P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Martyrdom Day festivities draw flak
Varinder Walia and Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, June 15
Illumination of Darbar Sahib, which was founded by Guru Arjan Dev, on his 400th martyrdom anniversary has evoked mixed response even as the city of Tarn Taran overflowed with devotees and emotion with unusual fervour. Heads bowed to Darbar Sahib (Tarn Taran).

It was a rare sight, and a rare feeling, too, for the Sikh shrine, nay the entire city that illuminated by guiding principles contained in the holy Granth Sahib but certain senior Panthic leaders said that it (illumination) was not required on ‘Shaheedi Divas’ (martyrdom day). Instead of illuminating the Sikh shrines, spiritual illumination was needed religious fervour is allright but it should not have been dominated by festivities. The bedecked elephants received 5 km-long procession taken out from Moga to Tarn Taran by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary SAD. Various Nagar Kirtans from different parts of the country also reached the city which would be up graded as district headquarter tomorrow.

Religious fervor was at its zenith as people from the region and far-off places reached the town today to pay tributes to the Guru.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, senior SGPC member, said that though the Sikhs were always in high spirits but instead of festivity , religious fervour should have dominated the functions. He said Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, a former SGPC president wanted to stop political conferences at martyrdom days so that real aim of observing such occasion should not get diluted .

Though the SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal had made all-out efforts to attract big gathering at Mata Ganga Istri Conference yesterday since it was addressed by political leaders of the SAD and the BJP yet the kirtan darbar, here today was low-key affair.


Follow Guru’s path: CM

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today called upon the people to follow the path shown by Guru Arjan Dev. Similar views were expressed by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

In a message on the eve of the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Guru, Capt Amarinder Singh said Guruji laid down his life for a noble cause and his unique and unparalleled selfless sacrifice would be cherished by one and all. — TNS


85 historical bungas around Darbar Sahib demolished
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, June 15
At least 85 out of 105 historical bungas around the Darbar Sahib, which served as centre of elementary Sikh education for a long time, have disappeared.

Most of the bungas were constructed during Sikh rule. Rest of the bungas have either been given modern look or are in ruins. The word bunga is derived from the Persian word bunga meaning a hospice, or a dwelling place.

No Sikh organisation has bothered to save the rich heritage of this ancient city. Though a large number of devotees are thronging this ancient city, founded by Guru Arjun Dev, hardly any devotee noticed the wanton destruction of this rich Sikh heritage. Many sites of antiquity have been destroyed.

A large number of nagar kirtans, langars, kirtan darbars have been organised, however, nobody has bothered to revive the heritage of the city.

Many of the bungas have either been demolished to construct modern dwellings or encroached upon by unscrupulous persons. The rest of dilapidated bungas have never been on the priority list of the SGPC or any other Sikh organisations, which have been trying to take political mileage out of the 400th martyrdom day functions. 


Hefty pay hike for Punjab law officers
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Government has ordered a hefty increase in the salaries payable to its law officers.

A decision in this regard was communicated to the Advocate-General (AG), Punjab, by the Home Department, Punjab. The move to increase the salaries and perks of the law officers and bring them at a par with those being received by law officers in Haryana was initiated following reports that strong resentment was brewing among the officers against the "unjust" cut in their salaries in September 2004.

Many representations had also been submitted by the law officers in this regard.

According to the new salary structure, the salary which every Additional AG in Punjab will get would be Rs 50,000 per month or retainership of Rs 3,000 per month plus fee for every court appearance and case disposed.

At present, an Additional AG was getting just Rs 15,000 per month and no other allowances.

Similarly, the three Senior Additional AGs would be entitled to either Rs 55,000 per month as fixed salary or Rs 4,000 as retainership per month and a host of other allowances and perks.

The Senior Deputy AGs would get salary in the pay-scale of Rs 18400-22400 plus Rs 700 NPA and other allowances, while a Deputy AG would get the same scale and allowances, the only difference being Rs 100 less in NPA.

