P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Little possibility of steep power tariff hike
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Despite an average of 17 per cent increase sought in the power tariff for various categories of power consumers by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for the current financial year, there seems to be little possibility of such a big tariff hike.

In fact, the chances of a hike in the tariff are minimal. "If there will be any increase in the tariff, it will be small," said sources in the state government.

A crucial meeting between the Punjab Government and the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, which is to decide the hike in the tariff, will be held tomorrow. It will discuss the issue in the light of a petition filed by the PSEB in this regard before the commission. To meet its revenue requirement, the PSEB is keen on mopping up an additional Rs 1,250 crore by way of enhancing the power tariff.

However, there is no support for such a proposal of the PSEB in the state government. Sources in the commission say that the PSEB's proposal is irrational.

After holding public hearings and entertaining objections, the commission is in the process of finalising the tariff proposals. At the meeting with the government, which will be represented by a team of officials led by the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, the commission will get to know the quantum of subsidy the state government wants for the farm sector and Dalits and whether it wants to include any other poor section of society in the free-power scheme. The commission is to announce its verdict on the power tariff by the end of this month.

The state government has been giving free power to the farm sector from September 1 last year. It had also announced to give 200 units of power free to Dalits having a connected load up to 500 watts from that date. However, recently Dalits had held a rally here to protest against the non-implementation of the benefit of free power for them.They had also sought the waiving of the condition of 500 watts.

As it is election year, the thinking in the state government is that a major hike in the power tariff should be avoided. Any burden on domestic and other power consumers by way of an increase in the tariff could lead to an anti-government reaction among people. " The government cannot afford an adverse reaction at this stage", said a senior officer of the state government.

"During the summer, the shortage of power in the state will be about 40 per cent. To cope with the situation, there will be heavy power cuts in various parts of the state. Obviously, people will be angry over the power cuts. If the tariff is also increased, it will add fuel to the fire", said the officer.

Besides assuring the payment of about Rs 1,600 crore as subsidy for giving free power to the farm sector and Dalits, the state government is expected to offer some more financial help to the PSEB to meet its genuine revenue requirement. Sources said that the commission was not very pleased with the PSEB as far implementing its directions with regard to improving its ( PSEB) efficiency was concerned.


Tribune Special
Cap on power rates fixed
Punjab, Haryana to benefit
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
In a move that will save crores of rupees of Punjab and Haryana, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has imposed a ceiling on the rates for selling power either by power-surplus states or by the corporations dealing in power-trading.

The move of the CERC is aimed to stop power-surplus states from unduly earning a fast-buck by selling their allocated share of power to states like Punjab and Haryana.

Both these states are hugely deficit in power and need to buy the same at any cost to run their industry and to meet agricultural and residential needs. Taking advantage of the power crisis, several states and power corporations had turned power-trading into a profitable business at the cost of power deficit states, said a senior functionary in the power sector.

In its latest communication, the CERC has allayed the fears of an unprecedented financial burden on these states due to rising cost of power. The profit margins for power sellers have been fixed.

The CERC has said a power selling state or corporation can earn only upto 4 paise per unit over an above its transmission and billing costs, senior functionaries in the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission confirmed this to The Tribune today.

In the past, Punjab and Haryana had to virtually pay through their nose and several sellers were found to have even earned upto Rs 1.80 per unit over and above their costs. Most of the power being offered to Punjab during this summer was anything between Rs 5.60 per unit and Rs 5.85 per unit.

Similarly, Haryana had purchased about 580 mega watt on a daily basis from various states and the rates were exorbitantly placed in the price band of Rs 6 per unit. The CERC has advised the states that they can refer any power trading agreement to it for further clarifications and clarity on the matter.

The CERC was also informed how some states have been booking power in advance, anticipating a demand from Punjab and Haryana and then selling the power at self-decided rates. States that get free power as royalty from power projects had also been selling off their share at huge profits.

