P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Promotions of school teachers on anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Punjab government has ordered the initiation of the promotion process for school teachers. Upinderjit Kaur, education minister, yesterday said all promotion cases had been summoned by the directorate. Both DPIs had already been instructed to initiate the promotion process of teachers. The district education officers concerned had been authorised to issue the posting orders of the master cadre at their own level. There would be no need for the promotees to come to the headquarters in Chandigarh in connection with the posting orders, she added.

The minister further said the DEOs would display lists of vacant posts and stations in schools on notice boards and the teachers would select their own stations for posting on a seniority basis. She asked them to choose schools where more posts were vacant and teachers were urgently required.

She said it had also been decided to clear all pending cases of recruitment on compassionate grounds of dependants of those teachers and other employees of the education department who had died in harness. The appointment letters in this regard would be handed over to the beneficiaries at a daylong camp.


Summer break in schools from May 30

Chandigarh, May 11
All government schools in Punjab will have their annual summer break from May 30 to June 30.

This is part of the change in the school holiday schedule. Now, the second Saturday of every month will be a closed day in all government, aided and recognised schools of the state, said a statement issued on behalf of Upinderjit Kaur, education minister.

The autumn break will be from September 8 to 14 while the winter vacation has been scheduled from December 25 to 31.

The school heads have been allowed to announce two holidays in a year with the prior permission of the district education officers.

The minister further said that orders regarding minor changes in the schedule of refresher courses for teachers during these vacations had also been issued.


Double fund allocation, varsities tell Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Knowledge cannot be disseminated without money. Give us funds if you want us to raise the standard of education and impart knowledge from top to the grassroots level. Also, lift the ban on the recruitment of teachers.

Various state universities starved of funds have conveyed this to the Punjab government, which had called a meeting to discuss the implementation of the recommendations of the knowledge commission. Representatives of Punjabi, Guru Nanak Dev and certain other universities took part in the meeting convened by chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh. In fact, the universities have told the chief secretary to ensure 100 per cent increase in the allocation of funds to them in this year’s budget.

The commission has sent an elaborate agenda to various states to make the country a knowledge-based society. It has asked the states not shift the financial burden for the dissemination of knowledge on people. Only 20 per cent of the expenditure on the dissemination of knowledge by the universities should be collected from students. The rest of the amount should be made available by the state government concerned.

The commission has asked the states to translate the masterpieces of literature, science, philosophy and other disciplines in the local languages to disseminate their contents up to the village level. Also, it has asked them to set up public libraries in each village to impart knowledge at the grassroots level and improve the infrastructure in the existing public libraries in urban areas.

It has also sought an enhancement in the percentage of students at the higher education level from the existing 7 to 15 per cent. In developed countries, this percentage is in the range of 70 to 80.

When questioned in this regard, Ramesh Inder Singh said he had told the universities concerned to improve the standard of education to make Punjab youth employable in the modern job market. “Though we are giving education to our youth in various institutions, they are not readily accepted in the job market because of the low standard of education”, he said. Asked about the demand for funds, he said there was a lot work that could be done by the universities without spending additional money. “Whatever requires to be done at our level, we will certainly do”, he added.

Guru Nanak Dev University has told the chief secretary that it is getting only 15 per cent of the grant required to run the university. The remaining amount has to be collected from students to run the show. Almost the same is true in the case of Punjabi University. Punjab Technical University and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences have been running the show without any worthwhile grants from the state government.

Schools are also without the required staff. In such a situation, the state government should not expect excellence in education from its institutions.

Officials of the universities have told the state government to press the union government to set up one or two central universities in the state. In Punjab, most of the time of the universities is wasted in managing colleges and doing other jobs such as the conducting of examinations.

The union government is to set up 50 central universities in the next three years. Besides, it has decided to work for the setting up of 1,500 universities in the states. Obviously, as states do not have adequate funds, these universities will be set up in the private sector.


