P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Vigilance probe against brother of Trust chief
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 20
The state Vigilance Bureau has ordered an inquiry against Mr Kewal Krishan Sharma, brother of Mr Jugal Kishor Sharma, Chairman of the Improvement Trust, for allegedly constructing a multistorey building on prime government land in violation of bylaws.

The inquiry was ordered by Mr Izhar Alam, Chief Vigilance Director. Mr R.P.S.Bajwa confirmed that he had received the orders from Chandigarh in connection with the construction of the building near Town Hall.

It is alleged that the Chairman of the Improvement Trust facilitated the passing of the building plan.

The official record confirmed that the corporation had lodged an FIR in its office in this regard on July 16, 2004. Consequently, a notice was issued to Mr Kewal Sharma. The controversial building is a few yards away from the head office of the corporation.

The Chairman of the Trust, has refuted the charges. He claimed that he had nothing to do with the building since his brother had been working from the site for the past many decades and had regularly deposited the house tax. He said his political rivals were behind the “vilification campaign.”

Interestingly, the Municipal Town Planner (MTP) has claimed that no rules were violated while clearing the case of Mr Kewal Sharma. However, the MTP had put a rider while passing the building plan. The official noting reads, "Building plan sanctioned with the rider that the sanction of this proposed building plan will not mean that the applicant has become owner of the suit property. In case any dispute is raised with regard to the ownership of the site in question at a later stage, the sanction so given will be deemed to have been revoked".

The lodging of the FIR and the building clearance took place simultaneously.


SGPC gets notice from Secy over funds misuse
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 20
Mr Raghbir Singh, secretary, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), through his lawyer issued yet another notice to officer-bearers of the SGPC and the Dharam Parchar Committee (DPC) here today.

The notice levelled charges that SGPC funds were spent by the respondents on the publicity of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Sukhbir Bada, Mr Vikramjit Singh Majithia, Ms Surinder Kaur Badal and other party MLAs and office-bearers with regard to the forthcoming Assembly elections.

It also alleged that Mr Harbeant Singh, secretary, SGPC, does not qualify for the post as he was a matriculate and even that certificate was alleged to be fake. He said the secretary was brought back for facilitating misuse of SGPC funds.

It alleged that Rs 64 lakh were spent on fetching people to the venue of the Sikh Istri Conference held on June 14. It alleged that in the advertisement of the conference Ms Sushma Swaraj, a BJP leader, and Ms Vijayraje Scindia, Chief Minister, Rajasthan, were projected, though they were not Sikhs.

It urged the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission to declare the amount as unauthorised and the same be recovered from the respondents along with interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum. It further demanded that the respondents be disqualified from holding any office or membership of the SGPC or its gurdwaras for five years. A penalty of Rs 10 lakh also be imposed upon them, it added.


Doctors resent transfers
Our Correspondent

Nabha, November 20
Recent transfers of doctors working in government hospitals and dispensaries have doctors fearful of being shifted. These transfers, made in the name of rationalisation have failed to deliver desired results as the exercise was carried out without taking all aspects of affected hospitals into account. Wrong timing of these transfers left majority of the doctors of no option but to go on leave or make arrangements with higher-ups because it is mid-term of academic session of their children.

This all has put health services in a state of mess. There are about 2600 doctors in government jobs and 1300 service providers on contract. Only in six months 1600 doctors have been shifted to adjust service providers and rationalise services of the specialist. Now transfers are being done out in the name of rectification of anomalies of earlier transfers meaning again uprooting some doctors.

We are unable to concentrate on our duty and have to find “sifarish” to save our place of postings, said a doctor couple. They added transfers had violated spirit of rationalisation.

Doctors in Mohali, Ropar, Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda, Jalandhar and Faridkot districts of the state criticised government’s policy of transfers. Nobody wished to be named. Government can not think of transferring class IV employees but doctors, they rued.

Doctors lamented their associations though had criticised the transfers but failed to raise the issue. They alleged perhaps the leaders of these associations were too scared of the transfers they themselves don’t wish to become scapegoats.

Dr. Hardeep Singh, President PCMSA negates this allegation and said the association had taken the issue of mismatches and discrepancies in transfers, with senior health officials and the minister and were promised of corrective measures. He denounced timing of these transfers and asked how could a doctor who was sent to a far-flung area could shift to that place with family in the mid academic session of his/her children. He said without proper infrastructure sending doctors in a particular hospital or dispensary would not bear desired results.

Though on surface everything is normal but the situation is alarming under the surface. Discontent is on the rise as almost 50 per cent doctors have been affected.


