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PM visits Golden Temple
SGPC submits memorandum
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 24
Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, accompanied by his wife Mrs Gursharan Kaur, visited the Golden Temple today morning and paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum here.

Accompanied by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Member of Parliament Ms Preneet Kaur, the PM reached the complex at 6 am and remained in the Harmandar Sahib for an hour. He listened to holy hymne ‘Satguru Ayoio Sarn Tumari’ and ‘Dhan Dhan Hamare Bhaag’. Head granthi of Darbar Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh, honoured the Prime Minister and his wife with ‘siropas’. It seemed the SGPC had selected these hymns to suit the occasion. He is perhaps the first Prime Minister who waited for the daily prayer that seeks from the Almighty to ‘easy access to Nankana Sahib and other Sikh shrines in Pakistan which were separated from the Sikh Panth after the partition. However, Mr Amarinder Singh was given ‘siropa’ in hands. Mr Harvinder Singh Sarna, President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee took up the case with the head granthi for this.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President Shiromani Akali Dal and senior leaders of his party were conspicuous by their absence on the occasion.

Elaborate security arrangements were made by the police in mufti inside and out-side the Harmandar Sahib complex. However, Mr Roop Singh, Manager, Darbar Sahib claimed the SGPC’s Task Force provided security umbrella to the PM in the sanctum sanctorum.

According to sources 700 policemen in plainclothes under the direct command of Mr S.S. Virk, Director General Punjab Police were deployed at various strategic places. Even movement of the reporters was restricted to certain areas as specified by the security agencies.

Despite drizzle, a large number of devotees were present in the Golden Temple complex. The devotees had to walk two to three miles to reach the Darbar Sahib was they were not allowed to drive vehicles inside the walled city due to heavy security restrictions.

Later, the SGPC chief submitted a memorandum to the PM enlisting various demands. It sought exclusive rights to run the regular bus service between India and Pakistan. It said visa office should be opened at Amritsar.

The SGPC also wanted the taking up of the matter with Bangladesh government for allowing granthis and sevadars for resuming daily services at the three main historical Sikh shrines in Bangladesh.

It also sought permission for kar seva to maintain repair and renovate of these shrines. The SGPC memorandum also enlisted demand to return rich literary treasure of Sikh Reference Library, taken by the Army after Operation Bluestar in 1984.

It also demanded steps to remove misconception and misunderstanding against Sikh the world over especially in France and the United States of America where Sikh students had been shown the door for wearing turbans and kirpans, respectively.

Later Dr Manmohan Singh visited the Durgiana Temple and paid his obeisance there too. The head priest of the temple honoured him with a ‘siropa’. Welcoming the Prime Minister, Mr Surinder Arjun, President, Durgiana Committee, submitted a memorandum which included providing funds for the beautification of the Durgiana Temple, developing the temple as a major tourist destination, handing over of the Dasehra ground to the committee permanently by the Army which at present is being given on lease during the festival, setting up a model of the temple on the ‘Gol Bagh’ side the local Railway station etc.

 

PM’s wife keeps date with family
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 24
Mrs Gursharan Kaur, wife of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today gave “shagun” at the newly opened shop “Koutons” by the brothers of the Prime Minister here today.

After paying obeisance at the Golden Temple along with the Prime Minister, Mrs Gursharan Kaur kept her date with her marital family even as her programme seemed tentative at first.

She brought gifts for family members and exchanged pleasantries at a meeting after a long gap.

She spent about an hour over a tete-e-tete with members of the family. All relatives had collected at the newly built house of the Kohli family at Loharka Colony as Mrs Gursharan Kaur had expressed her inability to visit relatives in various localities due to security compulsions and limited time.

Mr Surjit Singh Kohli and Mr Daljit Singh Kohli, brothers of the Prime Minister, along with their wives and nieces and nephews accorded a warm welcome to her.

She shared some light moments and enjoyed typical Amritsari snacks over a cup of tea. The family presented mementoes to her.

Earlier, 22 close relatives of the Prime Minister met him at Circuit House this morning.

 

Punjab, Haryana to ‘lend’ water to Rajasthan
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The war of words over the sharing of river waters between Punjab and Rajasthan ended today as Punjab and Haryana agreed to "lend" water to Rajasthan out of their respective shares from the waters of the Beas and the Ravi.

