P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Varsity at Nankana Sahib
SGPC delegation in Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
A four-member SGPC delegation led by its president Avtar Singh today crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah joint check post to participate in a two-day meeting for inviting suggestions for setting up International Guru Nanak Dev University at Nankana Sahib.

The SGPC president said a meeting of various Sikh organisations, from all over the world to be held in Lahore, had been convened by Pakistani authorities for taking their views on the design of the university. He said they would also suggest linking the university with Sri Guru Granth Sahib University to be established at Fatehgarh Sahib. This would further help in strengthening the relationship between the two countries, he added.

SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh, executive member Jaswinder Singh and Jaspal Singh were the part of delegation that crossed over to Pakistan.

The other delegation which crossed over to Pakistan was of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) headed by its former president Harvinder Singh Sarna. Gurtez Singh, Manjit Singh and Sardara Singh Johl were members of this delegation. The two delegations were received by president Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Bishan Singh. 


Vigilance barred from interrogating him
One-day police custody for Chahal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
Chief judicial magistrate, Patiala, S.S. Panaesar today remanded B.I.S. Chahal in police custody for one day in the Mercedes Benz case. The remand, however, came with a condition. The judge barred vigilance or any other agency, except the police, from interrogating Chahal. He also ordered his medical examination and allowed defence counsel N.P.S. Waraich and J.P.S. Saran to meet him any time.

Chahal today once again pleaded before the judge that he was being subjected to third-degree torture. He alleged that vigilance officials came every night in cars and took him to undisclosed destinations. There they gave him shocks repeatedly and pressurised him to give directed statements, he alleged.

He identified Kanwaljit Singh, investigating officer in the City Centre scam, and S.S. Grewal as the two officials who tortured him. Meanwhile, the prosecution in the case alleged Jagatjit Singh, owner of Bhagat Motors, bought Mercedes Benz in September 2005 for Rs 40 lakh. Three days later Chahal borrowed the car from him and never returned it. He even threatened to demolish his showroom by taking it as an encroachment in case he demanded his car back, it added. The car was still in possession of Chahal and police needed his custodial interrogation to recover it, the prosecution demanded.

The defence in the case pleaded that the records of the District Transport Office, Patiala, should be summoned to verify the fact that in whose name the car was registered. They contended that the vehicle was registered in the name of Jagatjit Singh and the charges levelled against Chahal were false. The defence also denied that the car was in possession of Chahal. It pointed out discrepancies in the FIR registered against Chahal.

Chahal was brought by the Patiala police today at 11 am against a production warrant. The arguments for his police custody were, however, delayed till 3.45 pm as his counsel urged the court to wait for the high court orders.


Sent in judicial remand till June 27
Police asked me to sign statement against Amarinder: Dimpa
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, June 15
“The police wanted me to sign a statement against former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. When I refused, they tortured me,” said former MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, who was produced in a court here today on the expiry of his two-day police remand. He was sent to judicial remand till June 27. High drama was staged outside the court complex with PPCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo reaching there to join Dimpa supporters. There was heavy police bandobast in the area and nakas were put up on almost all roads leading to Baba Bakala to stop Congress workers reaching the court complex.

The main gate of the complex was kept closed. Even litigants were not allowed to enter the complex. Raising anti-government slogans, the Congress activists demanded withdrawal of the suicide case registered against Dimpa yesterday. Talking to The Tribune, Dullo said the Congress workers had gathered there to peacefully register their protest against the condemnable act of the police, which after torturing him registered a case of suicide against Dimpa.

“Wherever such cases of victimisation of the Congressmen by the government would come to light, the Congress workers would stand there to defend the party workers. The police stations seem to have been taken over by the Akalis. We want that a fair medical examination of Dimpa should be conducted at the PGI and action be taken against those accused of torturing him,” he said. After hours of wait, Dimpa was finally produced in the court at 3.40 pm.

