P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Punjab reshuffles top officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Punjab Government today ordered the transfers and postings of senior IAS officers. B.R. Bajaj has been posted as principal secretary, Higher Education and Languages and Information and Technology and G.S. Cheema, has been transferred as chairman, Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training.

Romila Dubey, is the new financial commissioner, Revenue and Vijay Kain, becomes principal secretary, Defence Services Welfare.

R.N. Gupta has been posted as financial commissioner, Forests and Wildlife while, S.C. Aggarwal has been shifted as financial commissioner, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries.

D.S. Jaspal is the new principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare. J.R. Kundal becomes principal secretary, Water Supply and Sanitation. Kusumjit Sidhu has been made financial commissioner, Cooperation and A.R. Talwar is the new principal secretary, Industries and Commerce.

D.S. Bains has been posted as principal secretary, Local Government. Suresh Kumar becomes secretary, Power and Irrigation. N.S. Kalsi is the new secretary, Employment Generation which is a newly created post.

Mandeep Singh Sandhu has been appointed as managing director, PUNSUP.

Dharamvir becomes commissioner, Surplus Pool and commissioner (appeals) at Patiala against a vacant post. D.P. Reddy has been posted as secretary, Revenue.

A.S. Chhatwal is M.D, PIDB, member secretary, Fiscal Reforms, project director-cum-secretary, Shahpur Kandi project, secretary expenditure, director, disinvestment, and commissioner, NRIs affairs.

M.P. Singh becomes new secretary, Science, Technology, Environment and Non-Conventional Energy.

Narinderjit Singh has been posted as secretary, Social Security, Development of Women and Children. R. Venkat Ratnam is the new State Transport Commissioner and Jagjit Puri will be secretary Information and Public Relations, managing director, Punjab Tourism Development Corporation and director, Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

A. Venu Prasad has been posted as Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

Iqbal Singh Sidhu becomes the new special secretary Health and Family Welfare and R.K. Verma has been posted as managing director, Punjab Information and Communication Technology Corporation and in addition has been given charge as director, Information Technology.

Gurdev Singh Sidhu has been posted as secretary, Medical Education and Research.

Arunjit Singh Miglani, a PCS officer, has been transferred as additional secretary, Excise and Taxation against a vacant post. 


PAU seeks Rs 124.34 cr grant from govt to overcome crisis
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 31
The Punjab Agricultural University authorities have apealed to the Punjab government to raise grant-in-aid to the university to overcome the financial crisis. The university needs funds to give impetus to research and development activities.

In a letter to finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, outgoing vice-chancellor Dr K.S. Aulakh, has pointed out it is most distressing for the past four years, the PAU has been getting an annual grant of only Rs 80 crore under the state funded non-plan agriculture schemes which is not enough to meet even the committed expenditure of salaries of employees including 25 per cent state’s share of All-India co-ordinated research projects (financed by the ICAR). His efforts to obtain at least committed 10 per cent increase in financial outlay have remained unattended.

The outgoing vice-chancellor has told the finance minister the university authorities have taken administrative and fiscal measures like merger of departments, pooling of vehicles, restricted use of air-conditioners and other electric appliances in offices. Regulated use of electricity alone has resulted in saving Rs 72 lakh per annum. The staff strength has been also reduced as a result of which the Board of Management approved the staff strength of 5132 in 2000 against sanctioned strength of 6782 whereas staff of 5611 was in position as on 1-1-2001. The staff has been reduced to 4798 by 1-1-2006 thereby reducing 813 staff positions. Three posts of additional director of research, one post of architect and their supporting staff were also abolished. The posts of librarian, director students welfare and estate officer-cum-chief engineer had also not been filled and their work was being looked after by giving additional charge to the deans.

Even (LTC) Leave Travel Concession has also not been paid to the employees and pensioners of the university since 2004-05. As a result of this annual estimated savings in the committed expenditure has been made for Rs 15 crore 2005-06. The vice-chancellor further revealed to face existing financial crisis, the PAU invigorated income generation programmes through the sale of seed of improved varieties, fruit nursery plants, milk, poultry and their products, mushrooms, honey, ornamental plants, literature, consultancy services and increased student fee. As a result the income which was Rs 7.45 lakh in 2001-02 had increased to Rs 73.60 lakh in 2005-06. Even fee was charged from the morning walkers earning Rs 5 lakh. On the whole net income of the university has doubled from Rs 5.65 crore to Rs 10.43 crore in past five years.