The desert state has given an undertaking that it will "compensate" Punjab and Haryana by allowing them to draw the same quantum of water from its allocated quota at a later stage.

Both governments have agreed that they will allow Rajasthan to use an additional 50,000 cusecs of water spread across seven days, said sources in the irrigation sector. The water is needed by Rajasthan for its wheat crop for seven days.This will help save the crop in Hanumangarh, Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Barmer districts.

The sources said the full release of water would be available to Rajasthan after 48 hours as that would be the "travel time" of the water from the Pong dam located on the Punjab-Himachal Pradesh border.

Rajasthan has already utilised its full share of water which it was to get till March 31. Technically, the shares of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have been pre-fixed at 30 per cent, 21 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, for the waters of the two rivers. The waters of the Ravi are diverted to the Beas through a special channel.

Yesterday, the Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ms Vasundhara Raje Scindia, had sent an SOS to Punjab and also the Central Government seeking the release of water.

The technical committee of the Bhakra Beas Management Board — run in coordination with the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan — has fixed that the water level of the Pong dam, on the Beas, should be 1,301 elevation ft on May 20. At present, the water level is 1,326 ft. Rajasthan wants to lower this limit to 1,290 elevation ft on the May 20 deadline, allowing the immediate release of water to "save its standing rabi crop from dying".

Initially, Punjab was opposed to this depletion in the water level of the Pong dam, saying it would cut into its share of water which it wanted to conserve for the sowing of paddy that normally starts in the last week May and continues till early July.

Explaining the system of water distribution, an engineer said the allocation of water was made every year for a period between September 21 and June 22 next year. In that lay the catch. Whatever water was available in the dam on June 22 each year was then taken as the ''common pool" and fresh allocations —starting September 21 each year — were made on that basis.

This year Punjab and Haryana do not need the water due to untimely rain in March and want to conserve it for their own use for the sowing of paddy.

Meanwhile, Mr Rakesh Nath, Chairman of the BBMB, told The Tribune yesterday: " The limit for drawing water from the dam can be lowered to 1,290 ft for the May 20 deadline. If the states agree, we will release the water". The BBMB was merely the managing authority, he added. 

 

Industrialists threaten to close units
Say Amarinder has no time to meet them
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 24
In a significant development which could expose the hollowness of claims being made by the state government that it has been doing its best to boost industrialisation in Punjab, a major section of local industrialists have threatened to shut down their units if the "harassment" by the municipal corporation did not stop.

The industrialists, who have their units at the focal point, said if their problems were not sorted out by the chief minister, they would shut their units and would hand over the keys to him.

"When the Government of India is feeling that industrial units are the backbone of the national economy, the condition of the industry at the focal point is pathetic and a number of industries are on the verge of closure," Mr Rakesh Singla, a representative of Dissatisfied Factory Owners, said in a letter to the chief minister.

They said they were fed up with broken roads, lack of streetlights for almost 10 years and octroi, besides high water, sewerage and electricity charges.

Also they were issued notices for payment of house tax on their respective units despite the fact that in the presence of the Chief Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister Local Bodies Minister, had announced that the municipal corporation, Jalandhar, would not collect house tax from industrial units at the focal point till its formal transfer to the civic body.

At the same time, the local municipal corporation, which took over the maintenance of the focal point on January 13, 2006, started charging house tax from industrialists for the period 2000-2001.

The industrialists had been trying to meet the Chief Minister for the past two months but without any success as his staff had been saying that he was busy.

Mr S. K. Alhuwalia, Municipal Corporation Commissioner, when contacted, said a section of factory owners were disputing over the manner of collection of house tax.

He said all units had been exempted from house tax for three years, starting from the date of power connection taken by the factory owner for running his unit.

Now the factory owners were demanding that the exempted period should be counted from the date on which they started their units.

He said today a deputation of factory owners met him and a majority of them agreed to the proposal for collection of house tax floated by him and only a handful of industrialists were trying to make an issue out of it.

 

Nawanshahr takes lead in tackling corruption
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, March 24
This small district with 400 villages has virtually shown the way to the rest of the country by devising an efficient and a near “corruption-free” administrative system, wherein hardly anyone — from patwari to tehsildar — can dare to take any bribe, as all revenue and other official transactions and dealings are directly monitored by the Deputy Commissioner himself from his office with the help of ultra-modern close-circuit camera televisions (CCTVs).

