P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


New excise policy this week likely
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 11
While the Punjab Chief Minister is under pressure from the liquor barons to revert to the old excise policy of auctioning the liquor vends, the Department of Excise and Taxation is busy in making the policy for 2007-08. The excise policy is likely to be finalised within this week as the process of allotting the liquor vends has to be completed before March 31.

The Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had switched over to the licence system instead of auction after it earned bad name in the previous year. The licence system of allotment of liquor vends has proved to be quite successful and the state has also earned the targeted revenue of excise, according to the liquor contractors and the state government officials. However, some of the liquor contractors, who had monopoly during the SAD-BJP regime, are opposed to the licence system and want that the system of auction of vends should be restored. Even some of the big guns in the liquor trade who dominated the trade during the Amarinder Singh government are keen on restoring the old system.

The Tribune has learnt that the Excise and Taxation Department has suggested some changes in the allotment of liquor vends keeping in view the experience of the first year of the licence system.

The department is understood to have suggested that the number of liquor vends should be reduced and the annual licence fee raised.

The department is understood to have suggested that the annual licence fee for the municipal corporation towns should be raised by Rs 5 lakh. Accordingly, the fee for Ludhiana town should be Rs 65 Lakh, Jalandhar and Bathinda Rs 60 lakh each. For small towns the fee has been suggested at Rs 55 lakh each and four categories for the rural areas have been created as A, B, C and D with licence fees of Rs 45 lakh, Rs 30 lakh, Rs 20 lakh and Rs 15 lakh each, respectively. The government expects more than Rs 1,500 crore from the excise duty per annum.

The department has also suggested that the quota of both Punjab liquor and IMFL should also be raised and the licence fee would be bound down to lift the fixed quota to ensure revenue of excise duty.

The department has suggested that the prices of Punjab liquor (country-made liquor) and the IMFL should also be reduced as the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have fixed low prices this year.

The Excise Department has emphasised that the rates of liquor have to be kept low to check smuggling of liquor from the neighbouring states.


No ground to resign, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said as of now there was no moral or legal ground for him to resign and described the Rs 78-crore disproportionate assets case against him and his family members as “false and politically motivated”.
Sukhbir is not the Government, I am the Government. There will be no vindictive action against Amarinder, said Parkash Singh Badal, after stopping Sukhbir from replying to a question from a reporter if Amarinder will be now put behind bars. In the run-up to the elections, Sukhbir had stated that the Captain will be put behind bars. The Chief Minister said “ have never used these words and i am CM of Punjab not just the SAD”.

The case was foisted upon me by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, he alleged. He was reacting to the orders of a Ropar court ordering the framing of charges against him, his son Sukhbir Badal and wife Surinder Kaur.

“The people of Punjab have already given their verdict regarding the vendetta pursued by Amarinder Singh and vindicated me and my family’s honour”, he said while talking to mediapersons here. The Chief Minister further said it was a settled legal position that charges could be framed merely on the basis of suspicion and at the stage of the framing of the charges, the court was not required to evaluate the truth of the allegations in the chargesheet.

Giving the details of the background of the case framed against him by the state Vigilance Bureau, Badal claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh had sent him a letter in September 2001 alleging that he owned properties and assets worth over Rs 3,500 crore.

“My government will honour all judicial orders and verdicts and uphold the law”, he said rejecting the demand of the Congress for his resignation. When asked if his being the minister for vigilance would have an impact on the case, Badal claimed that he would have his personal lawyers contest the case and the vigilance had nothing to do with it. “The matter is now in the court and there is no question of the vigilance interfering in it,” he said.

Badal said his family had filed criminal complaints against Amarinder and charges had been framed against him. In view of these complaints, Amarinder Singh was left with no alternative but to foist false cases to create a defence for himself, the Chief Minister said alleging that “he (Amarinder) had got this done through obliging a complainant, who was subsequently rewarded”.

On the basis of inflated and distorted valuation reports, a chargesheet was filed. “In this case, the valuation of the various properties on the basis of which the case has been made out by the prosecution has not been accepted by the Income Tax authorities,” he said.