All the Assistant as well as Attached Assistant AGs would get salary as per the grade of Rs 13500-17250 plus usual allowances. That there is no difference in the salary payable to the Assistant AGs and the Attached Assistant AGs is surprising considering the fact that many of the Attached Assistant AGs, all kin of influential persons, have never been seen in their officers, leave alone conduct cases for the government.

Sources say that the AG, Mr Rajinder Singh Cheema, played a crucial role in getting parity restored in the salaries being received by the law officers of Punjab via-a-vis their counterparts in Haryana.

Mr Cheema is learnt to have strongly argued the case for better pay and perks for the law officers and even held discussions with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, following which the Chief Minister personally cleared the proposal.

Commenting on the upward revision in the salaries, an Additional AG said that though the decision had come a bit late, it nevertheless was a welcome move. "So many good law officers have already quit their posts in disgust after the cut in salary and perks. The hike might just lure good lawyers to the office of AG, Punjab," he added.


Convicts to get one-year remission
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will announce a one-year remission of sentence to convicts lodged in various jails in the state.

Sources said that a decision in this regard had been taken to mark 400 years of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev which falls tomorrow.

The sources said today there were nearly 5,000 convicts. Apart from them, there were 10,000 undertrials lodged in the jails. A formal announcement with regard to the remission will be made tomorrow at the state-level function being organised at Tarn Taran on the martyrdom day.

The Chief Minister will also announce the formal creation of the district of Tarn Taran. A notification in this regard has already been issued and the necessary staff are being transferred to run the administration. The Chief Minister has also on his agenda the development of Tarn Taran. An integrated township development plan for the area will be announced by the Chief Minister at tomorrow's function.

The PUDA authorities will be asked to build a new township within 5 km of the old township of Tarn Taran. 


Punjab Development Initiative in House of Commons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Mr John McDonnell, Member Parliament and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Punjabis in Britain, and Rob Marris, another MP and treasurer of the group, launched the Punjab Development Initiative at the House of Commons this evening.

In a statement e-mailed to The Tribune, Mr McDonnell highlighted the significance of this initiative by emphasising that in a globalised world, diasporas all over the world were coming to play an increasingly important role in the development of their homelands and that the British government needed to recognise this in its foreign policies. He welcomed the four development economists who had been especially invited to make presentations on the subject.

Dr Pritam Singh of Oxford Brookes University traced the history of the agriculturally oriented development path Punjab had followed in the past 150 years.

Dr Singh argued that to reverse the negative consequences of externally directed development agendas, Punjab needed a significant degree of economic autonomy in decision making. He pointed out that Punjabis would need to show greater responsibility in managing human and natural resources in an era of devolved decision making, if Punjab had to achieve sustainable development in the context of a globalised economy.

Mr Shinder Thandi of Coventry University emphasised the key role of Punjabi diasporas in not only investing in profit-making ventures but also in philanthropic work.He highlighted the pioneering work of Canadian Punjabi diaspora which the British Punjabi diaspora could emulate.

Prof Ajit Singh of Cambridge University argued for strengthening knowledge-based economy in Punjab and he identified two areas, electronics and pharmaceuticals, that were wholly dependent upon knowledge skills.

Harinder Singh Mann of the London School of Economics argued that the launch of the Punjab Development Initiative was timely and pointed out that a public opinion survey of British voters in 2005 revealed that 6 out of 10 voters considered that international development was a key issue while in 1997 only 1 out of 10 had considered this as a key issue. He argued that the Punjabi diaspora need to work with British government, multilateral organisations and NGOs to emphasise that they need to engage with Punjab in order to deal with problems like environmental pollution, female foeticide and farmers’ suicides.

John McDonnell concluded by outlining a series of future activities that would be taken up in the future and the most significant would be collaboration with Canadian parliamentarians to strengthen the dimension of international oversight of the development process in Punjab. 


HCL endeavour to take IT to village levels
Offers PC for just Rs 500 EMI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
HCL Infosystems Limited today showcased a comprehensive range of customised computer solutions specifically designed to suit the demands of small and medium business segment. Also displayed was HCL's innovative product range to effectively address the limitations of the rural environment.

