P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Advt mistake proves boon
for non-medical applicants
Vacancies of 700 science teachers
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 1
Mistakes hurt. But at times a few mistakes may prove to be a blessing in disguise for some people, like it proved in the case of applicants of the non-medical category for the recruitment of 700 science teachers.

A simple clerical mistake cost the applicants of the medical category dear while it proved a boon for the applicants of the non-medical category.

Sources said the Punjab Education Department issued an advertisement for the recruitment of 2,000 teachers of various subjects via the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board. The advertisement was published in the leading newspapers of the region in June this year. The last date of application was July 10 and the entire recruitment was to be done on merit.

The merit for the purpose was to be determined by simply adding the percentage of marks in graduation and B. Ed. The merit list of the selected candidates was expected to be out by July 20, but this did not happen due to an alleged mistake in the advertisement seeking applications.

The sources said out of the 2,000 vacancies advertised 300 vacancies were for B. Ed teachers from the medical group and 400 vacancies were for the B. Ed applicants from the non-medical category. The departmental convention of reserving 50 per cent seats for women was also followed.

The sources said the educational eligibly in the medical category was mistakenly mentioned as, “B. Sc and B. Ed with any two of the four subjects in B. Sc., namely- physics, chemistry, botany and zoology.” The sources pointed out that this made the students, who had done their B. Sc with non-medical subjects, eligible also for the vacancies for the medical teachers as they had passed two subjects-physics and chemistry at B. Sc level.

However, in the non-medical category the educational eligibility was put as, “B. Sc and B. Ed with any two of the four subjects in B. Sc., namely- physics, chemistry, botany and zoology with mathematics”. Thus only students who had passed B. Sc (non-medical) were eligible under this category, as medical students had studied botany, zoology but not mathematics.

The sources said the mistake was detected when a large number of applications were received for the vacancies of science teachers (medical category) from the students who had passed B. Sc (non-medical) and the officials of the Education Department pointed out the same to the board officials.

They said a corrigendum to the first advertisement was planned and the eligibility of the science teachers (medical category) was to be revised in such a way that the students who had passed B. Sc (non-medical) were to be rendered not eligible for the vacancies meant for the medical students.

However, the services board issued a corrigendum in the leading newspapers on August 13 stating that the vacancies of medical and non-medical teachers had been merged. Thus the subject-wise vacancies advertised for medical (300) and non-medical applicants (400) were now to be read as 700 vacancies of science teachers (called masters/mistress by the Education Department). Thereby the subject-wise division was removed but the 50-50 per cent reservation on gender basis was still kept intact.

The new list had 350 vacancies for science masters and 350 vacancies without indication of the subject (medical or non-medical). The sources alleged that this gave an undue advantage to the applicants of the non-medical category, which were likely to grab the lion’s share of the total 700 vacancies of science teachers.

The sources pointed out that the applicants with B. Sc (non-medical) could apply for vacancies under the medical category. They were also eligible to apply for the vacancies of math teachers (masters/mistress), wherein they would be competing with B. Ed applicants who had studied mathematics at graduation and teaching training levels. Thus, the students of B. Sc (non-medical) applied for 1,300 vacancies (700 science teachers and 600 math teachers) out of the total posts of 2,000 teachers.

Mr C.S. Harika, Chairperson, PSSSB, said recruitment would be done as per the advertisement as there was nothing in it that could harm the recruitment process. Moreover, the last date of receiving the application forms had elapsed.


Transfer land or face boycott,
HGPC tells Badal, Avtar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 1
The Haryana Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HGPC) has decided not to allow SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC president Avtar Singh to enter Haryana if they failed to transfer the land of the proposed medical college at Shahbad Kanda in the name of HGPC permanently.

Talking to The Tribune today, HGPC general secretary Didar Singh Nalvi said the Sikhs of Haryana would file a petition in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) against the “misuse of gurdwara funds” in violation of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 for vested interest.

He sought probe by retired Sikh judges into the allegations levelled by suspended SGPC secretary Raghbir Singh.

He alleged that Raghbir Singh was punished for not listening to the diktats of Mr Badal and Avtar Singh.