Farmers beaten up in jail: BKU
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 20
Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of the BKU (Ugrahan), today alleged that five farmers, who were nowadays in the Barnala sub-jail in connection with the farmers' agitation against acquisition of land in three Barnala villages, were “beaten up” today by the jail authorities to compel them to break their fast. On the other hand, Mr Joga Singh, Deputy Superintendent of the Barnala sub-jail, denied the charge, regarding beating up of farmers in jail.

Talking to The Tribune today, Mr Kokri Kalan alleged that Mr Malkiat Singh Wazidke, Mr Sher Singh Pharwahi, Mr Darshan Singh Naiwala, Mr Major Singh Pandher and Mr Mithu Singh Tajoke had been “beaten up” by the jail authorities. Mr Joga Singh said that no body had “beaten up” the farmers in the jail. He said these farmers had been creating trouble for other prisoners and undertrials in the jail for the past about one week by raising slogans. So he appealed to them not to disturb the atmosphere of the jail, but they continued their slogan raising agitation. He said he also called them, but they did not turn up. So he locked them in a separate room. 


Union alleges unfair recruitment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 20
The Punjab Government has "ignored" national medalist players and candidates with better qualification in the recruitment of physical education teachers and "none of them figures in its merit list", alleged National Medal Holders and Unemployed Physical Education Teachers Union here today.

The union members, Mr Sangramjit Singh Sidhu, Mr Manoj Kanwar, Mr Rajvir Moudgill, Mr Iqbal Singh Chahal and others alleged that persons with lower qualification and also those who didn't participate in any national or international sports event top the selection list.

They alleged that the merit list was prepared on the basis of theory and their sports career was ignored. Mr Sidhu alleged that the candidates with certificate course in physical education were chosen over those having bachelors or masters degree in the subject. The union has urged the government to set aside the current merit list and prepare a fresh one keeping in view the achievements and qualifications of the candidates.


Experts dwell on modern applications of laser
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 19
A two-day conference on "Physics and Modern Applications of Laser" organised by the Postgraduate Department of Physics, Lyallpur Khalsa College concluded here yesterday.

Dr Ravi A.V Kumar from the Institute of Plasma Research, Ahmedabad, explained the physics behind the free electron laser. He delved into the research being done on these lasers at his institute.

Prof Rupamanjari Ghosh from the School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, gave a presentation on the monochromaticity of light. Dr R.S Johal, organising secretary and physicist from the host college, described the statistical theory based on Lynden-Bell approach behind the single-pass free electron laser.

Prof. H.S Bhatti and Mr Atul Gupta from Punjabi University Patiala and Dr Karamjit Singh Rai, a former geneticist from Notre Dame University, USA, attended the valedictory function.


Rally against female foeticide

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 20
Students of the local Mata Gujri College today carried out a candlelight procession from the college campus to Jallowal village against female foeticide. Jallowal had taken the lead in the district against female foeticide. Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president of the SGPC, flagged of the rally from the college complex.

Mr I.P.S. Sahota, IG (Human Rights), was the chief guest. College Principal, Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, honoured the Sarpanch of village, Mr Balvir Singh, for implementing the hukamnama of Akal Takht Sahib in true spirit. — OC


high court
Government defends reservation policy
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 20
The Punjab Government today defended its decision to provide for reservation of 50 per cent posts for the Scheduled Castes for the benefit of two categories of SCs, namely Balmikis and Mazhbi Sikhs.

In its reply filed by way of an affidavit of Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Secretary, Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, Punjab, the government has stated that there was nothing wrong in the decision as it was competent to do so in the light of a law recently passed by the Assembly.

The reply was filed in a number of writ petitions filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the reservation-within-reservation. In their petitions, Mr Hardip Singh and others have said the decision was violative of the Constitution as had been ruled by the High Court as also the Supreme Court of India, which had sometime back quashed such reservation as unconstitutional and illegal.

The petitioners have stated that despite orders of the High Court dated July 25, by which the court had set aside the instructions of May 5, 1975, pertaining to reservation-within-reservation in Punjab, the government is going ahead with this provision on the basis of the Punjab State Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Service) Act, 2006, whose legality is also under challenge before the High Court.

The reply filed by the government claims that the government had not tinkered with the presidential list of Scheduled Castes and backward classes issued in 1950 as has been alleged by the petitioners. Saying that since the petitioners have challenged the process of recruitment of teachers for government schools they should have named the Education Department as respondent, the reply has prayed that the petitions be dismissed.

Incidentally, it also says that the vacant posts of teachers were being filled to serve larger public interest keeping in view the reservation policy and the enactment of the latest law was also in public interest.