Dr Aulakh further brought to the notice of the finance minster that despite all those measures, the university feels handicapped to support research and academic commitments of its highly talented faculty. The situation has become such that the university had not been able to deposit amount of GPF accounts of the employees and current deficit for six months was Rs 6 crore. Further the pension fund of the university is also depleting fast and Rs 20 crore was needed to tide over the crisis.

The outgoing vice-chancellor has sought grant-in-aid of Rs 124.34 crore for current year which would go up to Rs 133.74 crore in the next financial year.

He has emphasised that Punjab Agricultural University, being a research organisation has different role to play than the traditional universities of the state, which have limited commitment for research. PAU is involved in research, teaching and extension activities which can be sustained with adequate financial support. 


Fake institute dupes farm scientists
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31
Crooks from Mumbai have duped hundreds of agriculture scientists and other common people in the state.

The episode started with the publication of an advertisement of Shri Sai Research Institute of Mumbai in newspapers of the region in December last year. The institute had demanded applications for 500 vacant posts that included about 50 senior agriculture scientists, 50 junior scientists, clerks and peons.

In the advertisement a demand draft of Rs 350 was sought from the applicants. Sensing a lucrative carrier in the institute many graduates and postgraduates from Punjab Agriculture University applied for the job.

One such applicant Sukhwinder Sharma, a resident of Patiala, who has recently completed MSc in agriculture from PAU, also applied for the advertised job. While talking to The Tribune, he said lots of his friends also applied for the advertised job as the requirements were also displayed on the noticeboard of the placement cell of PAU.

After about a fortnight the candidates who had applied for the job got another letter from the institute. Now they demanded another Rs 2,000 from the applicants citing rules of the union ministry for agriculture. Some of the applicants rang up the institute to know about the additional demand of money. They were convinced to send the additional amount.

Like others, Sukhwinder Sharma also sent an additional amount of Rs 2,000 to the institute. Since then he and many others are waiting for the entrance test for recruitment in the institute. Initially, the applicants were told that the test would be held on February 25. The date was later changed to March 26 and the candidates were informed on phone.

However, after that when the applicants tried to inquire about the next date of test, all telephone numbers of the institute went quiet.

Sukhwinder Sharma said one of the applicants went to the given address in Mumbai. However, there he found just one rented room that once was the office of the institute.

Residents of the surrounding areas said the people who occupied the room had left. He then rang them up and informed about the forgery committed with the applicants.

The applicants from PAU alone paid an amount of about Rs 20 lakh to the fake institute in the form of drafts along with application for the advertised jobs. 


Threatened, reel-life Rama shifts hotel
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 31
Arun Govil, who played Lord Rama in Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan” today was threatened by four unidentified clean-shaven youths who barged into his room in a hotel here if he did not refrain from participating in the two-day religious function, “Dukh Nivaran”, being organised by Brahmrishi Kumar Swami.

Arun Govil who played the slayer of demon king Ravana in the Ramayan seemed shaken following arguments with the youths in his hotel room. Govil told The Tribune the youths who were in their early 30s had told him in ‘clear terms’ that they would not tolerate any discourse on the Vedas or Guru Granth Sahib.

“I have never received such threats in my life”, said Govil. He said after having enacted Harishchandra in “Vishwamitra” and Vikramaditya in “Vikram aur Baital” and “Ramayan” ended in 1988, he went into long hibernation and then decided to become a disciple of Kumar Swami. He also produced teleserial, “Mashaal”, for Doordarshan, then directed a Marathi serial for his wife.

District police chief S.S. Srivastva said security had been provided to Govil and adequate security arrangements made at the venue of the religious conclave, where Govil would be participating.

Giving details, Govil said the youths asked him the whereabouts of his Guru, Kumar Swami. When he pleaded innocence, the youths issued threats against holding any discourse at the function and disappeared.

However, the owner of the hotel claimed his staff did not receive any complaint from Govil. Though ex-servicemen were deputed as security guards in the hotel they did not see anybody approaching the room of the actor.

However, a formal complaint has been made to the Circuit House police chowki but the police is clueless about the incident.


