P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Piled-up coal stocks a loss to thermal plant
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Coal India Limited has virtually flooded the Ropar thermal plant with domestic coal. Informed sources said the piled-up stock of coal is losing its heat value.

The PSEB authorities had been complaining about the shortage of coal at its various thermal plants. However, now it has been facing problem of plenty as far as coal is concerned at the Ropar thermal plant.

“In fact, it is the result of poor planning and management of the PSEB”, said a senior officer of the PSEB, requesting anonymity.

Sources said the stock of coal in its yard at the Ropar thermal plant at present was about six lakh tonnes which was enough to keep the plant on steam for 40 days.

Normally, the authorities keep the coal stock that last for 21 days to avoid problems such as smoldering. As coal is costly item, the PSEB should not maintain stock only for 21 days. The PSEB should regulate the supply of coal to avoid flooding of coal at Ropar thermal plant, added the officer.

During summer season, piled-up stock of coal start smoldering and in the process coal loses its heat value to some extent. “Same is happening at the Ropar thermal plant now”, said sources. And to keep the smoldering in check, lot of water had to be sprinkled on coal stock, it is learnt. “ In fact, it is not coal but currency notes which are smoldering”, commenting the officer sarcastically.

This correspondent tried to get an official version from the senior officers of the PSEB associated with the management of coal at the plant site, but there was no response. When contacted on his mobile phone, Mr K.K.Sud, Director, Fuel, Ropar Thermal Plant, also evaded a reply.

Interestingly, while the Indian coal is available to the Ropar plant in plenty, the PSEB had placed orders for the supply of 4.42 lakh tonnes of imported coal from China. Sources said several coal companies had written to the PSEB that they were prepared to supply as much coal as it wanted for its plants and it should not be imported from China.

However, the PSEB authorities have maintained that it was the Union Government which wanted it (PSEB) to import coal. The authorities concerned say that imported coal had been imposed on the PSEB by the Union Government.


PSGPC to get place where Guru Arjan Dev was tortured
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
The Pakistan Government has agreed, in principle, to hand over the place where Guru Arjan Dev was tortured to the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

In 1606, the Muslim Emperor Jahangir ordered that Guru Arjan be tortured and sentenced to death after he refused to remove certain references from Guru Granth Sahib.

He was made to sit on the "Tatti Tavi" (burning hot sheet )while boiling hot sand was poured over his body. After enduring five days of torture Guru Arjan Dev was taken for a bath in the Ravi.

This was disclosed by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, a former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) while talking to The Tribune today.

He said the DSGMC would organise an international seminar on the contributions of Guru Arjan Dev to Sikhism at Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore, in collaboration with the PSGPC and the American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. The seminar would be presided over by the Pakistan Prime Minister.

A commemorative stamp would be released to mark the quadricentinary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev.

Firing a salvo against Mr Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, Mr Sarna alleged he was creating hurdles to organise the forthcoming functions.

He alleged that the SGPC chief wanted to gain ‘political mileage’ in favour of his ‘master’, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, in the wake of the forthcoming Assembly elections.

He rejected the demand of Mr Avtar Singh that ‘nagar kirtan’ from Delhi to Lahore be taken under the leadership of the SGPC .

He said the DSGMC was an independent body which was formed by an Act of Parliament like the SGPC and hence could not be considered ‘subordinate’ to any other organisation.


Sikh jatha leaves for Pak

Amritsar, April 24
A 16-member jatha left here today for pilgrimage of various Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

The jatha, led by Akali leader Kuldip Singh Wadala, left by road through Wagah. It will visit Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, Dera Sahib and other Sikh shrines during the pilgrimage. — UNI


GND varsity plans move to check brain-drain
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
As the state government has virtually banned the emigration of its employees to other countries to check brain drain to the developed countries, syndicates of various universities, including Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Punjabi University and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), public sector or semi-government institutions are also contemplating to adopt this decision.

While hundreds of employees, who had already got NOC from the state government to migrate to foreign countries, continue to keep liaison with their parent department despite the fact that they have got jobs in their ‘adopted countries’, more than 200 teachers or senior functionaries of various universities of the state, including Punjabi University Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev University and PAU are beneficiaries of the previous policies. In this way, the vacancies created after the emigration to foreign countries by such employees could not be filled due to technical reasons.

