P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


It was toppers’ day

Punjab Board Class XII results
Ferozepore girl tops in science
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, June 6
“If there is a dream within and a dauntless spirit to achieve success, no impediments can deter you from reaching the pinnacle of glory,” feels Saloni Sidana of Ferozepore, who has topped the PSEB Class XII (science) examinations by securing 463 marks out of 500.

A student of Government Senior Secondary School, Saloni draws inspiration from her father, Anish Sidana, who hails from a political background and her mother, Mamta, who is the vice-principal of the local DAV School.

When The Tribune team broke the news to her, Saloni said though she was expecting good marks, she had never imagined that she would top the state.

“My focus was towards the preparation of the medical competitive exams and I was not preoccupied with the Class XII results. But this is a great surprise,” beamed Saloni. She has also secured All India Rank 113 in CBSE (PMT), the result of which was declared today.

Saloni's father attributed her daughter's success to her hard work and diligence, and added that his wife, Mamta who is M.Sc (bio chemistry) played a vital role in their daughter's success.

About her future plans, the topper said she wants to excel in medical field and become a reputed doctor in the field of neurosurgery or cardiovascular surgery.

Another girl from Ferozepore, Itti Agarwal of DC Model Senior Secondary School, also made it to top 10 in the state by securing the eighth position. While talking to The Tribune, Itti credited her success to her family and a dedicated team of teachers who remained a constant source of motivation and professional support. She has also cleared AIEEE examination, the result of which was recently declared. Itti plans to pursue a degree in computers or IT engineering.

Ruchi Goyal of DC Model Senior Secondary School and Madhvi Bhardwaj of Government Senior Secondary School, Abohar, are also amongst the top 100 students in the state.


Aspiring engineer is second
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
Raghav Kapoor of DAV Senior Secondary School, Hathi Gate, has bagged the second position in the PSEB Class XII examinations by securing 91 per cent marks (455 out of 500).

A jubilant Raghav, who aspires to become an engineer, said hard work and dedication was the secret behind his success. His parents, Kamal and Deepali Kapoor, said they were proud of their son who was seriously pursuing his career.

Sajan of DAV Collegiate Senior Sec School has secured the ninth position with 444 marks, Naia of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Mall Road, has secured 436 marks, Mandeep Kaur and Navpreet Kaur of Guru Nanak Public Senior Secondary School, Nag Di Khui, have secured 434 marks, Saurabh Bhalla of DAV Senior Secondary School has got 433 marks, Rajwinder Kaur and Harcharan Kaur of Guru Nanak Public Senior Secondary School, Nag Di Khui, have secured the 23rd position and Sahil Kohli of Jagat Jyoti Senior Secondary School, Rani ka Bagh, has got the 
24th position.


Patiala boy is second

Patiala, June 6
Tegrabab Singh, a city resident, has secured the second position in the CBSE pre-medical entrance test at the all India level. Son of Dr Gursharan Singh, a child specialist, and Dr Gurmeet Kaur, Tegrabab had secured 93.2 per cent marks in the Class XII exams. He did his schooling from Guru Nanak Foundation School.

Tegrabab attributed the success to his parents who motivated him and the teachers. — TNS


Pass percentage sees a dip
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 6
The pass percentage in the PSEB Class XII has dipped this year with only 62 per cent of the candidates passing the annual examinations. Last year, over 65 per cent of those who had taken the exams had managed to secure pass marks.

While only 31 per cent of the private candidates have passed this year, the pass percentage of the regular candidates is over 63 per cent. The sharpest dip has been in the pass percentage of private candidates in the science and commerce streams. Last year, over 70 per cent of such candidates had passed, while this year, less than 32 per cent managed to clear the examinations. Releasing the merit list today, board chairman H.S. Sidhu said no special grace marks had been given to the candidates.