It was shocking that Raghbir Singh was placed under suspension for protecting the interests of Haryana Sikhs.

He appreciated the character shown by the suspended secretary who had refused to play into the hands of the two. 

Mr Nalvi said the land of “Guru Ghar” could not be transferred to a private trust comprising SGPC and SAD chiefs.

Answering a question, Mr Nalvi said Haryana Chief Minister was committed to bringing a Bill on the floor of Assembly to form a separate gurdwara committee to manage gurdwaras in the state before March 31 next year.

Mr Nalvi said Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act had clearly mentioned the provision for formulating separate committee for Haryana gurdwaras.

However, the SGPC was allowed to run the affairs of Sikh shrines in Haryana till the formation of the separate gurdwara committee

He alleged that the SGPC had siphoned off huge collections from gurdwaras in Haryana and “misused” the same for political gains.

The HGPC would take the matter to its logical end and won’t allow the SGPC to interfere in the Sikh affairs of Haryana, he reiterated.


Work on Abohar-Fazilka rail link begins
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 1
The long awaited Rs 80 crore Abohar–Fazilka rail line project was set in motion as “bhoomi pujan” ceremony was performed today for the construction of a major bridge in the Ramgarh village area.

Mr R.P Khurana, Executive Engineer Northern Railways, Mr Bhushan Garg, Sectional Officer, Bathinda, and a few others attended the simple and brief ceremony performed by Mr Rakesh Kumar Meghani, a partner in the Lall Construction Company, New Delhi. The company had earlier laid tracks for the Delhi Metro project. Mr Meghani said the construction work would be started after a month.

The construction of four major bridges will cost Rs 5.60 crore, the work is to be completed in 18 months. The Railways will seek the closure of the 2500 cusec Gang canal for a few days to facilitate the construction of the bridge. The Railways has also started earth work near Choohriwala Dhanna village. The work is estimated to cost Rs 4.5 crore. As many as 225 tractor-trailers filled with sand were today unloaded after a clean-up operation was launched in some fields and orchards. The contractor will also construct 47 small bridges on the 16-km-long stretch. The work is to be completed in 15 months.

This is the first stretch of the 42-km long rail link. Five rural railway stations are to be developed in between Abohar and Fazilka.

Sources in the Railways said a sum of Rs 21.5 crore had already been released to the state government as compensation for the farmers whose lands would be acquired for the project and the delay was on part of the state government only, which was yet to hand over the physical possession of the land. 


SAD activist accused of duping farmers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 1
Some farmers of Bahawalbassi village near here have earmarked their fields as “exhibition plots” to tell the people that they have been duped by a senior worker of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) who sold them unbranded Bt cottonseed bought from Gujarat using unauthorised channels. Three of them today started uprooting the cotton plants using tractors.

Those affected include Gurdit Singh, son of Lal Singh, Kewal Singh, son of Mohinder Singh, Gurjit Singh, son of Lachhman Singh, and Puran Chand Kamboj. They told the visiting newspersons this afternoon that the Bt cottonseed marked “Mosh” marketed allegedly by the SAD activist had cost them Rs 2,400 per acre.

The activist had claimed that the seed was repacked locally to escape action by the flying squads formed by the Department of Agriculture. The plants had grown up well but developed only flowers and no produce. When the farmers complained to the seller, he lamented that flood had affected Gujarat so it was not possible to contact the seed-processing company.

The farmers also displayed the version of the seller recorded on the mobile phone to the visitors where the seller had maintained that the seed was of good quality. The farmers said they had suffered a loss raging from Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 per acre.

They resolved to lodge a complaint with former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal before approaching the Department of Agriculture for justice.


Maj Kular, Lt Ashta scale Mt Elbrus
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Major Sarfraz Singh Kular of 5 Para, presently posted at Goma, Congo with UN peacekeeping forces, accompanied by Lt Ashish Ashta, also from 5 Para, has joined a select band of Army officers, who have scaled Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe.

A fourth generation soldier, Major Sarfraz Kular is the son of hockey Olympian Colonel Balbir Singh of Sansarpur.