The state government, universities and PSUs feel that the applications seeking emigration to other countries may increase in wake of fast globalisation. There could be shortage of technical and professional staff in the traditional universities or institutions following the opening of private universities in Punjab and adjoining states that might lure them by offering better job packages.

The communication, sent by the Joint Secretary Personnel, to all heads of departments, Registrar Punjab and Haryana High Court, commissioners of Divisions, deputy commissioners, subdivisional magistrates and registrars of various universities asked them not to issue ‘No Objection Certificates’ to the government employees who wish to migrate to a foreign country without resigning their jobs.

The letter reads that the state government has been receiving clarifications regarding the grant of ‘NOC’ to government officials/officers for seeking emigration to foreign countries. It (letter) reads, “The matter has been considered carefully and keeping in view the policy of the Government of India, it has been decided that no government employee should apply or seek emigration to any other country so long he is in government service” Hence, question of issuing of NOC to government employees, who wish to migrate, therefore, does not arise”.


Ex-IFS officer’s cry for fraud case falls on deaf ears
Naveen S Garewal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Tara Singh Bajaj, an octogenarian from Tarn Taran, settled in London some 40 years ago was so impressed by the promises made by the Punjab Government to attract NRIs back house that it took little persuasion by his wife, Sital, to move back to India. It was only after moving back to India, this former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer realised the difference between “luring” and “caring” when it actually comes to dealing with NRIs.

Allegedly ‘cheated’ in a property transaction, the couple has been moving from one office to another for over the past year, trying to retrieve the Rs 9, 10,000 given by them to an Amritsar-based Ramesh and Manju Kapoor, who offered to sell them a house in ‘Rani Ka Bagh’ and took an advance for the same, but ‘backed out’ when it came to handing over possession. In the process the 82-year-old Tara Singh has been shuttling between the office of the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh and Commissioner, NRI Affairs, not to mention SSP, Amritsar.

“Since all my family lives in the U.K and Canada, it is just me and my wife who have been running from one office to another to retrieve our hard earned money. I have written to the SSP, Amritsar, for registration of fraud. Also, I have written to the British High Commission, New Delhi, to intervene, but so far, I have neither got my money back nor is the owner of the house returning what he fraudulently took from me”, Tara Singh said.

“We moved to Chandigarh, but since our relatives are settled near Amritsar and my husband and I wanted to spend our last days visiting the Golden Temple daily, we decided to move to Amritsar. We entered into an agreement with one Ramesh Kapoor and his wife Manju Kapoor to purchase H.No 128 Rani Ka Bagh at Amritsar for Rs 65, 10,000 and paid Rs 9, 10,000 as advance through a cheque. As per the agreement the sale deed was to be executed by June 24, 2005, but this did not happen. The Kapoors’ tried to mislead us and demanded more time”, Sital Bajaj said.

They claim that it was only after a few months that they realised ‘the intentions’ of the Kapoors’ were suspect. In August, Tara Singh wrote to the SSP, Amritsar, demanding the registration of a case of fraud against Ramesh and Manju Kapoor. In the meantime, Tara Singh also came to know that they were not the only ones, whom the Kapoors had tried to ‘sell’ their house. “On a previous occasion, a similar sale deed was made and the Kapoors’ backed out. But since the buyer was a senior Income Tax Officer, his advance money was returned under pressure”.

When the police did not help, in December last year, Tara Singh wrote to Captain Amarinder Singh quoting his speeches “assuring safe investment to NRIs opting to settle in Punjab”. He directly questioned the Chief Minister asking him, “are you serious or is it just a political stunt?” The C.M’s office in turn wrote to the Commissioner, NRI Affairs, asking him to investigate the matter and have the issue redressed. “But nothing has happened so far”.

Last month, Tara Singh wrote to the British High Commissioner in New Delhi seeking the British Government’s intervention in the matter. But he did not receive any encouraging response to his request. He has meanwhile approached the civil court at Amritsar for the recovery of his money. Interestingly, in reply to the accusations against them, Ramesh and Manju Kapoor have admitted taking an advance towards the sale of property, but on the plea that “they took the money for investment in their business and the sale agreement was got executed as a security for the said loan”. The Bajajs’, however, refute this saying that the entire transaction was undertaken through a property agent.


