P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Capt not aware of ground realities: CM
Tribune Reporters

Amarkot (Tarn Taran), July 22
Denying vendetta politics by the government, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said here today that former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was shedding crocodile tears for Congress workers.

Talking to mediapersons after laying the foundation stone of a village scheme and inaugurating a number of development projects, Badal said Capt Amarinder Singh had been abroad for quite a long time and was not aware of ground realities in the state. The government was not registering any false cases against Congress workers and leaders, he added.

It was during the Congress regime that the Rs 1500-crore City Centre scam at Ludhiana had come to light. The Akali government initiated the action only after the report of an enquiry conducted in the scam had been submitted to it, he added.

About the ensuing corporation elections, the Chief Minister said work on the allocation of seats had almost been finished.

When asked about whether the state government would take action president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Paramjit Singh Sarna for allegedly giving shelter to controversial Baba Amrik Singh, who was wanted in a cheating case by the state police, he said the law would take its own course.

Badal also inaugurated a model school at Valtoha, to be built at a cost of Rs 5 crore, besides water supply and sewerage treatment plants at Khemkaran involving an expenditure of Rs 5.28 crore. Grants worth Rs 10 crore were released for maintaining roads and hospitals in the border area.

Badal redressed the grievances of villagers at sangat darshan pragrammes.

Earlier, he laid the foundation stones of a Rs 1.17-crore a model gram scheme at Rajoke, Rs 5.28-crore sewerage project at Khemkaran and 66-KV power grid at Kotli Wasava Singh. He also inaugurated the 66-KV power grid and water works at Laakhana.

Badal said Rs 36.81 crore had been released for the repair of roads, schools, hospitals and completion of various developmental works in the Valtoha region.

The MC elections in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala would be fought by the Akali-BJP combine under a common manifesto.

Amritsar: To meet the demand of 11,000 MW power supply in the state by 2011-12, the state government has planned a number of projects.

This was stated by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal after he laid the foundation stone of another 66-KV sub-station at Kotli Wasava Singh in Tarn Taran district today. He said various projects, having a potential of generating 11,834 MW, had been taken up and the state would have surplus power after those become functional.


SAD leaders caught smuggling opium
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 22
Senior vice-president of the SAD from Faridkot district Sadhu Singh was arrested today while he, along with three persons, was smuggling 4 kg of opium.

After the Bathinda police arrested Sadhu Singh, a section of leaders of the ruling SAD descended on the town to manage his escape from the criminal case.

Sadhu Singh has been a SAD worker for many years.

The other three suspects were identified as Bhupinder Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Chamkaur Singh, all residents of Faridkot district.

Kuldeep is also a senior leader of the SAD. Both Sadhu and Kuldeep were active in the past Assembly elections.

The suspects were bringing the opium in a car from a village located in neighbouring Haryana state. They were arrested at a checkpoint near the Sangat area.

President of the Faridkot unit of the SAD Makhan Singh Nangal, while admitting the fact that Sadhu is senior vice-president of the district unit of the party, said Sadhu’s action had brought bad name to the party, which had been fighting the smuggling of narcotics tooth and nail.

He said as per his information Sadhu used to consume opium and he might be bringing it for his own consumption and not with a motive to sell it off for making money.

Meanwhile, a group of around 12 youths, armed with guns, accompanied Sadhu as he was taken to the local civil hospital for medical examination.

Later, all suspects were remanded in police custody till July 28.


Deepa’s film on ‘Komagata Maru’ set in motion
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 22
Families of passengers of “Komagata Maru”, a Japanese liner which set sail from Hong Kong to Vancouver in 1914 carrying 376 freedom fighters from Punjab, are recalling whatever they can about their forefathers and their chivalrous act, treated as a mutiny by the British empire.

Aides of internationally acclaimed film director Deepa Mehta, who is making the much publicised “Exclusion”, a Hindi film on the shocking “Komagata Maru” incident, are in the process of documenting the narration of fourth-generation families of “Komagata Maru” passengers.

