P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Govt to fill 2,000 posts in Education Dept
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Bhani Mia Khan (Gurdaspur), August 25
The Punjab Government has cleared the case for filling 2000 posts in the Education Department. A decision to this effect has been taken in consultation with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

The posts include 157 posts of block education officer, 350 posts of lecturer, 500 posts of B.Ed teacher and Class IV posts. The posts would be filled on merit basis and no marks have been kept for interview.

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Education and PWD Minister, stated this while talking to newsmen here today. He along with the Finance and Health Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, was here to inaugurate the new building of 30-bed hospital in the village.

Mr Bajwa said the government was preparing a package that would redresses all the major demands of teachers of government and aided schools in the state. The package would be announced on Teacher’s Day at a state-level function to be held at Kanuwan. He hinted that the pension for teachers of aided schools could be one of sops to be announced at the Teacher’s Day function.

He also said another 10,000 vacant posts of teacher would also be filled by November this year.

Mr Surinder Singla said the new Bhani Mia Khan hospital had been set up at a cost of Rs 2.36 crore. Initially five doctors were being posted here.

He said the government would recruit 13,000 more doctors across the state in the next two months. The decision would be passed in the Cabinet meeting scheduled on August 29. With the latest recruitment, there would be at least one doctor for every five villages in the state.

He flayed the BJP for not condemning the incident of forced hair cutting of a Sikh youth in Rajasthan.

He urged Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP MP from Amritsar, to join the Congress. The family of Mr Sidhu followed the Congress ideology. His father was the district unit president of the Congress. Keeping in view the present ideology of the BJP, Mr Sidhu should join Congress, he said.

The minister also welcomed the decision of the Union Government to increase the price of paddy by Rs 40 per quintal. This would increase the earning of the farmers in the state by Rs 1500 per acre.


Vigilance Commission formation gets nod
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Punjab Government tonight issued a notification to formally constitute the Punjab Vigilance Commission and allowed IPS officers to be appointed to the commission. This brought to an end the three-month power-struggle between the IAS and IPS cadres of the state over controlling the vigilance department.

As per the notification, the Vigilance Bureau will be functioning directly under the commission. The commission will decide on cases but some freedom has been allowed to the VB. The bureau will be allowed to proceed independently in cases against employees and officials, however, it will have to seek prior permission to proceed against officials who are in Group A category and above. This will mean that IAS, IPS, PCS and several senior engineers and Doctors would be covered under the category. The commission will direct the VB in these cases.

Also, it will not be mandatory to appoint only an IPS officer as Chief Director of the VB. The post can also be held by an IAS officer. Explaining this, sources said the post is not classified as an ex-cadre post for the IPS cadre. Hence, the government will have a right to post anybody.

As per the notification, the state's Chief Vigilance Commissioner can be person who has worked or is working in the rank or pay scale of Secretary to Government of India or Chief Secretary. This will mean that an IPS officer of the rank of DGP shall also qualify. The Chief Vigilance Commissioner can also be a judge of the High Court.

The criteria for members of the commission shall be that they should have worked or are working in the rank or pay scale of Principal Secretary to the state or Additional Secretary to Government of India. This will mean that ADGP-level officials shall also qualify. In the draft of the Ordinance, there was no mention of eligibility of IPS officers to be appointed to the commission. The IPS cadre was cut- up and senior officers had also approached the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Three days ago, the CM had promised that the state will follow the Central act. The Central Vigilance Act of 2003 has a provision to allow IPS officers to be appointed to the commission.

The Ordinance in Punjab that had preceded the notification has been modelled on the Central act, said sources.

It may be mentioned that this all started in June this year when the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, wrote a letter to the Chief Director, VB, saying an office order issued by former Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, in the year 2000 was being enforced. This had detailed the powers of the VB and said all cases should be referred to a committee and VB will not act on its own.

The Chief Director, VB, Mr Mohd Izhar Alam, wrote back that the order had been kept in abeyance following his discussion with the Chief Minister on the matter. In July, the Chief Minister while replying to a specific question at a press programme, said he did not agree with the order of his Chief Secretary.


Students mob GND varsity VC’s residence
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 25
Over 300 students of two boys’ hostel barged into the residence of Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, midnight last night and remained there for over four hours, while security personnel stood there as mute spectators.

The students only left the house after protests and sloganeering when they learnt that the new Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jairup Singh, who had joined a month ago, had not yet moved into the new residence.

Students assumed that the Vice-Chancellor had moved into his new residence, “University House”, after they saw official vehicles parked there.

In the 37-year history of the university, this is perhaps the first time that students have taken control of the “University House”.

The incident left plantations on the premises and belongings of the university damaged.

Senior officials of the university, including both Deans and Security Officer S.S. Chhina, reached the spot on hearing the news.

The Vice-Chancellor claimed that most of the protesters were “outsiders” who were up in arms against the beefing up of security measures.

When asked if he would take any action against the troublemakers, he said his focus was on studies, which should not be affected at any cost.

He, however, said this was a spontaneous reaction from students, who were not happy with the streamlining of security on the campus.

The trouble is believed to have started after the university authorities disallowed students from using computers, even though permission to this effect had purportedly been given by the former Vice-Chancellor.

He claimed that all classes functioned normally today.

It was also learnt that girl students had also protested in their hostel.

Hostel warden Dr Jagroop Singh Sekhon said students were “satisfied” with a meeting, which they had held with the university authorities this morning.