CM, Dullo differ on job quota for youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that though he agreed with the views expressed by six Congress MLAs that Punjabi youth should get jobs in mega projects which were to be installed in the state but it would not be correct to make it a legal binding on the owners of the projects.

He said though mega projects were being promoted to create jobs for Punjabi youth but to reserve jobs for them was not advisable. He said this while speaking to mediapersons after releasing a book at a local hotel.

However, clearly differing with the Chief Minister on this issue, the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, said he was all for 70 per cent mandatory reservation of jobs for Punjabis in mega projects.

Mr Dullo said Punjab was being treated as if it was a “free port”. While Punjabis were being denied jobs in other states, in Punjab outsiders were given jobs without any discrimination, he alleged.

Mr Dullo said Punjabis could not buy even an acre of land in Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. As Punjab was facing a big problem of unemployment, the reservation of jobs was the need of the hour, he added.

Recently, as many as six Congress MLAs had publically supported the stand taken by Mr Dullo on this issue and they had also issued a statement supporting his stand.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said he had written to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and to the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, that the Rs 50 bonus announced on wheat should be treated a part of the minimum support price ( MSP).

He said Rs 50 per quintal should be given in cash to all farmers, including to those who had sold their wheat to private traders at a rate less than that of Rs 700 per quintal. As record was available to sale of wheat to private traders, farmers should be paid Rs 50 on the basis of that record, he added.

He said the Reliance group of industries would set up six vegetable and other farming produce handling hubs in Punjab by December this year with an investment of Rs 500 crore. “The state government has allotted 14 sites to Reliance group for setting up hubs”, said Capt Amarinder Singh.


State being ruined: Dal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Shiromani Khalsa Dal (SKD) today said that Punjab was being ruined in the name of development by the state government.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Surinder Singh Kishanpura and other leaders of the SKD headed by Mr Daljit Singh Bittu, said that the land of farmers had been acquired in three villages near Barnala, cutting them off from their roots. Farmers were being tempted to sell their land by offering high prices.

This model of development was fraught with danger for farmers, said Mr Kishanpura. There was no programme for the rehabilitation of farmers uprooted from their villages by acquiring their land, said Mr Kishanpura. Farmers could do nothing without land on which they depended for survival.


Ayurvedic pharmacy producing ‘negligible’ medicines
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 24
Call it a case of bad fiscal management or indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned, the Punjab Government has been spending about Rs 2 crore on its local Ayurvedic Pharmacy to produce medicine worth about Rs 2 lakh per annum.

Though it has been happening for the past many years, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, State Health Minister, when contacted, said he would make a request to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for allocation of more money for purchasing the raw material to produce Ayurvedic medicines by running the pharmacy to its optimum capacity.

Mr Dogra said when the Congress formed the government in Punjab, it was facing financial crises. Now the financial crises were over and hence he hoped that the Chief Minister would spare enough funds to run the local pharmacy in a proper manner.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that about 70 employees, including doctors, dispensers and pharmacy prepare (PP), were being paid more than Rs 1 crore every year in the shape of salaries to produce medicine worth about Rs 2 lakh in the local Ayurvedic pharmacy. Not only this, the authorities concerned had been spending lakhs of rupees to meet the electricity charges, maintenance of machinery worth crores of rupees and for the upkeep of its building.

“We have been sitting virtually idle for the past many years as there was no raw material for making the Ayurvedic medicines in the pharmacy. Whatever little raw material we have been getting, we have been using the same with in a few days and for the rest of period in the whole year, we are virtually free,” said a section of employees of the pharmacy on condition of anonymity.

Last year, the authorities spent about Rs 50 lakh to install new machines in the pharmacy for increasing its manufacturing capacity despite the fact that it had been getting negligible funds, for arranging raw material to produce drugs, from the authorities concerned. The employees pointed out that they had been apprehending that if the machines remained unused, for long, they would get rusted and would be functioning poorly.