“The case of suicide against me is absolutely false. Had I been a chick hearted, I would never have surrendered before the police. I have full faith in the judicial system. When I refused to tow their line, they took me to Kathu Nangal and I was beaten up by the police. I was not even allowed to meet my lawyer,” he said, pointing to bruises on his arms.

Asked about his head injury, which the police claimed he had sustained while trying to commit suicide by hitting his head against a wall, Dimpa said the injury was inflicted on him by the police by hitting him with stick.

Meanwhile, Jaswinder Shimar, sub-divisional judicial magistrate and additional civil judge, sent Dimpa to judicial remand. M.S. Chinna, counsel for Dimpa, said the police had sought remand in the murder case in which Dimpa is the key accused but the court sent to judicial remand.

“The case of suicide against him doesn’t seem to be genuine even prima facie. The court has directed the constitution of a medical board to examine him,” he said.

“It is likely that the police might drop the suicide case on its own as it would be difficult to prove. We pointed out that it was strange that a doctor was called to the police station by the police for medical examination. The motive clearly was to get a report in favour of the police,” he added.

Dimpa supporters, led by Dullo and Dimpa’s mother Satwinder Kaur, put up a heavy resistance when the police was taking Dimpa out of the court complex. The crowd was adamant that SSP (Rural) Iqbal Singh should keep his promise of letting a delegation of 11 persons meet Dimpa.

Report says he was tortured

The medical examination of Dimpa conducted on Friday evening said he had sustained 13 injuries on different parts of the body and the nature of wounds proved that he was “tortured”.

Lakhwinder Singh Chahal, senior medical officer, Baba Bakala, said all injuries appeared to have been inflicted with blunt weapons and don’t appear to be self-inflicted. Even the injury on his forehead, which the police yesterday claimed was sustained by Dimpa when he tried to commit suicide, was also not self-inflicted in nature. “It was on the forehead and not on the head,” said Chahal.

“The injuries are on the arms, legs, buttocks and head. These prove that Dimpa was tortured as so many injuries cannot be due to banging one’s head against the wall. The report of the medical examination has been handed over to the police,” he said.


Punjab Budget on June 20
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The first budget of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janta Party (SAD-BJP) government would be presented before the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on June 20, the second day of the proposed nine-day budget session starting on Tuesday.

After obituary references on June 19, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, would present his maiden Budget on Wednesday at 10 am. Discussions on budgetary proposals would start after a day of non-official business on June 22 before the House breaks for a two-day recess.

Though the Business Advisory Committee is yet to finalise the remaining agenda of the session, the tentative schedule provides for discussions on the State Finance Bill on June 25 and 26 also.

The only day provided for the legislative business is June 29. After approving the Budget, the House will also take up on June 27 demands for grants for the year 2007-2008. The House also takes up appropriation Bill the same day.

While the Legislative Affairs Wing is still finanlising the Bills it wants to bring forward during the coming session, the chances of the session being extended for a few more days cannot be ruled out.

Since the SAD-BJP government had many pre-poll promises, it will be the budgetary proposals to reflect on what specific areas the government wants to focus in accelerating its pace of development and economic growth. The much-publicised subsidised atta-daal scheme, too, will need substantial budgetary support for its sustenance. While the new government hopes to present a tax-free Budget, its proposals on mopping up of its financial resources to fund various development schemes it proposes to take up in the coming years will be closely watched.

The Treasury benches will have to counter an aggressive and strong Opposition, which will try to rise, among others, issues like political vendetta against its leaders and workers.

As of now, besides former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, two previous members of the House, including former local bodies minister Jagjit Singh and former Beas MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa are facing vigilance or police cases.


Police excesses: Bhattal threatens gherao
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Giving a last warning to the Badal government, the leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today said that her party workers would come out in the streets if police repression and excesses were not stopped against them immediately.

“We will not allow the state Assembly to function during the coming budget session, which begins on June 18, if the Badal government does not withdraw the false cases registered against Congress activists,” she said. “Instead of going to the Assembly, we would prefer to gherao police stations,” she said while talking to The Tribune today on the phone.

