P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Vets oppose pharmacists as service providers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 24
The decision of the state government to appoint veterinary pharmacists as service providers in rural veterinary dispensaries has come in for sharp criticism. A general body meeting of the local and Tarn Taran Veterinary Officers’ Association here today passed a resolution condemning the decision.

The officers feared that the decision would bring vet pharmacists and doctors under the same designation. They said it would be contrary to the spirit of the Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1984, which stated that only minor veterinary services could be provided by pharmacists that too under the supervision and direction of a registered practitioner.

They stated that the government defined the scope of minor veterinary services like securing of animals, drenching, compounding and dispensing of medicines, subcutaneous and intra-muscular injections, castration, praying, artificial insemination, vaccination, record keeping, minor wound dressing, assisting the veterinary officer and preliminary aid in non-infectious diseases in its letter in 1998.

The association feared that it would deteriorate the standards of dairy farming and other allied professions.

Centre delaying waiving of special term loan
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Union Government continues to dodge the Punjab Government on the issue of waiving the special term loan of Rs 3,772 crore. The loan was availed by the government to combat “insurgency and militancy” in 1984-85.

The Centre has been keeping the decision pending on the quantum of debt relief to be given.

The 12th Finance Commission has recommended moratorium on the repayment of capital amount and interest on this loan till the end of 2006-07. And it has asked the Union Government to decide the quantum of relief to be given to the state. The case is to be dealt by the Union Home Ministry and the Union Finance Ministry and finally by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.


Sources said today that now the Punjab Government had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister and also with the Union Home Ministry to get the issue settled at the earliest.

In fact, in 1984-85 the government had taken Rs 5799.92 crore as special term loan. And because of interest on it, the accumulated figure of the loan had reached to Rs 8,600 crore.

Before coming to power, Capt Amarinder Singh had made the special term loan a big issue. He campaigned against the then Akali-BJP government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal for allegedly misleading the people on waiving the loan.

But interestingly, the Amarinder government itself has failed so far to get it waived from his own party’s government in the Centre.

The sources said the Punjab Government wanted that entire pending amount of loan and interest should be waived. It is pressing for an early decision on this issue as otherwise it can become a hot issue in the coming Assembly elections.


Peace award conferred on Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The president of the Pakistan Chapter of World Peace Foundation and former Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Chowdhary Jamil Ahmed Khan, conferred a Peace award on the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here this evening.

Chowdhary Jamil said perhaps he was the 13th descendent of his generation who had come to visit Indian Punjab on the invitation of Capt Amarinder Singh. He said he was born and brought up in Patiala. He did graduation from Government Mahendera College in 1941 and spent his entire childhood in Patiala. He said he also participated in Quit India Movement in 1942 and was imprisoned at Kanpur.

He did law from Delhi University along with Mr K.S. Tiwana, who retired as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Welcoming Chowdhary Jamil, Capt Amarinder Singh said Chowdhary was one of the few surviving Patialivis of his age who had expressed keen desire to visit Patiala when he visited Lahore last year.


Voter card-making from September 1
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 24
As per the recent guidelines of the Election Commission of India, the Election Voter Identity Card (EPIC) will be mandatory for casting vote in the ensuing Punjab Vidhan Sabha Elections.

Mrs. Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner ,said this during rehearsals of recently-appointed booth- level officers for the Amloh and Sirhind Assembly constituencies at Sirhind and Mandi Gobindgarh towns.

She said that the process of making Voter Identity Cards would start from September 1 in both the constituencies of the district.

She appealed to voters to get their identity cards made. Booth-level officers have been appointed to assist the voters.


ADGP alleges intimidation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
An Additional Director-General of the Punjab Police has shot off a letter to the DGP, Mr S.S. Virk, informing him that one of the DGP-rank officials tried to “intimidate” him. Other than Mr Virk, the state has three other DGPs.

The ADGP (Security), Mr Shashi Kant, has written the letter. He has alleged that the officer tried to pressurise him against pursuing a matter against a Chandigarh-based restaurant.

In the letter, he says the DGP advised him “not to take any action against a restaurant in Sector 17 as its owner was a powerful person having immense political links and social clout”.

A copy of the letter is also addressed to the DGP in question and to the Home Secretary, Dr B.C. Gupta. Sources confirmed this development.