Launching these revolutionary products to enable Punjab harness the power of the IT, Mr George Paul – Executive Vice- President, HCL Infosystems Ltd, said, "We endeavour to take the IT to the grassroots levels and leveraging its power to help develop a thriving economy not only for urban areas but for the entire nation. "

HCL Uday

The latest addition to this wide range of products is HCL Uday, a product, which has been co-developed by Intel, yet another initiative in adopting PC technology to suit the operating conditions in rural India.

'HCL Uday' is empowered with several pioneering features such as single-key data recovery capability, capability to work under extreme temperature and humidity conditions, 'Data-lock' feature to act as security for financial institutions, which offer loans and assistance to purchase the PC and host of other standard features.

In the small and medium enterprise space, the need for improved productivity, security and power efficiency yet keeping the total cost of ownership lower, is all the more imperative, given the rapidly changing needs and the intense competition of the business environment today.

HCL's comprehensive range of offerings in the SMB space includes a specific " Small Business Solution" which is a complete " ready to install" infrastructure solution. This solution comprises the operating system, file and folder maintenance, mail messaging, database, security system, fax and printing among others. These offerings are coupled with HCL's special tie- up with ICICI banks for tailor-made financing schemes for this segment.

Realising that almost 70 per cent of India's populace resides in rural hinterlands, HCL has taken several initiatives to effectively resolve the impediments, which limit the PC penetration in rural regions. Some of these key impediments include affordability, technology that can work under adverse temperature and operating situations and creation of user-friendly interfaces with multilingual content.

"We offer a computer at Rs 500 EMI. A PC certainly can't get more affordable than that. HCL has especially focused to tackle the issue of fluctuating or almost non-existent power in these regions," he stated.

HCL has developed an indigenous technology called RP2 which enables a PC to run on car battery which can give a computer a power back-up of almost four to six hours, a 'pedal-powered'-based generator – which can run a PC through pedalling of a bicycle.

"The cycle charges the battery which in turn provides power to run the computer. Half an hour of cycling provides a supply of about 45 minutes of power supply to run the computer and if it is a laptop, the running time is even more. We have also developed a solution based on solar power to operate PCs," Mr Paul stated.


Parents protest against school after kids fail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 15
Hundreds of villagers from six villages, including women, yesterday protested against the Punjab School Education Board at the Government Senior Secondary School, Duggri, where most of the students of class 10 and 8 had failed the board examination.

They demanded immediate transfer of all the teachers of the school and decided to lock the school from tomorrow till their demand was fulfilled. Out of 85 students that appeared in the class 8 PSEB exam, 83 were declared fail while out of 45 students that appeared for class 10, 31 were failed.

Children from different villages like Duggri, Ahmedpur, Malikpur Dangoli, Chediyna and Alipur came to study in the school. The villagers said the result of the school was always poor and they had sent a ultimatum in this regard to senior officials but no action was taken against the teachers.

When tension prevailed in the school following the protest, District Education Officer(DEO) Piara Singh, visited the school to discuss the matter with the villagers. But they were not ready to agree to anything except the transfering of all the teachers from the school.

The Sarpanch of Duggri village, Manjit Singh, and the Sarpanch of Ahmedpur village, Inderjit Singh, told The Tribune that villagers resorted to protest because the teachers were playing with the carrier of the students.

A villager from Duggri, Darampal, said his two children failed consecutively for two years due to the poor quality of teaching. Later, when they appeared for the exam from another school, they cleared it with second class.

The president of the teachers and parents union, Jograj Singh, said they had demanded immediate transfer of the teachers, so that the students did not suffer more.

Piara Singh said he had informed the DPI (Punjab) about the grievance of the villagers and submitted a detailed report about the school.


GND varsity VC may not get extension
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Government does not seem to be in a mood to give an extension in service to the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr S.P.Singh. Sources today said that the government had already started a search for a new Vice-Chancellor.

Mr S.P.Singh will complete his extended term as Vice-Chancellor in the third week of July. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor by the previous SAD-BJP government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal on July 22, 2001, for three years. However, when the Congress came to power in February, 2002, Mr S.P. Singh developed a good rapport with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who gave him two extensions of a year each. The first extension was given to him in July, 2004, and the second in July, 2005.