The situation has reached such a state that the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) required nearly Rs 600 crore more than last year to just buy power. Punjab had officially protested to the Union Government that in absence of a cap on the rates, states that are allocated power out of the central pool were also selling off their surplus to power deficit states, thus unethically making money out of Punjab's misery.


Tension over possession of gurdwara defused
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 12
Tension between two groups over legal possession of Baba Bir Singh Dhir Singh Gurdwara at Talwandi Sabo and holding of akhand path to mark Baisakhi was defused with the intervention of the local administration last evening.

According to sources, a former Union Minister, Mr Buta Singh, had laid the foundation stone of the gurdwara in 1996-97 and his aide, Mr Tehal Singh Sandhu, had been looking after its management since then. Sources said the situation turned tense yesterday when a group, headed by Mr Tehal Singh, locked horns with another group, led by Mr Kiranjit Singh Gehri, over the issue of legal possession of the gurdwara and starting of akhand path to mark Baisakhi there. Sources said while Mr Sandhu claimed to have the rightful possession of the gurdwara, Mr Gehri entered the gurdwara and reportedly took its possession.

In the wake of the adamant stand adopted by both groups and the scenario turning tense, the local administration swung into action and deployed a police force around the gurdwara. Though initially all efforts to resolve the issue turned futile, the Talwandi Sabo SDM later managed to pacify both sides and appointed the Tehsildar, Mr Atma Singh, as the administrator before holding akhand path from the administration’s side. The bhog of the path will take place on April 14.

The SDM, Mr Kamal Kishore Yadav, said the administration would hold the charge of the gurdwara till Baisakhi to avoid any untoward incident. He said he had also called a meeting of both factions to sort out the issue on April 18 and they had been told to produce legal documents to establish their right of ownership of the gurdwara.


Help for Mumtaz from unexpected quarters
Guarantor deposits Rs 20,000 as personal surety
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 12
Pakistani national Mumtaz today got a reprieve again when Mr Puran Singh, a resident of Guru Ki Wadali, reached the district court after reading newspaper reports with the sole motive of helping a hapless foreigner. He deposited Rs 20,000 as personal surety in the court.

This has again put the Punjab police in a quandary, as it had pressurised her earlier guarantor to withdraw the surety. Mr Kaustab Sharma, SP (City) said Mumtaz, a foreign national who was caught from Amritsar after staying illegally for one-and-a-half year would again be living frely by exploiting legal loopholes.

Senior police officers said after the cash bond furnished by an Indian, Mumtaz could not be put in Nari Niketan. However, it would be difficult for the police to maintain surveillance on Mumtaz who has been living with a Bihari Hindu, Gaurav, alias Gora.

Though the Public Prosecutor pleaded before the court that the bail of Mumtaz be cancelled as it would be difficult to maintain surveillance on a Pakistani national.

Mr SK Gupta , a social activist who is providing legal aid to Mumtaz, said he would move a bail application in Faridkot to secure the release her three children.

Mumtaz, originally hailing from Pakistan, married Ibrahim some years ago. Three children were born out of the wedlock. About one-and-a-half year ago, Ibrahim, who hailed from Bangladesh, took Mumtaz and his children to his native place in Bangladesh, only to desert them for another woman, with whom he left for Saudi Arabia.

The children of Mumtaz, including Suhail (8), Aisha (6) and Aamna (10) currently lodged in Amritsar jail, will have to wait for reunion with their mother till they get bail.

Meanwhile, Gora, fiancée of Mumtaz, has reiterated that he would marry Mumtaz after clearing all legal wrangles.


On way to Pak, tortured woman lands in jail
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 12
Caught between boundaries, Mumtaz (23) is a bewildered lot. Sold by her father in Bangladesh and tortured by her husband, she ended at the Pathankot railway station last evening in the hope of going back home to Karachi, but was caught by the railway police.

