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Continue issuing provisional NOCs, CM tells board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today directed the Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, to continue with the practice of issuing provisional no-objection certificates with regard to mega projects till a final decision was taken by the Union Government on this issue.

Sources said the state government had issued a written directive to the board authorities in this connection. It was reported in The Tribune (April 28) that the board at its meeting held yesterday decided to cancel all provisional NOCs issued to the mega projects and also discontinue the practice in future.

When contacted for its reaction to the Chief Minister's directive, the board management refused to comment. The board functions under the direct control of the state government.

However, there could be a face-off between the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and the state government on this issue. The Union Ministry has its regional office here to monitor matters regarding environmental issues. Moreover, the Union Ministry had issued a notification on July 7,2004, regarding environmental clearance from it for mega projects.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of the state government said that Capt Amarinder Singh had written to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr A.Raja, separately to allow the state government to issue provisional NOCs to all projects worth Rs 50 crore or more. The government had also sought the enhancement of the limit of Rs 50 crore to at least Rs 250 crore with regard to projects in the matter of seeking environmental clearance.

In view of the urgency of the matter and the concern of the investors who plan to set up their projects in the state, the Chief Minister had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister at his meeting with him on April 21, 2006, seeking his intervention.

 

Wheat stubble burning on despite PPCB warnings
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 28
Despite warnings by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), farmers are resorting to wheat stubble burning in the fields. Thick clouds of smoke, emerging from the burning wheat stubble in the fields, have been engulfing roads in Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts.

Fires in fields along the roads have also been spreading to plantations on roadsides and banks of the UBDC canal. Many small plantations were getting destroyed. The plantations and bushes along the UBDC are home to some rare varieties of birds, including the national bird peacock. This is the breeding season for birds and they build their nests in bushes or trees along the road. However, fire destroys their habitation.

The smoke on the road, besides being a traffic hazard, is also increasing temperature. Farmers are burning the wheat stubble to clear the fields for further sowing.

They say that fire was the most economical and easiest way to clear the fields for further sowing. However, agriculture experts maintain that fire in the fields kills friendly pests and bacteria that increase the fertility of soil.

Large-scale stubble burning also brings about adverse environmental changes. The suspended particles left in the air due to fire are also considered to be one of the reasons for dense fog that engulfs the region in winters.

Besides, the suspended particles generated due to fire can cause respiratory problems and other health problems for people. The farmers were worst affected due to it, as they come in direct contact with the ill- effects of field fires.

Despite the fact that the Chairman of the PPCB, Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, belongs to the district, no action has been taken against the farmers who resort to stubble burning.

The Department of Agriculture authorities have also failed to spread awareness among the farmers regarding the ill-effects of wheat stubble burning. Zero tillage machines were introduced by the PAU to discourage the farmers from the said practice. The government has also offered subsidy on these machines. However, there have been very few takers for the machine in the district.

 

Factory emissions confine residents to homes
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
Emissions from a local factory have proved bane of residents of Bahadurgarh in this district. Air pollution caused by the factory is so severe that they can not even sit in the open court yards of their respective houses.

The residents have reportedly been suffering from respiratory diseases due to the unchecked emissions. The children are worst affected as they are not able to play in the open.

Mr Sukhdeep Singh Multani of Shri Guru Teg Bhadur Youth Club, Bhadurgarh, who has complained to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the Chief Minister, the Deputy Commissioner and other authorities concerned in this connection, alleged that the PPCB had taken no step to curb the air pollution.

He said once the officials of that factory had reached a compromise that they would take all precautions to check the pollution, but so far nothing had been done. The residents had been running from pillar to post to get rid of the menace for the past many years.

Mr H.M. Sood, vice-president, MilkFood Limited, said the factory had not been causing any air pollution. He alleged that some vested interests, including a former temporary worker of the factory, was making issue out of non-issue. He alleged that Mr Multani had put forged signatures of residents on a complaint lodged by him with the PPCB.

A major section of residents of the village were having no complaints against the factory. Even the PPCB had also appreciated the arrangements made in the factory to check pollution, said Mr Sood.

Mr Kurnesh Garg, Environmental Engineer, PPCB, said about one-and-a-half years ago a complaint had been lodged against the factory. The board found that air-pollution-control device, installed in the factory, had not been upgraded. The PPCB staff got it upgraded and apart from it new boilers were also installed in place of the old ones.