Black money or donations
VC received the amount from godman: Ex-dean
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
Did black money flow into donations for Punjabi university. A case pointing towards this has come to the fore.

The university authorities in a press note issued on July 30, last year, had stated that a local godman donated Rs 30 lakh to the Patiala (Greater) Rotary Club to meet the shortfall of a special corpus of Rs 90 lakh being created for providing engineering education to poor students.

The money is now deposited in the Union Bank account of the club. However, the name of the godman who donated the amount does not figures in the list of donors. Instead, the donors comprise 62 persons who donated funds to the club in amounts ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.

Sources available here said after the godman donated funds to the university, the authorities came to know that it was black money and there was no record of its sources. They then created donors in whose names drafts were prepared and donated to the Rotary account. Interestingly, all drafts of donations made by 62 persons residing in Punjab and Haryana were made on the same date. They were also deposited in the same bank almost on the same date.

All persons, including university authorities and club functionaries, involved in receiving the amount now deny it.

Vice-chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai said he did not known anything about the matter. Only those spreading such news might know about it, a peeved VC said.

Spokesperson of the university B.S. Sandhu said Baltej Singh Mann, who was dean, resource mobilisation, at the time the donations were received from the godman would be the appropriate person to comment on the matter. Mann, who has recently resigned from the post, said the VC received the donation amount from the godman.

President of the club Ajay Gupta said they do not know anything about the donations. “We received donations through draft from different donors. The donors also gave affidavits supporting their claim. The money is still lying in accounts of the club,” he said.

The joint action committee carrying out agitation demanding the ouster of the VC has demanded an inquiry into the entire scenario.

Meanwhile, Baltej Singh Mann, head of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur National Integration Chair, in a press note issued here today alleged that the university authorities were trying to finish the Chair. University spokesperson B.S. Sandhu has, however, denied the charges.

Moral turpitude charge
Take your money back, Boparai tells foreign donor
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
Vice-chancellor of Punjabi University Swaran Singh Boparai has reacted sharply to statements of Baba Dalit Singh, a university donor. In a press release issued here today, Boparai has asked Daljit Singh Khalsa, known as “Baba Daljit Singh Chicago” to take back his donation money, extended as financial help to rural under-privileged students under the “Golden Heart Scholarship Scheme,” if he wanted to.

“Your donation of Rs 1 lakh is very valuable to us. But should you want it back, you just have to say so,” Boparai wrote to Daljit.

Daljit, in a press note, had stated that he had given the money only in response to efforts made by former dean resource mobilisation Dr Baltej Singh Mann. At another instance, nevertheless, he had said he promptly agreed to extend financial help to the needy students simply at the mentioning and pleading of their case by Boparai.

Boparai, in his letter to Daljit, has written, “I remember very well my first meeting with you when you made an offer of donation. Dr Baltej had visited you in Patiala six times earlier and the donation did not come up. Baltej told me that he was not successful and I would have to make a personal effort. I got in touch with you and made the request and the donation came through promptly.”

Boparai said the university needed help only from those who are pure at heart and noble in their deeds. Mentioning about his visit to Chicago and his meeting with Daljit, the VC said his idea of the good of society was spoilt when he discovered a woman in Daljit’s company at a motel. “Holy people do not keep such flagrant company for carnal pleasure,” the VC said, adding he hoped he would be excused for not addressing Daljit as Babaji.


Badal seeks special package from Centre
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Killianwali (Muktsar), May 11
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the Centre should come forward to give a special economic package to debt-ridden farmers of the state.

While expressing concern over the rising number of suicides being committed by farmers of the state, the CM pointed out that the Centre had already given special economic packages to the farmers of other states but the farmers of Punjab had still been waiting for the same.

Badal, while addressing the mediapersons here after holding a sangat darshan programme this evening, said it was unfortunate that farmers of Punjab, who had been contributing 60 per cent wheat and 40 per cent rice in the national kitty, had been pushed to the wall and were committing suicides.