Mumtaz was caught by the railway police at the Pathankot railway station in a puzzled state. On being questioned, she narrated her tale of woe to officials. She said she was a resident of Karachi. About six years ago, her father Aabdul Mutlib took her to Bangladesh.

There he sold her to a Bangladeshi resident, Tehjiul Rehman, for Rs 60,000. Her buyer married her. However, he was already having a wife and six children.

The first wife of her husband used to treat her as a servant. She was used as a sex slave by her husband. Life became an ordeal for her. She was not allowed to contact her family in Pakistan.

One day, she came to the banks of a river on the Indo-Bangladesh border. Many Bangladeshi women were trying to cross over to India through the river route. When Mumtaz narrated her story to them, they told her that she could cross over to Pakistan in case she reached Punjab in India.

She crossed over to India with the group of Bangladeshi women a few days ago. After reaching Kolkata, the women accompanying her made her board a train for Punjab. Fortunately, nobody checked her for the ticket en route.

Last evening, Mumtaz alighted from the train at Pathankot not knowing where she had landed. Bewildered, she kept roaming at the railway platform, asking people about the place. This attracted the attention of the railway police, which caught her.

A case of illegal immigration into the country has been registered against her. Mumtaz, who was just trying to return home, may have to spend some years in jail till she is deported back to Pakistan or Bangladesh.

She told mediapersons that she had four brothers and a sister in Karachi. While in Bangladesh, she managed to contact her sister a few times who told her that their father had died. Now, her only hope are her brothers and sister living in Karachi. She is hoping that they will come to know about her being in jail in Indian Punjab and help her in going back home.


AG : complaint against 34 MLAs should go to EC
Legislators not holding offices of profit
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Advocate-General, Punjab, Mr Rajinder Singh Cheema, is learnt to have conveyed to the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), that no action, including removal from the legislature, can be initiated against the 34 Congress MLAs against whom the Shiromani Akali Dal had submitted a complaint.

In the complaint, the SAD had claimed that these MLAs, including those who were Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) and Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) in the Amarinder Singh government, were holding offices of profit and hence should be disqualified from the Vidhan Sabha.

After the receiving the complaint beisdes one filed by an Amloh-based advocate, the Governor had referred these to the AG for his legal opinion.

In Punjab, more than half the legislators belonging to the ruling party are enjoying the trappings of power on various posts.

However, Mr Cheema is learnt to have informed the Governor that under Article 191 (A) of the Constitution, any office that has been exempted from being an office of profit by the legislature, does not fall under this category and no action can be initiated against the MLAs holding the same. Article 191 deals with office of profit and the exemptions related to it.

The Punjab Government has already declared the posts of CPS and PS as not being offices of profit.

Apart from the CPS and the PS, the SAD complaint, signed by the two party general secretaries, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Capt Kanwaljit Singh, had also sought action against the MLAs who were heading various state-owned boards and corporations.

The AG has also brought to the notice of the Governor that the status of the CPS and the PS is also under challenge in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr Cheema is also learnt to have informed the Governor that the Constitution envisages that any complaint regarding an office of profit has to be referred to the Election Commission (EC) for its opinion on the issue.

The SAD, while submitting the complaint, had claimed that there was no moral, political or legal ground for the legislators to continue in the Vidhan Sabha. The memorandum had also drawn the attention of the Governor to the constitutional provisions as well as to the recommendations of the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution which clearly spoke against MLAs and MPs holding offices of profit.

Incidentally, the Punjab BJP had also complained to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, against 12 Congress MLAs holding offices of profit. The BJP had sought action against the MLAs under the Punjab State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Punjab Act No 7 of 1952.

Meanwhile, sources also said that the Governor could seek the opinion of the EC on the issue.


SAD backs call for boycott of grain markets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The call given by various factions of the Bharti Kisan Union for the boycott of grain markets on April 17 and 18 got a further boost today as the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) announced to join the boycott to protest against the “anti-farmer” policies of the Punjab and the Union governments.