Mount Elbrus is a peak located in the western Caucuses mountains, in Russia near the border of Georgia. A volcano that has laid dormant for about 2,000 years, it is the highest mountain in the Caucasus mountains. Mt Elbrus (West summit) stands at 5,642 m (18,506 ft) and can be considered the highest mountain 
in Europe.

The two Army Officers reached Moscow on August 11 and the next day left for Terskol valley where both were registered and got the necessary climbing permit at the Russian Mountaineering office.

It took 13 hours for them to negotiate the Glacier Azau. Maj Sarfraz had to open 10 crevasses during the glacier walk for which he had the experience of when he scaled the Nun Peak in Kargil at the height of 18,100 feet a few years ago. He had done it successfully and was named the “Ice fall Doctor” by his teammates.

Maj Sarfraz and Lt Ashta — the first ones to open the route this summer — were the only ones to go through this route. Late in the evening, both officers reached a place called Desak Hut at an altitude of 13,500 feet. Since they had taken a very difficult route, they had bypassed most of the halts which generally most climbers take.

Next day, for five hours, they climbed Pashtukov rocks and halted at Deisel Hut. They decided to go for the final summit on August 15 as they considered the day auspicious. Both of them started to climb at 2 am keeping a window period of seven hours in mind. At 8.30 am, they reached the Saddle and they could see all sorts of flash lights following them. They had actually become the leading guides for the rest of the climbers due to their good speed.

It took them another two hours to make it to the top of Mt Elbrus and they felt proud standing with the Indian Army and the national flag flying high on top of Europe. In all, it took them five days to climb to the summit and reach back safely at the base.

Maj Sarfraz has now set his eyes on Mt Everest.


Suspended SGPC secy’s charges against Badal, SGPC chief
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, September 1
Suspended Shiromani Committee secretary Raghubir Singh on Wednesday blamed SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC chief Avtar Singh for his ouster and levelled serious charges 
against them.

Spilling beans regarding controversial Miri-Piri Medical College being setup at Shahbad Markanda in Haryana, Mr Raghubir Singh who was appointed receiver for the project by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC), said the college was being established without the formal approval of Government as the land for the proposed institute continued to be in the name of the Gurdwara.

He alleged recently SGPC, chief Avtar Singh at the behest of Mr Badal established a new trust for setting up the Miri-Piri Medical College. Interestingly, the trust does not have any member belonging to the SGPC but comprises besides Mr Badal his near and dear ones while Mr Avtar Singh himself became the president.

He alleged he was suspended as he refused to toe the line of Mr Badal and Mr Avtar Singh. He said he would contest the Assembly elections from Rajasansi constituency.

Chronicling events, which led to his suspension, Mr Raghubir Singh alleged that he was removed under pressure from Mr Badal who had desired that more than 21 acres of gurdwara land of the Shahbad Markanda Gurdwara be transferred in the name of trust. He alleged that he was pressurised and lured with assurances for ticket for contesting elections from Rajasansi in return to the transfer of the land. He said he had opposed the move and also took a stand in various meetings against the grant of Rs 115 crore to the trust from the gurdwara funds. He said as per rules the SGPC could neither secure loan from the banks nor pledge its properties for getting loans. Quoting from his conversation with Mr Badal, he said that work of the trust was being hampered due to its (trust) inability to get the land transferred to get loan from the bank.

Meanwhile, he added that he had filed a case in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) on this issue. Fearing harm to himself and his family, he said for the consequences the blame would lie with Mr Badal and his cohorts.


Mann against ‘frivolous’ foreign tours

Chandigarh, September 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today said Chief Ministers and ministers, especially Captain Amarinder Singh, should not go on foreign trips on “frivolous grounds” as it leads to public criticism.

Reacting to a report published in The Tribune today, Mr Mann, however, added that in a quasi-federal constitutional system such as the one that prevails in India, the Union Government can’t regulate foreign tours of state government figures.

He also said that for the sake of coordination with Indian embassies abroad, it is always prudent for the Chief Minister to inform the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). “But the MEA office can’t be the sanctioning authority for visits abroad for Chief Ministers. It is unconstitutional,” he said. — TNS


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