“The Income Tax authorities, after reopening the cases and conducting a detailed scrutiny and investigation, have accepted the valuation in our Income Tax returns,” the Chief Minister said. “The Supreme Court has held in various cases that the Income Tax valuations are to be accepted and prevail over any other”, he said and added that all these and other legal issues would be taken up at the appropriate stage.

Badal sought to point out that a number of senior political leaders in the country had been victims of political vendetta at various times.


A Tribune Exclusive
A CJ’s fight against female foeticide
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain today said it pained him when it was pointed out to him that the problem of female foeticide had assumed gigantic proportions in the two progressive states of Punjab and Haryana.

Strong words coming from a sitting Chief Justice, one might say. But then for a man, who is singularly responsible for a majority of the steps taken in the fight against female foeticide, Chief Justice Jain is seen to be succeeding, where even a multitude of laws have failed, only because of his blunt speak.

“When I came here over three months ago as Chief Justice, I had heard many good things about the two states. But, when I came across reports about the stigma of femicide that is attached to these two states, I could not sleep for two days. I thought something must be done about this. I took it as a challenge. Thankfully, all other judges and the state governments shared my views. I thought, since the laws had not achieved the desired results, why not take the fight to the people’s doorsteps. Hence, our mass contact programmes,” Chief Justice Jain told The Tribune in the course of an exclusive interview.

Asked what he thought was the single biggest factor responsible for the persisting problem, Chief Justice Jain said it was the general attitude prevailing in the society with regard to girls.

“People still consider girls to be weak. Some parents think it is better not to bring the girl child into the world as it could mean a lot of expenses on dowry, etc. This mindset will have to change. In most fields, girls are doing better than boys. Mothers need to be educated that no amount of pressure can force them to abort the foetus. Just imagine what will happen if there are no girls in the society. Are we moving towards polyandry? Or will be import brides from abroad or other states?” he asked.

To a question about the kind of strategy being adopted to tackle the menace, the Chief Justice replied that it had to be multi-pronged strategy. “All stake-holders will have to be told that it is against our dharma, apart from being against the law also. We need to sensitise the citizens. How can anybody justify killing the unborn girl child while at the same time one prays to female goddesses like Durga, Sita, Lakshmi, etc?’ he said.

To another question, Chief Justice Jain said he did not think more stringent laws would help curb the menace speedily.

“The laws are already there. But, they are only for those who follow the law. The important issue is to educate the people. Recently a consumer court had held that even a foetus was a living being. Therefore, killing any foetus tantamounts to murder. The legal ramifications in the light of this order will also have to be understood. But, let me clarify that nothing substantial will be achieved unless people come forward on their own,” he added.

He also pointed out that in most cases under the PNDT Act, the guilty get away due to lack of evidence and witnesses. “What can the courts do in such an eventuality?” Chief Justice Jain asked.


Dimpa may be arrested
Tribune News Service

Beas, March 11
The Beas police may launch manhunt to arrest Jasbir Singh Dimpa, a former Congress MLA and other accused, who were booked on charges of killing an Akali worker on January 29 here.

It is learnt that the police was awaiting peaceful election in this sensitive constituency before arresting Dimpa.


Mann flays appointment of Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 11
Criticising the appointment of Sukhbir Singh Badal as acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a former Sangrur MP Simranjit Singh Mann said Sukhbir had been rewarded with this post, as he was the son of the president of the SAD and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, otherwise his performance in the recently held Assembly elections had remained nil.

Talking to The Tribune today, Mann said Sukhbir had looked after Malwa belt in the Assembly elections, where the SAD had tasted a big defeat. Despite the defeat Sukhbir had been rewarded with the post of the acting president of the SAD, while on the other hand he (Mann) resigned on moral grounds from the post of president of SAD (A) after the defeat of his party in the Assembly elections.

Mann said with the appointment of Sukhbir, the SAD might head towards a split, as a large section of the party would not like appointment of Sukhbir. He also said that big boards were displayed from Chandigarh to Sunam for welcoming Parminder Singh Dhindsa, cabinet minister, but these boards did not had the photograph of Sukhbir Badal, which showed that Sukhbir was not a recognised leader in the party.