He said after all those measures had been taken up, there was no complaint regarding pollution from any resident of Bahadurgarh. But, now a fresh complaint had been received and it would be investigated within a day or so. 

 

DMCH performs state’s 1st bone marrow transplant
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 28
Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in Ludhiana has created a history of sorts by performing the first-ever bone marrow transplant (BMT) in Punjab.

The autologous BMT (infusion of the same patient’s harvested stem cells, derived from his own bone marrow) was carried out by Dr Davinder Singh Sandhu, Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at DMCH, on an 18 year-old youth, diagnosed to be suffering from refractory hodgkin disease — a type of blood cancer. The first and second line of treatment involving chemotherapy and radiotherapy, respectively, had failed to provide any substantial relief to the patient.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Sandhu said the patient was diagnosed with blood cancer in June 2005 and after other lines of treatment failed to have the desired results, the youth, the only son of his parents, was counselled for the BMT. The procedure for bone marrow transplant was initiated on March 21.

“The patient did develop expected complication like neutropenia and thrombocytopenia and hepatitis which were successfully managed. He is now asymptomatic, has fully recovered and was discharged from hospital today. If the patient does not have a relapse during the next three years, his chances of having a normal and disease-free life are more than 70 per cent,” Dr Sandhu added.

Tracing the history of the BMT, Dr Sandhu said India’s first successful transplant was performed at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, way back in 1983. Even today, there were few centres in the country doing this procedure with the CMC, Vellore, AIIMS, New Delhi, and Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, being the prominent ones.

Giving details of the procedure, he said stem cells, which had unlimited capacity to divide and transform into various cell types of the body, were taken out and preserved. After that, very high doses of chemotherapy (drugs used to treat cancer) were given to the patient.

These high doses could cure cancers that had failed conventional doses of drugs, but at the same time, the medication resulted in profound suppression of bone marrow (destruction of red cells, white cells and platelets). After high-dose myeloablative chemotherapy, stem cells were reinfused which slowly got engrafted into the marrow and started producing new red cells, white cells and platelets.

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, and Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent of DMCH, who were present on the occasion, congratulated Dr Sandhu and his team for bringing laurels to the institution by successfully conducting the first BMT in the state. They said the hospital would work towards the creation of a better infrastructure, and in times to come, to have a bone marrow transplant unit.

 

Residual material rule out blast
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 28
Absence of any crater either in the floor, on the road or any hole in the roof of the ill-fated Una-bound Punjab Roadways bus, and bodies of 14 of 15 injured passengers sans any splinter marks on them are strong and crucial indications, pointing out that there could be a “sudden fire” and not a “bomb blast-triggered explosion” inside the bus (PB-12-H-2304).

The “sudden fire” could have been triggered by the presence of a deadly combination of certain amount of petrol or spirit and a cigarette in the bus.

The investigation carried out by bomb disposal squads of the Army, the PAP and the Jalandhar police and the residual material collected for forensic examination has also ruled out that a “explosion” had taken place in the bus before it got engulfed in fire. It was, however, being subjected to investigation as to how the fire could have taken place in the moving vehicle and what could be the factors responsible for the flames?

Investigations have revealed that no splinter or shrapnel mark has been found on bodies of any of the injured passengers. “There is no indication of any blast and the available residual material shows that we can rule out the possibility of any blast. Investigation is being carried out to detect the cause of fire and to pinpoint its origin. It could be the engine, the fuel pump of the vehicle or could have also been caused by a sabotage act,” observed Mr Hardip Dhillon, IG, Jalandhar Zone.

“Morover, there is no crater either in the floor of the bus or on the ground beneath it and similarly, there is hardly any twisting of any metal parts, including flooring sheets. It is an enough indication to prove that there could not have been any use of explosives like TNT or RDX,” he said.

 

Chhittisinghpura killings: M. S. Gill seeks CBI probe
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Saying that the “true strength of a democracy lies in its justice system”, former Chief Election Commissioner and Punjab MP, Mr Manohar Singh Gill, wants the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, to ask the CBI to include the “massacre of 35 Sikhs” in its ongoing probe against the killings of five innocent Kashmiris by the security forces after the Chhittisinghpura killings.