The sources said that Mr S.P. Singh was trying for another extension, the possibility of which appeared to be remote. Mr S.P. Singh was today here to meet senior officers of the Education Department.

The sources said the Chief Minister was keen on appointing a new person as Vice-Chancellor as Mr S.P.Singh had already got a period of five years to serve the university. " Appointing a new Vice-Chancellor for a period of three years suits the state government more than giving an extension of one year to the present Vice-Chancellor.That is the thinking of the authorities concerned", said a senior officer.

Moreover, the university is now in the thick of various controversies. A section of the faculty is strongly opposed to Mr S.P.Singh.


Blind murder case cracked, two arrested
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 15
The police today cracked a blind murder case in which a mother-daughter duo was killed at Mallan village in the district a few days back.

Addressing a press conference here, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr G. Nageshwar Rao, said the police had arrested two youths aged 21 and 19 in this connection. The accused were identified as Gurpreet Singh and Lakhvir Singh, both residents of the same village. The SSP said the accused had scaled a wall of the victims’ residence with the intention to rape Baljinder Kaur on the fateful night.

When they reached near her bed her mother Angrej Kaur woke up and cried for help. They attacked and killed her with sharpedged weapons.

In the meantime Baljinder and her father Chand Singh also got up on hearing noises. The accused also assaulted both of them, which led to fatal injuries to Baljinder. They dragged her into a room in a serious condition to rape her, but she soon died.

Frightened, both of them left their arms and fled from the scene. Chand Singh is still recuperating in a hospital.

A case was registered against the assailants under Sections 302, 307, 451 and 34 of the IPC. Both the accused also admitted that Gurpreet was drunk that night, while Lakhvir had consumed some drug.

The Superintendent of Police (H), Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, and the Gidderbaha DSP, Mr Kashmir Singh, were also present at the press conference.


Cancel ‘Gateway of Amritsar’ project, says Dang
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
Annoyed at the laying of foundation stone of the same building for the third time, the veteran CPI leader and former MLA, Mr Satyapal Dang, has urged the state government to cancel the proposed ‘Gateway of Amritsar’ at the intersection of the GT Road and bypass on the Amritsar-Wagah road.

Mr Dang, in a missive to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, urged him to cancel the project, the foundation stone of which was recently laid for the third time by Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Local Bodies Minister, as the renaming of the gateway was done without any thought to the international ramifications of the proposal.

He said the project, originally named ‘Gateway of India’, which was understood as a symbol of India-Pakistan friendship, had been reduced to a city based project by the city Mayor for his vested political interests.

The veteran CPI leader, while talking to The Tribune here on Wednesday, said his party was not against the installation of the statue of Sikh warrior Sham Singh Attariwala at the site but their main concern was that the project was an international project which should reflect India and not the city or the state alone.

He said relations between India and Pakistan were at an all-time high and would be further strengthened in view of the positive public opinion on both sides of the international border.

It is pertinent to mention here that the project was first conceived and inaugurated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President, when Mr Dang was a Member of the Legislative Assembly.

The project was conceived with an aim to project and symbolise the India-Pakistan friendship. 


Protest by BJP
Our Correspondent

Samana, June 15
About 100 workers of BJP led by Dr L.D. Sewak, secretary of the Punjab unit of the party, held a protest against the rise in the prices of petrol and diesel.


Govt acquiring land to serve ‘private’ interests
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The Punjab Government appears to be taking farmers for a ride in the name of “public interest”. Otherwise, how will it explain offering them Rs 2.5 lakh per acre in Salana and Majri Rayian villages in Fatehgarh Sahib district when the deeds for the same land had been executed at Rs 7.5 lakh per acre just a year ago?

Earlier, the government had acquired 376 acres of land in Barnala tehsil for a private company amid much resistance from the farmers.

Interestingly, the company already has 45 acres of surplus land at the same place. This land had been acquired through the government during the regime of late Beant Singh. This is besides the 550 acres of land the same government had offered to it after acquiring it from farmers in Lalru, near Chandigarh.