He said they were already grappling with problems being faced by hostel residents and all necessary corrective measures were being taken.

Dr Sekhon said the problem flared up when hostel authorities found some unauthorised students staying in the hostel.

He refuted the charges that there was any incident of theft of a computer or laptop from the hostel.

Earlier, the students had a minor scuffle with security personnel who tried to prevent them from entering the house of the Vice-Chancellor.


GND varsity committees constituted
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 25
Guru Nanak Dev University Vice-Chancellor (GNDU), Dr. Jai Rup Singh, yesterday constituted different committees to make the functioning of the university more efficient. The term of these committees would end on March 31.

According to university press release, Prof. Raghbir Singh, Department of Commerce and Business Management, would be Chairman of Press and Publication Committee while Prof. A.K. Thukral, Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences, would be Chairman of Campus Committee.

The Medical/Health Committee would be headed by Prof. S.K. Garg of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Prof. Kanwaljit Singh of Physical Education would be Chairman of the Farm and Landscape Committee.


Drive to stop ‘loot’ of milk plants
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Bharti Kisan Union has launched a campaign to make people aware of what it says is “rampant corruption” and “virtual loot” in certain cooperative milk plants in Punjab.

Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the BKU, today said the most disturbing development was that some contractors engaged in the distribution of milk at such plants were getting officers of their choice posted to “loot” the plants. He said the BKU had launched the campaign to stop this.

He said that milk to such plants was supplied by a network of cooperative milk societies. There were thousands of such societies across the state. Their members were small and marginal farmers who kept two or three buffaloes to contribute milk to the cooperative societies with the objective of supplementing their income.

Mr Rajewal said because of the dubious role of officers and contractors, milk products worth several lakhs of rupees had been misappropriated, causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to plants and consequently to the farmers who supplied milk.

He said the BKU would be holding conferences in the rural areas to inform the members of the cooperative milk societies how they were being robbed by milk plants and contractors.

Mr Rajewal said a few days ago, the general manager of the milk plant at Mohali was transferred. In his place, a new GM was posted. Efforts were now being made to get the new GM transferred to put some “pliable” officer there. He said the BKU would not allow the posting of any officer who, in the eyes of the BKU, would be unable to protect the interests of the small and marginal farmers contributing milk to the plant through the cooperative societies.

Mr Rajewal said the government should immediately act on the inquiry report submitted by an Additional Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab. It had been stated in the report that a certain officer of the Milk Union, Ropar, was responsible for the unauthorised approval of free sale of milk and milk products worth Rs 12,01,898. The inquiry officer had recommended that the Managing Director should probe whether this unauthorised practice of free sale worth several lakhs of rupees was prevalent in other milk plants or not.


Legislation against run-away grooms sought
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal has demanded the Centre to bring in a comprehensive legislation to protect the rights of women who are exploited by run-away grooms.

"The government should consider bringing in a comprehensive regulation/legislation to ensure that all protection be accorded by law to Indian women who have been left behind by their NRI husbands," said Akali MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa in the Lok Sabha.

Raising the issue under Rule 377, he said there were nearly 15,000 women deserted by NRIs in Punjab alone.

He said the incidents of fraudulent NRI marriages were on the rise, but the crime went largely unpunished. Many desperate women abroad were duped or dumped by their NRI husbands and thousands of others were left in their village homes waiting for a call from abroad that never came.

Dhindsa said lying, cheating, false promises, unreasonable dowry demands were just some of the reasons behind these unhappy marriages.

Stranded in a foreign country, often without any financial support, they had no one to turn to except the Indian government, he said.

"There is an urgent need for some institutional mechanism for getting authentic information before these long distance marriages are finalised. The Indian mission abroad could help in this regard," Dhindsa said.


No change in PPCC leadership
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 25
The Congress will contest the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab on development and the scandal free tenure of its regime. This was stated by Mr Ashwani Kumar, Union Minister of State for Industries, while talking to mediapersons here this afternoon.

Mr Ashwani Kumar made it clear that the Congress would contest these elections under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh and there would be no change in the leadership of the PPCC.

He said that party tickets would only be given to those leaders who enjoy good reputation in the public and were in a position to win. Due share would be given to the youths and women while allotting tickets.

In response to a question, the minister said that even though prices of essential commodities had crossed all limits, but effective steps were being taken to curb inflation. As a result, prices of various commodities including vegetables and pulses had come down considerably.

He said that the globalisation policy had not affected any industrial sector in the country. However, some steps had been taken to encourage the small and medium scale industrialists to compete with Chinese goods.

He said that during the recent meeting of Punjab MPs with the Prime Minister, the latter had instructed him to formulate a comprehensive plan to provide an industrial package to Punjab on the lines of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir for the promotion of sick industrial units of state.

After discussions with the Chief Minister and Industrial Department of the state government, a draft would be prepared before September 7, which would be submitted to the Prime Minister for final approval.

When asked about the shortage of power which was the basic requirement for setting up industries, he said that the state government was making concerted efforts including provision of required funds to enhance power generation at Lehra Mohabat, Shahpur Kandi and Mukerian Hydel Projects.

Referring to the installation of refinery at Bathinda, Mr Ashwani Kumar said that despite withdrawal of the British Gas Company from the project, HPCL had showed its willingness to take up the project.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |