P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


India can be superpower if GDP is consistent: Kalam
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 17
The President, Dr A. P. J Abdul Kalam, has predicted that India could be a superpower if the GDP increases from existing 8 to 10 percent and if it manages to keep its consistency at 10 per cent for at least another 10 years.

Belting out his emotive best about teaching as a profession and reminiscing his role as a teacher, Dr Kalam has also indicated that he could go back to teaching after his tenure as the President comes to an end.

“After I finish my presidentship, probably, who knows I may teach. I will teach five classes and will relish teaching first and second year students,” said Dr Kalam while, interacting with students of the local Kanya Maha Vidyala (KMV) college here today.

Replying to a question put up by Ms Ravnit, a student of the college, as to when India would become a superpower, particularly, when its 26 crore people were living below the poverty line, Dr Kalam said:“ We will be a superpower if India's GDP grows from 8 to 10 per cent and it remains there for another 10 years. It is indeed a very good question.”

Mr Kalam also politely told anxious students that it was not possible to put any kind of ban on print or electronic media in today's modern world.

Turning to his favourite subject, teaching, Dr Kalam not only advised students to teach those, who were incapable of reading or writing, but also expressed possibilities of his joining the profession when he got free from his present assignment as President of the country.

Interestingly, when Dr Kalam asked students about their target in life, answer of most of them was, “to become a teacher.” A few of them, however, expressed their wish to be engineers, doctors and politicians.

As Sabina, another student, expressed her concern over challenges of the country, particularly, the rising cost and commercialisation of education, Dr Kalam suggested the banks to extend liberal loans to students.

In response to another question, Dr Kalam predicted that nuclear power would play an important role on domestic front in India in future, particularly, by 2020.


SI dies during President’s visit
Tribune News Service

Sanghol, August 17
Ajmer Singh (56), a Sub-Inspector with the Punjab Police, died while on duty in this village today. He was at the site in connection with the visit of the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to the village.

Ajmer Singh was taken to a hospital in Khamano despite the fact that a team of doctors was present on the spot. He was declared dead at the hospital.

Though the district police was trying to find out whether Ajmer Singh was having some cardiac problem history, information gathered by The Tribune revealed that he had been performing stressful duties for the past many days.

Ajmer Singh first performed duty for days together during the Independence Day function.

Ajmer Singh belonged to Dolanwala village in Ropar district. He was present at the main entrance of the venue of the function.

Mr S.K. Verma, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, said policemen took Ajmer Singh to a nearby hospital instead of taking the services of doctors present at the venue as they got panicky. He said all benefits would be given to his family as per rules.


Gang circulating fake currency notes busted
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 17
A team of CIA Staff of Bahadur Singh Wala (Sangrur) arrested Suresh Kumar, resident of Samana and member of a gang circulating fake currency notes.

On the basis of information provided by Suresh, the CIA Staff seized fake currency notes worth Rs 4.50 lakh (of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations), a computer used in the preparation of fake currency notes, a scanner, a printer and some other material related to the preparation of fake currency notes from the house of Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Samana and the leader of the gang.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said here today that on the information provided by Rajinder Singh, a local resident, the police laid a trap and arrested Suresh from Balad Kenchian at Bhawanigarh. He said the police had also kept Rohit Singla, resident of Bhawanigarh and another member of the gang under surveillance as his arrest has deferred because he is getting treatment at a private hospital at Bhawanigarh.

However, Sukhdev was still at large, the SSP added.

Mr Chahal further said all the gang members met Rajinder some days ago at Sangrur and told him that they would give him fake currency notes worth Rs 1 lakh if he gave them Rs 50,000. They also said that the fake currency notes were like real currency notes, so there would be no problem in circulating the same in the market.

The SSP said Rajinder first agreed to their proposal but later he brought the matter to the notice of the police who later arrested Suresh.

Mr Chahal said Sukhdev was a taxi driver and was involved in the preparation of fake currency notes for the past three to four years. He said as per an estimate, Sukhdev had circulated fake currency notes worth crores in the market. He said a fake currency notes’ case had also been registered against Sukhdev and Suresh about one and half years ago at Moonak.