Meanwhile, yet again, the girls fared better with the top 25 spots being dominated by them. Out of the 17 students who are bracketed on the first 10 positions in the state, 14 are girls. Saloni Sidana of Ferozepore has topped the state, followed by Raghav Kapur from Amritsar and Puja Rani of Ludhiana. Nancy from Moga and Shweta Jindal of Sangrur are bracketed at the fourth position. Bhavna (Jalandhar) is next, followed by Neeraj Kumar (Dasuya) and Manpreet Kaur (Patiala) who are bracketed on the next spot.

Ekta Gujral (Kapurthala), Itti Aggarwal (Ferozepore), Deepika Pathania (Gurdaspur), Varinder Kaur (Jalandhar), Lavish Puri (Ludhiana), Neha Sajan (Amritsar), Nitish Kumar (Patiala), Shailja (Ludhiana), Manjit Kaur (Ludhiana), Inderjit Kaur (Sangrur), Parminder Singh (Kapurthala), Davinder Singh (Ludhiana), Sonam Sooch (Moga) Jaiveer Kalia (Patiala), Sapna (Patiala), Meenu (Sangrur), Rajveer Kaur (Muktsar), Jyoti Sagar (Ludhiana) and Mandeep Kaur (Ludhiana) are among those who have achieved top positions in the state.

Unlike last year, a fair number of students from government schools have made the merit list. Moreover, these schools in the rural areas have produced more meritorious students than those in the urban areas.

Students from Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ferozepore, Sangrur and Muktsar have performed better than students from other 

A total of 2,46,715 students had appeared in the Class XII examination this year, which are almost 25,000 less than last year. As many as 1,91,520 appeared in the humanities group and over 36,000 appeared in the science and commerce streams. 


Amarinder gets HC nod to visit UK
Tribune News Service

Pop singer Daler Mehndi arrives for appearance to the court in Patiala on Wednesday.
Pop singer Daler Mehndi arrives for appearance to the court in Patiala on Wednesday.  — Tribune photo: Rajesh Sachar

Chandigarh, June 6
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted permission to former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to visit the United Kingdom from June 10 onwards with subject to some conditions.

The court pronounced that Amarinder could visit the UK for a period of 10 days from June 10 onwards, provided that he supplied all documents, as undertaken by him, related to the Vigilance probe and the questionnaire by June 8. Also, the visit could be extended up to July 25, if the petitioner had to undergo surgery.

Importantly, the visit has been allowed for a period of 10 days only if he has to undergo a routine medical checkup and incidental procedures.

The counsel for the State of Punjab, Rita Kohli, strongly objected to Amarinder’s petition saying “ A special leave petition is being filed in the Supreme Court to challenge the interim relief granted to the petitioner whereby he had been granted an anticipatory bail till July 30. We need his custodial interrogation in the light of new facts coming to the fore in the Ludhiana City Centre case.”

Kohli highlighted the fact that Amarinder had not been able to show that he was in urgent need of medical attention.

Incidentally, Amarinder had yesterday submitted a letter by a UK-based doctor recommending him to visit the UK for four to six weeks for treatment of renal and liver ailments.

The state’s counsel carried on full steam against the petitioner and asserted that “ the Vigilance investigations into the City Centre Scam were at a sensitive stage, especially after Chetan Gupta’s statement and information gathered from his pen drive, and we have to develop new leads.”

“We can not allow the investigations to be put at the mercy of the petitioner”, the state counsel said.

She also asserted that a board of doctors be constituted to examine Amarinder so as to ascertain the true nature of his ailments and whether he needed prompt medical attention or not.


Guru’s Kalgi 
SGPC chief takes up matter with Badal
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar reportedly held a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and president of Shiromani Akali Dal at Chandigarh today to apprise him about the “misuse” of Akal Takht's letterhead for seeking visas for the kin of Akal Takht Jathedar on the pretext of holding a discussion on “kalgi” (sacred crest) of Guru Gobind Singh, following worldwide condemnation.

When contacted, the SGPC chief said he met Badal in this regard but refused to divulge the details.