Not only this, residents of Nawanshahr district seem to be the privileged ones as they are no more required to make rounds of the office of patwaris or to offer any bribe to any unscrupulous official for getting “farads”, “jamabandis” and other documents.

This is not a dreamlike situation, but a reality, thanks to a “home delivery” system, with the help of which certain most commonly sought revenue-related documents are delivered at the doorstep of people through courier service by the district administration.

Similarly, residents can get all their works related with driving licences, dependent certificates, marriage certificates, affidavits, depositing of BSNL telephone bills, power bills, fresh and old passports, done by sitting comfortably in the modern "Suvidha" building, constructed by the district administration at an estimated cost of Rs 80 lakh.

Nawanshahr is, perhaps, the first district of the country, where all activities of the entire district administration staff, that of the Revenue Department staff and officials posted at "Suvidha" centre are subjected to a regular monitoring by Deputy Commissioner Krishan Kumar through as many as 13 CCTVs and a huge monitor, installed in his own office. With the help of the CCTVs and the monitor Mr Krishan Kumar keeps an eye on activities of all officials, including the Sub-Registrar , where land sale deeds are registered. If anyone is seen standing in front of any of 26 windows of the "Suvidha" building or in the office of the Sub-Registrar beyond a stipulated time frame, the Deputy Commissioner either himself goes to the person or sends some senior official to inquire about the reason of delay. A senior official of the rank of an Executive Officer and a Medical Officer has been posted and a blood testing laboratory has been set up in the "Suvidha" centre to avoid any inconvenience to people in getting their marriage certificates, driving licences and other requisite documents. A bank and a modern canteen would soon be a part of the centre.

"If anyone is in need of services of a patwari or if anyone needs any document like 'farad' and 'jamabandi's, he can call our telephone no. 01823-555501 round the clock. The telephone is bound to be answered by an official and it is free for residents of Nawanshahr district. After the telephonic request, a person gets his or her 'farad', 'jamabandi' and other documents within a period of 48 hours, while the registration of any land sale deed cannot take a period not exceeding 45 days," said the Deputy Commissioner. Interestingly, the DC has flashed his personal mobile number in a letter written to all panches and sarpanches of the district. Besides, he has also made it mandatory for revenue officials to note down the telephone number of every person who comes to the office of Sub-Registrar for the registration of a sale deed. Then he goes through the fresh list of telephone numbers every day, picks some number at random and calls the person on his own to inquire whether he or she had to give any bribe to any officials of the administration or not.

“These steps work as a deterrent as officials come to know that somebody can check their activities at any point of time. I, however, cannot help if someone shies away and conceals the fact that he had given bribe to some of the officials,” said the Deputy Commissioner, who is the brain behind the path-breaking reforms, which have almost eliminated corruption from the working of the official set-up in Nawanshahr.

 

Governor exhorts youth to eradicate social evils
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 24
The Governor of Punjab and Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, expressed concern over social evils and exhorted the youth to take it as a challenge to eradicate female foeticide, drug addiction and dowry menace.

He also laid emphasis on improving the existing education system and inculcating moral values among the youth.

The Governor said the widespread prevalence of female foeticide had caused a drastic fall in the male female ratio and the state’s record was the poorest.

Dr Balwinder Arora, Reader of sociology, and Prof Sandhu, who were asked to conduct a research on the directions of the Chancellor on drug addiction and female foeticide in Punjab, presented their research findings.

Reading his research profile, Prof Sandhu said the nexus between smugglers, the police and politicians were the main sources of drugs menace and the solution lay in breaking it. Meanwhile, talking about the dismal scenario of falling sex ratio, the Governor regretted that the menace continued. He said drug addiction was another serious problem eating into the vitals of Punjab’s society and the youth was easily falling prey to it.

Emphasising on formulating action plans, he said the right kind of policies be made so that the girl child regained the lost status. The drug victims should be enrolled in de-addiction clinics, rehabilitated and helped to become assets instead of liabilities.

The Governor was interacting with the faculty and students of Guru Nanak Dev University at the conference hall here today. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, welcomed the Governor.