They added that they could produce better drugs at cheap rates but the authorities concerned were more interested in purchasing the medicines directly from the market instead of producing the same in the local pharmacy. They said local Ayurvedic pharmacy was set up by late Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, the grandfather of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Information revealed that due to non-production of medicines in the adequate quantity, the state Ayurvedic authorities were finding it difficult to supply medicines to its dispensaries and hospitals despite the fact that number of patients in these units had been going up every year.

Presently, a dispensary had been getting medicines worth Rs 3 per day for distribution of the same among the patients. Last year, the number of patients, who visited the Ayurvedic dispensaries and hospitals dotting Punjab, was about 24 lakhs and it was expected that this number would touch the figure of 28 lakhs in the current financial year.


Silt removed from Madhopur headwork reservoir
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur April 24
The Madhopur headwork over Ravi has been cleared of silt after 55 years. With assistance from the Central Water Commission (CWC) the Department of Irrigation has removed silt which had reduced storage capacity of the barrage.

Work to clear silt from the headwork started on April 1st. Fifty JCB machines worked day and night to clear the silt from near the head. The work is likely to be completed by tomorrow after which water would be released in the UBDC system.

Sources at the head said the silt had been removed up to a distance of 500 feet to 1000 feet from the gates of the Madhopur head. Silt from the area has been removed and shifted downstream across the head works. Besides all gates of headwork have also been repaired or changed. The gates of the headwork were not put into use since long due to which many of these had become non-functional. Now all the gates have been painted with anti-corrosive paints and their pulleys changed.

Sources of the Department of Irrigation said after removal of silt storage capacity of Madhopur headwork would be restored to some extent. Now the headwork would be able to store 15000 cusecs of water for four five hours. So, even if water is stopped at Ranjit Sagar dam the head can still feed water to the UBDC for four to five hours.

Repairs of gates would also reduce seepage of water from the head to Pakistan.

About 100 cusecs of water was going waste daily due to leakage in the gates.

As per data from sources the state lost 3.68 lakh acres feet of water in the monsoon months of July and August last year due to silt at the headwork.

Silt deposition near the Madhopur headwork was also affecting discharge in the canals emerging from the barrage. The canals include the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) comprising seven main and branch canals having a length of 400 km. The canal system also has 247 distributaries having a length of 2400 km. The canal system is lifeline of agriculture in Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts.

The canal emerging from the barrage is the Beas link canal that is used to divert Ravi water to Rajasthan through Harike barrage. The water carrying capacity of the canal is 10,000 cusecs. However, due silt at Madhopur headwork the authorities are able to release more than 4000 cusec of water in the canal. During monsoon this year the authorities tried to divert 6000 cusecs of water in the canal due to excess availability. However, due to reduced capacity the canal breached and the operation had to be given up.

The Madhopur headwork is part of one of the oldest and most effect irrigation system of the country developed during the British rule 150 years ago.


Educate people against female foeticide: Makkar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Religious institutions and the government could play a better role in checking female foeticide and violence against women.

Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, stated this at a national seminar on female foeticide and violence against women organised by the SGPC at the Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences here yesterday.

Mr Makkar said the baptise campaign launched by the SGPC also included a movement against this menace. He said soon a committee would be formed to deal with the problem. He said though there was no place for female foeticide in Sikh religion, yet it had been continuing unabated.

He said the SGPC alone was not sufficient to eliminate it but other organisations should come forward to work in this direction.

Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, director, Human Rights Group, UK, opined that to solve the problem not only the government but also NGOs and religious bodies should come forward to join hands. He felt that the only weapon to eliminate it was spreading awareness among masses. He said law should be made more stringent to discourage this practice.

Mr Darryl Macer from UNESCO said there was the need for the governments and social organisations to work at the grass-roots level. He said there was the need to educate the masses, especially the poor people in the villages, against female foeticide and its resultant consequences.

Dr Surjit Kaur Chahal of Puna University, Dr Davinder Kaur, Dr S.S. Walia, Dr L.S. Kang, Dr A.P. Singh, Dr Amrik Singh and Dr Baldev Singh were prominent, among others, who presented their papers during the seminar.


Film on female foeticide moves hearts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 24
‘Kanjka da Katal’, a telefilm made by the local PNDT Cell with the aim to generate awareness about female foeticide and to curb the evil practice, has been receiving tremendous response during its screening at various localities in the city.