While claiming that the Punjab government had given the facility of free power and irrigation water for agriculture use to the farmers, Badal said it was now the turn of the Centre to do the needful to stop farmers from taking their own lives.

He added that a survey in connection with the farmers, who had committed suicide, was being carried out so that the Centre could be apprised of the real situation prevailing in the Punjab agriculture sector.

On asking whether the Anglo-Sikh war was the First War for Independence of the country, Badal said no comment could be made over this issue right now. However, he added that it was certain that Sikhs had played a major role in the movement launched for getting freedom from the British rule.

When asked about his comments over the scaling down of security cover of former CM Amarinder Singh, Badal said Amarinder had been enjoying Z-plus security cover and it had not been scaled down.

The CM announced a grant of Rs 45 lakh for erecting a disposal system in this town. He also announced that four railway over bridges would be constructed at Malout, Mansa, Maur Mandi and Abohar by 2009.


Apathy incinerates mother’s last wish
Woman set on fire by mother-in-law dies waiting for her children
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
When Manisha Gill breathed her last this morning, her gaze was fixed at the hospital door. Suffering from 80 per cent burns, afflicted upon her by her mother-in-law on May 6, Manisha was in no condition to talk. But her restive eyes indicated that she was desperate to see her children. She had been awaiting their arrival since the day her mother-in-law Harbans Kaur, now under arrest for murder, set her on fire on the terrace of their home at Khusropur village in Jalandhar.

Till 6 am today, Manisha hung on to life, waiting to see her children. But they were no where in sight. The Kartarpur police, handling the case, had failed to bring her two sons and daughter to get a last glimpse of their mother. This despite Manisha’s family’s writing to the police, requesting them to honour the victim’s last wish.

SHO, Kartarpur, Inderjit Verma, said the request was received very late last evening and there was barely any time to act. Manisha’s brother Amarjit, however, said the written request was submitted day before yesterday and verbal requests were being made from the day Manisha had been brought to New Ruby Hospital, Jalandhar, with 80 per cent burns. He also alleged that Manisha’s sisters-in-law deliberately brought her to a hospital so far away whereas they could have easily taken her to Kartarpur.

Whatever the truth may be, the victim’s sons were not present even for her last rituals today - something her family says the police should have seen to. “They had five days to bring the children, who are still in the custody of Manisha’s in-laws. We fear for their lives because they were at home when Manisha was burnt. May be they witnessed the crime,” said Jeeto Kaur, Manisha’s mother, who said Manisha was under pressure from her husband Ramesh Gill to divorce him.

He had immigrated to UK two years ago and was looking for ways to get settled there permanently. The only way he could have done that was by marrying an English girl, said Jeeto Kaur. “He had been mounting pressure on Manisha to divorce him, but she was not ready for this. She wanted him back for their children’s sake,” Jeeto Kaur added.

Manisha’s refusal to give in to the demand allegedly led Harbans Kaur to kill her. The FIR states that Harbans Kaur poured kerosene on Manisha when she was making chapattis on her terrace on May 6.

Under arrest for the murder of her daughter-in-law, Harbans Kaur was earlier booked for attempt to murder (Section 307 IPC). “But the section was converted to murder (302 IPC) when Manisha died this morning,” said Verma, adding that Manisha had given her statement before a magistrate.


Cheema criticises panel

Chandigarh, May 11
Veteran trade unionist and member of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) M.M. Singh Cheema criticised the formation of the 12-member coordination panel that is to oversee the affairs of the Punjab Congress.

Office-bearers of the AICC have hardly any time to contact the masses in Punjab. All Central ministers from Punjab should have been left out, said Cheema. — TNS


Permanent cargo complex 
NHM questions project viability
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
The Rs 24-crore permanent cargo complex project for Rajasansi International Airport has hit a roadblock with the National Horticulture Mission (NHM), which was to fund the project, expressing reservations about the viability of the project.

