar, had alleged in his complaint that the accused had demanded Rs 20,000 for processing the bills for the work executed by him.

Mr Dahia further alleged that he had been awarded the contract by the Northern Railway for the widening of a road and the construction of a boundary wall in Pathankot. The contract was for Rs 2.25 lakh and the officer had allegedly demanded 10 per cent of the amount to clear his bill.

The sources added that during the searches they recovered documents of three houses belonging to the accused while he had already sold a house.


Woman arrested for selling spirit

Sangrur, March 10
Following the death of four persons due to consumption of spirit during the past two days in the town, the police this evening arrested Jaspreet Kaur (35), wife of Amarjit Singh, a resident of Ranjit Basti, Patiala Gate, Sangrur, for allegedly selling spirit in an illegal manner. The police has registered a case under various Sections in connection with the deaths due to consumption of spirit. — TNS


Newspapers market-driven, say experts
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
Mr A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor, The Tribune, said factual contents had been disappearing from news reports and it required serious pondering.

He expressed these views at the valedictory session of the two-day seminar organised by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, here. The seminar focused on the issues related to “Society and Development Communication”.

He said before Independence the press had noble mission to accomplish and journalists were more dedicated to causes than self interests. Now it appears that objective of most of the newspapers was to entertain the youngsters instead of providing them with required information.

Mr Philip said need of the hour was to have a committed press that analysed the problems and suggested practical solutions.

Mr Vipin Pubby, Resident Editor, Indian Express, Chandigarh, said newspapers had turned into business ventures because it is the readers who found offers and schemes more lucrative compared to actual content. He added still there were many people who stood for principles and newspapers needed their support.

Prof Avinash Singh, Director, Amity School of Communication, said today media was part of the market-driven economy and gave readers what they aspired to read. He said anything that reached saturation point needed crazy innovative ideas to get restarted and it was applicable to the newspaper industry too.

In the technical session Dr S.S. Dosanjh, a former Head of Journalism and Mass Communication Department, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana said media was no longer the voice of the people, it had developed its own identity.

Prof N.S. Kapoor, a former Head of Journalism and Mass Communication Department, Punjabi University, said while transforming from a traditional to a modern scientific society core values should be maintained. Surinder Singh Tej, Sidhu Damdami, Nirpal Shergill, Pritpal Singh were also present.

Second technical session was attended by researchers from different parts of the country, including Samita Mishra, Arvind Singh, Dr Sarojini, B.P. Chopra (GM, PNB, Chandigarh) and many others. Dr Gurmeet Mann, Senior Lecturer of Journalism and Mass Communication department, said technology was never intelligent but it was intelligent use of it that mattered. Media was not all-negative and efforts should be made to explore its positive aspects. Dr Harjinder Singh Walia, Head of Journalism and Mass Communication Department thanked the intelligentsia who attended the seminar.


Copying: 10 teachers suspended
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 10
The district Education Department authorities have initiated an inquiry into the charges of rampant copying in board exams being held in government schools at Sujanpur.

The Deputy District Education Officer (Secondary), Gurdaspur, when contacted said the inquiry had been initiated on the news reports published in these columns.

The Principal of Senior Secondary School, Lamini, Pathankot, had been directed to go to the spot and submit a report.

Already 10 teachers in various schools of Gurdaspur have been suspended for failing to check mass copying at the centres in which they were deputed.


Mass copying: Supt suspended, staff shifted
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 10
The DPI, Schools, today directed the DEO (S) to immediately suspend Mr Jaswinder Singh, Superintendent of the Centre No. 3 (Block II) of Government Senior Secondary School, Bassi Pathana, and change the entire staff conducting the examination. Mass copying had been reported during the English paper of plus two examination on March 5 at the centre.

Interestingly, the Controller of Examination yesterday directed the DEO (S) not to shift or transfer any supervisory staff.

The DEO (S) told The Tribune today that the entire supervisory staff at the centre had been changed. They had also been relieved from their respective schools and asked to join at the place of new posting.

Mr Baldev Raj, Deputy Director, who had been assigned the job of checking copying in Fatehgarh Sahib district had been shifted to Sangrur and Ms Surjit Kaur, Assistant Director, had been assigned the job. The orders of the DPI did not clarify whether the English paper had been cancelled or not, he added.

Mr Baldev Raj had earlier alleged that mass copying took place during the English Paper at the centre No.3 (Block II) whereas the supervisory staff, students appearing for the examination, Principal of the school, members of the PASWAK committee of the school had termed his statement as arbitrary and irresponsible.

The shifted staff have said they had been punished for no fault of theirs. They have approached the various teachers unions to get justice. They have claimed that only one case of copying was detected at the centre during the English paper then how could it be termed mass copying? 


Students seek grace marks
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 10
Students of Class XII have alleged that physics paper was very tough and it was of the All-India competition level. The paper was conducted by the Punjab School Education Board on March 9.

The students, along with their parents, told The Tribune that the paper was very tough compared to the CBSE standard. They said though the paper was within syllabus, numerical sums were above the standard of the CBSE.

They have demanded grace marks in the subject.

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