Talking to The Tribune, the SGPC chief, however, appreciated the efforts of Kanwaljit Singh Boparai, who had done a lot of research on the “Kalgi” of Guru Gobind Singh. He, however, said it was the prerogative of Shiromani Committee to send such a delegation to Canada or any other country. He said the previous delegation, headed by Boparai, stood cancelled.

The proposed delegation would reportedly include Jathedars of all the five Takhts and SGPC chief and Sikh scholars.

Earlier, the SGPC chief had sent his senior official to the Akal Takht Secretariat to check its record to ascertain whether any list of the delegation, dominated by the kin of the Jathedar, was sent to 
Canadian Embassy for seeking visas.

Meanwhile, Baldev Singh Sirsa, a senior leader of SAD (Amritsar), has sent a legal notice to the SGPC chief and other officials of the Shiromani Committee regarding approval of delegation, dominated by the family members of the Jathedar of the Akal Takht.

It may be mentioned here that the kin of Jathedar Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, including his wife, dominated the list of 12 persons who were planning to go to Canada for “preliminary preparations and holding discussion” with Sikh organisations and officials of government of Canada for collecting holy “Kalgi” of Guru Gobind Singh from Canada. The “Kalgi” was taken to England in 1851.

The Government of India through the Antiquity Department has also given the required permissions.

The plume, which is believed to have been worn by Guru Gobind Singh, is one of the items in the possession of the legendary Maharaja Ranjit Singh. After the British occupation of Punjab following the Second Sikh War, it was taken to England, where it finally ended up at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

However, three days after breaking of the news about the impending delegation, the Akal Takht Secretariat has failed to clarify its position so far.

Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwarpal Singh has sought a high-level probe into the matter. He said the Jathedar of Akal Takht himself should come forward to clarify as to how his kin had applied for visas on the pretext of holding discussions on this issue.

“If the Jathedar had not approved the list, then he should take immediate action against all those who have misused his letterhead,” he said.


Daler’s kabootarbazi case adjourned
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 6
The hearing in the Daler Mehndi case was adjourned till July 24 today. The case came up for hearing before the Judicial Magistrate First Class for arguments on framing of charges against the pop singer who was personally present in the court.

The defence pleaded for adjournment by stating that the singer was preoccupied in some other cases.

The counsel for the prosecution, Gurpreet Singh, apprised the judge, who has recently joined after the transfer of the judicial officer, about the background of the case.

The other three co-accused, including Shamsher Mehndi, Bulbul Mehta and Dhian Singh, were granted exemptions from personal appearance for today’s hearing.

The Patiala police had booked Daler Mehndi and his brother Shamsher Mehndi on charges of duping some local youths on pretext of sending them abroad with their dance troops.

The Patiala police later issued a clean chit to Mehndi by filing a discharge application in the court. The judge, however, rejected the application following objections from the complainants in the case.


PSEB staff strike peaceful
Tribune Reporters

Patiala June 6
Strike of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees passed off peacefully amidst claims and counter-claims by protesters and the board management . The Technical Services Union of the PSEB that spearheaded the today’s protest claimed the strike was total.The management claimed that it had no effect on operations.

PSEB chairman Y.S. Ratra in a press statement here today said action would be taken against the employees who had participated in the strike. He termed the strike unjustified. Only a section of the employees participated in it. Attendance in the PSEB secretariat and other offices of the board was full and all thermal and hydro power stations functioned normally, he claimed.

Meanwhile, members of the union maintained that subordinate technical and clerical staff of the board participated in the strike. Dharnas and protests were carried out at all circle headquarters.

They opposed the government move to outsource jobs in the board. They demanded that the government should fill the vacant posts of subordinate staff in the board and take up the new power projects at departmental level.

HOSHIARPUR: On a call of the PSEB Employees Joint Forum,employees observed a complete strike throughout the state to pressurise the board's management to implement their already-accepted demands and against the Power Bill 2003.

During the strike, cash collection and complaint centres also remained closed.

Reports of complete strike were received from Nawanshahr, Kapurthala, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, Khanna, Mohali, Sangrur, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Bathinda, Mukerian Hydel Project and Bhatinda Thermal Plant also.