Released on the occasion of International Women’s Day last month, the film was first screened at Ganesha Basti on April 17. Since then the film has been screened at localities like Janata Nagar, Poojawala Mohalla, Parasram Nagar, Nai Basti, Model Town and Beant Nagar with the aid of some local NGOs. Mr Naresh Pathania of District Red Cross, who is associated with the film’s screening, told that a large number of people, especially women from all age groups, were thronging show venues, which certainly augured well for the girl child in a region where female foeticide was rampant.

“Prior to the screening of the film the audience is briefed about the purpose of making the film and a counter is also put up where VCD of the telefilm is made available to those willing to purchase it,” he told.

Interestingly, at a few places after the film’s screening men and women also approached the organisers with queries, which was a pointer to the fact that the film had succeeded in provoking their thoughts. The PNDT Cell has also received requests from the neighbouring Muktsar district to screen the film there. The telefilm would also be screened in rural areas from the first week of May.


BJP leaders pray for Mahajan’s recovery
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, April 24
Members of the local unit of the BJP organised “Akhand Path” at the Golden Temple here today for the early recovery of Mr Parmod Mahajan. The path was held at Gurdwara Baba Gurbaksh Singh in the Akal Takht complex.

Several BJP leaders, including Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, former state Health minister, Mr Bakshi Ram Arora, district BJP president, and Mr Tarun Chugh, were present on the occasion.

Dr Chawla said the prayers were offered for the early recovery of Mr Mahajan, who used to visit Harmander Sahib quite often.

Anandpur Sahib: Meanwhile, Mass prayer was also organised at Gurdwara Takht Shri Keshgarh Sahib here this morning for Mr Mahajan’s well-being. Besides BJP workers, prominent among those who participated in the prayer included Mr H.S. Garewal, secretary of the national BJP unit, Mr Avinash Rai Khana, MP and state BJP president, Mr Tara Singh Ladal, former MLA, and Mr Vijay Puri, district BJP president.


Traders allege police inaction in looting incident
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 24
Irked over the slow pace of inquiry into the looting and murder of a jeweler, goldsmiths, jewelers and other traders of Guru Bazar and its surrounding areas here kept their shops closed today.

The protesters, who belonged to the Beopar Mandal, Punjab Swarnkar Sangh and other unions, sat on dharna at Hall Gate for about an hour resulting in traffic jams.

It may be mentioned that about six unidentified armed robbers had assaulted and looted two jeweler brothers Sunil Kumar Bhatia and Satish Kumar Bhatia resulting into the death of the former.

Mr Jagjit Singh Sahdev, president, Punjab Swarnkar Sangh, said the jewelers were scared to get to work as incidents of such nature were on the rise and the police had failed to curb the crime.

He said businessmen were even thinking to move out of Guru Bazar, which was established by Guru Arjan Dev by bringing traders from Lahore.

Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, state vice-president of the BJP, in a letter to the Chief Minister equated the act of violence and robbery with terrorism and sought relief for the family at par with terrorist victims.


BJP urges MC to refund licence fee
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 24
Mr Sat Parkash Goyal, president, BJP, Mandal unit, today while dubbing the hike made in the shop licence fee in the Heera Bagh and Gobind Bagh areas as intolerable urged the Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities to refund a portion of the same to the shopkeepers of that area immediately.

In a memorandum submitted to the Commissioner, MC, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, the BJP activists led by Mr Goyal said so far no licence had been issued to the shopkeepers of these two areas and hence the MC authorities should do the needful in that connection.

Mr Goyal said the BJP Mandal unit had also demanded that these two areas, which were earlier out of octroi limits of the MC and were included in the same in the recent past, should be given the facility of octroi free areas.

He added that they had also demanded that the amount of octroi, which had been charged from the shopkeepers of these two areas, should be refunded to them so that their financial position could be improved.

The BJP had also urged the MC authorities to make arrangements of sanitation, roads and sewerage facilities in these two areas where the MC authorities had also imposed heavy house tax.


Only 79 doctors sign pact with ZP
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 24
Despite the selection of 103 service providers (doctors) for subsidiary health centres in this district, only 79 doctors have signed service contract with the Zila Parishad. This means 24 health centres will have no doctor.