Old buses to be phased out
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, March 11
The Punjab Transport Department will replace all old buses with new ones. Replacement will be done in a phased manner. The government has also plans to introduce incentive schemes for the Punjab Roadways staff to help increase revenue, claimed Mohan Lal, Transport Minister.

The minister made the statement after introducing 25 new buses as part of 300 new buses “PUNBUS” to be added to the fleet here today. He flagged off the buses at the newly constructed bus stand and claimed the department was for the first time putting vehicles on roads with better facilities for passengers as private bus operators had done.

He revealed the PUNBUS introduced 360 buses in 2005 while 292 ordinary and six air-conditioned buses were put on routes in 2007. More such buses will also be added to the fleet of the Punjab Roadways and PUNBUS.

The minister stressed establishing a world-class driving school in the state for people interested in obtaining driving licences for heavy vehicles. This would also help them get employment. He stressed on the improvement of behaviour of department employees towards passengers.

Besides adding rest rooms and providing quality food to the public, facilities at the local bus stand would be upgraded and special emphasis would be laid on cleanliness, he promised.

He also said the department would computerise shortly to curb corruption and improve efficiency to reduce harassment of people.

The minister warned illegal bus and taxi operators and said rebate in the taxes for minibus operators was under consideration. He also inaugurated a new truck union in Pathankot and sought cooperation from truckers in maintaining cordial relations with traders and businessmen.

He said all truck unions would be registered with the Transport Department and freight be fixed to check fleecing and overcharging from traders.

Besides Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Vivek Pratap Singh, Mandeep Singh, Director State Transport, Maninder Singh, General Manager, Headquarter Chandigarh, and prominent persons were also present on the occasion. 


Residents join hands against heritage hotel
Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Residents of Patiala form a human chain in protest against heritage hotel project at Baradari on Sunday.
Residents of Patiala form a human chain in protest against heritage hotel project at Baradari on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Patiala, March 11
With residents today forming a human chain against the blockade of a passage by the company executing the heritage hotel project, the protest against it has picked up. The project is being executed by a private company on about 4.62 acres of the Baradari Garden here.

Recently, the company blocked the passage leading from Sheranwala gate to Lela Bhavan in view of the construction work.

A number of residents throng the Baradri for morning walk every day. They said Baradari was lungs of the city. The people of the city had been using the place for morning walk and leisure. However, now the interests of common people had been sacrificed for vested interests.

Project plan not submitted to the municipal corporation.

The heritage hotel is no way going to help the general public. The prime property of Patiala worth crores of rupees has been handed over to a private company by previous government without keeping in view the interests of the public, they said.

With the municipal corporation elections around, political parties have also come out in support of the protesters. The BJP has announced that it would protest against the blockade of the passage.

Commissioner of the Patiala Municipal Corporation S.K. Ahluwalia has served a notice on the company, alleging that the corporation has no knowledge about the construction plan of the company. The company is yet to submit the plan to the corporation.

The hotel was planned by the tourism department during the regime of the previous government in Rajinder Kothi in Baradari. The site earlier housed the office of the Archives Department. Many precious articles of historical significance were kept in the building. The government is yet to find a suitable place to preserve those articles.


Conversion row: VHP men hurt in lathi charge
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

A VHP leader being beaten up for allegedly trespassing on the house of a pastor in Bathinda on Sunday.
A VHP leader being beaten up for allegedly trespassing on the house of a pastor in Bathinda on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Bathinda, March 11
Several Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists were injured, two of them seriously, when the police resorted to a mild lathi charge when they allegedly entered into the house of a Christian pastor, Amit Sidhu, in this town and tried to disturb the prayers which were being offered there here today.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Vijay Bhardwaj, the firebrand general secretary of the VHP and Sumit Kumar, co-ordinator of the Bajrang Dal, who suffered multiple injuries in the police lathi charge, were admitted to the local civil hospital. Doctors attending on them said that their condition was stable.

After the lathi charge, activists of the VHP and its sister organisations staged a dharna in front of the city police station to lodge their protest against the alleged high-handedness of the police.

The SSP, when contacted, said nearly 40 to 50 activists of the VHP and their sister organisations were about to attack occupants of the house of Amit Sidhu after making a forced entry into the same to stop the prayers being offered there. He recommended to the Deputy Commissioner that a magisterial probe should be ordered into the incident to bring the truth to the fore.