BJP sidesteps demand for deputy CM’s post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The BJP today decided to “sidestep” its demand for the Punjab deputy chief minister's post and concentrate on providing “good and efficient” governance to the people in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The Punjab government, acting on the suggestion of BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma, has decided in principle that all those who have property, including houses, situated within the lal dora (inside village boundaries) will be given ownership rights with complete documents. This decision was taken by Chief Minister Badal. Verma had suggested that just as land tillers had been given ownership rights, the government should also give such rights to the owners of dwellings, cowsheds and even a piece of land situated within the lal dora. Badal has instructed the financial commissioner, revenue, Romilla Dubey to prepare the records of property in all villages of the state.

Also, the BJP wants the coming municipal elections to be held after the monsoon.

Senior BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma, who is in charge of Punjab affairs, today told mediapersons that deputy chief ministership was not the issue but a smooth working relationship with the SAD was. '' The deputy CM's post was never a pre- election condition,'' said Verma, who had recently replaced Arun Jaitley as the party's in charge. This demand came up after the party's good showing in the February assembly poll.

''However, if Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal gives the deputy CM’s post to us, we will accept it'', he said while refusing to divulge if an already elected legislator or an MP would be given a chance. He denied that the party had put pressure on Badal to concede this demand.

Verma said the municipal elections in the state could be delayed beyond July 15 as the monsoon could hamper the poll. Insiders in the BJP pointed out the real reason was that the party was yet to assess the situation in view of the developments in the recent past. The promised subsidy on atta and dal will be provided after August 15 while the flare- up caused due to the row between Sikh organisations and Dera Sacha Sauda has not been forgotten by urban voters. He assured that he would look into the allegations levelled against minister Tikshan Sud by a national magazine with regard to human trafficking.

Denying factionalism in the state unit, Verma said he was getting full support from all sections. '' There is no Jaitley faction or any other group,'' he claimed.

Verma also complimented Badal in particular and the Punjab government in general on the handling of the Sikh-Sacha Sauda standoff. The matter had been settled and there was peace in Punjab, he said when pointed out that the Sikh clergy had called for the shutting down of all deras.

He refused to comment on the “exoneration” of Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati in the Taj corridor case. '' I can only comment after studying the details,'' he said.


Taxation body wants withdrawal of new IT form
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 6
Members of the District Taxation Bar, at its general body meeting held here yesterday, have unanimously resolved to request the union finance minister to withdraw the application of the new series of Income Tax return forms.

General secretary of the bar Paramjit Singh said these forms would create numerous problems at the time of the filing and processing the returns.

He further said the new forms had been designed without any annexure and there was no column for details of specific investment for claiming deductions under chapter VI-A, thereby causing major loss of revenue to the government. There was also no column for details of capital by partners or proprietors, unsecured loans, sundry creditors and debtors, Paramjit added. A spokesperson of the bar also said the new IT return forms were not being supplied to the assesses, causing great inconvenience to the public.

K.K. Singla, president of the association, suggested that the new IT forms not be made compulsory for the assessment year 2007-08 because a Bill for New Direct Taxes Code was likely to be presented before the Parliament in the monsoon session. This bill will replace the Income Tax Act 1961 and Wealth Tax Act and these new IT forms will have to be further amended as per the provisions of the New Direct Taxes Code.

Singla also stated that either the forms are withdrawn or people be given the option of filling up the old SARAL forms for this year.


PUDA draw for plots soon
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 6
PUDA will soon organise a draw for the allotment of plots in the Patiala urban estate. In a press statement issued here today, the PUDA authorities stated that the scrutiny of applications for 85 plots advertised in February 2007 has been completed.

The list of applicants who have been found eligible for plots has been finalised and can be checked from the office of PUDA at Patiala.

He also said the draw of lots for the plots would be conducted very soon. The applicants for the plots had been raising hue and cry alleging delay on the part of PUDA in carrying out the draw of lots. They alleged that the money that they had attached with applications was being illegally blocked by PUDA. 