SAARC car rally returns to India
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Wagah, March 31
Overwhelmed by the hospitality of Pakistan, participants of the first SAARC car rally, who returned here today after a three-day visit to Pakistan, had numerous anecdotes to narrate on the common culture of the two neighbouring countries.

After getting a warm welcome of garlands and “tilaks” at the Wagah joint check post, the over 100 participants, who are travelling in 26 cars, didn’t take much time to describe the inherent ties binding India and Pakistan.

“There were times during stay in Pakistan when I didn’t realise that we were in a different country. It felt just like home,” said Radhika, a participant from Mumbai.

“We had crossed over on March 28 and people of Pakistan virtually rolled out the red carpet for us. The hospitality was truly overwhelming,” commented the Indian rally team leader Lt-Col K.S. Chauhan.

His Pakistani counterpart Ehteshan Abbas echoed his views, “The rally is aimed at celebrating the richness of culture and the inherent ties binding the countries of the subcontinent. During the last few days, we have experienced the warmth that people of these South Asian countries have for each other.”

Priya Dias of Bangladesh said, “The common thread that held together the people of these countries and their shared dreams and desire of development is very interesting. After driving through these two countries and meeting people on the way, any kind of cooperation and joint work seem an easy possibility now.”

Earlier, Punjab minister for sports and youth services Gulzar Singh Ranike welcomed the rally participants and said the warmth shown on the two sides of Wagah was Punjabi culture and brotherhood in their undiluted form.

He lauded the initiative taken by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh who mooted the idea of such a SAARC rally to foster brotherhood and overall economic and human development in the SAARC fraternity.

Mr Ajay Khanna, deputy director-general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, which is partnering this mega multidimensional event, pointed out that the rally was aimed at reconnecting the countries of the subcontinent and then reconnecting the subcontinent to the larger Asian neighbourhood, besides symbolising our regional identity.

“The rally was meant to also help strengthen our trade ties within the SAARC and show our collective potential. But it has clearly surpassed all our expectations. We felt at home everywhere and the rally convinces me that together we can realise our collective goals,” commented Khanna, who besides being chairman of the SAARC rally is also a participant.


Maharashtra peaceniks await Pak visa
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 31
A nine-member peacenik team comprising cyclists from Maharashtra, which arrived here yesterday after covering 1,900 km in 29 days, hit the roadblock at the Wagah border when they were not allowed to cross over to Pakistan for promoting peace and friendship.

The team members had applied for visa on February 24 to cross border through the Wagah joint check post along with their bicycles, but were yet to receive any communication in this regard from the Pakistan High Commission.

Led by Dhananjay Madan (47), the team arrived in the holy city after passing through various states, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab and New Delhi. The other members of the team include six boys and two girls, all in their 20s, who started their journey from Panvel, about 50 km from Mumbai, on March 1.

Jating Desai, a spokesman for the Pakistan-Indian Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy,talking to The Tribune, said the denial of visa to the cycling team showed how serious the authorities on both sides of the border were. He said the two governments were not interested in giving visa to the common people, especially the youth who were the real torchbearers for promoting peace in the subcontinent.

Commenting on the recent SAARC car rally in which 28 cars crossed over to Pakistan, he said visas were only being issued to big industrialists and influential persons. He further informed that their counterparts in Pakistan had decided to hold protest rallies against the authorities there for not issuing visa to them.

However, the peaceniks have decided to stay in the holy city for a few days in the hope that the Pakistani Government would issue visa and allow them to cross the border and interact with people across the border.

The youngest member of the team, Rupali Nehate (21), rued that the authorities concerned were not serious in resolving the bilateral issues between the two countries.


Battered by husband, police let her down, too
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Women in distress situations continue to face difficulty in invoking the provisions of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (DVA). For some reason, the police has not yet started using the legislation to help those in urgent need of protection.

The latest such case involves Preetkamal Joshi from Patiala, who barely escaped an allegedly fatal attack by her in-laws and husband. Battered and bruised, she approached the Punjab State Women’s Commission, complaining that the local police had been harassing her by summoning her to division 4 police post in Patiala for questioning.

In her complaint against two police officers, Jarnail Singh and Baljit Singh, she has alleged that they call her to the police post at odd hours like 6 pm and 8 pm and harass her and her parents.

Never mind the fact that Punjab Chief Minister has recently directed the state police not to call women to police stations. He even dismissed an ASI on these grounds. Complying with the CM’s orders, commission chairperson Parminder Kaur has now directed Patiala SSP to initiate enquiry against the erring officers. She has also directed that Preetkamal’s complete statement be made part of the FIR.

Preetkamal is alleging that the police missed out vital details of violence meted out to her by the accused. On March 4, her husband allegedly tried to strangulate her while her in-laws pinned her down. They even beat up Preetkamal’s three-year-old daughter, something which gave her the courage to escape.

“The moment my husband’s grip around my neck loosened, I ran away. I went straight to the hospital, where my medico-legal report confirmed grave injuries around my neck and other such indicators of domestic violence which I’ve been suffering for five years,” says Preetkamal, who has written twice to SSP, seeking arrest of the accused.

Significantly, although the main reason behind the complainant’s suffering is dowry, she says the police should have brought her case under the purview of the domestic violence act. The commission chairperson, for its part, says that the case is one of domestic violence, especially with MLR confirming violence against the complainant. She said it was fit for be brought under the scope of the DVA.


SAD plans Malwa’s development
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 31
Unhappy by the performance of the party in the Malwa segment in the recent assembly elections, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is now all set to come up with a series of developmental works in the area to restrengthen its base in the region.

Working president of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was here today to hold meetings with party men, said the party had already started assessing the ground situation that resulted in defeat of several party candidates in the Malwa region.

“Though the people of Malwa did not vote in favour of the SAD-BJP alliance like before, but this would not be made an excuse to thwart development works in the region. Instead more development would be carried out in the area so that people completely discard the Congress in the years to come,” Sukhbir Badal said.

Showing concerns over the health and agricultural problems resulting from polluted water in the region, Sukhbir Badal said the government was preparing a project to check the pollution of river water as well as underground water in the area. He said the project was most likely to be launched right after the wheat harvest was over.

He said the state bureaucracy had been asked to give due respect to Akali works and at the same time made an appeal to the youth Akali works to maintain discipline while dealing with the government officials.

Sukhbir also hailed the revival of the “Sangat Darshan” programme by the state government, stating that it was the only way of direct interaction between the state government and the common man.

Later, Sukhbir Badal visited Faridkot where he promised that every step would be taken to ensure clean drinking water to the people. He also assured that the state government would allocate required funds for the completion of the Baba Farid University building and would reopen the local sugar mill.


Task before Sukhbir: Maintaining Sikh character
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 31
The nomination of Sukhbir Singh Badal as acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) by the political affairs committee of the dal is an event to be watched seriously by the observers of the Sikh politics.

So far, the SAD has been nurtured by those who had struggled to bring forth the organisation as a custodian of the Sikh community. The primary agenda before the SAD has always been to ensure the distinct identity and all matters related to it. This fact gave a status to the Akali Dal that was not to the liking of the national parties.

In the initial stages even Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress always looked askance about the pretensions of the Sikh leaders and their politics. Master Tara Singh, an Akali stalwart, was a victim of this attitude of the Congress and its leaders.

He was often misunderstood and his patriotism was always under scrutiny despite the fact that he saved the present Punjab from slipping into what is known as Pakistan. This legacy presented typical difficulties before the Akali leaders immediately after the partition. Their (Akali leaders) credentials were doubted when they demanded the reorganisation of Punjab on linguistic basis as was done in the rest of the country.

But the asset of the Akali Dal during all this period was the crusading Sikh followers who were attached to the Akali Dal sentimentally. They looked to this party as the custodian of the Sikh rights and guarantor of the existence of the Sikhism in the changed circumstances.

This psyche sustained the Akali Dal right up to 1966 when the Punjabi-speaking state was formed and the Akali Dal became one of the contenders of power in the newly created state.

Since then much water has flowed and the Akali Dal leadership became conscious that it had to form a coalition in Punjab because of compulsions of numbers and also to dilute the opposition of the Hindus about their apprehensions of the conduct of the Akali leadership while in power.

The circumstances drifted to a situation where the Akali Dal formed coalition with Jansang - the die-hard opponent of the Punjabi Suba. It is a paradox of history that the Akali Dal-Jansangh-BJP alliance has continued for over three decades now and the man contributing to this remains Parkash Singh Badal.

