P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SC upholds life to killers of two Jalandhar kids
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Supreme Court has upheld the November 30, 2004, order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court through which two persons, who had killed two minor children of Jalandhar, had been awarded life imprisonment.

The case had hit headlines following the kidnapping for ransom and subsequent barbaric killing of two children Heena (8) and Abhishek (6) in June 2000. The mutilated bodies of Heena and Abhishek, school-going children of Kamal Kishore, a drycleaner, had been recovered from inside a gunny bag.

The gruesome killings had sent shockwaves in the region, with people taking to the streets to demand police action. What had also added to the shock was the fact that the killers were not outsiders but close acquaintances of the family of the deceased.

The two accused in the case - Gagan Kanojia and Rajinder Kumar alias Kuka - had been found guilty by the Jalandhar District and Sessions Judge of killing the two children and had been sentenced to death. However, the High Court Bench headed by Mr Justice H.S. Bedi had converted the death sentence into life imprisonment, following which the two killers as well as the State of Punjab had gone in appeal before the Supreme Court.

Gagan Kanojia and Rajinder Kumar had been found guilty of brutally killing the siblings on the evening of June 8, 2000.

In its judgement, the Supreme Court Bench of Mr Justice S.B. Sinha and Mr Justice Markandey Katju has said, “keeping in view the circumstantial evidences, which have been brought on records, we are satisfied that all links in the chain are complete and the evidences led by the prosecution point out only to one conclusion, that is, the guilt of the appellants herein. They have rightly been convicted of the offences charged against them by the learned Trial Judge.”

Referring to the appeal preferred by the complainant for enhancing the sentence of the two accused, the Bench ruled that the High Court had not committed any error in opining that the case was not one of the rarest of rare cases.


Convicted employees may be asked to quit
Sarbjit Dhaliwal & Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
In an unprecedented move, hundreds of employees of the Punjab government, who have been convicted by lower courts face a situation where they may be asked to leave their jobs. The only exception can be made in case the conviction has been stayed by a higher court.

The state vigilance commission has asked the government to supply a comprehensive list of employees, who have been convicted in one case or the other but are continuing in service. This includes not just the government employees but others also who are working in Punjab government undertakings.

Continuation in service cannot be allowed once an employee has been convicted, is the opinion of the commission, that is headed by a retired Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Amar Dutt.

Officials in the legal wing of the government estimate that the number of employees who may have been convicted by various courts can be upto 1,800. A sizeable number of such employees are said to be in the Punjab police.

However, the exact number will be known only when the data is available. Explaining the process of staying the conviction, Justice Amar Dutt said, “Normally the higher courts stay the sentence but rarely is a conviction stayed”.

Unless it is specified that the conviction has been stayed, the employee cannot continue in service even if an appeal is pending before a higher court, Justice Dutt added.

For the commission, which was formed about three months ago, this is a second major step. A few weeks ago, the commission had issued a stern warning to all departments, asking them to speed up cases where permission to prosecute was pending.

Sources in the Punjab government confirmed today that sanction to prosecute had been sent in 57 cases to the vigilance commission. Some important cases include that of two jail officials and also a senior functionary of the Markfed. The permissions were given by the respective departments.

In some cases, the permission had been pending for several years. The commission had taken umbrage at how various departments of the Punjab government were “protecting” their own corrupt employees from facing the law.

In more than 137 cases of alleged corruption, the Punjab vigilance bureau had sought permission to prosecute from the departments of the employees involved in these cases. However, this was being held back on one account or the other.

The commission held the opinion that the department could not just sit over these cases endlessly. They had to either refuse the permission to prosecute or allow it.

The commission said a time period of three months was more than sufficient to decide upon any case. At the Central level, the Central vigilance commission monitors all such requests seeking permission to prosecute an employee. The commission had applied the same logic in Punjab. Sources said in the past two years, several departmental heads of the government, by using discretion, had been saving tainted employees, who were nabbed taking bribe by the Punjab vigilance bureau.

The beneficiaries include doctors, engineers, patwaris, tehsildars and bankers in the cooperative sector and also employees Without permission, the bureau cannot even file a charge sheet in court and the nabbed employees are more or less off the hook.