Appreciating that the CBI would soon file chargesheet against five defence personnel, including a Brigadier, a Colonel and two Majors, for faking an encounter, Mr Gill said that in “all fairness, those responsible for turning Chittisinghpura into a village of widows overnight” should also be brought to the book.

While the CBI has probed charges of “state terrorism” against five members of one religious community of Kashmir, it should have been asked to investigate the killing of all 40 Kashmiris, irrespective of their religion. “ No one knows who was behind the killing of the 35 victims, who belonged to another religious community of Kashmir,” said Mr Gill.

Talking to The Tribune on the telephone, Mr Gill said within a few days of the massacre of 35 Sikhs , the security forces had gunned down five Kashmiri youth while claiming to have solved the biggest massacre witnessed by the minutest minority of the troubled state.

The claim of the security forces, however, led to an upheaval with majority community crying “foul” over the alleged encounter in which “five youth were liquidated”. It was under public pressure that the then Chief Minister referred the case to the CBI.

“Unfortunately, the previous NDA government went slow on the CBI probe. But now when the central agency has come out with its report and is ready to chargesheet the suspected officers , it looks lopsided that victims of the tragic event are still waiting for the justice.

“The Indian Army has a great code of honour,” said Mr Gill. “The case does not end with prosecution of five defence officers. We all are aware of fake encounters in Delhi, Maharashtra and Punjab and it is the strength of democracy that all such cases ultimately get exposed.

“It is time that the full truth about the Chittisinghpura tragedy should be brought out. At that time fingers were pointed at Pakistan which vehemently denied its involvement in the killing of 35 members of a minority community. Unfortunately, this tragedy took place when the US President Bill Clinton was scheduled to visit the region.

The previous government at the Centre did not pursue it any further. The inquiry must be continued,” demanded Mr Gill.

 

UK “plans mall” at site of Gen Dyer's killing
PM urged to ensure memorial
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
Mr Hardial Singh Kamboj, general secretary of the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Committee, has urged the Prime Minister to make arrangements to raise a suitable memorial at Caxton Hall in London where Shaheed Udham Singh had killed General Michael O. Dyer in 1940 to avenge the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, with copies sent to Prince Charles and London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Mr Kamboj, who is also the Administrative Member of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), said he had visited the site in central London recently and found that the 66-year-old monument was lying in a dilapidated condition.

He added that the UK Government was making plans to demolish the structure and a shopping mall was proposed in its place.

Mr Kamboj said for the past 66 years, the hall had been kept in a sealed condition and now the London Corporation was trying to construct a shopping mall there.

He urged the PM to “raise a suitable memorial on the site of Catxon hall in the memory of Shaheed Udham Singh where all monumental articles of the great martyr should be preserved to honour the feelings of all countrymen towards freedom fighters”.

 
POLITICS

No tie-up with Akalis, says Joginder Dayal
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
A member of the National Council of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said here today that his party would not be a part of the “grand political alliance” in which certain Akali factions were to be included.

He said his party had serious political differences with the Akali factions, who were to be part of the alliance, and because of this reason there could not be any political handshake with them.

Dr Dayal said certain Akali factions, which were to be part of the alliance, were politically opportunistic groups. And one of the Akali factions had in its ranks certain leaders, who were earlier supporters of militants, he added.

Dr Dayal said his party would also not have any electoral understanding with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He said Mr Badal was an ally of the BJP which was a communal party.

The CPI leader said his party was opposed to the pro-WTO policies followed by the Capt Amarinder Singh Government in Punjab.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh was out to privatise the school education and health services. All this was a part of pro-WTO agenda.

Asked about the demand raised by certain Congress MLAs seeking 70 per cent reservation in jobs for Punjabis in mega projects to be set up in the state, Dr Dayal said first preference in jobs should be given to the youth of the area where project was to be put up and second preference to the youth of the state. And in case, no eligible youth was available for any particular job in any project, then outsiders could also be employed, he said.

He said he was fully supportive of the stand taken by the Punjab Pradesh Congress President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, on mega projects. He said these projects would not benefit Punjab in any manner. Neither these would usher Punjab in new era of development nor these would create jobs for Punjabis, he added.

 

Ex-MLA exposes rift in BJP
Tribune News Service

Pathankot April 28
Factionalism in the local unit of the BJP came to the fore once again just two days before the arrival of ‘‘rath yatra’’ of the party president Mr Rajnath Singh.