Stressing on the value system, Gen Rodrigues said now was the time that we all introspect on what sort of India we wanted.

He said our educational institutions should take a lead in inculcating moral values, especially among the youth. Quoting examples from Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Ramayana, he said our value system should be strong to adopt socially correct behaviour to bring social, cultural and environment change, besides conforming to the requirements of fast changing world with new innovations like e-governance.

Talking about the impact of foreign culture, Gen Rodrigues said we were all concerned about this menace that was affecting our culture.

 

YC workers burn effigies of Vajpayee, Advani
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, March 24
Leaders and workers of the Youth Congress, led by Mr Jagtar Singh Dhanaula, district president of the Youth Congress, today burnt the effigies of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister, and Mr L.K. Advani, former president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for allegedly creating such circumstances due to which Congress President Sonia Gandhi had to resign from the Lok Sabha.

The protesters held a march through the town raising slogans in favour of Ms Sonia Gandhi and against the BJP leaders. After reaching Traffic Lights Chowk, near main bus stand, here, they burnt the effigies of Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani.

ABOHAR: Congress Seva Dal workers on Friday held a procession to express solidarity with Ms Sonia Gandhi. They passed through the main roads of the subdivisional town raising slogans against leaders of the BJP for creating a hoax over the office of profit against Ms Gandhi. A corner meeting was held on the way.

Those who addressed the meeting included Mr Raj Kumar Chauhan, Mr Pramod Kumar, Mr Prem Kumar, Mr Sanjay Kumar, Ms Ravli Devi, Ms Shakuntala Devi and Ms Sheila Devi.

They also criticised the SGPC President, Mr Avtar Singh, for his remarks that the flag-off by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, of the bus for Nankana Sahib was a political venture.

Seva Dal activists said prayers in the Gurdwara by millions of Sikhs and Hindus had borne fruits due to diplomatic efforts made by the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The workers burnt the effigy of the former BJP President Mr Lal Krishan Advani, before dispersing.

 

Programme on TB organised
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 24
A programme in connection with World TB Day was organised at the Civil Hospital here today.

Dr Maninderjit Singh, SMO, In charge of the hospital, highlighted the achievements of the TB unit of the hospital and appealed to residents to get a check-up done at a microscopic centre so that treatment could be given to those suffering from the disease. He said a programme of providing treatment to TB patients started at the hospital in December 2002, and till now 2,316 patients had been provided medicines out of which 1,585 patients had recovered from the disease. The medicine was provided free of cost at all government dispensaries and private DOT centres.

Dr Balwinder Singh, In charge of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme for the Kharar area, said in India one patient died every minute and if the disease was not cured there was a possibility that he could spread the disease to about 15 persons. He said persons who suffered from cough, fever, swelling in the throat should get their sputum tested. If declared positive they should go in for proper treatment which was given free of cost.

 

World TB Day observed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 24
The Department of TB and Chest of the local government Medical College, observed world TB Day today.

In a press note here today, Dr P.K. Garg, Professor-cum-Deputy Medical Superintendent TB Hospital, Patiala, said more than 100 medical and paramedical personnel had been sensitised about the current diagnostic and treatment tools used in the revised National TB Control Programme.

 

Anti-TB rally
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, March 24
Students of Holy Heart Public School organised a rally under the aegis of the District TB Control Society here today.

Dr Naresh Bansal from AP Jain Civil Hospital addressed the students and dwelled on various facets of the diseases.

 

Health staff protest govt decision
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 24
A large number of doctors, paramedical and Class IV employees of the Health Department yesterday staged a dharna at the Civil Hospital here in protest against the handing over of 1,310 subsidiary health centres (SHCs) to the zila parishads in the state. The protesters were demanding the recruitment of doctors and other staff in government health institutions on a regular basis through the state government in place of the zila parishads.

The protesters also staged a dharna for about 20 minutes at the local Mahavir Chowk, affecting the smooth plying of vehicles.

They also raised slogans against the Punjab Government and privatisation of the hospitals. They took out a protest march from the Civil Hospital to the DC’s office, where they also held a demonstration and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

The protesters were addressed, among others, by Dr Inderjit Singla, president of local PCMSA unit; Mr Swaranjit Singh, state secretary of the Punjab State Pharmacists Association; Mr Amrit Garg, district president of the Pharmacists Association; Mr Suraj Parkash, a leader of Laboratory Technicians; Ms Sushma Arora, a leader of the ANMs Union; and Mr Amarjit Singh, a leader of Class IV Employees’ Union.