Sidhu, Sandhu get bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chandigarh, Mr Y.S Rathore, today accepted the bail bonds of the BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and his friend, Rupinder Singh Sandhu.

The 43-year-old former cricketer, who resigned as BJP member of Lok Sabha last week, and his friend Sandhu were sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by Punjab and Haryana High Court for causing the death of an elderly man in Patiala. The Division Bench of the High Court had also suspended their sentence till January 31.

In the district court, the Chandigarh BJP chief, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, submitted bonds for Sidhu, while a local advocate Mr Ashok Chouhan submitted bonds for Rupinder Singh Sandhu. The bail bonds of Rs 10,000 each were accepted by the court.

Coming out of the court premises after furnishing bail bonds, Sidhu told mediapersons that he would soon move a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict. A former MP from Chandigarh, Mr Satyapal Jain, along with supporters of the cricketer-turned-politician, was among those present in the court.

"I am not worried by the court's verdict against me. I will soon move the Supreme Court and law will take its own course. I am a sportsperson. I have seen several ups and downs” he said

Advocates protest

Moments after Navjot Sidhu alighted from a black-coloured Mercedes, some of the lawyers protested against the entry of Sidhu’s vehicle in the court premises. As per the standard practice vehicles are not allowed beyond the main gate, they claimed. Two other vehicles accompanying the car were also parked inside the court premises. The vehicles were moved out after objection by the traffic police. Commenting on the issue, Mr Satya Pal Jain said "Sidhu is not at fault. He sat in another car whereas we had given number of another vehicle which was supposed to bring him to the court".


Sukhbir exonerated from murder charge
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 7
Mr Varinder Kumar Sessions Judge here today exonerated Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal from the charges of attempt of murder and tampering with official records. But he directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate to conduct trial of Mr Badal on charges of robbery and causing physical hurt to a photographer of a vernacular newspaper in the same case. The court quashed charges against the Akali MP under Sections 307 and 210 of the Indian Penal Code and remanded the case to the court the Chief Judicial Magistrate for a trail under other Sections of the Indian Penal Code mentioned in the FIR registered at the Kotwali police station of Kotakapura on June 21, 2002.

The case had been registered following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Mr Sukhbir Badal along with former Markfed Chairman Jagdish Singh Walia had been booked by the police on charges of having attempted to kill, a press photographer during 1999 Lok Sabha elections. They were booked under Sections 307, 382, 342, 148 and 149, of the IPC, on a complaint by Naresh Sehgal. As Jagdish Singh Walia died, Mr Badal alone is facing the charges.

On June 13, this year, another case was registered against Sukhbir Singh Badal and former Markfed Chairman Jagdish Singh Walia along with former Faridkot Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai, former Faridkot Superintendent of Police (H) Balbir Singh and BJP leader Raj Kumar Bansal, on the complaint of another press photographer Ajay Verma, who was travelling along with Naresh Sehgal at the time Mr Sukhbir and four others allegedly attacked them. This case too was registered on the directions of the high court. The case registered on the complaint of Ajay Verma was also taken up for hearing in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate J.S. Chouhan, here today, and was adjourned till December 16 reacting to the court’s judgement, the SAD general secretary said this had strengthened his faith in the judicial system of the country.

He said the judgement also vindicated his party’s stand that the Chief Minister had got false cases registered against the Akali leaders in general and the Badal in particular for revenge.


Five crushed to death as truck overturns on car
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 7
Five persons, including two women, were crushed to death on the Bathinda-Dabwali road when a truck overturned on the car in which they were travelling last night.

The Tribune team visited the accident spot and found that the car was badly crushed under the truck loaded with wooden logs and only its tyres were visible.

The accident occurred near Jodhpur Romana village at about 8.30 p.m. when a truck coming from the opposite direction overturned on the car ferrying two girls working in an orchestra to their home in Dabwali. The car had three more occupants, including its driver.

While the truck driver fled from the spot, some passersby intimated the Sahara volunteers about the accident. DSP (rural) Surinderpal Singh and SDM Anil Garg also reached the spot. Though there was very little chance of the car occupants being alive, the villagers along with policemen and Sahara volunteers began the rescue work by unloading wooden logs from the truck.