The parishad had first selected 103 doctors and kept 39 candidates on the waiting list. But after re-counselling of the waiting list candidates, the parishad found only 79 doctors who signed service pacts.

Out of the 79 doctors, 76 submitted their joining reports to the parishad authorities today, the last day fixed for the doctors to report for duty.

Talking to The Tribune today, Mr Harnek Singh, ADC (Development)-cum-Chief Executive Officer, Sangrur Zila Parishad, said he had already informed the state government about the centres where no doctor had signed the agreement. Regarding the counselling of the degree holders from foreign countries, like Russia and Bulgaria, he said a decision in this regard would be taken by the government only.

As per the service contract, the doctors have to provide curative, preventive and promotive services.

Under the curative service, every doctor will provide OPD service and treatment under various national health programmes, while under preventive service all immunisation and preventive treatment will be given. Under promotive service, the doctors will work for health and family welfare programmes. The SMO of the area will supervise the working of the doctors.


Handing over of dispensaries put off, say docs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The PCMS Association, in a statement issued here today, claimed that the Health Department and the Rural Development Department had postponed the handing over of 1,193 rural dispensaries to Zila Parishads for the time being. The dispensaries were to be handed over to private service providers on contract basis from today.

Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, senior office-bearers of the association, in a signed statement said they had today met Mr R.C. Dogra, Health Minster, Punjab.

“The minister told us about the postponing of handing over of dispensaries”, doctors said in the statement.

They said the government had postponed the handing over of dispensaries because criteria to select and appoint doctors to be posted in dispensaries to be handed over to zila parishads had been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Protest against decision on dispensaries
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 24
Activists of the Sehat Sewawan Sangharsh Committee, Barnala, today staged a rally here in protest against the Punjab Government decision to hand over 1,193 dispensaries to panchayats.

The activists blocked traffic and burnt an effigy of the government.

Mr Hem Raj, a spokesman for the committee, said the activists, led by Mr Lal Singh, member, Punjab state, submitted a memorandum in the SDM office.


Civil Hospital upgraded
Tribune News Service

Batala, April 24
The capacity at the Batala Civil Hospital was today upgraded from 50 to 100 beds. The upgraded hospital was inaugurated by the local MLA and Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Ashwani Sekri.

Mr Sekri said after upgradation the number of doctors posted at the hospital would be increased from 12 to 22. The number of paramedical staff would also be increased from 52 to 70.

Most of the additional staff at the hospital would be shifted from rural dispensaries that have been handed over to the Zila Parishads. Additional staff would now also be posted at the 25-bed maternity hospital of Batala, Mr Sekri said.


Riot-hit get relief cheques
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 24
A sum of Rs 26 lakh was distributed among the riot-hit families residing in and around Pathankot, here today.

Mr Amarjit Pal, SDM, gave cheques to 13 kin of the victim of riots. A sum of Rs 2 lakh each was given to the victim families.

Mr Pal said another Rs 14 lakh would be distributed among the families of the riot-hit soon.


MP on fast
Tribune News Service

Nangal, April 24
Criticising the NFL management for not taking the charge of Capt Amol Kalia Fertiliser Senior Secondary School, Naya Nangal, the state BJP president and MP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, today observe a day-long fast along with employees who have been on relay fast for 21 days.


High Court
HC admits plea on CPS, Parliamentary Secretaries
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today admitted for further hearing a petition filed by Mr Anter Singh Brar, a BJP leader, seeking directions to the Punjab Government to remove Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and the Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) appointed by the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

Today, the Division Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi admitted the case for further hearing and fixed July 11 as the next date of hearing.

Sometime back, the high court had issued notice to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Parliamentary Secretaries. The Bench had also taken on record the judgement of the Himachal Pradesh High Court through which it had quashed the appointment of the PS by the Virbhadra Singh government.

Today, Senior Advocate Satya Pal Jain, counsel for the petitioner, again stated that the appointment of the CPS and PS was a drain on the exchequer and was illegal as no such posts existed under the Constitution. He claimed that the state was spending over Rs 20 lakh on these CPS and PS.