Referring to the case of former Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Bhattal said Badal had failed to check police excesses on senior Congress leaders. “Dimpa was treated in a barbaric manner,” she said. “On the one hand, Jasbir Singh was tortured in police custody and, on the other hand, a case of suicide had been registered against him,” she said.

“We have solid proof to confront the Badal government on police excesses,” she said. Many Dalits have been killed in the past few days. “We have a list of all such cases and I have visited the families of Dalits who had suffered at the hands of the police at the behest of the state government,” she said.

She said the police had been targeting Congress leaders at various places. “I have told my party MLAs to bring details on June 18 at the meeting of the Congress Legislature party (CLP) of the cases registered against Congress workers in various districts,” she said. The list of these cases would be forwarded to the authorities concerned, she said.


‘Make elections to student unions must’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 15
The Communist Party of India (CPI) today criticised the successive elected Congress and the SAD-BJP governments for not holding elections to the student unions in colleges and universities in the state from the past more than two decades. The CPI told the SAD-BJP government to initiate effective steps for holding elections during this academic session.

Talking to The Tribune today, a member of the national executive of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said the state government should make the holding of elections to the student unions obligatory. These elections should be held every year .


Lookout notice for Singla

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab vigilance bureau has issued a lookout notice for former finance minister Surinder Singla. The notice has been sent to all international airports and seaports to prevent Singla from going abroad.

Sources in the bureau said there was no decision if Singla would be questioned for his links, if any, with the Ludhiana City Centre scam. The notice was based on information provided by B.I.S. Chahal, former media adviser to Capt Amarinder Singh. — TNS


Badal’s Visit
Public inconvenience, what’s that?
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 15
Forgetting public inconvenience, the district administration has pressed government men and machinery into service for welcoming Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other dignitaries. They will be here to attend a state-level function to be organised in connection with the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap on Sunday.

The day the programme was announced, the district and the local administration had been conducting meeting with officers of different demapartments. Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh and Pathankot Sub-Divisional Magistrate Surinder Mohan Sharma are quite busy in holding meetings to provide the best possible ‘comforts’ to the dignitaries.

The road which the Chief Minister and former Goa Governmer Bhanu Prakash Singh would take has been given a facelift. Patch work to fill the potholes on the Amritsar-Pathankot-Kullu road is going on despite heavy traffic. Almost every rest house in and around the town has already been booked.

Because of the ongoing preparations people going to government offices in connection with their work have to return disappointed as their is hardly anyone to attend to their problems.

While the main roads are being given a facelift, garbage still lies on the internal roads.

Capt Vikram Singh, president of Kshatriya Mahan Sangh, said the Chief Minister would be installing a statue of Maharana Pratap, besides naming the local bus terminus after him. Badal would also be honoured with the Maharana Pratap Rashtriya Samman on the occasion.


Bridge near Kala Chhak village collapses
Irrigation Dept Blamed
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Sujanpur, June 15
More than six villages were disconnected when a bridge on the Beas Canal in Kala Chhak village collapsed early this morning. As many as 12 farmers and morning strollers had a miraculous escape, when the bridge linking Kala Chhak and Falakpur villages with Padyalali, Mudde, Nihalpur and Chhajehli villages collapsed at about 8 am. The canal was carrying almost 10 ft deep water at the time of collapse.

Noticing the slab of the bridge caving in, the farmers working in their fields, raised alarm and entry to the bridge was restricted. The farmers at the site also informed officers of the Punjab Irrigation Department. Receiving information, a team of the irrigation department visited the site.

With collapsing of the bridge, residents, especially farmers, having agriculture land across the canal, have been hit adversely. They now have to trudge almost 2 to 3 km extra to reach their fields. Students have to travel extra to reach their schools and colleges in Pathankot township.

Sarpanch of Kala Chhak Sher Singh said the irrigation department had hardly given any thought for the repair and maintenance of the bridges on the canal for the past many years. He said many other bridges, on the same canal, are in bad condition and were waiting for some major tragedy to happen.

