P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Aulakh’s resignation accepted
Sandhu to officiate as VC
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
While appreciating the work done by K.S. Aulakh during his six-year stint as vice-chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, its board of directors today accepted his resignation.

In his place, financial commissioner (development) Gurinderjeet Singh Sandhu has been given temporary charge as vice-chancellor. Sandhu will officiate till the vacant slot is filled.

A screening committee has been set up under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to find an eminent agricultural scientist-cum- administrator at the earliest to fill the post.

The meeting of the board was held at Mohali under the chairmanship of chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh. Almost all members of the board were present. Aulakh , who did not attend the meeting, had resigned a few days ago after pressure was built on him by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to open a particular gate of the university. Aulakh had alleged that he was resigning in protest against the unsavoury words used by the Chief Minister while asking him to open the gate.

With the acceptance of the resignation of Aulakh, the biggest challenge before Badal is to find an eminent scientist for the post of vice- chancellor. He is keen on appointing Dr Gurdev Singh Khush as vice- chancellor. However, sources close to Khush, who is settled in the US, said that he had sought a few days’ time to think over the issue. Last night, a senior officer of the Punjab government had contacted Khush on the phone in the US.

He told the officer that he was an elderly person. However, he sought a few days’ time to accept or reject the offer of vice-chancellorship. The sources said Khush had been requested to accept the challenge of ushering the state into the second green revolution and using his expertise to bring the state out of the agricultural crisis.

The meeting of the board started with a request by certain members to appreciate the good work done by Aulakh. The sources said no government official objected to such a plea. An appreciation note has been made part of the proceedings of the meeting.

However, the most important issue that came up at the meeting was upholding of the autonomy of universities and saving these from political interference. The sources said some of the members of the board forcefully raised the issue of upholding the autonomy of PAU. Members referred to the functioning of institutions like the Indian Institutes of Management and IITs, which had achieved distinction at the international level because there was no political interference. The autonomy issue came up because in the past few days, efforts had been made to kick off controversies with regard to the functioning of certain vice-chancellors.

Members told the state government to give vice-chancellors full freedom to run the universities and recruit the best brains on merit. Vice-chancellors should not be dictated to in the matter of recruitment of a particular person. They should be fully supported to develop universities into excellent institutions.

Certain members told the state government to appoint the new vice- chancellor at the earliest keeping in view the importance of the university. The issue of the poor financial health of PAU was also raised by some members. They told the chief secretary to ask Sandhu to use his influence at the official level to get adequate funds released for PAU.


Chandumajra, Khurana on varsity syndicate
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6
Senior SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra and BJP MLA from Rajpura Raj Khurana have been nominated members of the Punjabi University syndicate by the Punjab government.

The move is being perceived as another pressure tactic of the new SAD-BJP regime to remove vice-chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai.

Members of the joint action committee, comprising students, teaching and non-teaching staff, of the university that has been carrying out agitation demanding the removal of the vice-chancellor after the change of government met Prem Singh Chandumajra today.

When contacted, Chandumajra said he would take up the matter of agitating students and university staff in the next syndicate meeting. Steps would be taken to restore the academic milieu on the campus.

Due to strong political interference, academics has taken a backstage in Punjabi University. The stints of two previous vice-chancellors Joginder Singh Puar and Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia and the present vice-chancellor have been mired in controversies and agitations by students.

All agitations were supported politically. The then professor who spearheaded the agitation of teachers against former vice-chancellor Joginder Singh Puar was later appointed as the chairman of the Punjab School Education Board.

After Puar, retired IAS officer Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia was appointed the vice-chancellor of the university by the former SAD-BJP government in 1999. Once again a strong agitation erupted against the vice-chancellor.

Charges of sexual harassment were levelled against the vice-chancellor by a student of the fine arts department. A lecturer also levelled charges of attempt to murder against him.

After the change in government in 2002, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia was removed on grounds of moral turpitude.

For six months, the charge of vice-chancellor remained with the secretary, education. After that the present vice-chancellor, Swaran Singh Boparai, another retired IAS officer, was appointed by the previous government.

Just after his joining a strong agitation broke out in the university in 2003. The agitation was, however, suppressed with an iron hand and many students were expelled from the university.