While the land was acquired for the purpose of setting up of the industry, most of it is being used for farming. The company claims to be planning to expand an existing sugar mill and set up a distillery there. The state government, which is invoking the Land Acquisition Act, 1895, has been arguing that the land was being acquired “for public interest”.

Given the massive boom in land prices in the state, even barren land is not available at Rs 2.5 lakh per acre anywhere in the state, while the farmers are being forced to part with their productive land by invoking an Act that was meant for public good.

The farmers pointed out that it was purely the business interest of a corporate house that the government was trying to serve. They said the company could purchase land at the market price on its own.

On the contrary, the government claimed that it was acquiring 79 acres of land in Salana and Majri Rayian village in Fatehgarh Sahib district for the “purpose of setting up a mega project for expansion of the existing unit (a sugar mill)...and setting up of a new distillery unit”.

A government notification stated “the said work is likely to prove useful to the public”.

Mr Jarnail Singh, who is one of the affected farmers, said the government had promised job to a member of each family whose land was acquired. Not even a single person was employed from village Salana by either the government or the company, he claimed.

The farmers were opposed to any such acquisition of the land as no “public interest” was being served. They said the government was misusing the Land Acquisition Act, which was promulgated by the British to set up railway lines, canals, roads, hospitals and the like.


Scheme to redeem attached land
Tribune News Service

Kanuwan (Gurdaspur), June 15
With elections around the corner, the Punjab Government is planning concessions worth Rs 332 crore for farmers.

In proposals that have been drafted by the Department of Cooperatives the farmers will be offered one-time settlement of their loans. Under the proposed settlement scheme farmers will have to pay interest equal to the principal amount. The additional interest from the loans would be waived off.

This was stated by Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister for Cooperation, while talking to The Tribune here yesterday. He, along with the Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, and Rajya Sabha member Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, was here to inaugurate the new branch of Primary Agriculture Development Bank at Kanuwan.

Mr Randhawa said the farmers could also redeem their lands attached by the cooperative banks. The farmers would be offered a one-time settlement scheme of giving double the principal amount to get their attached lands back.


Overspeeding buses claimed over 100 lives
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 15
Overspeeding buses on national highways in the district have claimed over 100 lives in the past one year.

Figures available with the police authorities reveal that 187 serious accidents were reported in 2005 in Gurdaspur.This means there was one serious accident every second day in which on an average at least two persons were either killed or injured seriously.Most of these involved overspeeding buses.

One hundred and thirtythree persons lost their lives and another 179 were injured seriously in the accidents. This year also the picture is grim. Till May 31 this year, 83 accidents have been reported in which 69 people have lost their lives and 50 have been injured seriously.

Gurdaspur was third in the state in terms of deaths from accidents. The IG(Traffic), Mr S.K Sharma, recently presided over a traffic awareness camp at Pathankot. 


MC decries entrusting of Nirman Funds
to Improvement Trust

Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot June 15
Move of MLA Ashok Sharma here to hand over Rs 1.03 crore from the Punjab Nirman Fund to the Pathankot Improvement Trust has drawn flak from the local Municipal council. The MLA has handed over the said amount to the Improvement Trust for development works in Pathankot city municipal limits.

The municipal Council authorities, however, alleged that being an elected body it was their duty to carry out development in municipal areas. The Improvement Trust that is a nominated body has no jurisdiction over their areas.

The Pathankot Municipal Council has four junior engineers and two engineers to carry out development works. The trust does not have even one permanent technical staff member at its disposal. The only junior engineer at the disposal of the trust is a council employee who also holds additional charge of the Improvement Trust.

President of the Pathankot Municipal Council Shravan Kumar said that most of the works like constructing streets and drains in Pathankot has either been completed or nearing completion. The trust authorities or the MLA has not consulted the council before carrying out development works.

Sources said the trust authorities were planning to dismantle bricklined streets before the expiry of life to concretise flooring.

When asked the MLA did not hand them the work Mr Shravan Kumar said that the MLA earlier gave them Rs 90 lakh for development. They went for open competition among contractors that led to bidding as much as 200 per cent lower than estimated cost. This did not please the MLA who now has handed over the work to the trust that technically is less competent to get the works executed.