Ajit Kumar, a farmer of Falakpur village, said they had to use alternative routes to cross the canal and reach their fields in Padyalali, Mudde, Nihalpur and Chhajehli villages and vice versa.

The villagers complained that two other bridges, linking Sujanpur with Chhajehli village and Gandrlehri village with Khanpur village, are in a depleted condition. The villagers have demanded repair of these bridges besides replacing the collapsed bridge with a new one.

Efforts to contact the executive officer of the irrigation department proved futile till late in the evening.


Waste management plant okayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today “in principle” gave approval to a UK-based company -waste2energy holdings- for setting up a plant with a capacity to convert 1,500 tonnes of waste per day into thermal energy and power.

A delegation of the company led by its chairman David Hamilton Dick gave a presentation to the Chief Minister and a group of ministers. The team stated that the company was willing to set up an integrated waste management plant at a centrally-located place in the state that would process 1,500 tonnes of waste per day. The waste would be converted into thermal energy that in turn would be used for power generation. A new technology that produces this thermal energy also purifies water.

The company would set up the plant with its own investment running into Rs 3,000 crore. The company would also have waste collection centres within 100-km of the plant initially and later on all over the state. It will use domestic, industrial, solid, liquid and petroleum waste.

A piece of 100-acre in is required. If the government buys the land at market value it will be treated as equity participation. The company would also give 75 per cent of bottled water manufactured by it to the state government for further sale and would reserve the right for selling 25 per cent of the bottled water in domestic as well as international markets.


Rape charge against Khalsa Panchayat chief
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
Levelling allegations against president of the Khalsa Panchayat (Ludhiana) Charanjit Singh Channi, a woman of Ludhiana in a memorandum submitted to a Jathedar of Akal Takht here today said she was allegedly raped and kept in illegal confinement by him for three months.

In her memorandum to Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, victim Kulwinder Kaur alleged that Channi along with others had raped her when she had gone to pay obeisance at a gurdwara in Model Town, Ludhiana, on January 2. She said the accused also kept her in illegal confinement for three months and did not allow her to meet her husband Mukhtiar Singh. However, she managed to escape on April 6.

She said a case was registered against the accused in the Model Town police station on May 30.


Former PSEB chairman dead
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
Harbans Singh, former chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board, has passed away at the age of 87. He was the founder chairman of the All-India Power Engineers Federation and Northern India Power Engineers Federation.

He was also the Chairman of the All-India Cycling Federation and the member of Indian Olympic Association.

Harbans Singh did his engineering from the Indian Institute of Sciences Bangalore in 1942. He joined Punjab PWD in August 1945 and PWD (electrical branch) in 1952. He became the chairman of the PSEB in 1972.


An engineer who powered Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Harbans Singh, former chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board, who died here a few days ago at the age of 88, was the first person from the Doaba region to get a post-graduate degree in electrical engineering from the prestigious and the only post-graduate Indian Institute of Science (TATA), Banglore, in 1942.

After a two-year stint with the US Air Force based in Agra and New Delhi, he joined the Punjab PWD Electricity Branch in 1945 to become the first power engineer in the country to head a state electricity board.

Not many are aware that the Bhakra Dam owes its existence greatly to Harbans Singh, who as a junior engineer, presented the state case to the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and convinced him of the feasibility of the project. No wonder, he continued his association with the Planning Commission right through his career. Punjab also owes the gratitude to him for the perception, planning and execution of Guru Nanak Thermal Plant at Bathinda, much against the wishes of the Centre. The project was completed in record time against all odds.

His foresight and futuristic conceptions on power development through the fie years plans are reflected in his book “Power Planning and Implementation of National Power Policy.” His research work on transmission lines dampers was rewarded by the Central Board of Irrigation and Power. He was also bestowed lifetime achievement award by the PSEB Power Engineers Federation.

Always a fighter, he would never give way to anything that was not justified and logical, even if in involved confronting the powerful authorities. He was responsible for the creation of the All-India Power Engineers Federation, a professional organisation for improvement of the power supply situation in the country and to simultaneously safeguard the interests of the power engineers’ fraternity.