The present vice-chancellor, who is now once again facing the heat of agitation, while talking to The Tribune said the university over past decades had become an abode of leftists. They had been carrying agitations and the union leaders staying in the university for a decade. “I have weeded such elements out of the university. I consider it as my service to the institution,” he said.


Behave like true public servants, Badal tells officers
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Malout, April 6
Making a significant departure from his style and to come closer to people, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked state government officers to behave like true public servants with the public and solve their problems on priority.

Badal sent this clear-cut signal while meeting people during his second phase of sangat darshan organised at five villages of the Lambi Assembly segment of Muktsar district today: "Shed the ‘mai baap' culture and start behaving like true public servants," Badal directed the officers.

He summoned a section of the senior officers at 8 am at Gurusar Jodha village,where the first sangat darshan was organised, and advised them to go to the doorsteps of the people to understand their problems and find a solution for them.

A part of the Malwa region got a boost when the Chief Minister announced the construction of a 9-km-long minor from the Gurursar Malookpur distributory to augment the irrigation. This minor will be constructed at the cost of Rs 2.28 crore and the Irrigation Department has been given a target to complete the project within four months.

The sangat darshan also brought a series of more announcements for this water-logged area of Muktsar district as the Chief Minister made the chief engineers of the Irrigation and Drainage Department to commit in public that all drains would be cleared of weeds and the problem of water-logging in Punjab would be solved by end of June, 2007.

The Chief Minister also announced that all waterworks in the state would get 24-hour power supply to ensure continuous supply of potable water to the people. Beside, sanctioning 5-marla plots to landless Dalit labourers of all five villages, Badal also announced five houses to be constructed in each village under the Indira Awaas Yojna for Dalit families.

The Chief Minister also sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for each village for the repair and strengthening of watercourses. In addition to this, 50 to 250 latrines for various villages were also sanctioned on the spot. Youth clubs of each village got Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh grant for the construction of gymnasium and purchase of sports equipment.

The Sham Khera village was sanctioned Rs 1.08 crore under the World Bank scheme for setting up of waterworks.

Later, speaking to the mediapersons, the Chief Minister said education and health were the focus areas of his government.

The Chief Minister also distributed cash grants to the needy and destitute on the spot. One person belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, namely Dharam Pal, got a cheque of Rs 50,000 for treatment of his orthopaedic problems.


Education system in Punjab has collapsed, says Atwal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 6
Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal today said Punjab was wrongly considered to be one of the most prosperous states in the country, when actually the state was headed for a dark future.

He said the impression that Punjab was a rich state was one of the reasons why planners generally ignored the state.

Atwal was talking to TNS after a scholarship release ceremony at the Canadian Institute of International Studies here. Stressing that the state government should face reality and project itself accordingly to the Centre, Atwal pointed out that the education system in Punjab had collapsed and the industry had shifted to the neighbouring states.

Suggesting priorities for the new government, Atwal said there was an urgent need to strengthen the education system in the state. “A state that does not focus on primary school education will perish. Only when we give good education will we have employable youngsters,” he emphasised.

“Education is essential for procuring jobs, for businessmen its important to be educated to move forward and for farmers education helps in doing his work scientifically. But other than these, education is crucial for a person to live a civilised life. Education is the sole solution to poverty,” he said.

Regarding the performance of Punjab parliamentarians he said whenever an issue regarding the state came up, Punjab MPs have made their voice felt. “But each parliamentarian barely gets to speak for 2 to 3 minutes and the impact as a result is lost. I believe MPs from the state regardless of the parties they belong to should highlight issues that will lead to the state’s development,” he said.


‘N-plant not in interest of state’
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) has expressed concern over the Punjab government’s proposal to set up a nuclear power plant for electricity. Gurinder Pal Singh Dhanula, general secretary of the SAD (Taksali), condemned the government for this proposal.

Punjab being the border state was the worst-hit with ongoing cross-border terrorism in the past three decades. So any evil design of Pakistan regarding the nuclear plant in Punjab could prove suicidal for people of the state. How could one forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he questioned.

Moreover, Punjab was the most fertile state in the country. If the government was interested in these plants, it should share this project with the neighbouring Rajasthan.

Dhanula said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was ignoring long-pending demands of control at the BBMB and other projects. If the CM was concerned at meeting the ever-increasing demands of electricity in the state, he should take control of all hydroelectric projects which being built across rivers flowing in Punjab.

He said the CM was working as per the dictates of the BJP. On the issue of the abolition of Section 5 of the Punjab River Water Act, the Chief Minister once again had betrayed the farming sector. So in the larger interest of Punjab the CM should act to safeguard Punjab’s water. It would meet the electricity demands, Dhanula added.


Dalbir Kaur sits on indefinite fast
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Bhikhiwind, April 6
Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh, facing gallows for serial bomb blasts in Pakistan, threatens to commit suicide if the central government fails to pressurise the Pakistan government for the early release of her brother.

Stating this to The Tribune here today, Dalbir Kaur said the central government was not serious in pushing up her brother’s case who was “falsely implicated” in a serial bomb blasts’ case due to mistaken identity by security agencies in Pakistan.

She said she had also presented the case to the Pakistan foreign minister in New Delhi during his last visit to India a few months ago and he had assured her to look into the matter.

She said she and her family members were hopeful that if Indian officials pursued the case with their counterparts in Pakistan sincerely her brother would be released.

Accompanied by the daughters of Sarabjit and some eminent personalities of the town, Dalbir Kaur, before sitting on an indefinite fast at the main chowk of the town, paid obeisance at a gurdwara.

She said she would try to make the Indian government pressurise the Pakistan government to commute his sentence and deport him to India as he had already spent considerable number of years in Pakistan jails.


Congress men hold dharna against police
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 6
Congress workers staged a dharna outside police station in protest against the ‘harassment’ of party workers, including women, by the police here today.

However, DSP, Baba Bakala, Ram Singh denied that the police harassed any Congress worker. SHO, Beas, Bikramjit Singh said the Congress workers had been ‘defaming’ the police by spreading ‘canards’.

They alleged that the Beas police allegedly detained Piara Singh, Swaran Singh, a resident of Bal Sarai tehsil, Baba Bakala, at the behest of Akali MLA Manjinder Singh Kang. It raided the house of Congress leader Balkar Singh Bal, chairman, Block Samiti Rayya, who is at present in judicial custody in the case of the death of Akali worker Dilbag Singh and asked her wife kuldip Kaur, a sarpanch, to come to police station without any cogent cause.

The news regarding the illegal detention of Congress worker spread in the area and congress workers from all around the area started gathering in front of the Beas police station against the alleged illegal detention of Congress worker.

President of the Block Congress Committee, Rayya, K.K. Sharma and advocate Rajinder Singh Tapiala addressed people. Tapiala condemned the police move and said the Congress was harassing women belonging to the Congress despite clear orders of the Chief Minister that no woman would be summoned to the police station. He further warned the police that any excesses would not be tolerated and the party would approach the High Court and the national and state human rights commissions for justice.

Bowing before the public wrath the police released Kuldip kaur. She alleged that she had been receiving threats from the Akali MLA. Rajinder Kalia, Santokh Singh and Swinder Singh, sarpanch of Rajdhan village were also present on the occasion.

Earlier, 22 families aligned to the Congress and belonging to Madh village, near Rayya, gave a public statement that they had decided to shift to safer places fearing suppression from Akali workers.

The fear-stricken families, including women folk and children, had come here in search of a shelter in the city. The families had submitted an application to Majitha district SSP Lok Nath Angra and expressed their fears over the threats.


BJP, SAD to form coordination panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Stressing the importance of keeping in touch with the electorate, the BJP top leadership has asked all its ministers in Punjab to listen to people and solve their problems.

The party with its alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal, will form a co-ordination committee to bridge the gap between the government and party aspirations.

Meanwhile, party leader in charge of Punjab affairs Arun Jaitley briefed the party’s Punjab unit here today. He was here to deliver a lecture to mark the foundation day of the party.

Sources in the party said the BJP had decided that out of its quota of three members in the coordination committee, one would be a minister in the ruling SAD-BJP combine. The second would be a senior party worker who was not an elected representative. This person was likely to be one of the former presidents of the party, the sources said, adding that Jaitley would decide who the third person would be.