 

Heavy rush of applicants for wine shops
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 24
On the last day of filing the application for a wine shop as per the new policy of the government, hundreds of aspirants queued up in front of the AETC office to deposit their application forms.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, applicants said earlier the trade was meant for only big wine contractors, but now the government had provided an opportunity to the common man to become a wine contractor.

They were hopeful of handsome profits the next year in view of the coming Assembly elections, they added.

Mr L.A. Khan, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, said there were 120 licensing units, clubbing rural and urban wine shops, in the district. He said for these approximately 1,000 applications had been received.

But, in certain remote rural areas the response was lukewarm. He said a quota of 27,67,561 proof litres had been allotted to the district out of which 20,34,510 proof litres would be of country wine whereas 7,33,051 proof litres would be of English wine.

Mr Khan said the Excise and Taxation Department would earn revenue to the tune of Rs 39.30 crore through the wine shops. These would be allotted for the first time by the draw of lots tomorrow at Sohan Farms, situated on the Sirhind bypass.

 

Religious clash averted
Our correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 24
Timely intervention by the district administration averted a clash between activists of various Hindu organisations and Christian Missionaries at Rishi Nagar where the latter were holding a congregation last night.

Mr Vivek Sharma, district convener, Mr Manoj Sharma, city convener of the Bajrang Dal, Mr Ram Dev Yadav, district convener of the Dharam Jagran, Mr Babba Handa, Mr Mannu Sharma, state assistant chief of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Mr Bhanu Sharma, city secretary, Vishav Hindu Parishad, along with hundreds of their supporters went to Rishi Nagar to oppose the congregation of Christian Missionaries being organised for alleged religion conversion of persons of the weaker section of society.

Slogans were raised against each other from both the sides which led to tension in the area. On receiving information Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Mander Singh, SP (H), along with a heavy police force reached the spot and controlled the situation.

Earlier, leaders of Hindu organisations had submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner regarding the alleged evangelizing by the Christian Missionaries in Rishi Nagar.

 

Woman dies of jaundice
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 24
Kamlesh Kumari (42), a resident of Bassi Pathana of the district, died of jaundice today. She had been suffering from the same for the past one week.

The residents of the town lodged a protest against the unfit drinking water being supplied by the municipal council.

They submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

According to information available, Kamlesh Kumari was admitted at the Civil Hospital, Bassi Pathana. As her condition deteriorated she was referred to Patiala and later to DMC, Ludhiana. While taking her to Ludhiana she died on the way. She was cremated today.

 

high court
Liquor vends: hearing on PIL adjourned
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today adjourned to March 28 a PIL filed by the office-bearers of the All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha. The writ, filed through Sabha President Pargat Singh and others, seeks directions to the Government of Punjab and the Chandigarh Administration to make fresh rules for allotment of liquor vends.

The petitioners have questioned the wisdom of increasing the number of vends as has been decided in the new excise policies prepared by the Punjab Government and the UT Administration. They have stated that any increase in the number of vends would only lead to more people drinking liquor, thereby affecting the health of the public. They have also stated that there are no fixed rules concerning the manufacture of Indian made foreign liquor and country liquor.

Apart from seeking fresh allotment under revised rules, the petitioners have also sought directions to the respondents to fix the minimum retail price of various liquor brands.

Hearing will resume on March 28.

RTI fee

The High Court on Friday directed the governments of Punjab and Haryana to produce the relevant record relating to fixation of fee under the Right to Information Act.

Giving this direction on the PIL filed by advocate H.C. Arora seeking directions to quash the high fee prescribed by the two state governments in violation of the law, which is primarily aimed at facilitating transparency in official working, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Surya Kant adjourned the matter to May 19.

In his writ, Mr Arora has stated that though the Central Government has prescribed a fee of Rs 10 for each application filed to seek any information from its authorities, Punjab and Haryana have fixed the same at Rs 50 per application.