According to airport sources, the NHM had questioned the need for setting up a modern cargo complex considering that the existing temporary perishable cargo complex still does not get enough volume of cargo.

The project was to be funded by the NHM, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, and the reservations expressed by the NHM could put a question mark on the fate of the project.

The Council of Value Added Horticulture, the body for handling cargo affairs, is presently running the temporary perishable cargo centre.

Talking to The Tribune, Sanjay Budhraj, deputy chief executive officer and in-charge of the cargo complex, said there was still hope that the project might be back on track. A team of the NHM inspected the temporary perishable cargo complex yesterday and asked the council to submit a revised detailed project report, with some modifications.

“After inspecting the existing facility, the NHM officials sounded convinced that the present procedure of manually handling perishable cargo is very cumbersome and there cannot be much increase in business with the present setup,” he said.

He added that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had already agreed to hand over 10,000 sq m of land to the council for setting up of a permanent perishable cargo centre, on a token money of Re 1 per annum for a period of seven years. If funds are released for the project, the project would be completed in a year’s time, he said.

After the Punjab government gave a go-ahead for setting up of a modern perishable cargo complex for the export of vegetables, fruits and other perishables, Rajasansi airport was touted as the cargo hub of the region.

Development of cargo facility at the Rajasansi airport will prove to be a blessing for exporters from the adjoining states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, who have to presently operate from Delhi and have to go through the ordeal of transporting their produce to distant airports.

Exporters operating from Amritsar feel there is definitely a need for setting up of a state-of-the art permanent cargo complex. Presently, the entire procedure takes more than three hours and there is also risk of perishables getting spoilt in the process. Once the automatic system is put in place, bar codes put on the cargo boxes would be read by computerised scanners and the required information would be passed on to the custom staff.


National award for woman scientist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
A national award has been conferred upon Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora, an outstanding scientist from Punjab. She has been given the award for her work on women’s development through science and technology. The award was presented to her today, on the occasion of Technology Day, by the President at Delhi.

Dr Arora is, perhaps, the first scientist to get such an award. She is a doctorate in microbiology and has a brilliant academic record. She has been awarded merit fellowship during graduation and post graduation and ICAR fellowship during her doctorate programme. After serving as an assistant professor in Punjab Agricultural University, she joined the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology in 1990 and is serving as a joint director in the council at present.

She has executed various prestigious projects, including mission mode project on biofertiliser, solid waste management through vermicomposting and promotion of cultivation and value addition through processing of medicinal and aromatic plants. She has also launched awareness campaigns on causes and prevention of genetic disorders which led to significant positive shift in prevailing perceptions of rural women. She is coordinating promotion of neem-based environment friendly pesticide in Punjab under Government of India supported multi-institutional project.


Devising ways to check smuggling
Five villages supplying narcotics identified
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Bathinda, May 11
To put an effective curb on the menace of smuggling of narcotics, a section of police chiefs of various districts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan met here today to work out a strategy to do the same.

The police officials of different states, who were together in the first-ever coordination-cum-information sharing meet, managed to identify five villages in Haryana and Rajasthan, which have become the major source poppy husk, opium and smack supply in the region. The police officials also succeeded in preparing a list of top 20 smugglers, who had been ruling the roost in this business.

Those attended the meeting included Vikas Arora, SP, Sirsa, Saurabh Singh, SP, Fatehbad, Binita Thakur, SP, Sriganganagar, R. Suhasa, SP, Hanumangarh, D. P. Singh, SSP, Ferozepore, Naresh Kumar, SSP, Bathinda, D. S. Garcha, SSP, Moga, Ram Singh, SSP, Mansa, and L. K. Yadav, SSP, Faridkot.

Over the past two decades, the Punjab and Haryana have been witnessing significant jump in the smuggling of narcotics and a major section of their population getting hooked to the drugs. The poppy husk, opium and smack, which are being produced in Madhya Pardesh and Rajasthan, have been finding their way into Punjab and Haryana.