The SSP said the fake currency notes, seized from the gang had similarity with those fake currency notes which had been smuggled from Pakistan. He said a case under Sections 489-A, 489-B, 489-C and 420 of the IPC had been registered against the accused at Bhawanigarh police station.


Change in criteria to select lecturers on anvil
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The Directorate of Public Instructions, Punjab, has moved a proposal recommending major changes in the criteria for the selection of college lecturers.

The proposal has been submitted to the Department of Higher Education for consideration and if given the nod, the entire system of recruiting regular lecturers for colleges stands to be modified.

The new system entails quantifying of almost every achievement of a candidate with marks set aside for extra qualifications and even co-curricular activities.

Following the latest UGC guidelines for the selection of lecturers (issued in June 2006), the new criteria reiterates that “NET (National Eligibility Test) would be the compulsory requirement for appointment of lecturers with a post-graduate degree. However, candidates having a PhD degree in the subject concerned are exempted from NET for post-graduate level and undergraduate-level teaching. The candidates having MPhil degree in the subject concerned are exempted from NET level teaching only”.

Other than the 55 per cent qualifying marks in the masters of the subject concerned, a comprehensively calculated merit list would be prepared of all the candidates. The marks of the candidate obtained at the post-graduate level would be the base line of the merit list. The candidate would be given an additional three marks for MPhil and six marks for a PhD. In case of both, the candidate would be given a maximum of six additional marks. If the candidate has also cleared the NET, another two marks would be added to his score.

The candidates would be given one mark for every six months of teaching experience up to a maximum of five marks and for every research paper published in a refereed journal, the candidate would get another five marks up to a maximum of 25 marks.

Similarly, the achievements of the candidate in terms of authoring or co-authoring published books, extra-curricular activities, including NCC camps and certificates, NSS certificates, sports, youth festivals etc, have been quantified in additional marks.

A final merit list would be prepared and displayed following which an interview would be held. The number of candidates to be shortlisted for each post too has been set. For one post, eight candidates would be shortlisted while for two posts 12 candidates would be shortlisted. In case of three posts, it would be 14 and for more than three posts, there would be 14 candidates plus an additional three for every post.

The role of the interview in the selections has been reduced considerably with only five marks kept for the performance of the candidate during an interview.

Stating that the current system of recruitment is cumbersome and needs to be reviewed, the Director Public Instructions (Colleges), Mr Kanwarjit Singh, said, “As part of the current system, the lecturers are expected to write a resume. That too the candidates cheat from one another.”

He added that the present proposal also contains a whole set of criteria for recruitment of lecturers to the universities which can be followed by the state for its universities. “Since at the university level the lecturers are expected to be more academically oriented, the criteria for selection would differ. Very little or virtually no importance should be given to extra-curricular activities for recruitment to universities except in subjects like physical education, theatre etc,” he said.


Boat capsizes in Ropar; 1 dead
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Bunga Sahib (Ropar), August 17
Ashiyan (13) of Nalagarh was drowned when an overloaded boat ferrying pilgrims capsized in the Sutlej at Sarana Pattan, near here, this morning.

While the administration said one person died in the mishap, locals feared that the drowned persons could be five.

The pilgrims, most of them from Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh, were on the way to pay obeisance at Pir Baba Zinda Sahid Mazaar in Nurpur Bedi.

The mishap took place when the boat carrying over 70 persons and two-wheelers was jolted by heavy current. Thereafter, passengers jumped into the river before it overturned.

Most of them were rescued by locals, while some of them swam to safety as the boat was near the banks of the river.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, accompanied with the DSP, Mr Didar Singh, visited the spot and deployed divers, police personnel with four boats to trace the missing persons.

“We pressed into service employees of various departments to recover the bodies,” Mr Dev said.

A visit to the spot revealed that in the absence of a bridge, pilgrims commute daily through boats. Two boats that were put in service were seen in a poor condition.