Waive Dalits’ loans, says BSP
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 15
The BSP today demanded to waive all the loans given by different government banks to Dalits.

The demand was raised by its state secretary Sant Ram Mallia while presiding over a dharna staged in front of the DC’s office here as part of its state-level protest against the steep hike in the prices of essential commodities and petroleum products.

The BSP leader criticised the state government for providing free electricity to only those Dalits who consumed less than 200 units. He demanded that this condition should be removed and free power should be provided to all the Dalits, irrespective of how much electricity they consumed.

Mr Sant Ram said the life of the poor and the Dalit had become miserable due to a steep hike in the prices of essential commodities.

Later, the BSP submitted a memorandum to the DC in the name of the Governor against the increase in the prices of different commodities and petroleum products.


Night bus service to Amritsar starts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Keeping in view the requirements of the state, the Punjab Government has started night bus services between Chandigarh and Amritsar.

A bus will start at 11.30 p.m. from Amritsar for Chandigarh and another one from Chandigarh to Amritsar every day. Besides, three non-stop buses will start from Ludhiana for Chandigarh at 7 a.m. At the same time three non-stop buses will leave Chandigarh for Ludhiana. These non-stop buses will run without conductors, a spokesperson of the government said today.


CMC yet to comply with court order
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 15
Despite the Supreme Court not giving any “relief” on an SLP filed by the management of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, against orders passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the CMC is not inclined to give admission to three students of the region.

They have now sent notices claiming compensation, besides threatening to initiate contempt of court proceedings.

Vikram Singla, Arvinder and Amarinder Singh had appeared in the Punjab Medical Entrance Test 2005 conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University on June 30, 2005. The result was declared on August 29, 2005. They qualified the test and were selected for admission to the MBBS course at the CMC in the second counselling held on September 24 against government quota seats.

They deposited the fee on September 26 and appeared before the CMC authorities the next day. However, they were denied admission. Instead, the CMC admitted students from the management quota on the basis of its own test. The affected students filed two writ petitions before the Punjab and Haryana High Court

The court directed the management to admit the petitioners to the MBBS course for the academic session 2006-07 against the management quota seats.


MPs to assess relief to farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
A committee of Members of Parliament on Defence, will visit Punjab to asses the losses made by farmers and address the issue of compensation for damage when the Indian Army was deployed at the border with Pakistan during Operation Parakaram in December 2001. The two-day visit starts on June 19 and a meeting with farmers of the border areas is scheduled at Amritsar that day.

The committee shall listen to problems relating to compensation paid to farmers for the damage to their crop then and loss of livelihood. The committee would also listen to problems being faced now by the farmers on the borders. They face huge problems in sowing and reaping crop.

Sources in the Punjab Government said the committee shall have 25 MPs who are members of the either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. At Amritsar, the Punjab Government would be represented by the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal and Ms Geetika Kalha, Principal Secretary, Defence matters.

On the second day of the visit on June 20, the committee will hold a meeting with bodies of ex-servicemen at Chandigarh where issues relating to quota in jobs for ex-servicemen and in educational institutions for their children shall be discussed. 


Farmers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 15
The Kirti Kisan Union staged a dharna outside the DC office in protest against the increase in the prices of petroleum products here today. The union submits a memorandum to the DC and addressed to the Punjab Governor.

Addressing workers, its state president, Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, said the farmers would suffer most due to the steep hike in the rates of petroleum products.

The cost of farming was increasing day by day but the rates of various crops were not increased as it should have been, whereas the rates of diesel and other things required for farming were increased several times, he added.

Among others, the general secretary of the union, Mr Nirbhai Singh Dudeke, and its district president, Mr Davinder Singh Ghalli, participated in the dharna.


30 SMOs cleared for promotion

Chandigarh, June 15
The Departmental Promotion Committee of the Punjab Health Department has cleared the names of 30 senior medical officers (SMOs) for promotion as Deputy Directors and Civil Surgeons.

Sources today said that the DPC had sent its recommendations to the higher authorities for issuing the necessary orders in this regard.