Though mediapersons were not given the full details of the marathon meeting, information revealed that after setting up a coordination cell in the office of the DIG, Faridkot range, the police of these districts would plan joint action to tackle the menace. The joint raids would be conducted in case the intelligence inputs warranted so.

The nodal officers had been appointed by the police chiefs of these districts, who would coordinate and share information on regular basis. The on-line information would be exchanged whenever necessary.

It had also been decided for the first time that operation against the smugglers would be launched once a week. Special nakas would be set up all roads leading to one district of one state to other district of other state effectively. The police chiefs had also agreed to provide all necessary support if the outside police wanted to nab culprits from their respective jurisdiction.


Big haul of banned drugs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 11
A team of the district health authorities today recovered 13,500 injections of banned drugs during a raid on a shop being run under the name of Naresh Medicos at Maur Mandi in this district.

Official sources said though this banned drug was meant for veterinary use, the same was being sold to the addicts by the shopkeeper for their intoxication.

Earlier, the district health authorities had managed to recover banned cough syrups and other intoxicants in this district when its teams conducted raids on about 30 shops dotting this area.

Information supplied by the district health authorities revealed that today’s raid had resulted into the recovery of 1,31,000 intoxicating tablets of different formulations, 4,000 capsules and 13500 injections. The huge recovery of these drugs was made from residential premises situated behind the Naresh Medicos, which was running without any authorisation. The raiding has also identified two Ludhiana-based drug firms for supplying banned drugs to Naresh Medicos.

The raid conducted by a team of district health authorities yesterday at a shop located in Jodhpur Pakhar village resulted into the recovery of 4500 intoxicating tablets, 270 capsules and used syringes.

Dr Maninder Jit Singh, civil surgeon, said an FIR had been registered against Ashok Kumar, owner of the shop namely Garg Medical Store in Jodhpur Pakhar village and the culprit had been arrested.


Acids being sold with food: NGO
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 11
The Consumer Movement, an NGO, today told DC Bhagwant Singh that some retail kiryana merchants had stored acids along with food articles and were selling the same without a proper licence. The DC was here to hold a sangat darshan.

A deputation of the NGO led by chairman Sat Pal Khariwal and president Sudhir Sethi submitted a bunch of memorandum to the DC highlighting discrepancies in various departments.

They said unauthorised retailers were marketing highly hazardous, explosive and poisonous acids in violation of the norms.

As the prices of milk had gone up last month, the deputation demanded a complete ban on the sale of khoya, cheese and other milk-based products. Scarcity of the milk had given rise to the sale of synthetic and substandard milk in the subdivision.

The NGO complained that most of the fair price shops licensed by the Department of Civil Supplies were selling kerosene in the black market. They were allegedly charging Rs 24 against a fixed price of Rs 9.60 per litre from consumers living below the poverty line.

A BJP deputation said all vacancies in the police stations here should be filled on a priority basis to enable the police check thefts and other crimes. The deputation regretted that the additional DC had abandoned the weekly darbar here that had been in practice when the Congress was in power. The DC assured them that the ADC would hold fortnightly darbar here to solve problems on the spot.


Total bandh in Hoshiarpur
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 11
Hoshiarpur and its adjoining areas today remained inaccessible from the rest of the state due to a day-long blockade and bandh call given by the District Sangarsh Committee to protest against the toll plazas installed on the build operate and transfer (BOT) roads (Balachaur-Dasuya and Hoshiarpur-Tanda routes).

The dawn-to-dusk bandh was near total and traffic was blocked throughout the day on all exit and entry points to the city. Protesters parked tractor-trailors, trucks and canters across the roads causing harassment to the general public.

Traffic on the Jalandhar-Pathankot railway section was also paralysed for more than 30 minutes as members of the committee squatted on the railway track at Khakhan. They also blocked traffic on the Jalandhar-Jammu road at Khakhan, but on the appeal of deputy commissioner D.K. Tiwari lifted the blockade.