In spite of the fact that a notice board displayed along the river that only 20 persons would be carried in a boat at one time, nearly 70 persons were carried in boats being run by the PWD (B&R) Department even after the incident. Even safety jackets were not available for passengers.

“I rescued three women,” said teacher Gurbax Singh, who was returning from the shrine.

“There was not much load in the boat initially, but when it was about to move a large number of pilgrims boarded it,” said Mohammad Rafi, father of Ashiyan.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Secretary, Industry and Commerce, Mr K.P.S. Rana, announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the family of the victim.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, said the administration would announce compensation after the recovery of the bodies.


Sarbjit’s sister consumes poison
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 17
Having failed to get her brother Sarbjit Singh released from Kot Lakhpat Rai Jail, Lahore, where he has been awaiting implementation of death sentence, Dalbir Kaur consumed some poisonous substance at Bhikhiwind, about 40 km from here, today.

She was admitted to a private hospital where her condition is said to be “out of danger”.

Earlier, she had threatened self- immolation if the Government of India failed to secure the release of her brother. Dr Vijay Dhawan, a private doctor, told The Tribune that Dalbir Kaur was responding to the treatment.


Akali leaders in touch with BSP on poll tie-up
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Certain senior leaders of Akali factions have opened lines of communication with the top leadership of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for forming an alliance to jointly contest the elections to the Punjab Assembly due to be held in five months from now.

Sources said that some of the Akali leaders had talked to the BSP leader, Ms Mayawati, and also to Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, president of the Punjab unit of the BSP, in the past three days in this regard. The sources said the BSP’s top leadership was insisting that leaders of any Akali faction or a particular Akali leader, who wanted to have political ties with the BSP, would have to contest the elections under the banner of the BSP and on its symbol besides expressing full faith in its programmes and policies and its national leadership. In other words, they would have to join the BSP.

However, Mr Karimpuri denying any such talks with the leader of any Akali faction or Akali leader, said his party would put up its candidates in all 117 Assembly segments in the state. “The BSP will not form a political front with any political organisation. It will form a social alliance, involving all communities”, said Mr Karimpuri. “ The BSP will nominate candidates from all sections, including Dalits, Jat Sikhs, Brahmins and Banias, in the Punjab elections”, he said, describing it as a social alliance.

The BSP had named the candidates for 18 constituencies and they had started the election campaign, said Mr Karimpuri, who is himself contesting from Mahilpur, from where he was elected in 1992. Mr Hargopal Singh, a former MLA, was the BSP candidate from Balachaur, Mr Pawan Tinu from Kartarpur and Mr Paramjit Singh Kainth from Shatrana, Mrs Gurtej Kaur from Sherpur in Sangrur district and Mr Bhagwan Chohan from Sham-Churasi.

Mr Karimpuri said his party’s main poll plank would be the welfare of Dalits, small and marginal farmers, employees, small shopkeepers and traders and other marginalised sections of society. “We will target both the ruling Congress and its government led by Capt Amarinder Singh and the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal”, said Mr Karimpuri.


Ropar power plant units operational again
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 17
All six units of the super thermal plant here that were shut yesterday after a snag surfaced in the 220KV line between Ropar and Kohara, became operational today. With the functioning of these units of 210 MW capacity each, the state is once again getting 300 lakh units of power per day.

Giving details the General Manager of the thermal plant, Mr N.K Arora, said all units had become operational last late night after repair work was carried out.

However, power crisis continues in the state as the state is still facing a shortage of about 300 lakh units per day. As a result, power cuts in the cities and rural areas have been extended from six to 10 hours. The power situation had worsened since Saturday due to breakdown of the Dadri-Rehand transmission line. According to PSEB sources the repair of one of the Dadri-Rehand lines, supplying 750 MW power to the state, would take a couple of days more.

The power consumption of the state has increased by more than 1600 lakh units per day while power supply from all sources is about 1,300 lakh units, the sources added.


Sarna seeks ban on RSS-produced film
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi), Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, and the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr P.R. Dasmunsi, to immediately ban the documentary film on Guru Golwalker produced by the RSS in which Sikhs were described as a part of the Hindu religion.