The issue of promotion of SMOs had been hanging fire for a long time. — TNS


DPIs, DEOs transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Government today ordered the transfer of two Director Public Instructions (DPIs) and also shifted more than a dozen District Education Officers. The orders have come about as part of the restructuring process of the Education Department.

The DPI, Senior Secondary, Mr S.S. Randhawa, has been moved to the Sarv Siksha Abhiyaan while Mrs Harcharanjit Kaur Brar has replaced Mr Randhawa. Mr Avatar Singh has been posted as the new Officiating Director, State Council Education Research and Training.

The Tribune had highlighted the education scam about two weeks ago in which it was pointed out that the SCERT was functioning without any government control over its finances for the past 12 years.

Among other changes at the SCERT are the appointment of the new Deputy Director, Mr Baldev Raj, Evaluation Officer Jagtar Singh, and Deputy Director for Survey and Data Processing Rajinder Kaur.


Inebriated SPO kills labourer
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Batala, June 15
An inebriated SPO of the Punjab police killed a labourer at Gaini village, near here, today. As per sources available here, SPO Surinder Singh, working as a cook in the house a local SHO, went to the house of the labourer, Kashmir Messih, last evening.

He was drunk and directed Kashmir Messih to prepare meat for him. The labourer expressed his inability to prepare meat for him.

The SPO then misbehaved with the wife of the labourer. This led to an altercation between the two. The SPO left the place at night hurling abuses at the family.

Today morning, at about 8 a.m, the SPO returned to the house of labourer and started hurling abuses at the family. This led to fight between the two. Another labourer, Tarsem Messih, sided with the SPO. In the ensuing fight the labourer received blows on his head and died on the spot.

The matter was taken up by a communist leader after which a case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against the accused. The body of the deceased labourer was cremated in the evening.


Bank manager in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 15
The Vigilance Bureau nabbed the manager of an agricultural development bank while he was reportedly accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 at Rampura Phul today.

In a press release issued here, the Vigilance SSP, Mr Satpal Singh Sidhu, said the complainant, Ajaib Singh of Rampura Phul, had applied for a loan of Rs 2.5 lakh and its second instalment of Rs 1.5 lakh was yet to be released. The complainant alleged that the manager, Gurcharan Singh, demanded a bribe of Rs 10,000 for issuing the cheque for the second instalment of his loan.

A trap was laid by a team led by the Vigilance DSP, Mr Rajinder Singh, and the manager was caught while accepting the amount in presence of witnesses. A case has been registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Probe ordered into slapping case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 15
The SSP has ordered a DSP-level probe into an incident in which a police party from the Sadar police station reportedly abused and slapped a resident of Bir Behman village “without any rhyme or reason”.

In a complaint lodged with the SSP, the complainants stated that the incident occurred when Gurnam Singh of the village was standing outside his residence last evening. They alleged that a police party from Sadar police station, which included ASI Harnek Singh, arrived in the village on a Gypsy and started “abusing” him. They further alleged that the cops also slapped him. They demanded legal action against the ASI. 


MC official held for taking bribe
Tribune News service

Patiala, June 15
Harish Bhatia, a junior assistant, Municipal Council, Nabha, was caught red handed by a team of Vigilance Bureau led by DSP, Mr Jaspal Singh while he was taking bribe of Rs 3000 from Mr Dheerander Kumar for sanctioning the site plan of his house.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhuller, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Patiala, while talking to TNS said that Harish Bhatia had been demanding bribe from Mr Dheerander Kumar, a resident of Nabha for sanctioning his site plan. Mr Kumar brought this to the notice of Vigilance Bureau and lodged a complaint in that connection.

He said that Harish Bhatia was caught today while he was taking a bribe from Mr Dheerander Kumar.


Case filed against ultrasound centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Dr Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Civil Surgeon, Fatehgarh Sahib, today said a case had been filed in the court against Shelly Nursing Home and UltraSound Centre. He said a lot of discrepancies were found in the record with regard to the ultra sound scanning of pregnant women by the centre.

Dr Gupta said he would not spare those ultra sound centre owners who were not maintaining proper records of the tests conducted by them especially of pregnant women.