They also staged a dharna at the local railway crossing on the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road due to which 8 JH DMU from Jalandhar reached 34 minutes late at the destination. Later, on the appeal of the SDM, they lifted the blockade.

Managements of private schools and principals of government schools of the city declared holiday today.

All the business establishments and shops remained closed in the city in support of the agitation. The members of the District Bar Association also observed strike in support of the demand of the committee.


Rural doctors demand regular jobs
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
The Rural Medical Service Providers Association (Punjab) held a meeting, here, today, which was presided over by president of the association Dr Aslam Parvez. During the meeting, the issue of regularisation of 1,193 doctors working in rural areas of Punjab was discussed.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Parvez said as the health sector remained a priority area, regularisation of services of rural doctors, recruited on contract under the Zila Parishad, would be the main issue of a meeting slated for May 14.

Dr Parvez said the association’s main demands were regularisation of jobs and privileges for female doctors on maternity leave, adding that the denial of maternity leave to female doctors was a violation of human rights. He further said Sukhbir Singh Badal had assured the association last month in a meeting held at Delhi that their jobs would be regularised soon.


Govt to fix its own level for MSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Punjab government is seriously thinking to fix its own level for the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for various pulses being produced by farmers in the state.

Usually, the union government fixes the MSP for the foodgrains and pulses. Sources said the officers concerned had been asked by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to examine the issue. Fixing of the MSP for the pulses would motivate the farmers to grow more such crops.

Meanwhile, the state government has decided to write to the union government to continue the official procurement of wheat even after May 31. Recently, the government had stated that it would not procure the wheat after May 31.


Ex-militants: 7-member team to help Birdi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Punjab police yesterday formed a seven-member team to work with ADGP J.P. Birdi for probing how three former terrorists were alive even as the police had claimed to have killed them in encounters years ago.

Meanwhile, sources in the police said there was no written communication from the Punjab government to expand the scope of the inquiry beyond the existing three cases of former militants.


Mahinder Singh Josh dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Mahinder Singh Josh, founder of the Sikh missionary movement in Punjab, died this morning. He was 70.

Harjinder Singh Dilgir, a Sikh scholar, said that representatives of all Sikh missionary colleges in the state attended the funeral at Mohali. He was cremated this afternoon.

Dilgir said Josh had authored about two dozen books on Sikhism. A representative of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee also attended the funeral.


A candle-light tribute

Amritsar, May 11
To mark the 150th anniversary of the 1857 Rising, Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) activists converged on the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial here today to light candles and pay tributes to Indian martyrs who rose against the oppressive British rule and contributed in uniting the country in its long struggle for freedom.

PYC president Vijay Inder Singla said it was an occasion to not only remember brave sacrifices made by Indian soldiers but was also a message for people to work together and have a strong belief in ultimate victory of people against oppressive policies of the government.


Women block traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 11
Protesting against the non-supply of drinking water to their houses for the past several days, a number of women along with some men, all belonging to the local Padhian Wala mohalla, today blocked the road for about one-and-half-hour in the main bazaar at Dhuri Gate here.

Despite the efforts by city in charge Bharpur Singh, they remained adamant not to lift the dharna for more than an hour. At last, SDM Mohan Lal and the DSP Pritpal Singh Thind reached the spot and pacified the protesters by assuring them that water supply to their houses would be restored by 4 pm.


High Court
HC seeks report on quality of education
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice to Punjab government over a petition seeking status report on the quality of education in the state’s government schools and the attendance record of teachers for the past five years.

The petitioner, Naresh Ghai, pleaded that the court may call for a status report from the Punjab government about how many teachers had not been posted or present in the schools for 215 days of the year and how many of them had been assigned outside duties over the past five years.