He said though the 91st amendment to the Constitution restricted the number of ministers in Punjab to not more than 18, the Chief Minister, because of political reasons, appointed some MLAs as PS, all of whom have been given the rank of Deputy Minister. This way, crores of rupees are being wasted, Mr Jain asserted. He also maintained that there was no legal sanction to the posts.

Show-cause notice

The high court has adjourned for May 23 the petition filed by Mr Sucha Singh, Managing Director, Nawanshahr Central Cooperative Bank Limited, challenging the show-cause notice issued to him on March 13 by the Joint Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Jalandhar.

Seeking quashing of the show-cause notice, the petitioner has alleged that the notice has been issued on arbitrary reasons as he did not comply with the illegal orders passed by Mr Parkash Singh Saini, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab.

The petition alleges that Mr Saini, who is a Congress MLA from Nawanshahr, has been for the past many years trying to interfere in the functioning of the bank, in which the state government does not have any stake.

It also states that the latest instance of the illegal interference of Mr Saini in the affairs of the bank is his insistence to get one Sarup Singh, a clerk in the bank, attached to him for official work. When the petitioner resisted, the respondents used strong-arm tactics to get Sarup Singh relieved.

When even those did not work, the Joint Registrar allegedly himself relieved Sarup Singh, though the order was subsequently set aside by the petitioner. Finally, on March 13, the Joint Registrar, who is alleged to be close to the Parliamentary Secretary, issued a show-cause notice to the petitioner.

The petitioner has claimed that the show-cause notice is only the first step of a well-orchestrated move to force him out of his office.


Fourteen police officers promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab Government today promoted Mr S.M. Sharma as Additional Director-General of Police and 13 other IPS officers of the 1991 batch Deputy Inspector-General (DIG). Besides, two IPS officers of the 1991 batch and nine of the 1992 batch have been placed in the selection grade.

A spokesman of the Home Department said that nine IPS officers — Mr B.K. Uppal, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarao, Mr Parmjit Singh Gill, Mr Tehal Singh Dhaliwal, Mr B.K. Garg, Mr R.L. Bhagat, Mr Ishwar Chander, Mr Jagdish Kumar and Mr B.K. Bawa — had been promoted from January 1 , 2005.

Mr Parampal Singh stands promoted as DIG from May 10, Mr R.P. Mittal from August 5, Mr Nirmal Singh Dhillon from September 8 and Mr Sham Lal from December 9 last year.

He further said that two IPS officers of the 1991 batch — Mr Sham Lal and Mr Kanwaljit Singh — and five of the 1992 batch — Mr Shard Satya Chauhan, Mr Harpreet Singh, Mr Arun Kumar Oraon, Mr Parmjit Singh Gill and Mr Narinderpal Singh — had been placed in the selection grade of Rs 14300-400-18300 from January 1 last year.

Two officers of the 1992 batch — Mr R.P.S. Brar and Mr Kultar Singh — had been given the selection grade from May 10 and August 5 last year, respectively.


Three killed, 10 hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 24
Three persons were killed and around 10 injured when a car collided with a PRTC bus on the Mansa road near Kotfatta village, 20 km from here, today.

Sources said the accident occurred when the car coming from Maur Mandi while overtaking a bus collided head on with the speeding PRTC bus coming from the opposite direction.

Three occupants of the car, including a woman, died on the spot, while the PRTC bus overturned resulting into injuries to about 10 of its passengers. The injured have been admitted to the Civil Hospital by Sahara volunteers.


3 killed as Sumo rams into tree
Our Correspondent

Kharar , April 24
Three persons were killed and four injured, two of them seriously, when a Tata Sumo banged into a tree near the Mullanpur barrier early this morning .

There were seven persons, including the driver, in the vehicle when the accident took place. All of them were coming from Himachal Pradesh. While three of them died on the spot, the two seriously injured were taken to the PGI, Chandigarh. The driver, who had also sustained injuries, fled the spot. Even the seventh person, who had received minor injuries went away from the spot soon after the accident. All six passengers hailed from Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh .

According to the police, the three, who were killed had been identified as Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Vasani village, Suresh Chand, a resident of Heun village, and Chander Shekhar, a resident of Sill village. All these villages fell under the Jogindernagar police station. Inder Singh and Ravinder were taken to the PGI. Rangila Ram , driver of the ill- fated vehicle , hailed from Nadaun village falling under Hamirpur district.