Jaipal Singh Tapa SDM

Chandigarh, November 20
Mr Jaipal Singh has been appointed Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) at Tapa, a subdivision of the newly created Barnala district. An order in this regard was issued by the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, here today. — TNS


3 booked for youth’s murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 20
The mystery shrouding the death of a city-based youth has been solved, with the police registering a case of murder against three persons in this regard.

According to sources, 30-year-old Varinder Mohan Garg had ventured out of his Vishal Nagar home on July 24 last year for getting his clothes ironed as he was supposed to see a marriage proposal that day. But, he didn’t return home after that.

All efforts of his family to trace him drew blank and a missing report was lodged with the police the next day.

On July 26, his body was found in Lehra Dhurkot.

The victim’s father, Mr Ashwani Kumar Garg, had stated in his complaint that a few months prior to his son’s death, Paramjeet Arora had brought a marriage proposal for Varinder from Mr Karam Chand's 

However, the Gargs responded in the negative due to the alleged ”dubious history of the family”, following which the two parties had an altercation.

He said Paramjeet came forward with another proposal, which they were to see on the fateful day.

He suspected that Paramjeet, Karamchand and Narata Ram and sons abducted his son and killed him.

Following two SP-level inquiries into the matter, a case has been registered against all three of them under Sections 302 and 364 of the IPC.


Robbers target Moga arhtiyas
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 20
A string of daylight robberies here has not only raised concerns but also placed the police department on its toes which is trying to track the robbers.

The robbers strike at the most unexpected places, be it the bus stand or the state highway.

Recently, a gang of three robbers attacked an accountant of a commission agent and took away Rs 5 lakh in cash. Another incident shook the localities when two employees of another commission agent where robbed of Rs 2 lakh near the new grain market, not far from the office of the Senior Superintendent of Police.

They attack the target with sharp-edged weapons and flee with the cash.

Commission agents Raj Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar faced the sting when their accountant Bhagwan Dass was attacked by the robbers at the bus stand of Bhagapurana and took away Rs 5 lakh withdrawn from a bank. Commission agents Nath Ram and sons were the next to feel the heat when they lost Rs 2 lakh, following an attack on their employees Sukhdev Singh and Satish Kumar. The modus operandi was again the same.

Mr Pawan Kumar Rai, SSP, said this region had always been more prone to criminal activities as compared to other areas of the region. But he assured that the police department was working to track down the criminals.

Meanwhile, the local residents now appear to be more cautious. Balwant Singh, who runs a hotel here, said that he avoids carrying cash. “Such incidents instill a sense of insecurity,” he said.

The commission agents particularly are more worried as in both the incidents they were targeted.


CM urged to withdraw road tax on school buses
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 20
A number of private educational institutions of the district today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to withdraw the road tax on school buses on the pattern of Haryana and Chandigarh. Heads of various academics and schools also submitted a memorandum in this regard to the Parliamentary Secretary, Industry and Commerce, and local MLA, Mr K.P.S. Rana, here this morning.

The heads of institutions said with the rise in the diesel price and other expenses, the cost of providing transport facility had increased much more. So, in the interest of the students.

Those who appealed the government include International Public School, Kurali, Punjab National Public School, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy, Ropar, and others.


Pbi varsity don attends Rotary Institute

Patiala, November 20
Prof (Dr) Harbans Pathak, governor (2005-06) of Rotary International District 3090, comprising the territories of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, attended the Rotary Zone Institute held at a hotel in Chandigarh, from November 15-19. Professor Pathak is the first governor of his area who has acted as faculty member for the training of district governor’s nominees of South-East Asian countries.

Inspired by the concern of Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, over the increasing rural-urban gap in education, Professor Pathak has got sanctioned Rs 1 crore from the Rotary Foundation for the university’s Yadvindra College of Engineering. — TNS


School kids donate Rs 1.25 lakh for SOS village children
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 20
Students of Om Parkash Bansal Modern School, Mandi Gobindgarh, collected Rs 1.25 lakh for extending help to the SOS children’s village of India, Rajpura.

Mr P.K. Arora, Principal of the school, said the students of the school were a regular visitor to the SOS village and they had motivated their parents and teachers to extend help to the children of the village. He said children at their own collected Rs 1.25 lakh. Stress on moral education in the school had motivated them. Appreciating the cause of students in his address, Mr Arora said it was important to learn to share their joys with others.

Mr Hukam Chand Bansal, founder and chairman of the school, handed over the donated money by the schoolchildren to SOS village children.


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