Meanwhile, the traffic on the road came to a grinding halt and the commuters on either sides of the road switched on their vehicles' light to help in rescue work. After five hours of unloading work, a crane arrived at the spot and extracted the car crushed under it.

The car's body was cut to extract the bodies. The normal traffic was restored at about 2 a.m.

The deceased were identified as Nidhi, Seema, Mahender Kumar, Saurav Joshi and driver Sadhu Ram. Sources said both the girls were working in Sunaina Orchestra of Kotkapura and were on their way back home to Dabwali after performing in a marriage ceremony at Sarai Naga.

Mahender was supposed to drop them in Dabwali. The police has registered a case against the truck driver under Sections 304 and 279 of the IPC and handed over the victims' bodies to their family members after a post-mortem examination.


Cousin’s love affair costs youth his legs
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 7
A Rampura Phul resident, Rajpal, who till last month was the sole breadwinner of his family, has paid the ultimate price for being the cousin of a youth who recently eloped with a girl. Both his legs were severed after the girl’s kin abducted him from Rampura Phul and threw him on the railway line.

Rajpal’s Sri Ganganagar-based cousin had had an affair with a girl living in his neighbourhood. The couple eloped on November 7, following which the girl’s relatives began a search for her.

During the hunt for the couple, they learnt about an aunt of the youth living in Rampura Phul. On November 10, around 10 persons from the girl’s family reached the grain market in Rampura and called out Rajpal, who worked there as a daily-wager.

They allegedly forced him into their vehicle and sped away. His family lodged a complaint with the police, following which a case was registered against Gautam, Raju Pawar, Vicky Painter, Ranjeet Singh and six others.

On November 11, Rajpal was found in a serious condition on a railway line in Bathinda. Both his legs had been severed after being run over by a train.

Talking from the hospital bed, Rajpal said they asked him to disclose the whereabouts of the couple. But when he showed his ignorance, they beat him up. Later, they threw him on the railway line.

Meanwhile, sources have said that the couple have been traced and the girl restored to her parents. On the other hand, Rajpal’s father Ram Nath has filed a complaint with the SSP, alleging dilly-dallying tactics on part of the Rampura police in arresting the accused. He has also alleged that the accused have the patronage of a Congress leader from Bathinda.

SSP Varinder Kumar has marked an inquiry into the matter to Rampura Phul DSP and asked him to submit a report within 10 days.


Bhatia keeps guessing game on
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 7
Speculations are rife that Mr R.L. Bhatia might resign as Governor of Kerala and jump into active politics again following the sentencing of Navjot Singh Sidhu to three years’ imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Incidentally, Sidhu had won the last Parliamentary election with a margin of more than one lakh votes.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bhatia, who held series of meetings with his supporters, including MLAs from Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts, at his residence here today, quipped that “he would first consult his well-wishers and family members before taking any decision”.

Answering another question, Mr Bhatia said though he had a stop-over at New Delhi yet he did not meet the party president, Ms Sonia Gandhi. He, however, said he would meet Ms Gandhi after getting feedback from Amritsar.

Answering another query, Mr Bhatia said being the Governor of a state, he would not entertain any more questions regarding probability of his contesting the Lok Sabha election.

It is pertinent to mention here that Mr Bhatia was appointed as Governor, Kerala, after his debacle in the Parliamentary elections.


No order to impound SAD buses, says CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said his government had not given any instruction to district transport officers to impound the buses carrying people to the Shiromani Akali Dal's rally at Moga tomorrow.

He said a false propaganda was being made in this regard by the SAD leader, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

"There would be no big response to the SAD rally at Moga. Instead the Congress rally at Lambi would be bigger one, so Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal had started levelling false allegations against the government as a cover-up for the rally", Capt Amarinder Singh claimed.

"We have done nothing to stop the SAD rally", he added.

When asked that how many Akali and former Congress leaders would join the Congress tomorrow, he said some Akali leaders, who were not happy with the Badals, were expected to join the party tomorrow. "I would not give their names at this stage", he said.

Capt Amarinder Singh said all allegations levelled by Mr Sukbir Singh Badal against the government with regard to the Janta Land Promoters' mega project at Mohali were false. 


SAD: demands of employees to be considered
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 7
Shiromani Akali Dal Chief Parkash Singh Badal said today all demands of employees would be considered positively before the party released its election manifesto for Assembly elections.