State plans to harness 1,000 MW from biomass
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Punjab government has mooted a proposal for outsourcing biomass to the private power sector. There is a potential to generate 1,000 MW of power from biomass in a phased manner.

The government is likely to opt for early technical and financial bids to select groups to invest in the state. One of the prominent organisations, MPPL Renewable Energy Pvt Ltd, in the filed of power generation from biomass made a presentation to the Chief Minister today.

The organisation has expressed its willingness to take over almost the entire network of the proposed biomass projects in the state as it had been running about a dozen projects in Karnataka.

A.K. Lakhina, chairman-cum-MD, rural electrification of India, discussed 24-hour un-interrupted domestic power supply in the rural sector on the urban pattern with Badal. The CM asked Lakhina to clear the pending proposal to finance Rs 1,987 crore Shahpur Kandi hydel dam project.


Court martial of 3 IAF men begins
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
Five officials of the IAF today started the court martial of its three personnel P.K. Vashistha, Saji Augustine and S.K. Pathak for their alleged involvement in the theft of 45 silver zinc aircraft batteries from the Bhisiana Air Force station, 25 km from here.

The court martial was started after these three were chargesheeted for committing the theft in a building used for the custody of property, willfully destroying aircraft material belonging to the government, causing loss to the government and an committing an act prejudicial to Air Force discipline.

The order in this regard was issued by Air Marshal P.S. Alhuwalia, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, New Delhi, on May 28.

A case in this regard was registered on the complaint of Salim Baig, Sqd Ldr, flight commander base, at the Nahianwala police station of Bathinda district.

It was found that the three Air Force personnel had destroyed 45 aircraft batteries worth about Rs 20 lakh.

Meanwhile, Sushil Gautam, counsel for Saji Augustine, said the court martial of Augustine was wrong.


Police averts clash
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 6
A clash between the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda and members of the Sikh community was averted after the timely intervention of the police at Channalwal village, 11 km from here, today.

Hundreds of dera followers had gathered at the house of one Jagtar Singh where ‘Nam Charcha’ - a religious ceremony of the dera - was going on. However, when the members of the Sikh community came to know about this, they tried to intervene and stop the ceremony.

Anticipating trouble, the dera followers, armed with stones, went to the roof and began abusing the gathered Sikhs, who had swords and sticks with them.

Meanwhile, after the incident, the local Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee directed the Sikh sangat to boycott the dera followers who were conducting the ‘Nam Charcha’. 


Martyr’s statue set on fire
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
The yet-to-be-unveiled statue of martyr Jarnail Singh, a Punjab police commando, who laid down his life while fighting militants in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections in September 2002, was set on fire by unidentified anti-social elements in the Guru Nanak Pura locality of this town late last night.

The incident created a wave of resentment among members of the Rathore community, to which the martyr belonged, and they staged a dharna at the site. Hundreds of members of the community and residents of the locality raised slogans against the municipal corporation (MC) authorities for not cooperating with them to unveil the statue at the stipulated time.

Avtar Singh, president, Shaheed Jarnail Singh Memorial Society, said the dharna was lifted only when deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari, who came on the spot, assured the protesters that the culprits would be nabbed.

Avtar Singh pointed out that the family of the martyr was yet to get Rs 5 lakh as insurance amount in the name of Jarnail Singh when he was sent for the election duty. He informed that the statue could not be unveiled in time, as the MC authorities had failed to provide certain facilities at the spot where it was to be installed.


Bluestar Anniversary
A low-key affair
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
The 23rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar today passed off peacefully even as some hardliners thwarted the attempts made by some youths to distribute leaflets having the message “Khalistan zindabad” at the Akal Takht secretariat here today.

However, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Joginder Singh Vedanti asked the Sikh Panth to arm themselves as per the Sikh traditions and start “gurmat” classes at all gurdwaras with a view to uprooting the gurus of cults like Noormehlias, Bhaniarawala and Dera Sacha Sauda.