Mr Sarna said “Sikhism is a separate, distinct and sovereign religion, which has its own history and rich heritage. Describing Sikhism as a part of the Hindu religion amounts to disturbing the peaceful atmosphere and harmony in the country.”

Stating that the scenes of partition of the country in August, 1947, were shown in the film in which RSS activists were shown protecting Amritdhari Sikhs, whereas RSS activists were not seen anywhere in Punjab. On the contrary, Sikhs have been protecting their Hindu brethren.


JE beating: staff seek arrest of accused

Pathankot, August 17
Employees of the Pathankot Municipal Council today met the Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, to demand arrest of former councillor Jang Bahadur Bedi. The Deputy Commissioner was on a visit to Pathankot today.

The former councillor was accused of beating up a junior Engineer of the council, Mr Desh Bandhu. Though a case was registered against the accused, he had not been arrested so far. The employees have been organising dharna, demanding action against the accused. — TNS


High Court
ETT teachers’ selection

The high court on Thursday issued notice to the Punjab Government and others on a petition seeking setting aside of the selection and appointment of some elementary teachers training (ETT) teachers in Patiala district.

The petitioners, Ms Anju Bala and others, have alleged that the Rural Development Department, Punjab, carried out recruitment of primary teachers in contravention of rules governing such appointments. They have also alleged that these appointments were also in violation of the advertisement of May 26 whereby applications for ETT teachers had been invited.

The petitioners are all residents of the village where appointments have been made and they had also applied for the posts.

Widow’s plea

A Division Bench on Thursday issued notices for September 28 to the Punjab Government, DPI (Elementary Education), etc, on a petition filed by a widow seeking reimbursement of sanctioned medical expenses incurred by her late husband for the treatment of cancer in his foodpipe.

The petitioner’s husband, Mr Balwant Singh, a retired head teacher of government elementary school, Grangan, Ropar, remained under treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh, from September to November, 2004.

He passed away on January 18, 2006 but not before he had submitted his claim for medical reimbursement on February 23, 2005.

However, the department has not released the amount so far.

During the hearing, her counsel informed the Bench that even though the bill had been sanctioned by the Health and Family Welfare Department on April 18, 2006, the Education Department was not releasing the amount to the petitioner on vague and flimsy grounds.


Defamation suit against ex-SSP, ASI
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 17
Prabhjot Singh, a resident of Ajnala, has filed a defamation suit against a former SSP of Majitha and the then ASI, besides his in-laws, for intentionally maligning him by registering a false case of rape against him about eight years ago. The local court had acquitted him of all the charges after a prolonged legal battle.

The court has admitted his defamation suit which would be heard on August 21.

Prabhjot claimed that he was married to Prabhjit Kaur against the wishes of the parents of the girl. He alleged that the accused family lured the girl to file a false case accusing him (Prabhjot) of enticing Prabhjit (the girl) with the connivance of his parents and raped her. He alleged the case was registered in connivance with the then SSP and ASI.


Body found; police suspects murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 17
The body of a man reportedly involved in some criminal activities was recovered from bushes adjoining the railway bridge here today.

According to sources the body was recovered after someone intimated Sahara volunteers about it at about 6 am today. Top police officials, including the SSP, Mr Varinder Kumar, reached the spot.

The deceased was identified as Ranjeet Singh Rana, a resident of Cheema Jodhpur village in Barnala. The body was identified with the aid of a diary that was found in the pocket of the deceased. The police found some phone numbers in it and called up one of his relatives who helped in identifying the deceased. Sources said the face of the deceased was badly disfigured and body had been concealed in bushes.

Resham Singh, son of the deceased, alleged that his father had been brutally murdered and his body had been dumped in bushes. On the basis of his statement, the police registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.

The body has been sent to Civil Hospital for postmortem examination. The SSP said the police was investigating and hoped to solve the murder mystery soon. According to sources the deceased had a criminal record and his name figured in five-six cases. Kotwali SHO G.S Romana confirmed that the deceased had been booked for criminal activities like bank robbery and attempt to murder at different places.