The former Chief Minister said the party had been making efforts to incorporate demands of all sections of society in its manifesto.

Mr Badal was addressing a rally of employees, assembled under the banner of the Mulazam Front (Punjab), here today. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had been ignoring demands of employees, he said.

Mr Badal said due to wrong policies of the government Punjab was reeling under a debt of nearly Rs 55,000 crore. On the issue of Ludhiana and Mohali projects, Mr Badal said his party had proof that the Chief Minister and his aides had indulged in corrupt practices. 


Vigilance Bureau yet to take action
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 7
Even after three days of unearthing a land scam involving 523 acres shamlat deh land of Mullanpur Garibdas village, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau is yet to make a headway in the case. Neither the Patwari accused in the case has been arrested nor the revenue records related to the case been seized.

The case needs serious attention as the price of one acre land near the shamlat land in question is said be between Rs 1.5 to 2 crore. The local villagers, on the condition of anonymity, said the land had been transferred through power of attorney and affidavits of the persons prepared illegally.

Moreover, this work had been done in a planned manner by a group of influential persons. This is not an isolated case, a group of persons involved in the case are involved in the sale of shamlat deh land in a nearby district also.

The DSP (Vigilance), Mr Banarshi Dass, said “we have summoned revenue record from the Tehsildar, Kharar, tomorrow. The involvement of other persons in the case would be cleared after the verification of the documents. He said we have been conducting raids to arrest the accused in the case. While Tehsildar of Kharar, Rajinder Singh said in the revenue records, the land in question is shamlat deh land.

The land scam had come to light on December 4 after the Vigilance Bureau registered a case against Patwari Harvinder Singh under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 13(1), 13(2) under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Vigilance Bureau, in an FIR registered against the accused, revealed that a major portion of this shamlat land was allegedly sold to private parties after revenue records were tampered by a local Patwari. The Vigilance Bureau had accused the Patwari of misusing his official power and also tampered with the revenue records. It was said in the FIR that shamlat land was transferred in various persons’ names and later the land had been sold to private parties.

Besides the land was sold to persons at a very low price while the actual price of the land was much more. Even permission of the District Collector was not sought before transferring land to any party in this regard.

The Patwari had also issued false revenue records to the private parties.


Woman commits suicide with 3 children
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 7
In a bizarre incident, a woman threw all her children in a water reservoir before committing suicide at 69NP village in the neighbouring Sriganga-nagar area yesterday, official sources confirmed this morning.

An eyewitness told the police that Geeta Devi (28) was seen heading towards the water reservoir on the outskirts of the village along with her children, Prem (8), Priyanka (6) and Deepu (4). After a few minutes one of the children was seen rushing, obviously to escape, but she chased and caught hold of him. Only in the afternoon two employees of the water supply department noticed four bodies floating.

Her husband, Surja Ram, later said since their marriage in 1997 he had been feeding the family as a daily-wage earner but there was no immediate cause of taking such a drastic step by Geeta. Her parents too did not see any foul play in the episode. 


Jhelum Express not to halt at Pathankot
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, December 7
In a significant development, the Northern Railway has cancelled the halt of the Jhelum Express at the Pathankot railway station with effect from December 20.

Railway sources said here today that the train would stop only at the Chakki Bank railway station and proceed toward Jammu instead of halting at Pathankot.


SAD seeks CBI probe into Mohali “land scam”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
SAD yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues(retd), seeking a CBI inquiry into the alleged scam regarding a mega project promoted by Janta Land Promoters Limited (JLPL) at Mohali.

Led by the President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the party leaders urged the Governor to stop the promoter company from playing havoc with the master plant of Mohali.

The SAD alleged that the rules and norms were violated to allow JLPL to develop 120 acres of prime land meant for public parks in Sector 91 of Mohali, thus helping the company earn Rs 1,500 crore after it had bought the land for merely Rs 10 crore.


high court
Poohla gets bail in NDPS case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 7
Nihang leader Ajit Singh Poohla, who is lodged in the Model Jail, Burail, Chandigarh, was today granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a case under the NDPS Act registered against him.