Former BJP MLA from Narot Ram Lal today organized a protest rally alleging discrimination at the hands of the local BJP leadership. Mr Ram Lal and his supporters raised slogans against the local leadership of the BJP. He and his supporters also threatened to resign from the party in case their grievances were not addressed.

Mr Ram Lal while talking to mediapersons alleged that despite the fact that he had been a party MLA and state leader, the local leaders had not invited him for the rally of Mr Rajnath Singh. He had not been invited even to the meetings held for making arrangements for the rally.

He said he was the only leader of the opposition who had been raising a voice against the misdeeds of the ruling party in the area. For this the local police had also booked him. However, none of the BJP leaders had come out in his support, he rued. ‘‘If the bureaucratic local leadership of the party did not change its attitude towards the workers then I and my supporters would be forced to leave the party’’, he said.

Mr Ram Lal was the BJP MLA from Narot reserved constituency during the previous SAD/BJP government. He was, however, denied the party ticket in the last Assembly elections. He contested the elections independently and secured over 6,000 votes that ensured the defeat of the BJP candidate.

However, later Mr Ram Lal continued to toe the party line. He campaigned for Mr Vinod Khanna, the BJP MP from the area, in the Lok Sabha elections. He has also been raising a voice against the atrocities on Dalits.

Mr Ram Lal is not the only disgruntled leader of the BJP. The differences between the former minister from Pathankot, Mr Mohan Lal, and the office- bearers of the party from the area are an open secret.

In a meeting held recently to make arrangements for the party rally two office- bearers of party had heated arguments.

 

SAD (A) submits memorandum
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) handed over a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner here yesterday to be forwarded to Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for preventing the proposed yatra of the BJP from entering Punjab.

Mr Ram Singh, general secretary, SAD (A), said that BJP’s Bharat Suraksha Yatra would vitiate communal harmony in the state. He said the state achieved peace after having gone through a long phase of bloodshed.

 
COMMUNITY

Power supply to improve from May 1
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
Residents of Punjab seem to be doubly cursed with the rising mercury and unscheduled power cuts.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that rural areas of Punjab are facing power cuts for about 12 hours or more for a day, while the urban areas have been facing power cuts for four to six hours. The longer power cuts in April have put life out of gear in certain pockets of Punjab apart from affecting studies of students.

Facing a lot of criticism from the general public for unscheduled and longer power cuts, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been making arrangements for additional power to domestic, agricultural, industrial and commercial consumers.

A senior functionary of the PSEB pointed out that at present 800 lakhs units were available with the PSEB against the daily demand of 925 units. He added that as the power demand had been increasing day by day, the PSEB authorities had been using all channels to make arrangements for the same.

He said with the rise in temperature, ice in different glaciers had started melting and the level of reservoirs of different dams of Punjab had been going up. This had given hope to the PSEB that it would be able to meet the power demand apart from cutting down the durations of power cuts.

He said the Ranjit Sagar Dam had started producing power. Along with it, the small power units set up on the UBDC had also started producing power. The level of Bhakra Dam had also been rising and had been helping in the increase in power production. He pointed out that from May 1, the generation of power would witness a significant jump, and the PSEB would be able to supply more power to all types of consumers.

The main aim of the PSEB would be to cut down the power cuts to three hours in the urban areas and to five hours in rural areas. Not only this, the PSEB authorities would make these cuts scheduled. Electricity was being supplied to the cotton growers for five hours a day. Apart from it, vegetable breeders were also being given assured supply of power. The PSEB had also made elaborate planning to meet the power demand during the paddy sowing season, which was likely to start from the second week of June.

He claimed that if the level of the reservoir kept on rising and monsoons remained normal, Punjab would face no problem on account of power supply to any sector at any point of time. The PSEB had also been arranging power from outside Punjab.

 

Progress of govt schemes reviewed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 28
The lead bank of the district, State Bank of Patiala, today organised a meeting of the standing committee under the chairmanship of Mr Devinder Pal Singh Walia, ADC (D), to review the progress of various government-sponsored schemes.

Mr Walia took stock of the schemes and expressed satisfaction over the progress of banks. In his address, he advised the heads of various government departments and representatives to coordinate with the banks for the disbursement of sanctioned loans within a week. He expressed concern over the low formation of self-help groups and called upon the child development project officers, the development officers’ women programme and banks to form as many self-help groups as they could and to achieve the targets allotted to them.