Paddy MSP hike hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Happy over the increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy by Rs 40 per quintal, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that he was thankful to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

In a statement, he said this would go a long way to help the farmers to recover the increased expenditure made by them on nursing the paddy.

“I am hopeful that the Prime Minister would soon announce a policy to bail out the farmers from the crisis of rural indebtedness,” said the Chief 

The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, also welcomed the decision.


PAU annual kisan melas
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
Annual kisan melas, organised by Punjab Agricultural University, will be held at Ludhiana on September 21 and 22, Gurdaspur on September 6; at Ballowal Saunkri near Balchaur on September 13; at Rauni (Patiala) on September 19 ; and Bathinda on September 29.

This was disclosed here today by the PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr S S Gill, who is the chief organiser of the mela. Progressive farmers of the Punjab will be honoured at the mela.


Inside Babudom
Another honour for police officer
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Mr Rajwinder Singh Bhatti, an IPS officer of the 1990 batch belonging to the Bihar cadre, belongs to a rare band of members of the Central civil service from Punjab who remains in headlines.

On Independence Day, Mr Bhatti was awarded President’s Police Medal for meritorious services. A recipient of the Bhuvananda Memorial Trophy for being the second best probationer at Police Academy, Mr Bhatti had a three-year stint in Chandigarh as SP, Anti-Corruption Bureau, CBI.

It was during his posting here that a District and Sessions Judge and a Judicial Magistrate (First Class) were reportedly caught red-handed while accepting bribes. Both these judicial officers were subsequently prosecuted.

It was almost the same time when another member of the Central civil service belonging to Punjab and serving the Bihar Government was in headlines. He was none other than the Chief Secretary, Mr G.S. Kang, who had a tiff with the then Governor, Mr Buta Singh.

Subsequently, when Bihar went for fresh elections, Mr Bhatti returned to his parent state. This time he was deputed by the Election Commission to oversee peaceful conduct of elections in Siwan district, the home district of controversial MP Mohammad Shahabuddin.

It was free, fair and peaceful poll that won him admiration of the Election Commission.

Belonging to Amritsar, Mr Bhatti is currently posted as DIG, Anti-Corruption Branch, CBI, New Delhi, and is handling several sensitive cases.

He had earlier worked as SP, Patna, for three years, besides five other districts. It was during his posting as district police chief that he tackled various problems like the Maoist violence, communal and caste clashes and cases pertaining to kidnapping and ransom.

Even in Chandigarh, he supervised investigation in the much-publicised fake arm licence racket in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.

Also felicitated with President’s Police Medal for distinguished services is Mr Baldev Singh Dogra, DSP, CBI, Chandigarh.


Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 24
Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation Director Amardeep Singh Cheema has been nominated member of the Working Group in Agriculture for the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012) headed by the Prime Minister.


MBBS student found dead in hostel
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 24
Vivek Gupta, who hailed from Mohali and was a student of MBBS at the Government Medical College, was found dead in the senior boys hostel today morning. The body was found lying in a pool of blood at the roof of the hostel by the deceased boy’s classmates when they went to wake him up.

According to information available, a team of police, which reached the spot immediately after getting the information, pressed the dog squad and forensic experts into service. It, however, failed to find any clues. The police registered a case of murder against unidentified persons.

At first, the college authorities took it as a case of death due to falling but when the kin of the deceased insisted that he had been murdered, the police registered a case of murder.

Later, a panel of doctors conducted the post-mortem examination. Sources said the cause of death was brain haemorrhage.


Tantric slays wife
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 24
A self-proclaimed tantric, Lakhbir Singh, of Mohalla Rambagh, murdered his 36-year-old wife, Sapna Devi, with sharp-edged weapons at Bhangala village in Mukerian on the night of August 22.

According to police sources, on receiving information, sarpanch Parshotam Singh along with some other persons went to the house of Lakhbir and found the body of Sapna Devi lying in the courtyard with her daughter Tamnna and son Dimple weeping beside it.

Lakhbir was chanting mantras near the body claiming that he could revive his wife with his mantras. He claimed to have learnt the art from his guru.

The sources said he had chopped off the tongue, five fingers and left arm of his wife and made marks with sharp-edged weapon on the face.

Sapna’s 70-year-old mother-in-law, who is paralysed, witnessed the crime. One knife, a hammer and clothes, which had been removed from the body, were found close by.