There was a very short period when the Congress after Operation Bluestar tried to befriend the Akali Dal through Surjit Singh Barnala in the 1980s. But the presence of militancy and the diffidence of the Congress did not allow this experiment to succeed.

However, the lesson to be learnt is that the Akali Dal shall always need a dependable ally from among the national parties. So far both Congress and BJP have not delivered anything in terms of resolving the Punjab problems.


PSB union secy flays Khera

Chandigarh, March 31
Reacting to a news-item, "Union defends bank director", carried in these columns on March 30, the All-India Punjab and Sind Bank Officers Union has disassociated itself from "such act".

A press note issued by general-secretary Vinod Gupta and vice-president T.S. Gill said union president G.S. Khera's statement in this regard was considered at a meeting. All members present in it disassociated themselves from the "act". It was also resolved that Khera was not authorised to issue such statements on the union's behalf. — TNS


Nanakshahi calendar: Change raises eyebrows
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 31
SGPC chief Avtar Singh yesterday sought the approval of the General House to change the date of martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur that clashed with the Gurpurb (birthday) of Guru Nanak Dev on November 24 as per the Nanakshahi calendar.

The new date for the martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur has been fixed as December 15, while Gurpurb of Guru Nanak Dev will remain unchanged.

However, the development has raised eyebrows in the Sikh circle as it was the prerogative of the 11-member committee, constituted by Akal Takht, to make recommendations regarding any discrepancy in the Nanakshahi calendar. Akal Takht had asked the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and the Patna Sahib Management Committee to suggest the new date for the martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur in a meeting held at Akal Takht on Thursday which was supposed to be discussed by the committee later for taking a final decision. However, the announcement made by the SGPC chief regarding the change of the martyrdom day without consulting Sikh intellectuals has been described as ‘arbitrary’.

Interestingly, the Gurgaddi Divas of Guru Gobind Singh and martyrdom days of Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dyala also fall on November 24. These also clashed with the Gurpurb of Guru Nanak Dev as per the Nanakshahi calendar.


2 buffaloes electrocuted

Abohar, March 31
Two buffaloes were electrocuted this afternoon outside 132-KV station of the PSEB on the national highway No.10 within municipal limits.

The visiting newsmen were told that a canter (PB 13 F 5725) allegedly hit a pole that carried 440-volt transmission line. Electricity supply got immediately suspended as two high-tension wires fell down. A woman stood guard there, along with her son, after informing the divisional office of the PSEB to alert the passing vehicles.

Meanwhile, the driver of a private operator’s bus carelessly mingled the vehicle with broken wires. This gripped other wires that had electricity current. The wire fell down killing two buffaloes, owned by the woman, on the spot. She regretted that the PSEB men in the divisional office did not care to rush and control the situation and, thus, she suffered a loss of Rs 60,000 with the death of the buffaloes. — OC


MC elections by June
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 31
All municipal corporations were working as “kar- pareshan” during the Congress regime in Punjab, but now the SAD-BJP government would “co-operate” with every one. Punjab Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia stated this to The Tribune here on Wednesday. He was on his way to Chandigarh.

He said discretionary powers in local bodies was a curse, which was used by officials for discrimination against the common man. He said the abolition of discretionary powers was the need of the hour and he would work on it on priority. Kalia said he would make all municipal corporations and municipal committees transparent and accountable.

About elections to municipal corporations, Kalia said these would be held by June this year. Commenting upon a few resignations announced by a few chairmen of improvement trusts appointed by the Congress government, Kalia said all IT chairmen appointed by the Congress should resign on moral grounds after the defeat of the Congress in the Assembly elections.

To another question, Kalia said the SAD-BJP government was committed to provide drinking water, sewerage and sanitation in the state and all MCs would be computerised in phases to provide better and quick service to people. He said honest, able and transparent officers would be rewarded, but careless and corrupt punished.


Land for Trident: BKU presents viewpoint
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 31
The top leadership of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) on Thursday presented its point of view on the aquisition of lands of farmers before the government by way of seeking scrapping of notification, related to the acquisition of land, especially 376 acres acquired by the punjab government for the Trident Group in Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sangherra villages, near Barnala. The union also termed the acquisition of land “illegal”.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone on Thursday evening, state president of the BKU (Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan said the government had heard their view and had sought two to three days to settle the issue and convene a meeting of the union leaders with top representatives of the government for final outcome of the talks over land acquisition.