He added that it would also make clear the role of the police in dispersing the gathering to keep the situation under control.

He said that he had transferred Gurjit Romana, SHO city police station, to prevent him to wield any undue influence in the magisterial probe.

Constable Pyara Singh had also been shifted to the Police Lines from the city police station.

"Had the police not resorted to the mild lathi charge, there would have been a severe clash which could have aggravated the situation in this town," said the SSP.

Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari, when contacted, said that he would order a magisterial probe the moment he received a communication in this regard from the district police chief.

However, he added that it was due to the fact that a section of activists of the VHP always took the simple prayer being offered by Christians in their houses as ceremonies for the conversion of Hindus.

But VHP activists alleged that no one had any intention to attack the house of Amit as they simply went there to see whether any religion conversion ceremony was going or not. They added that the moment they reached near the house of the pastor, a police contingent present there, resorted to lathi charge without any provocation. They demanded that all the police officials who resorted to the lathi charge should be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the district police authorities arrested four members of the Christian missionary group out of total six, who were allegedly involved in the attack made on VHP activists near Gobindpura village of this district last evening. The police has also registered a case under section 307 of the IPC against all these six persons in police station cantonment.


CM’s Secretariat to have 2 IAS, 2 PCS,1 technocrat
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Round one of the administrative review in Punjab was completed today with the naming of Shivinder Singh Brar and Darbara Singh Guru as the financial commissioner taxation (FCT) and principal secretary (PS) to the Chief Minister, respectively.

Since the immediate task for the government is to finalise its new excise policy, replacing of Mukul Joshi, blue-eyed boy of the previous regime, as FCT looked inevitable. Now Mukul has been given the Department of Freedom Fighters.

Though the new excise and taxation commissioner (ETC) is yet to be named, Shivinder will have the present ETC D.P. Reddy to assist him.

While Mukul Joshi as been cornered, principal secretary to Capt Amarinder Singh, Suresh Kumar, gets the important Department of Power and stays in the inner group of the new Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also. The CM has retained the portfolio of Power with him.

Retaining of officers like Krishan Kumar, deputy commissioner of Nawanshahr, have sent positive signals in the Punjab bureaucracy.

The Chief Minister has reposed faith in Darbara Singh Guru as his principal secretary though Dhanbir Singh Bains was also in the run.

Besides Guru, the CM’s Secretariat will have KJS Cheema as special secretary, Ajay Kumar Mahajan as technocrat, Parveen Kumar and Gaggandeep Singh Brar as additional principal secretaries.

The appointment of the chairman of the Pollution Control Board was also made in the first go. The second round may witness political appointments being made.

The 13th Punjab Vidhan Sabha will hold its first sitting on March 15 at 2 pm where pro-tem speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon will administer oath to all new members. On March 16, the election of the speaker will be held.

After two holidays, the House will reassemble on March 19 for the Governor’s address. On March 20 will be obituary references. On March 21, motion of thanks on Governor’s address will be moved for discussion in the House which will continue on March 22 and 23.

On March 28 supplementary demands and vote on account will be taken up by the House. Any new Bills to be taken up by the House will come up on March 29.


Punjab postings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The following postings were ordered today by the Punjab Government. Mukul Joshi becomes principal secretary, Freedom Fighters, Shivinder Singh Brar financial commissioner, Excise & Taxation, Darbara Singh Guru principal secretary to the Chief Minister, Suresh Kumar secretary, Power, and Dharamvir of Revenue. Abnash Singh Chhatwal becomes managing director, PIDB, and in addition, member secretary, Fiscal Reforms and Project director-cum-secretary, Shahpur Kandi project. Raminder Singh is the special secretary of Cooperation, Ashok Kumar Gupta of Education and Rakesh Kumar Verma of Coordination.

J.M. Balamurugan is the new DC of Kapurthala, Dr Arvinder Singh of Moga, Dharamjit Singh Grewal of Patiala, V.K. Ohri of Barnala, Surjit Singh of Mansa, Vikas Garg of Muktsar, Sumer Singh Gurjar of Ludhiana, and Alaknanda Dayal of Fatehgarh Sahib.