Girls are welcome
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 15
They have all set an example in the state known for rampant female foeticide by giving birth to daughters and yesterday they were felicitated at a unique ceremony organised by the PNDT Cell at Rajindra College here.

The Tribune interacted with some of the women who did not tread the path of female foeticide and dared to bring the girl child in this beautiful world.

Gurmeet Kaur of Bambiha village, a mother of seven daughters, said she had no grudge of not opting for a sex determination test. “A daughter makes parents as proud as a son and both should be treated as equals,” she added.

Jaswinder Kaur of the same village has five daughters. “I’m proud of my decision and I find girls more caring towards their parents,” she averred.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, felicitated 24 other women who did not fall prey to the foeticide menace.

Of these, nine women had three daughters each. The ceremony also saw the felicitation of those girls who were saved from being killed before birth. Addressing a gathering, the Deputy Commissioner urged voluntary organisations and people to launch a campaign against female foeticide.

“Only government efforts are not enough to curb this evil,” he added. The Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, and the Project Officer, Mr Sadhuram Kushla, were also present on the occasion.


15 unemployed teachers hurt in lathi charge
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
At least 15 activists of Unemployed B.Ed Teachers Front, including girls, today suffered multiple injuries after the police allegedly resorted to a lathi charge on them near Modi College crossing when they were proceeding towards the New Moti Bagh, the private residence of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, for submitting a memorandum in connection with their demands.

The injured activists and other members of the Front alleged that policemen with wooden sticks beat them up when they were holding their protest peacefully. They alleged that girl activists of the front were also beaten up by male policemen. Before resorting to lathi charge, the policemen including a senior officials, hurled abuses on them.

Not only this, the policemen also tore apart the clothes of a section of the activists. Those who suffered multiple injuries were rushed to private hospitals by their associates for medical treatment.

Today hundreds of activists of the front assembled in the local religious places and then marched towards Fountain Chowk. At Fountain Chowk, the activists jammed traffic for about half an hour and then proceeded towards Modi College.

When the activists were proceeding towards New Moti Bagh to submit the memorandum, they were allegedly attacked by policemen without any provocation. After they were lathi-charged, the activists burnt the memorandum and staged a dharna near Modi College crossing.

The activists were demanding that all posts of master cadre should be filled permanently, written test should be held for carrying out the recruitment, seniority in academics should be maintained, master cadre posts should be filled before the filling up of posts pertaining to ETT teachers and a complete ban should be imposed on the B.Ed and D.P.Ed courses till about 1.25 lakh unemployed teachers were recruited.

Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Kehdki, a spokesman of front, alleged that state Congress government had been harassing the unemployed teachers for the past four years. He added that though it had promised to fill about 60,000 vacancies of teachers about two years ago, it failed to fulfil that promise so far.

Mr Sewa Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), police station, Civil Lines, when contacted, while denying the fact that police resorted to lathi-charge on the activists, said that policemen who were on duty only prevented them from proceeding towards Chief Minister’s residence. He added that senior civil officials were also on the spot when the activists of the front were dispersed from the spot. He added that some of the activists manhandled policemen.


Students charge Asst Director with favouritism
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
The Punjab Student Union while alleging that the Assistant Director, Youth Welfare, Mr Jeet Singh Butter, misbehaved and maltreated students of a government school in the Devi Garh area, demanded that stern action should be taken against him.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Rajinder Singh, member state committee, PSU, alleged that Mr Butter deliberately excluded few students of Government Senior Secondary School, Devi Garh from the list of those candidates, who were taken for a tour after the completion of their 10-day camp held by the NSS.

Not only this, Mr Butter also maltreated students by calling them first into his office on June 12 on the pretext that they would go on the tour in the evening the same day. When the students reached his office, Mr Butter said that he would start the next morning for the tour. The students were made to spend the night in his office without any arrangement for food.

On June 13, Mr Butter refused to take those students along for the tour despite the fact that a token money was charged from them on June 1 in connection with the tour. He added that Mr Butter had taken his favourites for the tour by denying the same opportunity to those students.

Mr Butter, when contacted, denied the fact that he had taken his favourites on the tour and said a few students were not taken to the tour as their activities during the camp were not up to the mark.


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