The case against the controversial Nihang was registered at Police Station, Sector 39, Chandigarh, on March 8, 2004, under the NDPS Act for alleged cultivation of poppy crop for opium.

In his plea for grant of bail, Poohla had stated that he was not involved in any such activity and had been implicated in the case. Moreover, his counsel pointed out to the court that the police had been unable to come up with proof of ownership of the gurdwara in Sector 39 where Poohla was allegedly cultivating poppy nor had it mentioned the quantity of the crop that had been seized.

Col. G.S. Sandhu (retd), chief of the Poohla Eviction Committee, had also moved an application that he be heard in the matter.

However, declining his prayer, Mr Justice S.K. Mittal granted bail to Poohla. Today’s order means that Poohla, who has either been bailed out in other pending cases or has been acquitted, will now be released after almost seven months in jail.

Time sought

Counsel for the Union of India today sought time for seeking instructions on the issue of debarring of advocates from being appointed Presiding Officers of the Labour Courts and Tribunals.

During resumed hearing of a PIL filed by advocate H.C. Arora, challenging the vires of Sections 7 and 7-A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which totally debars advocates from being appointed Presiding Officers of the Labour Courts and Tribunals, the Bench observed that the Sections suffered from a great anomaly.

The petitioner has contended that advocates with 10 years standing were eligible to be appointed as Judges of the High Courts and those with seven years standing as District and Sessions Judges, but they were not eligible for appointment to the posts under the Act.

After hearing him and counsel for the Union of India, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice Vijendra Kumar Jain and Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar adjourned the matter to February 15, 2007.


6 farmers to get relief for damaged paddy
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 7
Disposing of six complaints filed by agriculturists from Dhanaula and Kube villages and Sangrur town regarding insurance of their paddy crop, the Sangrur District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited, Bandra, east Mumbai, to pay the complainants their respective assured sum along with 9 per cent interest per annum from the date of insurance till realisation.

The forum has also directed the company to pay an amount of Rs 3,000 as compensation on account of the mental pain, agony and harassment, and an amount of Rs 1,000 as litigation expenses to each complainant.

The complainants had got their cultivated area of paddy crop insured in June 2005 under weather insurance scheme from the company through Indico Hightech Rural Development of Women Welfare Society, Sangrur. Due to bad weather, their paddy crop was badly damaged but the insurance company did not pay any claim to them. The agriculturists then lodged complaints with the forum in this regard.

The forum has directed the insurance company to pay assured sum of Rs 20,000 to Mr Navjeet Sharma from Dhanaula who had got his cultivated area of five acres of paddy crop insured, and assured sum of Rs 1,00,000 to Mr Karamjit Singh from Dhanaula who had got insured his cultivated area of 25 acres of paddy crop.

The forum has also directed the insurance company to pay assured sum of Rs 76,000 to Mr Ajit Singh from Dhanaula who had got insured his cultivated area of 19 acres of paddy crop, and assured sum of Rs 3 lakh to Mr Naveen Sharma from Sangrur who had got insured his cultivated area of 75 acres of paddy crop.

The forum has also directed the company to pay assured sum of Rs 96,000 to Mr Charanjiv Sharma from Dhanaula who had got insured his cultivated area of 24 acres of paddy crop, and assured sum of Rs 40,000 to Mr Gurcharan Singh from Kube village (Barnala) who had got insured his cultivated area of 10 acres of paddy crop. 


Attempt to ‘kidnap’ girl, three held
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 7
An attempt to “kidnap” a 19-year-old girl from Amritsar was foiled by the local police this evening with the arrest of three persons.

A police party arrested Rajbir Singh, Pinky Sharma and Balbir Singh, when they were on their way to Ambala from Chandigarh after allegedly “kidnapping” the girl from Chandigarh. The accused are residents of Zirakpur.

The girl, who had come to Chandigarh in search of work, was being taken to Ambala in a car when they were signalled to stop at Jawaharpur village. However, when they did not stop they were chased and arrested.

Meanwhile, the girl was restored to her parents by the police. A case has been registered.


Poachers arrested

Ropar, December 7
Punjab wildlife officials arrested two poachers near Dhaulora village in Chamkaur Sahib, yesterday Wildlife Protection Act. Officials recovered a cache of hog deer, rifles, and cartridges from them.