Ugrahan said regarding 376 acres acquired land of Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sangherra villages, the union leadership had told the government in this case the affected farmers would decide whether they wanted land back or money.

Ugrahan said they had also asked the government to register corruption cases against all those who had got the notification issued in a hasty manner and helped the Trident Group to take possession of the 376 acres, as issuance of the notification was “illegal” and injustice to the farmers who were not in favour of giving up land to the Trident Group.

Ugrahan said the leadership had also asked Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to give compensation to the affected farmers of Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sangherra villages whose tubewell rooms had been pulled down, standing crop damaged and trees uprooted from fields while taking possession of the land.

Ugrahan said they had also asked the Chief Minister to give compensation of Rs 10 lakh each, to the families of those farmers who had lost lives during the farmers’ agitation against the acquisition of land. 


Call to adopt eco-friendly techniques
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 31
A two-day national symposium on “Green chemistry-application in science and technology” was on Thursday inaugurated by Vice Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, Prof S.K. Salwan at the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), Longowal, about 20 km from here.

Inaugurating the symposium, Salwan emphasised the adoption of eco-friendly technologies for a sustainable development of society. He also said it was imperative to educate and sensitise people about the green chemistry, which is a combination of all gases.

Salwan further said there was need to make people aware about the spread of all those harmful gases, which caused many diseases in human beings. 


Committee condemns expulsion of students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31
In a significant move, the joint action committee of the Punjabi University, while strongly condemning the expulsion of certain student leaders by vice-chancellor Boparai, today decided to bring the expelled students to the university campus on April 2.

The committee will also hold a rally on April 3 in which students, teachers and workers of the university will participate actively.

Addressing the meeting, held to discuss certain issues pertaining to the ongoing agitation of the students, teachers and the workers of the university, convener of the committee Dr Manjeet Singh said the joint action committee will continue with its struggle for the rights of the students, adding that Boparai's action in barring the entry of the students in the campus was not only an irresponsible act, but also a proof of his bureaucratic inclinations.

Those expelled include, Rajinder Singh of PSU, Raminder Patiala, Dharminder Patran, Rajeev Lohat Baddi, student leader Gurnam Virk, Gurpal Dhaliwal of SFI, Ravinder Dhaliwal and Harvinder Harry.

The meeting was attended by Dr Rajinder Pal Singh Brar, Dr Jamsheed Ali Khan, president of the university workers’ union Darshan Singh, joint secretary Malkit Singh, convener of democrat front Gurjeet Singh, convener, workers union Harish Tiwari, president officer association Malkit Singh, Maninder Gill of MAI, Harpal Singh of SFI, Rajinder Singh of PSU, Jarnail Jally, Harvinder Sandhu of SYFI and Naresh Kumar of ABVP.


Illegal Patiala zoo: HC issues notice to govt
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31
The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued a notice of motion to the government of Punjab on the basis of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the establishing of an unauthorised zoo in the Baradari area of Patiala by PUDA.

Council in the case Ashwani Kumar Bansal had filed a PIL in the court on the basis of news report published in The Tribune regarding the illegal zoo. In the petition it was alleged that keeping exotic birds in a zoo without any authorisation violated section 38 of the Wildlife Act.

The petitioner also demanded a ban on carrying of plastic bags in the Chattbir zoo. The plastic bags led to the death of an emu in the recent past.

On the basis of the facts presented in the case, the high court issued a notice of motion to the Punjab government, PUDA and Chattbir zoo authorities.

As reported earlier in these columns, an unauthorised zoo in the Baradari garden of Patiala is posing a threat of bird flu. About 50 exotic birds, mostly pheasants, are being kept in the enclosures constructed by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) here in violation of norms.

The sources in the department of wildlife, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the pheasants were prone to spreading bird flu if not kept under proper care and observation.

Interestingly, PUDA was maintaining the exotic birds in the zoo instead of the wildlife department of the state. The PUDA authorities, who have no expertise on the subject, were forced into the job due to whims of the previous government.

Recently, the central zoo authority in a communication to the wildlife authorities of states had warned of the threat of bird flu posed by birds being kept in captivity. 