However, the Federation of Commission Agents Associations, Punjab, headed by Mr Bal Krishan Singla, has dissociated from the boycott call. Mr Singla, in a statement, said he was supporter of the demand for increase in the minimum support price ( MSP) of wheat or payment of bonus on it but the wheat brought to grain markets on April 17 and 18 would be made available for procurement to the government agencies. He said his and his organisation's name was wrongly quoted regarding support to the “strike”.

However, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, General Secretary of one faction of the BKU, said it was unfortunate that Mr Singla had made such a statement. “Yesterday, Mr Singla had fully supported the boycott call and assured us to write to various units of his organisation in this connection”, said Mr Rajewal. He said the BKU leadership was firm on its decision to boycott the grain markets for two days.

Meanwhile, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said his party rank and file had been directed to ensure that the boycott sent a forceful signal to the policy framers and decision-makers in New Delhi and Chandigarh.

Reiterating his demand that the state government give a bonus of Rs 50 per quintal on wheat, Mr Badal said this had become necessary in view of the Centre's stubborn attitude in keeping the MSP far below the actual cost of production which had been calculated at Rs 800 per quintal by agricultural experts and economists.

Holding the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, squarely responsible for the anti-farmer decisions of the Congress-led Union Government, Mr Badal said: “The Chief Minister has stabbed the farmers of his state and the country in the back by advocating wheat import and maintaining a studied silence on the issue of MSP” said the Akali president.

Mr Badal also asked the Chief Minister to explain why his party’s government at the Centre had excluded Punjab from the discussions with Chief Ministers of states afflicted by farmers suicides.

Punjab represents the most painful example of the menace of farmers’ suicides caused by economic hardships, with over 40,000 deaths reported in recent years.


Three suffocate to death in foundry
Tribune Reporters

Phillaur/Phagwara, April 12
In an act of bravery Nagar Panchayat, Goraya, vice-president Rajinder Singh sacrificed his life while saving several labourers in a foundry today. Two other labourers also lost lives due to asphyxia, while six other labourers were injured at Kings Foundry at Goraya. The deceased were identified as factory owner Rajinder Singh, labourers Santokh Singh of Kutebewal village and Churr Ram of Taggarr village.

The injured Harmesh Lal, Vishal Anand, Chander Mohan, Kirpaul Singh were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Phagwara, while two other injured Balbir Singh and Paulli were admitted to Gandhi Hospital, Phagwara. The condition of all injured was stated to be out of danger.

Two foundry moulders Narinder and Sital Singh told The Tribune that labourer Harmesh Lal saw a broken brick inside the foundry furnace and went in to plaster it, but felt suffocated. Two others went inside to save him but they also felt suffocated. Rajinder himself went in to save them. They stated that all four were pulled out with the help of ropes. Some others also sustained burns in the rescue operation.

Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma, Phillaur SDM Surinder Mohan Sharma, Phillaur DSP Gursharan Singh Grewal reached the spot, inspected the site and met all injured. The Deputy Commissioner while talking with The Tribune announced a magisterial probe and appointed Phillaur SDM as enquiry officer. He also announced free treatment for all injured.

Punjab Revenue Minister Amarjit Singh Samra also visited the spot and met the family of the deceased and expressed his condolence.


27 pc quota is absurd, says Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 12
The BJP MP, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, today described the proposed reservations enunciated by the UPA government as socially divisive and smacked of political opportunism.

In a hard-hitting reaction, Mr Sidhu said the UPA proposal to seek an additional 27 per cent reservation in premier educational institutions like the IITs and IIMs was absurd and unacceptable. Mr Sidhu in a statement issued here said the government was playing petty vote-bank politics, compromising lofty standards of our premier educational institutions of higher learning.

He added that the government should frame legislation to create a special fund to provide totally free education, school uniforms, text books and meals, etc. to poor SC students.