Mr Parveen Singh, DFO (Wildlife), said Gurmukh Singh and Gurbachan Singh were planing to target wild boars. “ They have been granted bail”, he added. TNS


Rs 100 cr special grant for PAU
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today gave its approval for a special grant of Rs 100 crore to Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, to develop new technologies for enhancing input use and conserving natural resources.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, briefing newspersons after the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the grant amount would be utilised in developing new technologies to provide momentum.

Giving the breakup of the grant, he said Rs 70.87 crore had been approved for various equipment, while Rs 13.50 crore had been approved for the new works namely International Centre, Pilot Plant Establishment, University Auditorium and Technology / Product Sale Centre.

He said Rs 37 lakh had been approved for the purchase of utility vehicles namely one mobile workshop and two pick-up vans, and Rs 15.26 crore for various furniture and fixtures for laboratories in various colleges/ departments namely the College of Agriculture, College of Agricultural engineering, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, College of Home Science, Directorate of Extension Education, Directorate of Students’ Welfare, Library Complex and research Stations.


Teachers’ agitation continues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Jail Bharo Andolan of teachers and other employees of government-aided schools in Punjab continues as 106 protesters, including 35 women, from Amritsar district courting arrest in Sector 17 this afternoon.

As the Model Jail in Burail village was overcrowded, the police took the protesters to Patiala Jail. Sources in the police said the police was also keeping in touch with the Nabha Jail authorities as it was learnt that even the Patiala jail did not have much space to accommodate the influx of agitating teachers courting arrest. So far 680 teachers have courted arrest.

During the day the protesters assembled outside the office of the Director Public Instructions (DPI), Punjab, and after staging a rally, they marched towards the road dividing Sector 16 and 17, but were arrested by the police.

Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, adviser to the protesting teacher’s union, said they would further intensify their stir after their first phase of agitation was over on December 14.

Mr Harchand Barsat, OSD to the Chief Minister, met the protesters in Burail jail today and assured them full support, claimed the representatives. Besides this, members of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) today appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to intervene personally to end the strike.


Protest against privatisation
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 7
Activists of the Punjab Students Union (PSU) burnt an effigy of the Punjab Government and staged a rally at the local Industrial Training Institute (ITI) here today.

The protesters raised slogans against the government at the institute gate to lodge their protest against the government’s policy of privatisation.

Addressing the rally, union’s district finance secretary Pardeep Singh Kasba flayed the government for privatising public-sector undertakings and towing the line of the World Bank.

He alleged that the government was paving the way for exploitation of youth by handing over government institutions in private hands.

Jagraj Singh Naiwal, Pardeep Himmatpura and Mithu said the postponement of the decision to hand over ITIs to private concerns was only a poll gimmick.

ITI president Jaggi Khokhar, Baljinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Karamjit Singh said the government must take care of the scarcity of raw material in ITIs.


Medical college may shrink to Civil Hospital
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 7
To improve health care at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences has decided to club important clinical departments. The aim is to save money by shunting out surplus staff especially the nurses and paramedical employees working on a contractual basis in the hospital.

According to sources in the hospital, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr Ravinder Singh, last week issued verbal instructions to merge the Skin, Psychiatry and three units of the medicine department into one ward. Similarly, clubbing of orthopaedics and the ENT department with one surgery ward with all its three units under one head is also on the cards.

This will merge more than six wards which usually have fewer patients, and free surplus staff in these wards. It is also likely that posts of medical teacher, vacant since long, will be filled on contract.

Clubbing of these departments would certainly reduce the number of beds which could lead to the violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms. The university has also plans to start Diploma of National Board of Examinations (DNBE).


Goldsmiths to meet Manmohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 7
The All-India Swarnkar Sangh has decided to meet the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister and the Home Minister to apprise them of the problems being faced by them.

The general secretary of the Punjab Swarnkar Sangh, Mr Satnam Singh Kanda, has said that goldsmiths should be included in the OBC category.

He also said the government should take necessary steps to check harassment of the community at the hands of the police.

Mr Jagjit Singh Sehdev, general secretary, All-India Swarnkar Sangh, said more than 300 persons had committed suicide due to illegal satta resulting in huge losses to the community. He said this illegal satta should be banned.


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