DC launches credit plan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31
Deputy Commissioner of Patiala D.S. Grewal launched the district credit plan, prepared by the lead bank office of the State Bank of Patiala, for 2007-08, here today, with participation of the Reserve Bank of India, NABARD banks and government agencies.

The plan envisages a target of Rs 2,867 crore under various sectors, thus giving an increase of Rs 226 crore over last year’s target.

J.K. Jain, lead district manager, State Bank of Patiala, stated that the plan envisages a target comprising Rs 1,940 crore for agriculture and allied sector, Rs 256 crore for the non-farm sector and Rs 671 crore for other priority sectors.

He further informed that 903 self help groups have been formed and 455 have been credit linked.

While launching the plan, Grewal appreciated the performance of the banks in achieving the benchmarks laid down by the RBI under the priority sector and also applauded the Lead Bank, NABARD and other agencies for preparing the credit plan for the district. He expressed optimism that the plan would lead to overall development of the economy of Patiala.

He exhorted the banks and agencies to make concerted efforts for more provision for investment credit to the agriculture and non-farm sector and ensure asset creation.

Gurkirat Kirpal Singh ADC, (Dev) appreciated the works of the banks. C.S. Jagdish, deputy general manager, SBoP, Patiala, explained various farmer-friendly schemes introduced by the bank and assured that the target set forth in the annual credit plan will be surpassed.

J.P.S. Bindra, AGM, NABARD, explained various schemes of NABARD such as DRIP, Vermi culture, Dairy and Market infrastructure scheme.


Recruitment scam: 3 booked
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service,

Bathinda, March 31
In a significant development which can expose the malfunctioning of the local Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology (GZSCET), a criminal case was registered against Narinder Singh, its former principal, deputy registrar Gurdeep Singh and lecturer Sumen Bala for their alleged involvement in recruiting a lecturer on the basis of false and forged documents at the city police station.

The case was registered under section 420, 465, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against the three persons yesterday after the complainant Veerpal Kaur made continuous and consistent efforts to get justice. The raids conducted by different police teams to arrest the accused failed to bring any fruitful result so far.

The GZSCET Teachers’ Association had been fighting against the alleged recruitment scams which took place in the college from 1997 to 2002. In 2004, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had asked the then Punjab chief secretary to take appropriate action in connection with the alleged recruitment scam in the GZSCET, Bathinda, after a representation was moved to him by the association.

Though the association has been continuing its efforts of unveil all recruitment scams, the authorities concerned have succeeded in taking one recruitment scam, which took place in 2001, to its logical end by registering a criminal case against three persons so far.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Sumen Bala, who was working as personal assistant to the then principal of the college Narinder Singh, was recruited as lecturer (management) on the basis of fabricated, fake and forged documents. Narinder Singh is now working as principal of a private engineering college at Talwandi Sabo.


Fake currency notes seized
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, March 31
The police today busted a gang manufacturing adulterated ghee and seized fake currency notes worth Rs 18,800 from them.

A police party, led by city police station SHO Bikramjit Singh Brar, raided a house in the Officer Colony here and arrested five persons, including kingpin Kamal Kumar.

Manmohan Sharma and J.S. Kahlon, DSP and SP(Detective), respectively, said Kamal Kumar and his accomplices were in constant touch with a gang run by Rinku, a resident of Samana. Rinku had allegedly given fake currency notes worth Rs 60,000 to them.

Rinku, who specialised in preparing fake currency notes, was recently arrested by the Sangrur police and sent to jail. Others who have been arrested are Parveen Kumar, Pankaj Dua, Pawan Kumar and Vikramjit Singh. They have been remanded in police custody for two days.

The gang operated mainly in the rural areas of Punjab.


18 kg of heroin seized; two held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 31
The Special Narcotics Cell (SNC) today seized 18 kg of heroin said to be worth Rs 18 crore in the international market and nabbed two persons identified as Jagjit Singh, alias Jaggi alias Dr Balwinder Singh of Jammu (now residing in Moon Avenue here) and Dilbagh Singh, alias Baga, of Sohian Khurd village.

Jagdish Mittal, DIG (counter intelligence) and Makhan Singh, SSP, SNC, said police personnel were deployed in mufti at various places in the area. The accused were waiting to deliver the consignment in their car near Sangam cinema house. Noticing the police the accused tried to escape, but were overpowered by the police, they added.