Mr Ashwani Mahajan, AGM, NABARD, said that 909 self-help groups had been formed in the district and 740 had been provided loans by various banks. He impressed upon the banks and the departments to identify cases under the NABARD schemes of capital investment subsidy schemes for organic farming, interest subsidy schemes for dairy, poultry and water harvesting scheme for SC, ST farmers.

Mr S.S. Kharaud, LDM, urged the banks to sanction the cases sponsored under the PMRY schemes before May 10. He also urged to advance at least 2 cases in each quarter under the Swarozgar Credit Card Schemes.

 

Protest over police inaction in rape case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 28
Braving the scorching heat numerous residents of the subdivision today marched through the main roads prior to sitting on dharna opposite the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police here. The residents were protesting the alleged failure of the police in a case of rape and murder of a minor girl recently.

The protesters shouted slogans against the police, particularly against the DSP. An action committee formed to tone up the police for arresting the culprits responsible for gruesome rape and murder of a minor girl, Manju Bala, in Dharam Nagari locality adjacent to the historic Panjpeer mazars, had given a call for the dharna.

Several organisations, including the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), Lok Sangram Manch, Technical Services Union, PWD Field Workers Union, Democratic Teachers Front, Registered Medical Practitioners Union, Pravasi Mazdoor Union, Nai Abadi Samaj Sudhar Sabha and the Khet Mazdoor Union, joined the protest.

The representatives of these organisations and Dr Ram Kumar Goyal, former MLA, blamed the DSP for the deterioration in the law and order situation. They lamented that Abohar subdivision had emerged as a paradise for all categories of criminals.

Scores of cases of loot, thefts, kidnappings, murders, burglaries were yet to be solved, they rued.

 

Sikh intellectuals meet Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Certain Sikh academicians and intellectuals, some of them belonging to the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra camp, today held a meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The meeting was reportedly arranged by Mr Harvinder Singh Sarna, President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

Those who participated in the meeting were Principal Bharphur Singh, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, Mr Gurtej Singh, Mr Kharak Singh Mann, Mr Gurdev Singh Brar, Dr Balkar Singh, Mr Mewa Singh Sidhu. The Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr S.P. Singh and certain other senior faculty members of the that University were also present at the meeting, it is learnt.

Source said most of the discussion held at the meeting was with regard to the observance of 400 martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Devji.

Mr S.P. Singh suggested that a regional centre of the university should be set up at Tarn Taran where anniversary was to be observed and also Tarn Taran should be given the status of a district headquarters.

Political issues also came up at the meeting. Certain speakers indirectly referred to family politics being allegedly promoted by the SAD leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. They called upon Capt Amarinder Singh to oppose those who were promoting family rule. Source said that the tone of certain pro-Tohra intellectuals at the meeting was more or less “anti-Badal” at the meeting.

 

Non-teaching employees condemn attack
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 28
The Guru Nanak Dev University (Non-Teaching) Employees Association led by Mr Sawinderjit Singh and Mr Surjit Singh Cholia, president and secretary, respectively, today condemned the attack by some unidentified persons on Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean Academic Affairs, about a couple of days back.

They urged the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, to take hard steps for providing security to university employees, including teachers and students.

 

2 killed in factory blast

Ludhiana, April 28
Two workers were killed and two injured in a blast which took place in a steel factory here this evening.

The deceased succumbed to their injuries on the way to hospital, while the two others were hospitalised in a serious condition, the police said.

The blast had occurred in a compressor at Upper India Steel Mills Ltd located at the Focal Point here. — UNI

 
AGRICULTURE
 

Plan to bring 1 million hectares under citrus growing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, yesterday reviewed progress in the spheres of citrus growing , agro-juicing, organic farming, value-added horticulture and viticulture in the state. A plan to have one million hectares under citrus was also unveiled.

Giving details of the new scheme, a spokesperson said the land would be taken on rent and on the basis of profit sharing from the farmer. The orchard would be developed using scientific techniques. The developed orchard would be returned to the farmer after 12 years, giving him a good source of income.

This programme would ensure that Punjab produced international quality citrus. The Chief Minister was informed that the issue of financing the scheme had been taken up with NABARD through the state government and other banks.