The jathedar honoured the kin of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh, former president, All-India Students Federation, and Maj-Gen Shabeg Singh, who had masterminded the fortification of Akal Takht and SGPC buildings before the Army operation.

Though Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal were conspicuous by their absence, SGPC chief Avtar Singh, jathedars of various takhts and Akali ministers, including Sucha Singh Langah and Bikramjit Singh Majithia, and Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, chief, Damdami Taksal, participated in the anniversary function, which remained a low-key affair this time.

The jathedar, Akal Takht, also paid tributes to all those who were killed during the Army operation. He rued that the Central government had failed to return the invaluable books and literature after the Sikh Reference Library got burnt.

Reports about observing the anniversary in foreign countries were also received. 


MC records on development works seized, probe on
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 6
The vigilance section of the Department of Local Governments has initiated an inquiry into the alleged allotment of works by the Patiala Municipal Corporation in back date. A team of officials led by the senior vigilance official S.D. Garg today met corporation officials and seized the records in this connection.

Sources available here told said the inquiry had been initiated on a complaint of commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia. The commissioner in a communication to the deputy commissioner, Patiala, had alleged that the corporation officials had issued orders for 11 development works 14 days after the implementation of the election code. However, on paper the work orders were said to be issued one day before the implementation of the election code for the last Assembly elections.

The development works for which orders were issued include laying of concrete flooring, construction and improvement of roads, he has alleged.

The commissioner has also sent a copy of his complaint to the principal secretary, local government, who has marked an inquiry into it.

The internal vigilance officials said they had evidence against certain officials of the corporation in the case. The officials allegedly buckled under political pressure and allotted the development works in back date to favour a particular political party, they alleged.

The officials have said they would submit their report in the case to the principal secretary.


SSF rally on June 22
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
The Sikh Students Federation (SSF) will hold a protest rally, “Delhi hilao”, in New Delhi on June 22 to create awareness among the Sikh masses, intellectuals and leaders of other political parties on the dera issue.

Stating this to the mediapersons here today, Gurcharan Singh Garewal, president, SSF, announced that a three-day movement would be organised from June 15 to expose those guilty. He said they would also hold a dharna near the Parliament House in this connection.


Plans on to revitalise Cooperative Dept
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
In a bid to take out the state from the ongoing agriculture crisis and farming a viable profession, Punjab’s minister for cooperation Capt Kanwaljit Singh has envisaged an ambitious plan to infuse new life in his department by making a head start with Markfed.

Moving in this direction, Markfed would soon set up a Rs 20-crore state-of-the-art food processing unit at Ludhiana and upgrade its rice mills at Nawanshahar for milling of Basmati rice for exports and domestic sale. Besides, it has also planned contract farming of Basmati and other long-grain varieties of paddy over 26,000 acres in 12 districts of the state.

The minister inspected the Markfed canneries and addressed a press conference here today.

“We have planned to resurrect the cooperation department at a large scale by adopting aggressive marketing strategies and by strengthening the cooperative movement in Punjab. As far as food processing is concerned, we are going to come out with products that are able to meet international standards,” said Captain Singh.

“The agriculture sector in Punjab is witnessing a deep crisis and the objective of our drive is to make farming financially attractive by enabling farmers to shun the unviable wheat-paddy crop cycle, and at the same time, increasing the demand of Punjab crops. The work on the new food processing unit at Ludhiana is on but, we are not going to close down the Markfed canneries at Jalandhar despite the fact that its machinery has grown outdated,” he said.

Managing director of Markfed G.S. Grewal and district manager of Markfed J.S. Kanwar accompanied the minister.

For revamping the cooperative department, the minister said he and senior officers of his department were studying successful cooperative movements and organisations of the country.