This will be a state-level coordination committee that will first listen to party workers and then ask the government to implement specific demands. Party office-bearers said such a committee was required as ministers, due to constraints of work, do not find time to meet party workers on a day-to-day basis.

Apart from the state-level committee, the party will also set up district-level committees for grassroots efficacy of the government. The BJP’s Punjab unit will also have a new president after the elections in UP. The strategy for the coming elections to various municipal corporations was also discussed.


Govt dithers on police reforms, says former CBI chief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 6
The state governments must act on the directions of the Supreme Court and introduce police reforms to save the force from political interference, said former CBI director Joginder Singh. He was talking to newsmen here on Wednesday.

Joginder Singh said indifference by the government and dithering to introduce reforms would affect the morale of the force meant to protect lives and properties of people. He favoured that the investigation and the law and order components of the police force should be separated allowing the force to do justice to its role as good public servants.

The former CBI director said the Supreme Court time and again had issued instructions for a fixed term for SHOs, district police chiefs and the DGP, but no government was willingly coming forward to implement the directions. He said such a step would help the police perform its role in a better manner and give the common man much-needed relief.

Commenting on the functioning of the premier investigating agency, the former CBI chief said the government had been unhelpful in launching a drive against corrupt bureaucrats and was allowing the tainted officers go scotfree. He said under Section 197, government’s permission was required for the prosecution of public servants to go after the corrupt. He said such kind of directives impeded the independent functioning of the CBI.

On the delay in reaching logical conclusions in large number of cases handled by the CBI, Joginder Singh said generally the CBI was entrusted with investigations at a much later stage, after the police had botched up the preliminary evidence. He said the governments must speed up the criminal justice system so that man in the street developed firm faith in the legal system. He said at present more than 3.53 crore cases were pending in various courts of the country and a majority of the cases would not be solved in many decades. This had put a major question mark on the credibility of the judicial system.

Later Joginder Singh, who is also vice-president of the DAV Management Committee, presided over the silver jubilee function of DAV Public school here.


Damdami Taksal calls conclave against daily
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 6
The Damdami Taksal, once the fountainhead of militancy, has convened a Sikh conclave at Chowk Mehta, its headquarters, on April 12, a day before Baisakhi, to chalk out the next course of action against a Punjabi daily being published from Mohali.

According to a press note issued by the Damdami Taksal here today, representatives of all Sikh organisations, including the SGPC, Sikh high priests, would participate in the conclave.

It may be mentioned here that the Mohali-based Punjabi daily has also earned the wrath of the Punjab government due to its writings targeting the Sikh clergy and the SAD.

The editor of the paper was earlier excommunicated from the Sikh Panth.


Schemes for riot-hit to be implemented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Punjab government will implement all decisions pertaining to the resettlement of the 1984 Sikh riot victims which were taken by the previous Akali-BJP government but were abandoned by the Congress regime in the state, said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today.

Listening to the grievances and problems being faced by the 1984 riot victims at a meeting held here, Badal also assured a delegation of these affected persons that the welfare plans launched during his earlier tenure would be implemented in the true spirit.

Assuring them of allotment of houses and commercial booths in the main cities of Punjab, Badal also ordered Rs 2 lakh relief to each person who had not yet been compensated under the Nanavati Commission recommendations.

The Chief Minister asked the deputy commissioners to conduct a fresh survey with regard to compensation and issue red cards to the beneficiaries.

Badal also directed the officers to issue duplicate red cards after proper verification to those who had lost such cards.


42-member jatha to enter Pak today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 6
A 42-member jatha of the Kesh Sambhal Sanstha (KSS), led by S.J.S. Pall, retired chief commissioner, income tax, will be crossing over to Pakistan for the first time to celebrate Baisakhi there.

The jatha will be aiming to propagate tenets of the Sikh Gurus, Hindu and Muslim saints in Pakistan during the pilgrimage.

The KSS also provides training in the art of turban tying and kirtan.

Meanwhile, the centre government has refused to give visa to 103 pilgrims, out of the total 1,883 who had applied through the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

The SGPC jatha, led by Manjit Singh Badhiana , a Shiromani Committee member, will cross over to Pakistan on April 8.