His versatility was reflected in his sporting achievements. He was a good football, tennis and badminton player. He was a member of the Indian Olympic Association, president of the Cycling Federation of India and president of the Punjab Cycling Association for a very long time. He was solely responsible for the introduction of sports in the PSEB. He almost single-handedly managed the cycling events during the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games.

An amazing aspect of his life wsa his love for Urdu poetry. He wrote ghazals and compiled them in two books. He wrote his last ghazal just two days before his demise.

He spent his last six years in his ancestral Jian village much against the wishes of the family members. Giving up his comfortable lifestyle in Chandigarh, he merged with the village social life, as if he was never away. Under his driving force, the village got an unbelievable facelift. Today it has water supply, underground sewerage, concrete lanes and street-lighting.


UK envoy cautions against illegal migration
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 15
Envisaging enhanced ties and better cooperation between the UK and Punjab in the agro-business, education and environment protection in the days to come, UK’s High Commissioner to India Sir Michael Arthur has cautioned people of the state against ‘back-door’ migration to his country.

“It is easier to enter through the front door as we issue about 1,000 visas to Indians everyday. We have a visa application centre here and people can utilize its services. I have already taken the issue of unscrupulous agents with the Chief Minister. This practice needs to be discouraged,” said Sir Michael Arthur while talking to The Tribune.

Sir Arthur, who along with secretary (media) of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Bhupinder Pal, was on a day’s sojourn of the state.

He interacted with a large number of farmers at “Rangla Punjab” resort here and tried to understand their problems.


Cyclists killed in  road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 15
Three deaths were reported in Kharar subdivision today. Eighty-year-old Teja Singh was found dead in his house at Alla Pur. In a complaint to the police, Amolak Singh, his son, alleged that strangulation marks were found on his father’s neck.

In another incident, cyclist Karamjit Singh was knocked down by a car near Pacci Rurki. He was rushed to the civil hospital where he died. Another cyclist, Surjit Singh, was crushed to death by a vehicle on the Kharar-Landran road.

Cases have been registered.



ADGP told to probe assault on senior citizen
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 15
Taking serious note of the alleged raw deal meted out by the Mohali police to senior citizen Harbhajan Singh Punia, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today directed the ADGP (Crime) to investigate the matter.

Taking cognisance of a petition filed under Sections 12 and 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 by the Global Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Protection Council, after The Tribune highlighted the police highhandedness, a Division Bench comprising acting chairperson R.L. Anand and member N.K. Arora directed the ADGP to report to the commission by July 21.

Arguing before the Bench, council chairman Arvind Thakur demanded a thorough probe into the "false and suspicious" FIR against Punia and other residents. The role of senior officials of the Mohali police was not above board in the case, Thakur asserted.

Earlier this month, the police had booked Punia, a resident of Sector 71 here, on charges of assaulting another sector resident Vaneet Inder Bajwa. This was despite the fact that Punia sustained multiple injuries, including a fracture in his right hand and injuries on the face and feet, after he was allegedly assaulted by Bajwa. On the other hand, Bajwa had complained that he was also assaulted and his car was damaged by Punia and other residents.

The incident happened when Punia and Bajwa reportedly had an altercation on June 5 over the issue of children playing in the common area. Even as Bajwa and Punia lodged counter-complaints with the police, the police allegedly ignored the complaint of Punia. Instead, a case was registered against Punia allegedly under pressure from a senior functionary of the police.

"The FIR was lodged in a negligent manner just to harass the senior citizen and favour the other party," the application by the human rights bodies had alleged, adding that it was not for the first time that the Mohali police had booked an innocent citizen.

Even senior SAD leaders, Jasjeet Singh Bunny and Harsukhinder Singh Babbi Badal had demanded a fair probe in the matter.


Tomatoes to Pakistan
Boom time for farmers
Tribune News Service

Wagah, June 15
It is boom time for tomato farmers of the state who are witnessing their income spiral, thanks to the unprecedented export of tomatoes to Pakistan through the joint check post at Wagah.