Govt-sponsored schemes reviewed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 6
To review the progress of various government-sponsored schemes for the agriculture, industrial and weaker sections of the society, a consultative committee meeting of various banks, organised by the State Bank of Patiala, was held here today. Deputy commissioner Alaknanda Dayal presided over the meeting. She advised the bank managers to strengthen coordination with government departments and concerned officials so that loan seekers may not face any difficulty. She directed the banks to encourage people to open savings accounts. The DC congratulated the banks for disbursing loans of Rs 899.41 crore against the fixed target of Rs 882.45 crore. She also directed the banks to disburse loans of Rs 25,000 without any security as well as issue self-employment credit cards up to Rs 25,000 under the Swarojgar Credit Card Scheme.

ADC (D) Balwant Singh Shergill called upon Child Development Project Officers and banks to form as many self-help groups as possible.

Ashwani Mahajan, AGM, NABARD, informed that 995 self-help groups had been formed in the district and 870 had been provided loans. He impressed upon the banks to identify persons under NABARD for capital investment subsidy schemes for organic farming, interest subsidy schemes for dairy, poultry and water-harvesting for SC and ST farmers.


High Court
Relief to education board’s law officer
Vishal Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted interim stay on the operation of orders passed against the Punjab School Education Board’s senior legal advisor Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya by the board and issued a notice of motion to Punjab and the board.

In fact, the court observed, in the light of the facts placed before it, that it appeared to be “the theatre of the absurd”.

The facts of the case, according to the petition, are that the petitioner, Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, had joined the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) on July 28,1995, as legal advisor-cum-law officer through open competition.

She was promoted as senior legal advisor-cum-law officer w.e.f. April 9,1999. Subsequently, the petitioner was appointed as the controller of examination and she took charge of the post on August 27,2004.

Her zeal and honesty ruffled cheating mafia’s feathers which had so far succeeded in misleading successive chairmen of the board to award grace marks over and above what was provided for in the regulation, Saroya submitted. Also, in view of the gravity of the situation, the government passed orders, dated December 28,2005, that no grace marks would be allowed other than the grace marks provided in the regulation of the board.

The petitioner highlighted the fact that she had been actively fighting the cheating mafia, more so at some allegedly notorious centres like Kalaswala Khalsa Seniour Secondary School in Gurdaspur district.

The chairman of the board told the petitioner that the then PWD Minister, Partap Singh Bajwa, who was the patron of the aforesaid school, was annoyed and the petitioner was asked to prepare a fresh report regarding the school.

On February 23,2007, the petitioner was issued a charge sheet as to why disciplinary proceedings be not initiated against her.

The reason for the issuance of charge sheet was the award of grace marks by chairman, subsequent furore and inquiry and chairman’s attempt to put the onus on her, the petitioner submitted.

Incidentally, the petitioner had orally and through written communication informed the chairman, much to his dismay, about the government’s orders and board’s regulations regarding the award of grace marks, the petitioner submitted.

On February 23, a show cause notice was also issued. The reason, according to the petitioner, was that she had appended a note, dated April 24,2006, in the capacity of senior legal advisor inviting the attention of the chairman to the apex court judgments relating to regularization of services of daily wagers and contract employees.

Yet another show cause notice, dated March 7,2007, was issued to the petitioner for giving an interview to a newspaper on Februray 19, 2007. The interview, published on March 4, 2007, was construed to be lowering the esteem of the board, the petitioner submitted.

The next hearing of the case is on September 13.


Breach damages crops
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
Cotton crop on about 100 acres at Mehma Sarkari and Mehma Bhagwana villages in the district has been damaged following a breach in the Kot Bhai distributary late last night.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that revenue officials had reached the spot and were assessing the losses. Water was released in the distributary yesterday. The flow of water was at 225 cusecs when the breach took place despite the fact that it had the capacity to take 280 cusecs.

Official sources said though the exact reason of the breach could not be known. It was being suspected that it took place after some pipes of a siphon, which were very old and were passing under the bed of the distributary, got damaged near burji No. 71000.

Though officials of the Irrigation Department reached the spot during the night after getting information in this connection, they could not start the plugging operation as the flow was fast.

Makhan Singh, SDO, Irrigation Department, said the plugging operation was started today after the flow of water was stopped. He added that about 70 persons were pressed into service to plug the breach, which was 70-foot wide.