The descendent families of “Komagata Maru” passengers, including Bhai Arjun Singh, a Budge Budge Ghat martyr, are settled in Dhadde, Khurdpur, Kotli Than Singh, Jamsher, Wirring and Haripur villages in Jalandhar and in Amritsar, Taran Tarn and Sarhali villages of the Majha region.

Deepa’s representatives are visiting these villages to collect information relating to “Komagata Maru” passengers and martyrs.

Amitabh Bachchan is said to have been selected to play the lead role of Baba Gurdit Singh, a well-to-do Singapore-based businessman, originally hailing from Sarhali in Amritsar who had chartered the liner in 1914 to beat the exclusion laws being imposed by then Canadian authorities on Asians to prevent their immigration to that country.

“Exclusion”, it is said would depict the “Komagata Maru” incident wherein the Canadian authorities forced “Komagata Maru” to turn around off the shores of Vancouver and set its sail back to India though it had reached there. Apart from Bhai Gurdit Singh, revolutionaries like Bhagwan Singh, Barkatullah and Balwant Singh were also leading passengers of the ship which had to return to India after it reached Burrard Inlet near Vancouver.

The passengers wanted to stay in Calcutta but when they were forced to reboard the ship at Budge Budge they protested and even refused to re-board the ship. The police opened fire, killing 20 passengers and injuring nine.

“Deepa Mehta’s representatives Kabir Singh and Ashu Chaudhary had come to us and they were guided to the villages of ‘Komagata Maru passengers,” said Gurmit Singh and Charanji Lal, secretary of the Jalandhar-based Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall Committee and a research scholar at the hall, respectively.

John Abraham, Manisha Koirala, Seema Biswas and Mahima Chaudhary will reportedly feature in Deepa’s film, which will have music by A.R. Rahman.


‘Congress creating tension’

Sangrur, July 22
Congress leadership, especially former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, has been creating an atmosphere of confrontation and tension in the state for petty political gains. It should avoid levelling allegations in the larger interests of the state.

Addressing public meetings at Gullaar, Bushehra and Moonak in the Lehra Assembly constituency today, area in charge of the constituency Prem Singh Chandumajra said the Congress leadership should extend support to the SAD-BJP government as the latter was busy overhauling the economy of the state. — TNS


Fake Encounters
Teams to visit MP, UP to gather evidence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The panel set-up by the Punjab Police to go into allegations of fake encounters by policemen during militancy in the state, has decided to send teams to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to gather evidence regarding claims made by victims' families.

Several families had shifted to these two states when miltancy was at its peak in Punjab in the 1980s and early 1990s. Hence, the need to send teams to these states, said sources here this evening.

The panel was set up two months ago by DGP N. P. S. Aulakh, and is headed by J P Birdi, ADGP, Railway Police. It was felt that the probe could not be completed without taking into account claims made by the families settled outside Punjab.

These migrant families included those whose members or relatives were killed by the police in alleged fake encounters or who fell victims to gun-toting militants, the sources said here today.

For families living in Punjab, the panel has received complete information on claims of fake encounters, collected by the respective district police chiefs.

The panel will take more time before reaching a conclusion on the findings as details about alleged fake encounters are with various courts and hospitals in the state, the sources added.

Birdi has asked police officials to procure all documents related to cases of fake encounters from the courts and hospitals.


Sedition Case
SAD (A) man Bittu held 
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 22
The district police today arrested Daljit Singh Bittu, senior vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), who was wanted in a sedition case registered on May 31 against him and his associates for raising provoking slogans during a protest held against the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda in the district.

Following the registration of the case, Bittu had moved a local court seeking bail, which initially stayed his arrest. However, on July 4 the court of the additional sessions judge dismissed the bail plea moved by him and ordered the police to place him under arrest.

According to sources, the police arrested Bittu from the Muktsar-Bathinda highway, about 10 km from Muktsar. He was arrested at around 3 pm today. The operation was carried out jointly by the police from four districts — Fatehgarh Sahib, Muktsar, Bathinda and Moga.

The arrest of Bittu has been condemned by various Sikh organisations in India and abroad.


Restoration of power connections
Govt policy biased: Labourers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 22
Resentment prevails among farm labourers of the Malwa region over the “arbitrary” approach of the state government in restoring power connections of the labourers who defaulted on bill payments.