Meanwhile, Thakur Singh, the man who allegedly murdered his daughter yesterday over her illicit relations, was arrested today. However, no one came forward to claim the body of Manjeet Kaur. The body was finally handed over to Sahara volunteers for performing last rites.


Villager’s body found in fields
Our Correspondent

Batala, August 17
A man was killed by some unidentified persons with sharpedged weapons and the body was found in the fields of Thethar Ke village falling under Dera Baba Nanak police station in Batala police district.

Mr L.K. Yadav, SSP, today identified the victim as Roop Singh (42), a son of Bawa Singh of Khana Chamara village. He said Roop Singh was going to his village last night and when he reached near Thetar Ke village, some unidentified persons attacked him with sharpedged weapons and killed him. After killing they threw the body into the nearby fields.

The police has registered a case and sent the body to the Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.


No encroachment, says college management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The management of IITT College of Engineering, Pojewal, Nawanshahr, has claimed that their institute is neither aware nor concerned with the reasons and circumstances leading to the transfer of a DFO. Besides this, the institute has not encroached upon even “an inch of forest or government land”.

Reacting to a news-item “Controversy over DFO’s transfer” carried in these columns on August 3, the management has also claimed that the college campus is located on privately-owned land falling in the revenue estate of Pojewal village.

In a communication to The Tribune, the management has added that the news-report has reproduced the contents of “some letter said to have been written by the Nawanshahr Deputy Commissioner” regarding encroachment upon forest land.

It is not aware of any letter written by the Deputy Commissioner to any authority, and a Special Leave Petition (SLP) arising out of the notices mentioned in the news-report is pending before the Supreme Court.

“The said statement, published ex-parte, is both abusive and defamatory”. Otherwise also, a false statement, not supported by the government’s own record, cannot be said to be true just because a government official has made it, the management has added.

The Tribune Correspondent adds: The college has already been declared illegal by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The forest officials have also been directed to remove the encroachments by the college on the forest land in Pojewal village.

The college authorities have moved the Supreme Court but so far the institute has not been given any relief. The matter has been referred to an empowered committee constituted by the Apex Court for dealing with environmental matters.


School celebrates I-Day
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 17
Scholar Fields Public School celebrated the 60th Independence Day on the school’s premises here on Tuesday.

A flag hoisting ceremony was performed by chief guest Dr B.S. Tuli, Head, ENT Department, Molana College, and Ms Ranjit Tuli, former Principal, Government Bikram College.

The programme started with “Ganesh Vandana” followed by speeches delivered by students highlighting the importance of Independence Day. Tributes were paid to freedom fighters.

The function concluded with a speech of Principal D.P. Guleria, who asked students to fight against evils prevailing in society like corruption.


Professor joins editorial panel
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 17
Prof Andrew Chambers, Professor Emeritus, Cass Business School, London, has joined the editorial advisory board of the Punjab Journal of Business Studies, a bi-annual journal published by Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

This was stated by Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Chief-Editor and Principal of the college, while talking to mediapersons here today.

He said the Journal had got acclaim at the international level. Prominent among those who have joined its editorial team include Prof Rajib Doogar from the USA, Prof Takashi Aihara from Japan, Prof Mahindra Goyal from Australia and Prof K.A. Abbas from Pakistan.


DEOs asked to inspect schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The Punjab School Education Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, today directed all the District Education Officers ( DEOs) to regularly visit the schools in their respective districts and submit their weekly reports to their Director Public Instructions( DPI) concerned. He was presiding over a high -level meeting of the officers of the Education Department.

He said that block level committees comprising retired educationists and social workers would be constituted to get feedback on the state of schools. He also announced to issue identity cards to the teachers so that no teacher could impersonate. He assured that the pending cases of the promotion would be issued in coming two weeks.


Teachers burn Singla’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 17
The Computer Teachers Union (Contractual), Punjab, burnt the effigy of the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, at the local bus stand here yesterday and said if their demands were not met, the Congress would have to taste defeat in the Assembly elections.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh, president of the union, said the government had promised them regular scales but that promise had yet to be implemented.


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