Protest against handing over ITIs to pvt house
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 6
Activists of the Punjab Student Union (Shaheed Randhawa) on Wednesday held a demonstration in front of the local Industrial Training Institute (ITI) and took out a march from there to the deputy commissioner's office to lodge their protest against the move of the state government to hand over the administration of three ITIs to a private industrial house.

Sumeet Gill, state treasurer of the union, while addressing the rally of the activists pointed out that with the handing over of the ITIs to a private industrial house, there would be a huge hike in the fee structure. The students belonging to poor families would not be able to pay that amount of fee and would be deprived of technical education.

They said the state government should equip the ITIs with better facilities and teaching staff so that poor students could get jobs.


X-ray scanner needed at air cargo centre
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 6
Exporters and private airlines operating at Rajasansi International Airport are sore over the absence of an X-ray machine at the air cargo complex of the Central Warehousing Corporation.

As per the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security norms, X-ray analysis of cargo is mandatory to make sure that any explosives or other dangerous substances are not being transported as part of the cargo.

Earlier, there was another condition of keeping the cargo in cooling chamber for 24 hours to get rid of any explosives. But with the advent of explosives, which can remain activated for even longer periods, the condition has been scrapped, said airport sources.

The alternative available with private airlines is to avail of the X-ray facility of the Indian Airlines for which they have to shell out a whopping $ 128 per tonne which comes out to Rs 7 per kg, even though the Airport Authority of India (AAI) provides this facility for a meagre 75 paise per tonne. To utilise the AAI's equipment, the airlines have to arrange an X-ray operator, who is duly certified to do the scanning.

A spokesman of a private airline said as per rule, the airline had to lift the freight within 48 hours of it being passed by the Customs. However, unlike other international airports, the CWC cargo complex in Amritsar does not have an X-ray machine and the goods have to be unloaded to get the certification.


Chohan cremated
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 6
Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a Khalistan ideologue, was cremated at the back of Chohan Charitable Clinic in Tanda, 32 km from here, today. Rupinder Singh, his adopted son, Jorawar Singh Chohan, his nephew, and Mukhtiar Singh, his brother-in-law, jointly lit the pyre.

Hundreds of his admirers, supporters and associates, including various luminaries of the Sikh panth and SAD factions, attended the funeral.

The body of Dr Chohan was brought to his residence at 8.30 am today to let people have the last glimpse of Dr Chohan.

Jagmohan Singh Toni, Gurcharan Singh Lohara, both general secretaries of the SAD (Amritsar), Daljit Singh Bittu, senior vice-president of the SAD (Amritsar), Harcharanjit Singh Dhami and Kanwar Pal Singh Bittu, both senior leaders of the Dal Khalsa, and Bhai Ram Singh, carried placards with “Khalistan Zindabad” written on them in English.


Punjabi Theatre Fest
Tributes paid to Norah, Nanda
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, today organised its 94th annual international Punjabi theatre day festival, here.

The participants paid tributes to Norah Richards, better known as the mother of Punjabi drama, and her brilliant disciple, professor I.C. Nanda, who together laid the foundation of the Modern Punjabi Theatre Movement on April 6, 1914, at Dyal Singh College, Lahore. A play, ‘Baiman’ by I.C. Nanda, was presented on the occasion.

Leading social worker Indermohan Singh Bazaz was the chief guest at the function. He exhorted the artists to bring their demands to the notice of the state government and seek facilities for the promotion of theatre. Bazaz announced a cash award of Rs 5,100 to the National Theatre Arts Society in appreciation of their relentless work and the efforts of Pran Sabharwal. He, along with Shyam Lal Gupta Navyug, who presided over the function, honoured Rajesh Sharma of Natakwala and Absurd Surjit Singh of the Thapar College Theatre Group. Other prominent actors, including Rajinder Verma and Rajinder Singh Jaspal from National School of Drama, New Delhi, were also honoured with the Norah Nanda Theatre Day award.

Surjit Singh, a socio-art personality, spoke on ‘An Actor and His Means,’ and Manmohan Singh Ghuman, excise and taxation commissioner, Punjab (retd.) presented ghazals of Zigar Jalandhari.


Antakshari auditions at Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
To become the pride of North Zone, the auditions for Star-One TV programme Antakshari (Annu Kapoor fame), will be held at SR Government College for Women, Nacleod Road, Amritsar from 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday, 8th April, 2007.