The demand for Indian tomatoes has shot up in Pakistan following widespread damage to the crop due to untimely rain earlier this year. Unlike previous year, when the demand from across the border was catered to with tomatoes from Nasik, this is for the first time that the exports have benefited Punjab farmers.

The villages falling in the periphery of Amritsar, besides other districts of the state, are catering to demand of tomatoes in Pakistan in a big way. The exports, which started in mid April, are likely to continue till the end of June.

Talking to The Tribune, assistant commissioner, Customs, V. K. Mahajan said as much as 3,492 metric tonnes of tomatoes were exported in May and the exports were still on.

Tomato is one of the half-a-dozen duty free commodities which are exported to Pakistan, besides onion, potato, garlic, frozen meat and livestock like sheep and goat. The export of chemicals and marble is done through the road link.

Director, Narain Eximp Corporation, Rajdeep Uppal, one of the key exporters to Pakistan, said during the past few weeks up to 25 truckloads of tomatoes had been crossing the border every day.

The prices are also much higher this season. A 20-kg box of tomatoes is presently priced at Rs 110, witnessing a fall from Rs 260 last month. The same box fetches up to Rs 600 in Pakistan.

“The exports have benefited the local tomato growers in a big way. Sultanpur Lodhi, Jandiala and Rayya are the key feeder areas around Amritsar,” he added.

Farmer from Sultanpur Lodhi Rattan Singh, who had come to Amritsar vegetable market to sell his produce, said the better quality of tomatoes from the state was equally responsible for the markets in Pakistan willing to loosen their purse strings, besides the poor produce in Pakistan this season.

“After the supply from Punjab is exhausted, exporters are likely to turn to Solan and its adjoining areas to keep the flow of the daily-use vegetable going. Pakistanis are equally fond of tomatoes and their dishes are tasteless without it. Last year, there was a massive export of onions to Pakistan,” he added.


Pesco director relieved of charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The director of the Punjab Ex-servicemen’s Corporation (Pesco), Maj-Gen G.S. Randhawa, has been relieved of his charge as head of the organisation. The move follows a request forwarded by him to the Punjab Government that he relieved from his duties for personal reasons.

The orders were issued today. The state government is yet to decide upon his successor. An armoured corps officer, General Randhawa served as the Pesco director about four and a half years.

Pesco is a state government enterprise involved in the post-retirement habilitation of armed forces personnel. It is undertaking several commercial ventures employing ex-servicemen.

In the past, Pesco had been bogged-down by several controversies, including irregularities in the payment of salaries to security guards provided by it to Citco and the use of substandard steel for bullet-proofing cars for VIPs. A PIL was filed against Pesco in the high court for it.


Drug licence cancelled

Sangrur, June 15
The State Drug Licencing Authority has cancelled the drug licence of Ambey Medical Agency, Kaula Park, Sangrur, for allegedly violating the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940, informed Dr S.K. Bansal, civil surgeon, Sangrur, here today.

Dr Bansal said the district drug inspector had inspected the shop of the Ambey Medical Agency four times during 2005, 2006 and 2007 and had seized drugs . — TNS


CET topper wants to be software engineer
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
A local boy, Rishiraj Singh Sidhu, has topped the Combined Entrance Test (CET) conducted by Punjab Technical University. The result was declared today.

Talking to The Tribune about his future plans, Rishiraj said he wanted to become a software engineer and would opt for electronics or computer engineering in IIT as he had already cleared the IIT competitive exams securing the 377th rank. He said he had also cleared the AIEEE competitive exams conducted by the CBSE.

A student of Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Rishiraj, drew his inspiration from his father Dr Paramjit Singh Sidhu, who is Professor of Punjabi in Guru Nanak Dev University, and his mother Dr Sharda Sidhu, professor of Genetics also in the same university. He also gave credit for his success to his teachers, grandfather and his elder sister Ruhi, who is pursuing her third year BDS.