He added that 75 per cent of the breach had been plugged and the remaining would be plugged after the underground pipes would be inspected and changed, if found damaged.

Meanwhile, the affected farmers added that the state government should give them adequate compensation. The SDO said the water had entered about 125 acres, a major portion of which was without crops. Paddy and cotton crops had been sown on the remaining area.


DC issues orders to check outbreak of cholera
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 6
Taking precautionary measures, deputy commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib Alaknanda Dayal has issued orders under Section 2 of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, to prevent the spread of cholera within the district. She has directed all municipal councils to make arrangements for the chlorination of drinking water.

The sale of all kinds of unprotected foods and drinks has been banned. The sale, manufacture, import and export of ice, ice candy, ice gola, mineral water and aerated water is prohibited unless certified by bacteriologist of the Punjab Government. She has also ordered the closure of any ice factory, aerated water factory and mineral water factory found not following the norms as set by the government. The sale of cut fruits, sugar cane, juice, is prohibited unless prepared under hygienic conditions. The sale of overripe or raw fruits and vegetables has also been prohibited.

She has urged the parents/guardians to get their children and themselves inoculated immediately if the suspicion regarding outbreak of cholera exists. She has directed civil surgeon to establish medical inspection posts to prevent the

spread of cholera in the district and all medical officers deputed at these inspection posts shall check the passengers suspected to be suffering from cholera. She has authorised civil surgeon, district health officer, district family planning officer, assistant civil surgeon, all executive magistrates, sub divisional magistrate, district epidemiologist, health supervisors, food inspectors, sanitary inspectors, senior medical officers, medical officers, government local bodies, senior malaria inspectors in the district to inspect any market, building, shop, stall or public place selling or distributing free any article of food or drink unfit for human consumption. They have also been authorised to prosecute the defaulters within their respective jurisdiction.

These orders shall come in force with immediate effect and would remain in force till December 31, 2007.


Chemist shops raided, medicines seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 6
Sangrur deputy medical commissioner (DMC) Dr Suresh Goyal and district drug inspector Sanjiv Kumar today raided five medicine shops at Malerkotla and seized medicines, which are used by drug- addicts as intoxicants, from three shops there.

The drug inspector said 9500 tablets, 1400 capsules, 12 bottles of cough syrup and six vials of injections were seized from three shops at Malerkotla. He added the medicines were seized as the shopkeepers could not produce sale/purchase records of these.

Besides this some discrepancies were found in their records. A report about the seizure and the discrepancies was being sent to the state drug controller, he added.

The drug inspector added the seized medicines, included phenotil tablets, parvon spas capsules, spasmo proxyvon capsules and avil injections. He said the seized medicines were produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) here today to seek orders to these into possession. 


7 held with fake currency
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
The police has arrested seven persons, including a Maharashtra-based engineer and a teacher working in government school in Barnala district, from different places and recovered fake currency worth Rs 2,12,320, a computer, printer, CPU and coloured sheets from them.

The gang was being operated by Naresh Dutta Sahye, an engineer, Ajit Singh, a teacher, and Sunil Kumar, alias Rinku (both residents of Barnala). The accused had been printing fake currency at a rented room in Indira Basti of Sunam town of Sangrur district.


Gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
The Amritsar police has busted an inter-state gang of robbers that was active in various districts of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The gang was involved in more than 25 robberies.

Acting on a tip-off, the police arrested the gang when they were planning another robbery in the posh Ranjit Avenue area last night. Those arrested include Mandeep Singh, alias Mini, and Dharminder Kumar, alias Goldi, both residents of Ramdas; Gurpartap Singh, alias Sukha, a resident of Loharka Road; Harbans Singh, alias, Hira, a resident of Mule Chak village; and Dharampal, alias Kapur, a resident of Dujewal.A case has been registered at the Civil Lines Police Station under Sections 399, 400, 402, 382, 411 and 414 of the IPC and 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.


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