The farm labourers have alleged that the government had restored the connections of only those labourers who were members of the Punjab Farm Labour Union.

The union had demanded for the restoration of power connections of farm labourers.

On a request of the union made to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal a few weeks ago, the government decided on May 2 to restore all such connections.

However, in the letters sent to field staff of the PSEB, it was mentioned that power connections of only those farm labourers, who were members of the union, were to be restored. Confirming the fact, the field staff said they had not got the list carrying the names of the union members whose power connections were to be restored.

They said only four connections had been restored in the region.


Dal Khalsa complains against Sidhu 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
The Dal Khalsa yesterday lodged a formal petition with the jathedar, Akal Takht, urging him to take action against cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu, BJP MP, who attended a Rudra Mahayagya here in violation of the maryada (Sikh tradition).

President of the Dal Khalsa Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib, in his written complaint, said he had read the statement of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, jathedar, Akal Takht, that action could be initiated against Sidhu as per the Sikh maryada in case a formal complaint was lodged with the Akal Takht secretariat.

The Dal Khalsa chief said Akal Takht was not a judicial court which took action only after receiving petitions. 


Kidnap Case
Son smells a rat in fresh probe
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
The Amritsar police (rural) has failed to arrest the culprits involved in the kidnapping of an aged woman in the border village of Mehalwala even though two months have lapsed since the incident took place.

The complainant has alleged that the inquiry by a DSP was ordered with a view to “hushing up the case” because one of the alleged accused is a relative of a senior IAS officer.

Though an FIR was lodged following an inquiry conducted by the senior superintendent of police (detective) following intervention by the Chief Minister, the police has ordered a fresh inquiry to be conducted by DSP (rural) Chhajju Ram.

Amrik Singh Waraich, SP (D) refuted the charges that the fresh inquiry was ordered due to “pressure” from a senior IAS officer.

As per the FIR, the relative of the IAS officer, along with others, kidnapped the woman with a view to pressurising her to transfer agricultural land on May 20.

Kashmir Singh, a former XEN and son of the kidnapped woman, told TNS today that the accused had kidnapped his mother and pressurised her to put her thumb impression on blank papers with a view to grabbing her prime agricultural land. The former XEN alleged that as his mother refused to do so, she was beaten up and her gold ornaments taken away. When the matter was brought to the notice of the high-ups in the Punjab government, the accused dumped her body in a nearby farm.

He alleged that the police registered a case against the culprits only on May 28 after the matter was brought to the notice of Chief Minister. The case was registered in the Majitha police station, Amritsar, under Sections 323, 342, 356, 427, 447, 452, 506, 365 and 511 of the IPC.

Kashmir Singh said the police, under pressure from the bureaucrat, had not arrested the culprits so far and was instead trying to work out rapprochement.

DSP Chhajju Ram claimed that both parties had reached a compromise on certain issues. He said even the prime accused - the daughter-in-law of the victim - had agreed to seek an apology from her mother-in-law on the issue of kidnapping. However, later both parties backtracked from the compromise

The SSP, Amritsar (rural), had marked the inquiry to the SP (D) who, in his report, had confirmed that the daughter-in-law had grabbed the land of her mother-in-law.

However, Kashmir Singh alleged that the fresh inquiry was ordered under pressure from the senior IAS officer who was related to the prime accused and it was an attempt to hush up the case. 


Demand for Sikh personal law

Amritsar, July 22
In a petition to the President of India, Manjit Singh Randhawa, convener, Culture and Heritage Conservation Initiative, has urged to send a message to Parliament under Article 86 of the Constitution to consider the enactment of a Sikh personal law and Vatican-like status for Amritsar, which have become essential to effectively defend the distinct Sikh identity.

Randhawa said the enactment of a Sikh personal law had become the need of hour to legally establish the distinct religious and cultural identity of Sikhs.


Harassed by father-in-law, man moves rights body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has asked the SSP, Hoshiarpur, to file a report after conducting an inquiry following a complaint filed by a Hoshiarpur resident, Varinder Singh. The complainant, who is from the Saini community, alleged that he had married a girl from the Balmiki community and was being forced by his father-in-law to stay at the bride’s house only.