The auditions will be for the close kin relations like sisters, brothers, mother-daughter, father-daughter etc.

There is no age bar.

For any other enquiry, contact B.M. Kalia, 99143-07714 or 98147-31112.


Bandh against BOT roads near total
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 6
The city and its adjoining areas today remained inaccessible from the other districts of Punjab due to a day-long blockade and bandh call given by the District Sangarsh Committee to protest against the toll-plazas installed at the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) roads on Balachaur-Dasuya and Hoshiarpur-Tanda routes.

With special security arrangements to prevent any clash,the dawn-to-dusk bandh was near total in the city, where normal life was almost paralysed.

Traffic was blocked throughout the day on all state highways, including Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh, Hoshiarpur-Phagwara, Hoshiarpur-Tanda, Hoshiarpur-Dasuya and Hoshiarpur-Dharamshala as all exit and entry points to the city were blocked by the protesters.

Traffic on Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar Railway section was also paralysed from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm.

Activists of the committee consisting of private bus, trucks and taxi operators, representatives of various NGOs like the Bajrang Dal, Vishav Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena (Bal Thakre) and Rashtriya Vikas Party took out processions and staged dharnas and demonstrations in various parts of the city.They were demanding lifting of toll-plazas and free movement of vehicles on the above said BOT roads.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner D. K. Tiwari called a meeting of the leaders of the committee for withdrawing their agitation.

Bharat Bhushan Verma, a spokesman of the committee, claimed that it had made no compromise with the authorities of toll-plazas or the district administration regarding the withdrawal of the agitation. However,on the assurance of the DC that he would get their meeting with the Chief Minister of Punjab arranged at the earliest,the office bearers of the committee suspended their agitation for the time being.



Bribery case: Accused SE in judicial custody

Bathinda, April 6
In a development, which could expose the malfunctioning of the local municipal corporation, its superintendent engineer (SE) V. K. Setia was caught red-handed on Wednesday while accepting a bribe from Kewal Krishan, chairman, local Modern ITI, for sanctioning the site plan of a building to be constructed by the complainant.

The accused was remanded into judicial custody for 14 days when he was produced in the court of the chief judicial magistrate here yesterday by the team of Vigilance Bureau. Setia was caught by the team of bureau led by DSP Vinod Kumar. The bribe money of Rs 10,000 has been recovered from the office table.

Meanwhile, a case under Sections 7 and 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against the accused .


Varsity registrar summoned
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6
The state information commission has summoned the registrar-cum-public information officer of Punjabi University, Patiala, on April 12 in a case of the denial of information.

Former APRO of the university H.S. Khokar on November 21 last year had sought information regarding the appointment of the APRO in the university under the right to information.

He had asked the university to provide him information regarding the number of applications received for the post, number of candidates who applied and attended the interview, proofs of academic qualification and experience of the candidates, recommendations of the selection committee and a copy of the appointment letter issued to the selected candidate.


Jail for two

Sangrur, April 6
Judge, special court, Sangrur, S.K. Goel, has awarded 10-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) each to Budh Ram, a resident of Diwangarh village, and Gurmit Singh, a resident of Seo-Majra village (Kaithal), in a case registered against them under Section 15 of the NDPS Act by the Bhawanigarh police on August 19, 1999. — TNS


Waterlogging hits farmers hard
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Muktsar, April 6
For most farmers having their landholdings in this home district of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, farms have again started breeding poverty for them as waterlogging has made their land uncultivable.

Last year, farmers could not sow crops in about 4,000 acres in the district due to waterlogging. This year, heavy rain, which hit the region in February and March, affected 38 villages, waterlogging about 29,400 acres.

Besides, rain, accompanied by hailstorms, which repeatedly lashed the district in March, affected about 49,000 acres in 179 villages of the total 236 in the district.

The district administration has written to the state government for arranging Rs 22 crore for compensating the affected farmers.

To provide immediate relief to the affected farmers, the state government released Rs 17 crore for cleaning drains being used for removing waterlogging.

Sources said the district administration had already sent a report to the state government giving details of areas where crops have not been sown for years due to waterlogging.

Vikas Garg, deputy commissioner, said efforts were being made to make the waterlogged pockets of land in the district cultivatable before the start of the next sowing season.