The police said the accident took place around 4.30 a.m. when the Tata Sumo got out of control while overtaking another vehicle and hit a tree. The vehicle got badly damaged and the bodies were removed from the van with great difficulty.

The police said all passengers had not jointly hired the vehicle but had availed the taxi service from different locations. As the bus service in the area was not satisfactory people generally travelled in taxis by paying bus fares.

The bodies of the three persons were sent to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 304 A of the IPC in this regard .


Deputy Manager held for graft
Tribune News Service

Moga, April 24
The Vigilance Bureau today nabbed a deputy manager of a cooperative agriculture development bank committee while accepting bribe from a Deena Sahib resident at Nihalsinghwala.

Sources said the complainant, Mr Gurcharan Singh, had sought a loan of Rs 2.64 lakh for setting up a dairy from the Nihalsinghwala Primary Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank Committee.

However, the deputy manager, Mr Kehar Singh, Kept on dilly-dallying sanction of loan to him. Later, he reportedly demanded a bribe of Rs 2,000 from him in lieu of releasing the first instalment of the loan.

The complainant approached the Vigilance Bureau, which laid a trap. He reached the deputy manager’s office where the latter asked him to keep the amount in a cupboard and handed him over a cheque for Rs 64,000. He walked out of the office of ensure that there was no raid in the offering. He then counted money and kept it in his cupboard.

A Vigilance team immediately rushed into his office and nabbed him before seizing the amount from his possession. A case has been registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Police party pelted with stones
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 24
Head constable Balkar Singh was injured when miscreants attacked a police party at Alamgarh village, near here, last night. The miscreants got a person freed from the police custody. The cop was admitted to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital.

Sources said the police party, led by ASI Narender Pal Singh, rushed to the village on getting information that some “drunkard” miscreants had gheraoed the house of Harnam Singh. The police took Shera Singh into custody on charges of breach of peace but his accomplice allegedly pelted the police party with stones. They rescued Shera Singh. However, he was arrested again. The police booked Major Singh and Kaka Singh under various charges.


Lover commits suicide

Phagwara, April 24
A young boy allegedly committed suicide by consuming celphos tablets in front of the house of his beloved at Pasla village last night.

The deceased was identified as Balwinder who first consumed celphos tablets and then went to the house of his married beloved.

He was taken to the Phagwara Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. Interestingly, his married beloved was seen crying in grief in the hospital. — UNI


Resentment over ignoring Hindi
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 24
The candidates having a post graduate degree in Hindi have expressed resentment over the decision of Punjabi University to allow only English or Punjabi languages as medium for answering questions in the Punjab State Eligibility Test (SLET) for lecturership in Education and Computer Science / IT to be held on May 14.

The last date for submitting the forms for the exam is May 1. Postgraduate degree holders had been appearing in the test conducted by Kurukshetra University in Haryana for the past three to four years. According to sources the successful candidates could hardly get a job in Haryana.

Punjabi University has been authorised to hold the test after a gap of four years keeping in view the increasing demand for lecturers in Education due to the permission granted to more than 50 private colleges of education in the state.

It is widely acknowledged that Hindi has been the medium of instruction for most of the graduates and postgraduates in this region bordering Haryana and Rajasthan. Hundreds of students in the area opt for Hindi as first language in various courses.

Even while pursuing degrees of Bachelor in Education and masters degree many students preferred to opt for Hindi as a subject rather than Punjabi or English.

The Handbook of Information for the SLET said the students would have to answer the questions in English or in Punjabi, it will be English only for Computer Science / IT students. The candidates who had secured at least 55 per cent marks in the master’s degree or equivalent examination are eligible for the test. There will be five per cent relaxation in marks for SC/ST and physically handicapped/visually handicapped candidates. This too has caused resentment among the backward classes and other backward classes (OBC) candidates as no relaxation has been provided for them.

The candidates belonging to these categories will not get Rs 150 relaxation in the fee also which has been given to the SC/ST candidates.

Parents of some aspirants today faxed a letter to the Governor and the Chief Minister urging them to recommend some changes in the rules to redress their grievances.

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