Jaspreet Talwar becomes special secretary of Finance ,Dilip Kumar of Irrigation and Khushi Ram of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs. S.K. Sharma becomes additional secretary, Elections.

Praveen Kumar is additional principal secretary to the CM. Gaggandeep Singh Brar is also the additional principal secretary to the CM and in addition to being director, Civil Aviation. G.S. Ghuman is secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Patiala. Vinay Bhublani is joint director (Admn), DPI (Colleges).


Bains is media advisor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today appointed his long-trusted associate Harcharan Singh Bains as his media advisor. He will take over on Monday and enjoy the status and rank of the minister of state.

Bains will be given emoluments, allowances and other facilities enjoyed by his predecessor BIS Chahal, who was the media advisor in the previous Congress regime.


Woman doctor beaten up by son of ex-sarpanch
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 11
The Punjab unit of the Rural Medical Service Association has condemned the alleged beating up of a lady rural health officer, Dr Jasdeep Kaur, posted at the subsidiary health centre in village Alleychak in Gurdaspur district, by son of an ex-sarpanch of the village here today.

The association's press secretary, Dr Anshuman Verma said the lady doctor was roughed up by two men and a woman in broad daylight. She received multiple injuries and had to be admitted at the local civil hospital.

In his complaint to the police, the victim's husband has alleged that the prime accused in the case had been threatening the lady doctor for quite some time demanding that he should be given a free hand in taking decisions related to the utilisation of funds for the maintenance of the sub-centres under the charge of Dr Kaur.

Dr Verma alleged that the police was yet to arrest the prime accused. Dr Manjinder Singh, president of the association's Gurdaspur unit said members of the association would intensify their protest if no action were taken against the accused immediately.


Armed robbery bid foiled
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 11
Panic gripped the city when at least four dacoits, one of whom wore a turban and carried fire arms, made an attempt to commit a robbery at a jeweller shop located in the congested Partap Bazar here last evening.

According to eye witnesses, four unidentified youths suddenly appeared in the shop of Parkash and Sons Jewellers, located between the Khara Khuh and Partap Bazar at about 7.45 pm.

Dharampal Jain, owner of the shop, his daughter-in-law Sonia Jain, employee Raju and Sonu working in the same bazar were present in the shop.

The robbers instructed Dharampal to hand over all valuables, including cash and jewellery to them at pistol-point. Meanwhile, Raju pushed one of the dacoit and Dharampal threw a tray on them. One of the dacoit started firing following which Dharampal sustained bullet injury in the leg. Hearing the loud bang of firing, adjoining shopkeepers and passers-by rushed towards the shop.

On seeing this , three dacoits succeeded in escaping on their motor cycle, while one of them was caught by the people. He was later handed over to the police.

Dharmapal was admitted to the local Civil Hospital where his condition is quite under control.

The SSP, Hoshiarpur, met Dharampal Jain in Civil Hospital. Mr Tikshan Sud, minister, Punjab, also visited the hospital to enquire about the incident from him.

Talking to this correspondent, the SSP said that the arrested dacoit had been identified as Rajinder Kumar, son of Satnam Singh of Amargarh village (Nawanshahr). One pistol and a motor cycle had been recovered from him.


Woman, grandson crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, March 11
A Class XI student and his 60-year-old grandmother were crushed to death near the local bust stand when a truck rammed into a motor cycle they were riding on the Gurdaspur-Pathankot road this morning.

A resident of Shastri Nagar, Sumit was riding the motor cycle (PB-35-D-5128) with grandmother Satya Devi on the pillion when the truck (HR-46-9873) knocked them down. They died on the spot. Sumit was going to drop his grandmother at the railway station when the accident took place.

The truck reportedly dragged the two-wheeler for a distance after the accident. Shopkeepers and locals assembled and managed to overpower truck driver Mohinder Singh and hand him over to the police.

A case of rash and negligent driving, causing death to two, was registered against the driver under sections 304-A, 279 and 427 of the IPC.