He has also pointed out that the rate for providing a photo-copy of a document has been fixed at Rs 2 per page by the Centre, the two state governments have pegged this amount at Rs 10 per page. Also, if the information is sought in a floppy or a computer diskette, the rate is Rs 100 per floppy as opposed to Rs 50 fixed by the Union Government.

Mr Arora has claimed that the exorbitant rates fixed by the state governments for providing information to the public would lead to corruption and encourage the tendency to procure the information without making an application and by giving bribe at lesser rates, thereby killing the very purpose of ensuring transparency in official functioning.

In support of his contention, he has also referred to Section 7 of the RTI Act, which makes it mandatory for the government to ensure that the fee fixed for seeking information is reasonable.

 

BKU (Ugrahan) burns effigies of govt in 34 villages
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 24
Activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) today burnt the effigies of the Punjab Government and the Trident Group of Industries in 34 villages in Sangrur (11 villages), Gurdaspur (three villages), Amritsar (one village), Moga (two villages), Muktsar (two villages) and Bathinda (15 villages).

Besides, the protesters also held demonstrations to protest against the arrest of 626 farmers, opposing acquisition of 376 acres of land in three villages, Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sangherra, near Barnala, by the state government for the Trident group.

Giving this information over the phone today, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of the union, said that the police was still raiding the houses of BKU (Ugrahan) leaders to arrest them. He said the police had raided the houses of Mr Bukan Singh, Sangrur district president of the BKU (Ugrahan), and Mr Hardeep Singh Tallewal, state press secretary. He alleged that the police was keeping vigil on the entry points of Fatehgarh Chhanna and Dhaula villages to prevent the entry of agitators into the villages.

 

1 held for sadhu’s murder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 24
With the arrest of one of the three accused, the district police claimed to have solved the mystery behind the most sensational murder of a Nath Sadhu in the historical dera of Baba Mangal Nath Mandir, Sirhind, last month.

The police said two other accused were still at large and they would be arrested soon. The accused was handed over to the police by Baba Suraj Nath of Dera Kinu near Jawalaji in Himachal Pradesh.

Giving the details, Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said on March 5 members of the dera had informed the police that a dead body was found buried in the dera premises. The police started the investigation and dug out the body. It was identified as Ashok Nath. He said a special police party led by SP (D), and SHO, Sirhind, was constituted for investigation.

He said Baba Suraj Nath of Dera Kinu near Jawalaji in Himachal Pradesh helped the police. He handed over one Dayal Nath to the police, who confessed that he along with his friends, Parkash Nath and Kalu Nath, had murdered Ashok Nath and buried his body in the dera premises.

The SSP said on that night Ashok Nath had some quarrel with the three accused and under the influence of liquor they hit Ashok Nath with lathis on head and was stabbed by Dayal Nath. He died on the spot. All the accused buried his body and fled. He said one of the prime accused had been arrested, where as other two would be arrested soon.

 

Computer teachers resent ‘raw deal’
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 24
Computer teachers employed by the Punjab Education Department were being paid less than what regular peons and watchmen of the department get President of the Computer Teachers Union of Punjab C.S. Manhas told The Tribune here today that computer teachers were getting just Rs 3960 per month. They do not get allowances and perks extended to regular teachers. They have higher qualification vis-a-vis most of regular Education Department teachers. Most computer teachers employed MCA, M.Tech, MSc (Computer Science), MSc (IT) PGDCA, BCA, BSc (IT), qualified.

It was alleged that the government was exploiting computer technocrats of the state by giving them meagre wages which would also harm the computer education programme, they alleged. No computer teacher has joined the schools in remote rural areas. Computers installed in these schools are lying unused. If the government does not give facilities of regular employees no computer-literate person would go to rural areas, they said.

Computer teachers today held a meeting at Gulmohar Tourist Complex at Pathankot to draw up action against the discrimination they faced and decided to participate in the Punjab State-level meeting being held at Jalandhar on March 26. They plan demonstrations at all district headquarters to press for regularisation of service.

They also met the Education Minister and local representatives what was done to redress their problems.

Teachers resented while crores had been spent to set up computer laboratories they were being treated worse than peons and watchmen of the department. 

 

DPI reinstates college Principal

Amritsar, March 24
In a new turn of event, Mr R.C. Verma, Principal, Hindu College, was reinstated by the DPI (Colleges).