It was expected that a final agreement with a bank would be concluded by June. The area under citrus would go up to one million hectares by 2015. 

 
EDUCATION
 

‘Principal in league with PSEB officials flout rules’
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 28
A nexus between Principal of government senior secondary school, Dhapai, and certain officials of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) has come to light while flouting rules of the board by admitting a student to Class XI in December last year.

Mr Shaminder Kumar, a lecturer in English, told The Tribune here today that he had brought the matter to the notice of the Secretary and Chairman of the PSEB for action against the principal, who was hand in glove with two officials of the board. He alleged principal, Harjinder Singh Ghai, had admitted a student in Class XI of the school in December by flouting the rules of PSEB which stated that a student could be admitted to the next class within 15 days after the results of the supplementary examination were out.

He further alleged the principal was running a private school, which was being used as an examination centre for the school by fraudulent means and got appointed two officials, who were government employees, as invigilators. He alleged this was being done to enable the students to copy.

He said earlier the board had demanded an affidavit regarding this from him ignoring the fact that he was a government employee. Mr Kumar said he had submitted an affidavit to the Controller of Examinations through registered post. He added board officials again demanded affidavit, instead of initiating action against the principal.

Mr Ghai said Mr Kumar had been levelling false allegations against various teachers and staff of the school. He said the PSEB had initiated inquiries against Mr Kumar. He said all staff members were against him as he had been harassing everyone in the school by lodging false complaints against them to the Income Tax (IT) Department.

However, Mr Kumar said that all employees were involved in the General Provident Fund bungling as they had been withdrawing the money to get rebate from the Income Tax. He said he had also complained to the IT Department regarding this.

 

Amarinder questions criteria for transfers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The transfer of more than 2000 just-promoted ETT and JBT teachers in Punjab has led to a storm of protests from the transferred teachers.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today reportedly asked the DPI to reply as to how so many teachers were shifted overnight.

These ETT and JBT teachers had been promoted to the master cadre just two days ago. The Chief Minister has asked what criteria was adopted to shift the just-promoted teachers from one school to another.

The teachers approached the MLA and also senior functionaries on the policy of transfers. The government had promoted 214 teachers of mathematics, 412 of science, 271 of Punjabi, 303 of Hindi and 881 of social studies.

The transfer orders carried the rider that all promoted teachers had to report at the transferred station within one month, otherwise it would be deemed that the teacher has not accepted the promotion. Such teacher would be debarred for promotion for the next two years, a spokesperson for the Punjab Government had said two days ago.

 

Plea to change date of examination
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 28
Mr Amrajit Singh, a senior lecturer and a social worker in a press note issued here yesterday urged the Baba Farid Health University, Faridkot, to change the date of Punjab Post Graduate Entrance Test - 2006 from May 14 as it clashes with the date of the preliminary examination of the civil services being conducted by the UPSC.

Mr Amarjit Singh said some of the doctors planned to appear in the preliminary examination and the UPSC had issued roll numbers in this regards to eligible doctors.

 
BUSINESS
 

Move on privatising coop sugar mills may be dropped
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Punjab Government seems to have made up its mind to drop the move to privatise certain cooperative sugar mills in the state. After an informal discussion on this issue with MLAs of the Majha region, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has convened a meeting of all concerned on May 5 to take a final decision.

When contacted, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, who deals with the Agriculture Department, confirmed that the meeting had been convened by the Chief Minister. Mr Randhawa is one of the Congress MLAs who has been arguing in favour of strengthening the cooperative sugar mill sector.

He had told the Chief Minister that with the privatising of the cooperative sugar mills, farmers would become fully dependent on private millers who would exploit them to the hilt.

Mr Randhawa said that at the May 5 meeting, the government would withdraw the proposal with regard to the appointment of liquidators for certain cooperative sugar mills. Meanwhile, there is also a move to increase the price of sugarcane. A meeting of the State Sugarcane Board was to be held on Monday last

There are reports that the government is inclined to raise to the price of sugarcane to Rs 128 per quintal. However, the general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU), Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, who is a member of the cane board, said that it should be raised to Rs 150 per quintal. He said that last year certain private mills bought sugarcane by paying Rs 160 per quintal to farmers.

Mr Rajewal said that by the end of this year, the sugar price in the domestic market would touch Rs 27 per kg. And in the wholesale market, it would be selling for Rs 2,650 per quintal.

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