Mr Sidhu felt that the benchmark of basic education in terms of standard facilities and opportunities should be the same for all and in all regions irrespective of caste, creed or religion.

He suggested that rules should be framed whereby caste, creed or religion of students and government employees should not be divulged and should be identified only by numeric number for matters of admission in educational institutions or promotions in government jobs.


Defiant Calcutta eulogises PM
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Manjit Singh Calcutta
Manjit Singh Calcutta

Amritsar, April 12
The “defiant” Shiromani Akali Dal leader, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a member of the party’s political affairs committee, has written an emotional letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, eulogising him for taking historic steps like flagging off the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service, apart from announcing a financial package for the development of Amritsar.

Mr Calcutta is the first Akali leader who has showered praise on Prime Minister without taking his party leadership into confidence.

Mr Calcutta’s letter, a copy of which is with the correspondent, reads that the announcements made by the Prime Minister were “highly appreciable” since it had been a long-standing grouse that Punjab had been discriminated against by several Central Governments on the whimsical pretext of being a border state.

He further wrote “your announcements of special financial package and creating of SEZ has not only been well received but has raised hopes of rebuilding and rejuvenating the economy of Punjab”.

Earlier, Mr Calcutta had earned the wrath of his party when he had praised Ms Sonia Gandhi for appointing Dr Manmohan Singh to the coveted post of Prime Minister. Mr Calcutta was also criticised by the Badal faction for bestowing siropa to Capt Amarinder Singh during his stint as SGPC’s chief secretary.

Recently, Mr Calcutta had joined as president of the Sikh Mission International floated by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, much to the embarrassment of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

He also felt that the Prime Minister should now consider the demand on opening the corridor to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib situated a few kilometers from the Indian side near the Indo-Pak border.


CM assures division status to Ropar
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 12
The Zila Bachao Sangarash committee, today, suspended its agitation against giving district status to Mohali after the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, given an assurance that the loss suffered by the residents of Ropar would be compensated.

The Zila Bachao Sangarash committee Chairman, Dr R.S. Parmar, in a press conference, said that the CM had assured that at least one sub-division will be added to Ropar district, besides giving it the status of a division and economic packages in a few weeks.

He said the Parliamentary Secretary for Industries and Commerce, Mr K.P. Rana, today held a meeting with the Chief Minister regarding these demands.


A legend in his own time
S.D. Sharma

Dr Harcharan Singh
Dr Harcharan Singh (1914-2006)

Chandigarh, April 12
The entire Punjabi literary world plunged into grief when the news of the death of the legendary playwright and thespian, Dr Harcharan Singh, in a hospital this morning reached it.

An epoch-making actor who actively participated in theatre and literary activities even at the age of 91, Dr Harcharan Singh was a pioneer in the propagation of Punjabi theatre.

Born on December 10, 1914, at Chakk number 576 in Shekupura district (Pakistan), Dr Harcharan Singh emerged on the arts scene in 1937. With his arrival, the Punjabi theatre acquired a new dimension at a time when staging plays on contemporary themes was a nightmare.

Dr Harcharan Singh dared to set a revolutionary trend by introducing the first female actor in his play ‘Anjode’ staged at the YMCA hall, Lahore, way back in 1942. The female actor playing the protagonist on the stage for the first time was none other than his own wife, Dharam Kaur, who won three medals for her performance later.

There was no looking back for the academician-cum-thespian. He is credited with 52 publications, mostly plays, which are known for both excellence in content and for the treatment of the subject concerned.

Almost all his plays were staged at different venues in India and abroad like ‘Maharani Jindan’ and ‘Chamkaur di Garhi’ (shot as a film, ‘ Sarvans Daniya’). Other notable plays are ‘Puniya da Chann’, ‘Hind di Chadar’, ‘Jafarnama’ and ‘Kmagatmaru’.