3 arrested for theft
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 11
Three persons, including a security official have been arrested in connection with theft of electrical equipment worth Rs 42 lakh from Suratgarh thermal plant, the police in Sriganganagar area said today. The culprits had allegedly sold half of the stolen material for Rs 1.54 lakh to a junk dealer.

The police said that during the intervening night of 19-20 February electrical equipment containing brass, copper, and aluminum metal weighing a thousand kg was stolen by breaking locks of the thermal plant store.

The police found the stolen material worth Rs 17 lakh abandoned in the outskirts of the plant complex and Somasar village during investigation.

The sleuths opined that the culprits had intentionally left a part of the stolen goods to bluff the investigating team.

Twenty-day investigation by a special team and interrogation of suspected persons led to the arrest of security official Rewat Singh, ash-loading contractor Sanjeev Kumar and shed contractor Hem Raj Bhateja last evening. Their accompanists were identified as Kishan Lal Thukrana, Daleep Singh Faridsar, Hira Dass Swami and Mool Singh besides two other daily wage earners.


Prisoner gives cops the slip
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 11
A prisoner, Vinod Kumar, who has been undergoing imprisonment for 10 years in a criminal case under Section 304-B of the IPC in the Sangrur District Jail, fled from the police custody at Bhawanigarh yesterday.

He had gone to Bhawanigarh to participate in the marriage of his cousin. Two head constables of the Punjab Police, Rajbir Singh and Bhagwant Singh, were accompanying him when he fled reportedly on the pretext of going to answer the call of the nature.

The police has registered a case against the prisoner and Rajbir Singh and Bhagwant Singh, both head constables.


Head constable murdered by kin
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 11
Niranjan Singh, a head constable with the Punjab police posted at Tara wala bridge police chowki here, was allegedly killed by his relatives here. A case under section 302, IPC, was registered against five persons.

The accused were identified as Ranjit Singh, his father, Mahinder Singh, Bachan Singh and Bhajan Singh, both paternal uncle of Ranjit Singh and Ajit Pal Singh, all residents of Fatehgarh Sukarchak village near here.

Niranjan Singh had a dispute with accused persons and the matter was in the court. Both the groups had gathered at a marriage function.

However, after returning home the accused, who were drunk, abused Niranjan and his family. Following this, Niranjan Singh went to the home of accused, who attacked him. Ranjit Singh allegedly hit Niranjan with a pointed weapon. The head constable was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries today.


Media ignoring common man: Experts
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 11
The media is ignoring the common man. The problems being faced by him are not getting adequate representation in the media. These were the views expressed by experts at a three-day national seminar on “Media: A Social Perspective” at Punjabi University here today.

Senior associate editor of The Tribune A.J. Philip, who was the chief guest, said TATA paid Rs 53,000 crore for acquiring Chorus, a European steel company. However, the same company was unable to pay just Rs 150 crore to the farmers for the land acquired from them for their small car project in West Bengal.

The company also acquired over 1000 acres for the project that was unnecessary. However, such issues relating to the farmers are not finding adequate coverage in the media, he said.

Philip endorsed the views expressed by some other experts about the need for a TV channel dedicated to the promotion of science. About the dissent shown by some of the speakers over the photographs of accidental fall of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam published in newspapers recently, Philip said the issue had been raised just due to difference in perception. For the media it was an important photograph as it related to President of the country.

Director of AIR, Jalandhar, DP Malik urged people to be pro-active. If the reader rejects certain type of contents, the media would be forced to withdraw it.

In his keynote address, director of the National Council of Science and Technology Communication, New Delhi, Manoj Patairiya said there was a need to change the attitude of people towards rational thinking and science through the media.

The popularity of channels like, Discovery, National Geographic and History clearly illustrates that there is an adequate viewership for them. The only handicap is that no channel wants to invest in making such programmes, he added.

Director, Doordarshan, Jalandhar, S.S. Rehman also spoke. Representatives of various associations expressed concern about the increasing sensationalism in the media coverage.

Earlier, head of journalism department of Punjabi University H.S. Walia welcomed the guests.


PU dept under UGC programme

Patiala, March 11
The University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi, has recognised the department of zoology, Punjabi University, for its special assistance programme (SAP) for higher research in the discipline of entomology. — TNS


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