He added that men and machines had been pressed into service for the purpose. 


Govt asked to pay crops’ insurance premium
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 6
Seeking a major relief for the farmers of the state, chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board and president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) Ajmer Singh Lakhowal today asked the Punjab government to get the crops of the farmers insured by paying premium of the insurance from the state exchequer on behalf of the farmers.

In reply to a question here today, Lakhowal said as the financial health of the farmers of the state was already in bad shape so they were not even able to deposit the insurance premium for their crops. He said if the government paid the premium of the insurance of the crops then farmers’ financial health would certainly improve.

Lakhowal urged the government to waive the entire debt to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees of the farmers by declaring the agriculture as sick occupation on the pattern of the sick industry.

He said due to poor financial conditions and heavy debt towards them about 13,000 farmers had committed suicide in the state so far, which was a matter of great concern.

Lakhowal demanded minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,140 per quintal for wheat. He said in the interests of the farmers he had asked them to bring their wheat produce to the grain markets slowly as the price of the wheat would increase in the open market in the months to come.

He announced that he would have both posts - chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, and president, BKU (Lakhowal) - with him as he had the capacity to handle both in a proper manner.

He said the enrolment of members of the BKU (Lakhowal) was in progress and the elections to the state body of the union would be held on August 20. He said, if needed, he would appoint a working president of the BKU (Lakhowal).


Bt cotton seed arranged for 15 lakh hectares

Sangrur, April 6
With a view to increasing the production of Bt cotton in the state, the Punjab Agriculture Department has arranged seed for 15 lakh hectares for the current kharif season. The state government has already approved and released 14 varieties of Bt cotton seed, including Ankur 651, Rashi 134 and MRC 6301, 6304, for sowing by farmers.

This was stated by deputy director, agriculture (cotton), of the department M.M. Dua while addressing a workshop on genetically modified crops organised by the district office of the department here yesterday.

Inaugurating the workshop, ADC(Development) Harnek Singh said the cultivation of genetically modified crops, such as Bt cotton, would improve the economic status of the farmers.

Chief agriculture officer Bakhshish Singh Chahal and agriculture scientists Dr Mohan Lal Singla, Dr Rishi Kumar and Dr Rupinder Singh also spoke. — TNS


Protest against SDM for thrashing patwari
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 6
Irked over certain queries by a patwari, the sub divisional magistrate (SDM), Dhar Kalan, allegedly gave him a sound beating and also got him thrashed by his security guards at Dhar Kalan last evening.

The incident occurred at a meeting called by SDM Manasvi Kumar, an IAS officer, in connection with the subsidised dal-atta scheme on the tehsil premises on Thursday. Yesh Pal, a patwari of the Haryal circle in Pathankot tehsil, raised certain queries at a meeting that irked the SDM.

After the meeting was over, the SDM asked Yesh Pal to stay back and allegedly beat him up. The patwari was later handed over to the police and a case under sections 186, 187, 188, 189, 228, 323 and 353 of the IPC was registered against him at Dhar Kalan police station for misbehaving with his seniors.

The patwari was later let off late in the night.

Up in arms over the incident, members of the Patwari Union protested in front of the police station. The union president alleged that the SDM first beat up Yesh Pal with his belt and later directed his gunmen to teach him a lesson.

Talking to The Tribune, the SDM clarified that the patwari misbehaved with the circle revenue officer (CRO) and when asked to behave himself he entered into argument with him. “He made an attempt to assault me and following which my gunmen gave him a beating,” he admitted. The SDM, however, denied that he beat him up with his belt.

The patwari union, however, has demanded that the SDM admit to his fault and scrap the case registered against Yesh Pal. Union president Vijay Kumar warned the administration that if their demand was not met it would have to bear the consequences.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Vivek Pratap Singh today called a meeting of the agitating patwaris and tried to pacify them. He told The Tribune that a meeting of the SDM, the CRO and the patwaris had been called on Tuesday. The case would be settled at the administrative level only, he added.


Sacked cop posing as IT official held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 6
A dismissed constable of the Punjab Police posing himself as income tax inspector was caught by people in the Angarh area here yesterday.

He was trying to collect money by threatening people with income tax raids on shops.