His adroit skill at scripting the multimedia sight and sound panoramas like ‘500 years of Sikh history’, ‘Sher-e-Punjab’, ‘Guru Manyo Granth’ and others and their production embellished by the directorial elegance of his illustrious filmmaker son Harbaksh Latta and his wife Pramjit Latta had won credence for the whole family, especially from viewers in foreign countries.

Dr Harcharan Singh had a long association with Punjabi University, Patiala, from where he retired in 1975. The Punjabi Department of the university held a condolence meeting where Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana described him as a fatherly figure, who saved Punjabi literature from ‘lachchar sabyachar’. Young director Dr Sahib Singh, who had staged most of his plays, paid rich tributes to the thespian. Actor Neelam Man Singh called him a crusader par excellence.


Mantrao rejects probe officer’s accusations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Reacting to a news report in The Tribune, " Govt lost Rs 2.10 cr in sale of steel from old bridges: report", the Chief Engineer, Canals, Punjab, Mr V.K. Mantrao, today alleged that the enquiry officer made wild accusations without any substance and without affording an opportunity of giving clarifications to the officers against whom the allegations were levelled.

The enquiry was conducted by the Member-Secretary of the Condemnation Board, Irrigation Department, Punjab.

Mr Mantrao said the enquiry officer wrongly assumed that the total steel recoverable from the old bridges was 1,452 tonnes. Each of the 34 bridges weighed 17 tonnes.Thus, the total quantity of steel should be 578 tonnes He said five or six old bridges across the Bikaner Canal were still intact and the quantum of steel in each bridge could be verified.

Mr Mantrao claimed that he had requested in the year 2002 to auction the steel scrap recovered from 11 old bridges.


Pandove may officiate as PPSC chief
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Mr M.P. Pandove will most likely officiate as the Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) till the regular appointment of the Chairman is made by the Punjab Government.

At present, Mr Pandove is a Member of the commission. Mr Bakhshi Ram, officiating Chairman of the commission, retired on April 9.To fill the vacant slot, informed sources said, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had cleared the name of Mr Pandove.

At present, the senior most Member of the Commission is Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla, who was appointed by the previous government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

As Capt Amarinder Singh had reservations with regard to the appointment of Mr Chawla as officiating Chairman of the Commission, sources said, Mr Pandove had been selected to do the job till the appointment of a full fledged Chairman.

As the commission is to start the process of recruitment of the PCS( judicial) officers soon, there is a immediate need to appoint the officiating Chairman. Mr Pandove is a former Captain of the Punjab Ranji team and also at present Joint Secretary of the BCCI.


Four young bonded labourers freed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 12
On the intervention of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, four bonded child labourers of Saharsa district in Bihar were reportedly freed from the clutches of one Dilbagh Singh, alias Bagi, of Gillwali Gate area late last evening.

The released children were Lalu Sada, Mantoo Sada, Satoo Sada and Munim Sada.

A spokesman of the organisation said Ram Chander Sada of Saharsa district and Dilbagh Singh, alias Bagi, of Amritsar worked in collusion to bring these children from Bihar to Punjab on the pretext of providing them jobs.

However, the children were forced to work as bonded labourers in the fields.

Mr Ramashankar, leader of the organisation said they had filed an application with the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, and provided him with a list of children exploited by the accused.

The DC appointed SDM Manpreet Singh to rescue the children in the list.


13 addicts shun drugs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 12
The joint campaign of the District Red Cross and a voluntary organisation against the drug menace is yielding results. Thirteen out of a total of 25 drug- addicts admitted to a de-addiction centre from Gillpatti village had shunned drugs.

Now, the services of these people are being utilised to persuade other drug-addicts to join the de-addiction centre.

Addressing a gathering after a “Jaago” at the village, they said once they used to consume drugs worth Rs 100 daily, but now they didn’t spend a single penny on it. The administration extended a financial aid of Rs 2,100 each to these 13 men who said “yes to life” and “no to drugs”.