A case under Sections 21/61/85 of the NDPS Act was registered against them. The police recovered 18 packets of the contraband bearing stamps of Pak-Afghan Ltd.


Minor raped by landlord
Medical examination fails to establish crime
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 31
A nine-year-old minor girl was allegedly raped by the landlord of her house when she was alone in her house, located in the thickly populated area of this town on Thursday afternoon.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that though the police registered a case under Section 376,IPC, against the accused, a furniture shop owner, on the statement made by the minor, the medical examination done by a doctor of the local Civil Hospital failed to establish the fact whether the minor had been raped or not.

Information revealed that the hospital authorities had sent the vaginal swaps of the rape victim to Patiala-based laboratory for chemical examination.

Civil Hospital sources said during the medical examination of the victim, no local injuries on her private parts were found. Even the victim did not allow the doctor to carry out her physical examination properly.

An official of the police, talking on the condition of anonymity, said he had been seeking guidance from senior officials as to how to proceed in this case.

The minor girl, who was living with her parents as tenant in the house of Deen Dayal, alleged that she was raped by Deen Dayal when she was alone in her house.

She alleged that she was raped when she was changing her clothes after coming from the school. She said she also raised a hue and cry. She narrated the whole story to her parents and they reported the matter to the police. A case was registered on the statement made by the victim before the police.

Whether the accused had been arrested or not could not be known so far.


Rs 300 cr for 2 varsities, medical college
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
In order to improve the standard of education in Punjab, Finance Minister Manpreet Badal today announced a package of Rs 100 crore each for two universities and a medical college for the state.

“The three institutes, including Panjab University, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and Government Medical College, Amritsar were on my priority list. Our government would give these institutes grants of Rs 100 crore each so that these could work more efficiently in the direction to raise the education level”, said the minister at the annual prize distribution function of Panjab University sports department function at PU premises here today.

Talking to TNS, Badal said: “Our state has been slipping on the education as well as fiscal fronts. To save it from further deterioration, we will focus on the overall development of the education system in the next five years. For the purpose, we would make provisions in the forthcoming state budget in June.”

On the question whether the state had sufficient finances in its exchequer, Badal said, “No, the state of the exchequer is very bad. But we will generate the promised funds from every possible source as I want to see children of my state ahead of all”.

When asked about the steps for implementing pension scheme in non-government colleges, lifting the ban on the filling of vacant teachers’ posts and other matters, he said that he needed three months to solve the problems.

While congratulating the sportspersons on their achievements, he gave a clarion call to the students and educationists present at the function to gird up their loins to make Punjab the best state in South Asia.

Panjab University vice-chancellor R.C. Sobti thanked Badal for showing concern for the upliftment of education system in the state. “I welcome the Punjab government’s concern for us. On our part we assure that PU will provide all kind of assistance and expert advice in the areas of medicine and medical education to the Government Medical College of Amritsar”, assured Sobti.


PSMS fest 2007 concludes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31
Students and faculty members of the Punjab School of Management Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, organised a rich feast of cultural bonanza on the concluding day of the two-day “PSMS Fest 2007” at Kala Bhawan, here, today.

The cultural extravaganza was interspersed with ghazal renderings which were instantly lapped up by the audiences.

A heart-rendering performance was given by students of the theatre department in a play called ‘Mitti Rudan Kare’ depicting social evils like drug addiction among village youth.

Competitive events included Ad Mad show, Volte Face, group dance, mimes, choreography, skits and solo performances. The festival was inaugurated yesterday by vice-chancellor S.S. Boparai. Dr Sucha Singh Gill, dean, academic affairs, was the chief guest today.

Dr S.K. Bansal, head of the PSMS, said there was overwhelming response to the festival which had given the students an opportunity to show their talent. He lauded the corporate houses like Frankfinn, Yupp, VLCC, Pioneer Study Land, Santabanta.com, Shehnaz, Hewlitt Packard, Global Allianz, OM International Education Consultancy Pvt. Ltd etc, which had come forth to sponsor the festival.

Dr Sanjay Modi, chief student councillor, who extended his full support to the event said the entire event boosted the confidence of the students and led to healthy interaction and association between students, media and sponsors.


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