Dropout rate

Class I-V
Boys: 26.37 per cent
Girls : 24.07 per cent
Class I-VIII
Boys: 33.71 per cent
Girls : 31.67 per cent
Class I-X
Boys: 43.81 per cent
Girls : 47.10 per cent 

He further submitted that government should disclose as to what remedial steps it had taken to mitigate the plight of state’s government education set-up.

The petitioner highlighted the fact that Punjab was languishing at 16th position under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan scheme and submitted that the government should be asked to take steps to improve the state’s status on this front.

Another interesting suggestion that came forth from the petition was that a list of substitutes should be maintained by the government for every teacher going or about to go on a regular or any type of leave.

It was also stressed by the petitioner that the affiliation of the government schools with shoddy education standards or where 95 per cent of the teachers did not work for 215 days, should be withdrawn.

The next date of hearing is September 10.


Notice to Centre, Punjab over water table
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Expressing concern over the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice to the Punjab government and other respondents over a petition seeking notifications to prohibit the transplantation of paddy before June 15.

The petition, titled Lieut Col Naresh Ghai, advocate, vs State of Punjab, Union of India and others, sought the aforesaid directions to the respondents so as to check fall in the state’s rapidly depleting water table (1 metre per year).

The petitioner also prayed for the constitution of a committee of scientists to oversee that no paddy transplantation was done before June 15.

Importantly, a status report was sought from the respondents to find out why no effective action had so far been taken in the matter.

The petitioner submitted that action taken reports, including notifications under Section 144 CrPC regarding harvesting of paddy during night and ban on burning of wheat/paddy straw, should also be placed before the court. The next hearing is on May 30.

Notice to health ministry

The high court today issued a notice to the ministry of health and family welfare for September 11 over a PIL seeking quashing of some provisions of the PNDT Act,1994.

The provisions contained in the Sections 4(4), 4(5),23(3),23(4) and 24 of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (prohibition of sex determination) Act provide for punishment to the pregnant woman and her husband and relatives for the offence of seeking determination of the sex of foetus.

The petitioner, H.C. Arora, contended that a pregnant woman and her husband were part of the sex determination due to their misplaced apprehensions over the future of the girl child, like insecurity regarding dowry, domestic violence etc.

As such, the woman and her husband should not be equated with the owners of genetic clinics, genetic counselling centres and their ‘erring’ employees who indulge in sex determination due to their greed.


GND varsity row
Students told to vacate hostels
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Taking serious view of the protests held by students with regard to lecture shortage on Guru Nanak Dev University campus, the university here today ordered all students staying in the hostels to vacate their rooms immediately. The university has also banned the entry of certain day scholars to the campus with immediate effect.

Registrar R.S. Bawa said this decision had been taken by a high-powered committee constituted by the vice-chancellor to review the present situation on the campus.

The registrar said these detained students had physically tried to stop other students from appearing in the examinations, used derogatory language against the faculty, manhandled the security staff and indulged in large-scale indiscipline on the campus.

According to the university authorities, Fulwinderpal Singh, lecturer of Trai Shatabdi Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Amritsar, has been found provoking students. The university, taking note of this, has informed the principal and management of the college concerned for initiating disciplinary action against him.

Bawa added that the university today had to take the help of the district administration to maintain peace on the campus for the smooth conduct of the examinations.


Rs 20 crore released for pvt colleges
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 11
The Punjab government has released Rs 20 crore for the private colleges of the state. This grant includes Rs 18 crore for salaries for the fourth quarter and Rs 2 crore as DA approved last year by the government.

According to the state general secretary of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), Jagwant Singh, a cheque for Rs 20 crore was despatched to the DPI (Colleges), Punjab and Chandigarh office.


PCCTU poll tomorrow

Barnala, May 11
The state annual elections of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) will take place on May 13 in Jalandhar.

Giving this information here today, state PCCTU general secretary Jagwant Singh stated the general council of the PCCTU will meet at Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, tomorrow when PCCTU general secretary J.R. Prashar would present their annual reports before the general council for deliberations and approval of the same. — OC


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