3 sworn in as PSSSB members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today administered the oath of office to three members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board (PSSSB) here today.

Col Zorawar Singh, Mr Harminder Singh Gill and Mr Sarbjit Singh Sandhu were sworn in as members of the board.

The total strength of the board has gone up to 12, besides its Chairman.


Two killed as car plunges into canal

Hoshiarpur, April 12
Two occupants of a vehicle were drowned when their Maruti car (DL-8CH-2096) plunged into the Shah nehar, near Talwara, about 75 km from here, at about 8.30 last night. The deceased were identified as Satya Dev Handa (59) of Talwara and Khushal (45), a son of Runia Ram of Raja Ka Talab (Himachal Pradesh).

They were going to Himachal Pradesh from Talwara and near the Hotel Shika bridge, the driver lost control over the vehicle as a result the car rammed into the railing of the bridge and fell into the canal. — OC


Get CBSE affiliation, NFL asks school
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Nangal, April 12
After a long protest by its employees, the management of the NFL, Naya Nangal, has directed the Rose Mary Education Society that is running Capt Amol Kalia Fertiliser Model Senior Secondary School, to get CBSE affiliation.

The decision was taken by the NFL management as the CBSE had cancelled the affiliation of the school about two months ago.

The education society has also displayed a notice in the school that reopening of the school had been postponed till further order.

The NFL management had leased out its school to the society last year. The employees of the NFL had been on chain fast in support of their demand for the affiliation.

Sources said the society had applied for CBSE affiliation in New Delhi after the Principal Secretary, Department of Education, Punjab, had granted an NOC to it. Earlier, the CBSE Assistant Secretary, New Delhi, had declined the affiliation as the school had not submitted the NOC.

The NFL(Nangal) Chief Manager (P and M), Mr Manoj Aggarwal, said the education society had been asked to get the affiliation to run the school as per the conditions of the agreement. He said he was not aware of the notice displayed in the school. The Chairman of the society was not available for comments.

Meanwhile, Mr S.P. Kalia, father of the late Capt Amol Kalia, has sent a request letter to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to direct the NFL management to take over the control of the school in the interest of the students.


Yoga graduates face unemployment
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 12
Panjab University (PU) has been producing 60 B.Ed (Yoga) students every year for the past many years only to leave them groping in the dark. The state government is launching neither yoga in schools nor are they considered eligible for a job due to their yoga tag. Narrating her woes to The Tribune, Ms Sapna Gupta, who did BEd (yoga) in 2003 from a Chandigarh college, lamented that she opted for yoga, thinking that it was a new subject and if the course was being offered sooner or later the government would come out with job openings in it. She ended up shelling out Rs 70,000 for doing the course and three years later she still has been running from pillar to post for a teaching job.

As if it wasn’t enough she received another jolt when she came to know that a BEd (yoga) could not go for BEd in any additional subject. The story didn’t end here. She didn’t lose heart and went on to do MA (Hindi) hoping that it would reduce the “ill effect” of yoga tag, but to no avail. She recently applied for the post of a Hindi teacher in Kendriya Vidayalaya, but her application was rejected on the premise that she was BEd (yoga).

She also thought of taking up MEd at an Abohar college, principal of which shocked her by stating that it wouldn’t add any point to her resume again due to yoga in BEd. She revealed her B.Ed prospectus mentioned about the students availing job opportunities in neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. “We don’t stand a chance in schools of other states, as they ask for domicile certificate and other such documents,” she rued. Angry Ms Gupta said the college from where she did BEd didn’t care to clarify these points in its prospectus and kept the students in the dark.

When contacted, the principal of a Chandigarh college offering B.Ed (yoga) admitted that the students were facing this problem and they had already taken up the matter with the university. She said yoga was gaining popularity gradually and hoped that the day was not far when the state government would come out with posts of yoga teacher. However, sources in the Education Department ruled out this possibility in the near future and said the department wasn’t toying with any such idea right now.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |