P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Boy acquired polio virus in UP
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 27
Following the detection of polio in two-year-old Jatinder Kumar, son of migrant labourer Babu Ram of Dana Mandi area of Dasuya town of Hoshiarpur district, Dr Yangchan Dolma, Surveillance Medical Officer of the World Health Organisation along with Dr V.K. Goyal, state immunisation officer, and Dr Kamaljit Kaur, Civil Surgeon, visited Dasuya today to take stock of the situation.

After returning, Dr Goyal said Jatinder was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dasuya, on August 18. Prior to this, he along with his parents had gone to Badaun (Uttar Pradesh), their native place. Badaun is the only district where 200 cases of polio had been detected in the current year. The said the boy got onfected with polio virus from there.

Dr R.K. Bagga, who was treating Jatinder, found his right lower limb weak. He suspected polio virus and sent his stool to the Central Research Institute, Kasauli, which confirmed the polio virus.

Dr Goyal said during their visit to Dasuya the boy and his parents were not available at their residence as they had gone for selling vegetables. Dr Dolma had stayed back at Dasuya to see the boy and his parents. He had instructed the district health authorities, Hoshiarpur, to increase surveillance and administer polio drops to the children.

A massive mop up operation would be launched on October 15, 16 and 17 in Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Nawanshahar and Kapurthala districts as a preventive measure.

Dr Goyal said 326 fresh cases of polio had been detected during the current year, of which 291 were in UP, 19 in Bihar, 5 in Haryana, 3 in Uttaranchal, 2 each in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and one each in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Punjab.


Doctors’ transfers to be reviewed, claims association

Chandigarh, September 27
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association today claimed that Health Minister Surinder Singla had assured it that the recent transfer of doctors would be reviewed.

Mr Singla had a meeting with representatives of the association. A press note claimed that the Health Minister agreed to review the transfer list keeping in mind the problems of every doctor.

The cases of transferred doctors with a comparatively lesser period of stay, doctors with disabilities, couple cases and unmarried women doctors would be considered during the review, the press note claimed.

The association also claimed it was decided that 872 PCMS doctors selected during the tenure of Mr Ravi Sidhu would be given pending annual increments and “assured carrer progression” after four years and nine years of service. — TNS


Legal services meeting
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 27
A meeting of the District Legal Services Authority was held here under the chairmanship of Mr Inderjit Singh Walia, District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman, District Legal Services Authority, this afternoon.

Representatives of different departments and organisations, including Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Balbir Singh Billing, president, Bar Association, Patiala, attended it.

During the course of the meeting it was discussed at length as to how the schemes of free legal aid be made known to the masses.

Mr Inderjit Singh Walia, said four seminars would be held every month in rural areas so that the people could be made aware about the benefits of facility of free legal aid.

He said a new penal consisting of experienced and dedicates advocates was being formed to provide quality service to poor litigants. The scheme of free legal aid could not be implemented in true spirit until and unless poor litigants felt that their cases were being fought earnestly.

To create awakening about the free legal aid scheme, different measures were also being adopted, which included putting up hoarding, and distribution of pamphlets carrying information about the scheme.

In addition to this, the help of the local radio station as well as cable network was also being sought.


Veterinary pharmacists block traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 27
Members of the district unit of the Veterinary Pharmacists Union, wore black gowns today and blocked traffic on the Sangrur-Mehlan road from 5 p.m. to 5.45 p.m. in protest against the lathi-charge on veterinary pharmacists in Chandigarh.

Mr Swarnjit Singh, state secretary of the Democratic Employees Front, Punjab, condemned the lathi-charge and supported the protesters.

Earlier, the protesting pharmacists, led by Mr Mohinder Singh Khehra, district president of the union, staged dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, here in support of their demands and against the government’s alleged indifference towards their demands.

Mr Gurpreet Singh said on October 1 they would gherao the residence of Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, besides holding a protest demonstration in Bathinda.

Meanwhile, a large number of anganwari workers and helpers, all women, held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here in support of their demands.

They also submitted a memorandum in this regard to the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner.


Polytechnic staff block traffic
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 27
Members of the Punjab Polytechnic Staff Association blocked traffic for half an hour outside Circuit House here today. They were protesting against the decision
of the state government to hand over the management of polytechnics to the societies.

Mr Naunihal Singh, spokesperson for the association, handed over a memorandum to the Secretary, Labour and Employment, Mr K.S. Saini, presenting a charter of demands for scrapping of the decision.

He said such a step would jeopardise the functioning of polytechnics across the state and would also adversely affect career of the students. He said a state-level meeting would be held tomorrow to chalk out the next plan of action.

The association alleged that the government was hatching a conspiracy to hand over prime land of the institutions to the private societies, thereby giving them leverage to annex these properties at cheap rate. It urged the government to review its decision which would affect studies of hundreds of poor students.


Increase age of retirement, say engineers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The Punjab Irrigation Engineers (Class 1) Association has urged the state government to enhance the retirement age of the engineers from 58 to 60 years on the pattern of Central Government services. The demand was made at a meeting of the general body of the association here.

The newly elected president of the association, Mr Amarjit Singh Dullat, yesterday said the government was discriminating against irrigation engineers by deducting the initial two years of regular service at the time of fixing seniority and while giving monetary benefits such as the promotional scale on the completion of four, nine and 14 years of service. All other departments were giving similar benefits without deducting the two years of service.

The press secretary of the association, Mr Harinder Pal Singh Bedi, said new recruitment should be made immediately to run the department smoothly, particularly after the year 2010, when almost all officers above the level of superintending engineer would retire.


Theft case solved in 4 hours
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 27
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Arpit Shukla, claimed this evening that the miscreant responsible for the theft committed late last night at Ghubaya village on the Abohar-Ferozepore road was arrested in less than four hours.

Giving details, Mr Shukla said Jarnail Singh told the police that some one had stolen gold ornaments worth Rs 2 lakh, besides Rs 25,000, from his house at Ghubaya early in the morning. SHO Rajesh Hasteer and ASI Lekh Raj were able to solve the case and arrested Paramjit Singh of the same village.

Stolen ornaments were recovered within four hours of registering the FIR. However, the cash had been siphoned off by then.

He said Om Parkash, alias Laddu, of Jalalabad West was arrested with 1 kg of opium at Mannewala village. 


New airport director takes over
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 27
Mr Arun Talwar joined as director of Rajasansi International Airport in place of Mr V.S. Mulekar, its first director, who retired after putting in seven years of service on July 31.

Mr Talwar said today that he joined the Airport Authority of India in 1973 and has served in various capacities during his 33-year-long career.

Earlier he held the similar post at Jaipur where he remained director for more than five years. He had served at Srinagar during the most turbulent period and later headed the airport operations at Lucknow and Goa.


Punjab wins battle on cotton front
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
Punjab today won a major battle on the cotton front. The National Textile Commission has upgraded certain varieties of cotton and enhanced their minimum support price to Rs 1,890 per quintal.

The Punjab Agriculture Department has been fighting a battle with the commission for the past two years on this issue. Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, had argued the case before the commission a number of times over the past months, asking it to upgrade certain cotton varieties and put these on a par with those available in Gujarat for the fixing of the MSP.

Mr Sidhu told The Tribune that the commission had included cotton which was traded under the names of J-434 and F-414 in the state in the fair average quality and increased its MSP to Rs 1,890 per quintal this year. Last year, the commission had pegged its price at Rs 1,835 per quintal and clubbed it with varieties having a staple length below 27 mm, the MSP of which is lower than that of varieties having a staple length above 27mm. Staple length plays a major role in deterimining the MSP of cotton. Cotton varieties with over 28 mm staple length are considered long-staple varieties and their MSP is in the range of Rs 1,990 per quintal.

Last year, Mr Sidhu had argued that the staple length of Punjab cotton was 27.5 mm and it should be treated on a par with certain varieties of cotton in Gujarat.

Accepting the argument, which was supported by facts and figures and reports regarding staple length from laboratories, the commission informed Mr Sidhu regarding the upgradation of Punjab cotton. In fact, Punjab has been producing the best medium staple cotton in the world.

The textile industry worldwide, uses medium staple cotton the most. Haryana, by and large, produces cotton with a staple length of up to 26.5 mm and Rajasthan up to 24.5 mm.

Already 1.50 lakh bales of cotton have arrived in the cotton belt of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Cotton is fetching a price between Rs 1,900 and Rs 2,100 per quintal. It means it selling above the MSP. The Cotton Corporation of India has entered various cotton markets and Markfed is expected to start purchases in the first week of October.


DSP transferred in IRS officer thrashing case
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27
The Director-General of Police today transferred Mr Rajinder Pal, DSP (Detective), to the PAP, 80 Battalion, Jalandhar, following complaints of thrashing a 1988 batch IRS officer, Mr Ravi Sarangal, Additional Commissioner, Income Tax, here on September 20.

Earlier, Mr Sarangal had personally met the DGP to lodge a complaint against the police officer. The Inspector-General Police, Mr Mohmmad Mustafa, had deputed the local SSP to conduct the inquiry.


Firm MD held for duping people of crores
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 27
The police has arrested the managing director (MD) of a private firm that duped people of crores by luring them into becoming its members with the promise of precious gifts. National Group MD Sanjeev Kumar was today produced in a court which remanded him to the police custody till September 30.

Police sources said the other four partners of the firm were still at large and manhunt had been launched to nab them. Meanwhile, cheated of their hard earned money, a large number of members of the firm are making more revelations of its modus operandi. Its members disclosed that they were charged Rs 3,500 for a personality development course and an insurance cover and were promised gifts worth lakhs. They told that only a few members were extended the insurance facility, while nobody talked about the personality development once the payment of Rs 3,500 was made.

Sources said the insurance company which the firm had roped in only extended insurance cover to 100 persons and later backtracked due to its dubious credentials. On the other hand, a large number of company’s members in Mansa, Bathinda, Barnala, Moga, Baghapurana, Nihalinghwala and Budhlada are shocked with the way National Group and its sister concern Brightway Education Network had committed a fraud with them. In haste to win attractive gifts they had made their relatives and friends the company’s members. Darshan Singh, a farm labourer from Budhlada, said that he took an advance of Rs 3,500 from his employer thinking that it would lead to handsome returns, but now he was clueless as to how he would feed his family in coming days.


Varsity clerk held taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 27
Satinder Mann, a clerk in the examination branch, Punjabi University, was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe from those students facing proceedings under unfair means cases (UMC).

Satinder Mann was caught by a team of internal vigilance of the university led by the chief security officer of the university, Mr Almjit Singh.

The Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, placed Satinder Mann under suspension. Mr Boparai has received complaints against some employees of the examination branch of the university that they had been indulging in wrongful practices. To cleanse the system, Dr Boparai ordered that raids be conducted to catch the culprits.

The chief security officer laid the trap and found Satinder Mann receiving Rs 4,000 from three college students for helping them out in UMC cases.

The accused admitted that he had received Rs 15,000 from the three students. The accused returned Rs 19000 on the spot to the students.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor ordered a thorough checkup of the records of the establishment branch of the university. On finding serious lapses in the working of some employees, he suspended five employees and ordered a regular inquiry into that matter.


Grandmother booked for abduction
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 27
The Rambagh police has booked Bachan Kaur, a resident of Nive Pind, for kidnapping her own grandson, Karan (4), who had been living with her mother, Rimpy, since the death of his father, Rawail Singh, about one year ago.

Rimpy, who was living with her father in the Maqboolpura area, in her complaint lodged with the police alleged that Bachan Kaur along with her elder son Mohan Singh and daughter Somi came to meet Karan. She alleged they lured and kidnapped him.

The police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366, IPC. No arrest had been made so far.


Student injured in clash

Amritsar, September 27
One student of medical college was injured in a clash that took place on the premises of Guru Ramdass Medical College yesterday. The injured has been identified as Pavneet Singh.

The police said Pavneet was sitting in the canteen when Simar Deep Singh and his accomplices, Varinder Singh and Manit Singh, asked him to come outside. As he went outside, the three allegedly attacked him with sharpedged weapon on his head.

Pavneet Singh sustained serious blunt injuries on his head and fell on the ground unconsciously. All the three accused ran away from the spot. Pavneet was taken to hospital where his condition was said to be serious.

Of the three accused, Simar Deep Singh is the adopted son of the Municipal Commissioner, Jalandhar, said the police officials.

According to the SSP, Amritsar: “We have registered a case under Section 307, IPC, in the local police station.” He said that all the three accused were absconding. 


ITI students oppose privatisation move
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 27
Employees and students from Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) of Dhuri, Sangrur, Sunam and Barnala, led by Mr Harwinder Kumar Bhardwaj, state secretary of the ITI Employees Union, Punjab, yesterday took out a protest march against the state government’s decision to hand over the ITIs to registered societies.

The protesters also held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner. They demanded that the process of privatisation of the ITIs should be stopped immediately. They submitted a memorandum to the administration.

Mr Bhardwaj said by giving the financial and administrative control to registered societies, the government wanted to sell ITIs to its “near and dear.” He said the employees and staff of the ITIs would not tolerate this.

The protesters said with the handing over of the ITIs to registered societies, a large number of students from the weaker sections and lower middle class would not be able to get admission in the wake of higher fees and other expenses.

The protesters were addressed, among others, by Mr Chet Ram, president of the Patiala zone of the union, Mr Shamsher Singh, state executive committee member of the union, Mr Sukhdev Bhullar, president of the Sunam unit of the union, and Mr Bikkar Singh Sibia, district vice-president of the Class IV Employees Union.


Religion, world peace discussed
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 27
Dr Peter Steinacker, president, Protestant Church of Germany, speaking as the principal resource person at an international conference on contribution of different faiths and communities for world peace organised by the Christian Institute for Religious Studies here yesterday, contended that peace could be realised only by integrating the rule of law with the notion of fair distribution of commodities.

Dr V.T. Sebastian, Chairman, Department of Philosophy, PU, Chandigarh, laid stress on transcending self-enclosed world views to get an understanding of other cultures and religions, for which receptive interfaith dialogue was required.

According to Dr Ronki Ram from the Department of Political Science, PU, the notion of peace cannot be understood without understanding the structural violence in society.

Dr Sarbjinder Singh from Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr Gurbaksh Singh, former Dean, Punjab Agriculture University, and Dr Gursharanjit Singh from Guru Nanak Dev University, agreed that Sikhism advocated pluralism and religious tolerance, which was a prerequisite for peace.

Dr Balmiki Prasad and Dr Munish Sharma presented the Buddhist and Gandhian concepts of peace, respectively.

Dr Aziz Abass from Guru Nanak Dev University, appreciated the efforts of the CIRS and its Director Rev R.M. Chaudhary for providing a platform for such a dialogue.

More than 70 participants from India and abroad attended the conference. Rt Rev P.K. Samantaroy (Bishop, Diocese of Amritsar), Dr A.C. Lal from Dalhousie, Prof Hepesh Shepherd, Principal, BUC College, Batala, Prof Neeraj Sharma, Dr R.B. Singh, Prof Savita and Prof Rajan Chaudhary took active part in the deliberations.


US varsity mulls course on Sikhism

Patiala, September 27
The Concordia University, Wisconsin, USA, is contemplating a course on Sikhism and its tenets to make the people aware of the Sikh identity.

The university has started thinking on these lines after incidents of harassment of Sikhs, mistakenly taken as members of the Al-Qaida.

Dr Patrick T. Ferry and Dr Randall Ferguson, president and vice-president of the university, say it is being done to make the people aware of Sikh religion and culture.

Here in connection with an academic function yesterday, they said they had been carrying out a campaign against harassment on the basis of race.

Sikh students taking admission to their institutes would act as messengers for spreading the message that Sikhs had no connection with any terrorist group. 


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