Rishiraj’s father attributed his son’s success to his hard work and diligence, and added that his son had been topper throughout his schooling and had secured 95 per cent marks in the ICSE. 


Forum dubs Boparai’s action dictatorial
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR), at its meeting here today, condemned the action of S.S. Boparai, vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, for securing the approval of the Syndicate with regard to his “arbitrary, dictatorial and whimsical action” of suspending the faculty members who dared to oppose his “draconian policies.”

The forum was surprised to note that former academicians Dr S.S. Johl and Dr Bhagat Singh had also signed “on the dotted lines of a non-academician”.

This had happened for the first time in the history of the university, where the suspension of teachers got approved through the circulation for action under “on obsolete decision of 1984”, which was applicable for that year alone.

Amarjit Singh Dhillon, president of the forum, said it had also exposed the leaders of the Democratic and Progressive Groups of teachers for their loyalty to the vice-chancellor. The forum also criticised the so-called “achievement statement” of Boparai by which he had nullified the contribution of his predecessors.

The forum felt that Boparai’s contributions had derailed the university from its statutory main objective, for which the university was visualised and created.

The forum also reminded that in July 2005, a detailed memorandum was submitted to the chancellor for a probe, but no action had been taken.

Dhillon and all members demanded a high-level vigilance inquiry against Boparai so that the university could be saved from further damage.

The forum also appealed to the former vice-chancellors not to fall in the trap of Boparai by being a party to his arbitrary actions. 


PHDCCI demands CST on iron, steel cut to 1 pc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal today assured industrialists that “the forthcoming Budget would provide enough encouragement to the trade and industry” while lamenting that the “arrogant” attitude of officials was blocking progress of the state.

Badal was meeting members of the industry in a pre-budget meeting organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here this afternoon. A delegation of the CII will call upon him tomorrow. The budget session of the Vidhan Sabha starts June 19.

Commenting upon the change of attitude needed in handling investors, Badal told officials to “treat the investors like you would treat your son-in-law”. The state would be an industrialisation-friendly destination, Badal assured the delegation. The problems being faced by the industry in Punjab would be resolved at the earliest, he said, adding, “let us all be friends and join hands to take the state ahead.”

He said Punjab had lost momentum of economic progress since 1981. Welcoming the minister, Satish Bagrodia, vice-president, PHDCCI, said Punjab's locational disadvantage could be neutralised to an extent by creating a better infrastructure and proactive governance. To compete on the basis of quality and pricing, it was essential to keep the cost of production to the minimum.

In this connection, government's support and policies to supply power at low cost was most desirable, adding that world-class infrastructure would drive growth of industry, agriculture and rest of the state economy.

Amarjit Goyal suggested that the electricity duty that had been increased to 10 per cent was very high and it should be brought to 5 per cent. Since the government had abolished octroi, 4 paise per unit octroi on electricity should also be removed with immediate effect. He informed that this was not levied anywhere in the country, except Punjab.

R.S. Sachdeva, co-chairman, Punjab committee, PHDCCI, said the steep taxation was the prime cause of restricting competitiveness and growth of manufacturing sector in India on the one hand and encouraging tax evasion on the other. He suggested that the general rate of VAT should converge at not more than 8 per cent. He wanted that timely refund of VAT should be ensured and excess amount refunded every month.

Sachdeva suggested that system of credit on capital goods should be the same, which is prevalent under the Excise Act.

The PHDCCI delegation requested that the CST on iron and steel be reduced to 1 per cent to bring it on a par with the rate applicable in the neighbouring states. Reduction on VAT on steel, footwear industry, exports, desi ghee industry and CFL lamps was suggested.

Aiming at long-term sustainable growth of small-scale industries a revival package for SSI units be offered and interest-free loans be provided to the tiny and small enterprises with a 10-year utilization period.

The PHDCCI also suggested that information technology kiosks be introduced for citizen services such as property tax payment, registration of marriages, registration of new vehicles, birth-death certificates, payment of electricity bills, issue of ration card, voting card, etc. through IT kiosks. 


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