The DPI set aside the suspension orders issued by the management committee of the college on August 24, 2005, with immediate effect. The orders issued today by Dr Kanwarjit Singh, Director, Public Instructions (College), Punjab, were received here on fax.

However, the DPI held that the managing committee was free to investigate the charges levelled against the Principal by adopting due procedure.

The chairman of the managing committee, Mr P.N. Arora, when contacted, said the former Principal was facing serious charges of alleged embezzlement, besides the accounts during the former Principal’s tenure remained un-audited and he was unable to arrange government grant and failed to appoint eight professors against vacancies.

The chairman added that the committee would take legal recourse in the matter. — OC

 

Cultural extravaganza at Thapar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 24
The annual cultural extravaganza of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) —Saturnalia 2006 — commenced on a vibrant note here. The ceremonial lamp of the festival was lit by Dr S.C. Saxena, Director of the TIET.

Models from various colleges walked the ramp. Prominent among the colleges which took part are Apeejay (Jalandhar), NIFD (Ludhiana), NIIFT (Mohali) and the University of Waterloo (Canada).

The judges for the ramp show were Celina Prakash, McEster Mallone and Vikram Gupta, Managing Director, NIFT, Patiala

The prizes were distributed by Dr N.K. Verma, Dean (Student Affairs).

 

Seminar on biological anthropology
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 24
The myth that agriculture in India came along with genes from Eurasia has fizzled out. This was stated by Dr V.K. Kashyap, Director of the National Institute of Biological Anthropology, Noida, while presenting the keynote address at a two-day national symposium organised by the Department of Human Biology, Punjabi University.

He said most of the Indian population originated from the Dravidian population.

"Molecular genetic markers can be extensively used in cataloguing the genes responsible for susceptibility and resistance to various infectious diseases and these studies will significantly contribute towards policy planning in strengthening the health sector," he said.

Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, while presiding over the seminar lauded the role of scientists in conducting such studies. He emphasised on the need to create scientific temper and awareness among the rural masses.

Dr I.J.S. Bansal and Dr L.S. Sidhu were felicitated for their role in establishing the department of Human Biology in the university. As many as 125 delegates from all over the country are participating in the seminar.

Dr Chahal, Head of the department, outlined the aims of the symposium while Dr D.S.Sidhu, Dean of the faculty of Life Sciences, presented a vote of thanks.

 

Protesting youth seek jobs for all
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 24
Leaders and activists of the All-India Students Federation (AISF) and the All-India Youth Federation (AIYF) yesterday took out a protest march through the town. They burnt the effigy of the “capitalistic system” at the Traffic Lights Chowk, in support of their demands.

The protest was led by Mr Navjit Singh, assistant secretary of the AISF, Punjab; and Mr Chamkaur Singh, a leader of the AIYF.

Mr Navjit Singh said their demands included job guarantee for a full year in place of only 100 days, implementation of the job guarantee scheme in all 600 districts in place of only 200 districts, and work to unemployed persons or unemployed allowance to all.

The protesters demanded free and compulsory education up to 10+2 to all, filling of vacant posts of teacher in schools, and guaranteed jobs after completion of education and assured work for others.

 

Khadi board for units in villages
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 24
Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, Chairman, Punjab Khadi and Gram Udyog Board, has said that rural industrial revolution in the state would take place by 2015 as the Punjab Khadi and Gram Udyog Board was initiating major steps to achieve this goal.

To achieve the goal, the board wanted the setting up of five industrial units in each village of the state by the rural unemployed people.

Mr Walia was here yesterday to participate in an awareness camp organised to explain the schemes of the board for starting self-employment ventures in villages and inspire the rural unemployed youth and other people to start their own ventures with the help of the board. Mr Bhim Shah, District Village Industry Organiser (DVIO), Sangrur, was also present on the occasion.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Walia said the board helped unemployed people take loans from the banks and provided subsidy to them on loans from 25 per cent to 30 per cent. He said besides arranging employment for the rural unemployed people, another aim of the board was to stop the migration of the rural people from villages to towns and cities.

Mr Walia said the board had been disbursing a subsidy of Rs 15 crore against loans taken by owners of industrial units. He said the board had already disbursed subsidy in many cases while cheques for Rs 8 crore of the subsidy would be distributed on April 11 at a function in Chandigarh.

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