The police later arrested Lakhbir Singh under Section 302 of the IPC.

A post-mortem examination of the body was conducted at the Civil Hospital, Mukerian, and the body was handed over to the relatives.


Proposal to re-employ retired
teachers up to 65 yrs with PU
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Even as the country reels under the burden of educated unemployed youth the Central Government has proposed that retired teachers be re-employed to teach till the age of 65 years. The proposal, which was sent to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, has now landed at Panjab University for comments. The university Syndicate members will be considering the proposal in their forthcoming meeting to be held on August 26.

The proposal sent by the Education Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource and Development, in April 2006 states, “In the absence of regular teachers contract teachers and low paid and ad hoc teachers step in to perform the role of teachers in colleges and universities, which further impacts quality adversely. The issue has disturbed academics all over the country and has also upset the UGC and the ministry. One extreme way of tackling this problem would be to stop further assistance to these universities and colleges, which do not have regular teachers as per the norms. An even more drastic step would be that of de-recognise such institutions. This is an avoidable situation both because it would be unnecessarily inconvenience the students and cause dislocation of their studies”.

The proposal further states, “Recently the UGC has again reiterated their concern through a DO ....dated March 22, 2006..... One measure that they have drawn attention to it is that superannuated teachers could be re-employed up to the age of 65 years. This is an option that you can consider in the short term. Alternatively, an independent scheme could be developed to use the services of the retired teachers”.

An earlier letter of the UGC sent to all universities in March 2006 had stated that while universities were advised to make the use of existing provisions to re-employ superannuated teachers as per the norms of the UGC, but the state governments should take immediate action for filing vacant posts.

The members will also consider the evaluation report submitted by Prof M. Chandra Kumar of Mysore to Panjab University regarding allegations being faced by Prof J.P. Sharma, a faculty member of the Department of Physical Education, here that he plagiarised portions of his PhD thesis.

Syndicate members will also consider outsourcing of all cleaning operations in its campus here. Heeding to rising criticism that the university campus is losing its charm and remains dotted with filth and dirt, the university’s committee for solid waste management and cleanliness has recommended that cleanliness of the entire campus be contracted out to private agencies.

The report of Prof N.P. Manocha regarding the award of zero marks to some candidates of MA II (history) examination 2005 by the examiners will also come up for discussion during the meeting. While one examiner had given zero marks to three candidates the second, third and fourth examiners had given these candidates more marks. After going through the answer sheets, Prof Manocha had come to the conclusion that while two candidates had not been given zero marks, the one candidate who was given zero marks on the pretext that the copy was illegible did not deserve a zero. Stating that the copy of the candidate was legible, Prof Manocha had recommended that the answer sheet of the candidate be re-checked and the results of the other two candidates be declared forthwith.


DEOs sans formal approval
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 24
The District Education Officer (Secondary) and the District Education Officer (Elementary Education) of this newly formed district are working without the formal approval of the Education Department. Appointments of these officers were made about two weeks back by Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, for the smooth functioning of the department.

Representatives of different teachers’ organisations told this correspondent here that due to lack of proper approval, these officers were facing great problems.

The DC on August 8 appointed Mr Piara Singh, Principal of the local Government Secondary School, as the DEO (Secondary) and Ms D.K. Mahia, Principal of SGAD Government Girls Secondary School, as the DEO (Elementary Education) and sent a copy to the Secretary, Education, Punjab, for formal approval. The department has not sent proper approval as yet.


Pak delegation honours Punjabi varsity VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 24
Chaudhary Jali Ahmed Khan, president, World Peace Foundation and former Member parliament, Pakistan, has said that there was a great need of strong economic relations between India and Pakistan .

Chaudhary Khan's ancestors lived in Ragho Majra locality of the town. They migrated to Pakistan during Partition. He took his school and college education in Patiala town.

He said that he had instituted four scholarships for students of Punjabi University to be named after Amrita Pritam, his father, mother and one in his own name. He gave away two awards of the World Peace Foundation to the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S. S. Boparai.

The delegation included Mr Iqbal Dhaliwal, Sayed Nazim Hassan, Dr. Mohd. Shafiq, Suhel Ahmed, Shekh Riaz Khan, Ashraf Mohd. Waraich and Naseem Ahmed Khan.


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