Identified as Gurmukh Singh of Rampura village on the Fatehgarh Churian road, he reportedly was drunk and later handed over to Hakima gate police, under C-division police station for action.

Eyewitnesses claimed the accused was claiming to be as Subash, an income tax department employee.

The police said it had initiated an inquiry in this regard and was trying to find his identity card. The police was yet to register a case.


Molestation: Girl points finger at police
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 6
The Verowal police yesterday registered a case against four youths, who tore the cloths of a girl two weeks back, under bailable sections of the IPC allegedly to allow the accused to get bail easily from the court. This was stated by the victim’s family today.

This shocking incident took place at Khadoor Sahib township two weeks back in which four youths of the same area had torn the cloths of a teenage girl.

Sources told this correspondent here today that the accused had been identified as Harwinder Singh, Gurinder Singh (both brothers), Manjit Singh and Amarjit Singh.

The 15-year-old girl in her complaint to the police had alleged that the accused stopped her on her way back home, insulted her, tore her cloths and threatened her of dire consequences in case she disclosed the matter to any one.

She further said she had been in touch with the police to get a case registered, but the police went on dilly dallying. She could get a case registered only last night.

The SHO, Verowal, disclosed that as it was a minor crime the accused got bail when they were produced in the court today.


Pak intruders shot

Tarn Taran, April 6
Two unidentified Pakistani intruders were shot dead by BSF jawans under Kalai Sankattra checkpost .The intruders had entered from the Indian side.The Khemkaran police has registered a case under Sections 3,34 and 20, IP Act ,and 14 Foreign (F) Act.This was stated by Ram Murti Singh, Coy Commandant of the 3rd Battalion. The port mortem was conducted at the Civil Hospital, Patti. — OC


Moot Court Competition
20 teams to argue it out
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6
A three-day international moot court competition was inaugurated by justice M.M. Kumar of Punjab and Haryana High Court, this evening, at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, here. Law students from 20 universities and colleges from across the country are expected to participate.

While speaking on the occasion, justice M.M. Kumar urged the students to practise professional ethics. He also praised the methodology by which students are trained, including moot courts in the universities.

Spokesperson of the university Payal Mander said students participating in the competition have been given topics in advance.

They will present the cases of their clients in moot courts before a panel of adjudicators, comprising of an advocate, a judge and a law lecturer. They will be judged on their knowledge of facts, presentation of the case and manner of pleading the case.

One of teams selected in the competition will represent the country in an international competition to be held at Hong Kong in June this year.

Teams from Bangalore, Kurukshetra, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Jodhpur, Nagpur, and Himachal Pradesh, are among those participating in the competition.

Vice-chancellor of the university Dr Gurjeet Singh welcomed the guests on the occasion.


Bandh against BOT roads near total
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 6
The city and its adjoining areas today remained inaccessible from the other districts of Punjab due to a day-long blockade and bandh call given by the District Sangarsh Committee to protest against the toll-plazas installed at the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) roads on Balachaur-Dasuya and Hoshiarpur-Tanda routes.

With special security arrangements to prevent any clash,the dawn-to-dusk bandh was near total in the city, where normal life was almost paralysed.

Traffic was blocked throughout the day on all state highways, including Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh, Hoshiarpur-Phagwara, Hoshiarpur-Tanda, Hoshiarpur-Dasuya and Hoshiarpur-Dharamshala as all exit and entry points to the city were blocked by the protesters.

Traffic on Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar Railway section was also paralysed from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm.

Activists of the committee consisting of private bus, trucks and taxi operators, representatives of various NGOs like the Bajrang Dal, Vishav Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena (Bal Thakre) and Rashtriya Vikas Party took out processions and staged dharnas and demonstrations in various parts of the city.They were demanding lifting of toll-plazas and free movement of vehicles on the above said BOT roads.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner D. K. Tiwari called a meeting of the leaders of the committee for withdrawing their agitation.

Bharat Bhushan Verma, a spokesman of the committee, claimed that it had made no compromise with the authorities of toll-plazas or the district administration regarding the withdrawal of the agitation. However,on the assurance of the DC that he would get their meeting with the Chief Minister of Punjab arranged at the earliest,the office bearers of the committee suspended their agitation for the time being. 



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