When the complainant refused to do so, his father-in-law, in connivance with the police officials, started harassing him by conducting raids at his workplace.

The commission observed in its order, dated July 6, that it seemed that the police was being used for such raids, which were arbitrary, repetitive and unwarranted. The commission found the case fit for scrutiny under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, and sought a report from the state government and the SSP, Hoshiarpur. The report has to be submitted by the next date of hearing, which is September 6.

The copy of the order has been also sent to the ADGP-IVC-cum-Human Rights, Punjab, for inquiry. Charanjit Sharma, the counsel for the complainant, informed that Hoshiarpur SSP, SHO (P.S City), and in charge, Women Cell, Hoshiarpur, among others were made respondents in the complaint.


Body’s plea to Vedanti

Patiala, July 22
The Sikh Nation Organisation, in an appeal to Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti, has expressed concern over voices of dissent among the Sikh clergy and Panthic organisations over the cancellation of the Ratia conclave and off-the-cuff statements on the Dera issue. — TNS


Patiala Bypass Expressway 
Villagers oppose construction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Opposing the construction of the Patiala southern bypass as an expressway, villagers affected by the construction have approached the Punjab Chief Minister to take up a case with the Central government to change its basic design.

In a letter written this month to the Chief Minister, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways as well as the Director-General Border Roads Organisation, which is undertaking the project, the villagers have claimed that the expressway will split the small-land holdings of farmers. Since the 18 km-long expressway will have grills on either side to prevent vehicular or pedestrian cross-traffic, farmers will be unable to approach their land.

Further, at places tubewell connections are on one side of the road and the land to be irrigated is on the other side. Proposed underpasses along the link roads will not solve the problem, the letter adds.

According to the letter, a PIL on the bypass issue has already been filed because of another situation where the interests of the farmers is being jeopardised due to land acquisition for infrastructure development.

Urging the Chief Minister to take up a case for the construction of the bypass as a normal highway and not as an expressway, the letter cites a Planning Commission document, which states that though desirable, expressways are not suitable to the Indian environment due to small-land holdings of farmers.

The letter has also sought an investigation into the fabrication of grills worth about Rs 3 crore for access control even before the foundation stone of the by-pass had been laid.


Teej celebrated at Badal’s residence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Surinder Kaur, wife of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, yesterday celebrated Teej, to welcome the month of Saawan, - at her house here.

The official residence of the Chief Minister in Sector 2 here reverberated with traditional Punjabi celebrations as Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and Sneh Chautala, wife of the former Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala, joined in the celebrations.

The CM’s residence was tastefully decorated for the celebrations, having a rustic and colourful ambience with various kinds of stalls put-up for the guests. Dressed in colourful and traditional attires, guests, including the wives of ministers, MLAs, SGPC members and officers had a good time during the two-hour-long festivities. The women enjoyed the main attraction of the festival, the swings decorated with flowers on this occasion.

Besides, many mehndi artists were called to apply mehndi on the hands of distinguished guests, who were also presented with gajras and colourful bangles. “Teeyan” is one of the traditional festivals of Punjab celebrated during the month of saawan when the newly wedded girls come back to their parents’ house and celebrate the festival with friends and relatives. To entertain the guests, artistes presented cultural items, including Punjabi songs and giddha. Marasins (traditional story tellers) from the CM’s village were specially called, who enthralled the guests with their humourous folk-tales and songs. 


Development officer thrashed

Batala, July 22
A district development project officer (DDPO)of Gurdaspur, Ranbir Singh Mudhal, was thrashed up by unidentified persons near Dera Baba Nanak yesterday.

The assailants reportedly stopped his official vehicle, dragged him out and gave him a sound beating. The incident occurred when the officer, along with his deputy superintendent Jaswant Singh, a peon and the driver, was travelling back towards Fatehgarh Churian. Critically injured Ranbir Singh was admitted to a hospital in Amritsar with multi-fractures. SSP R.N. Dhoke said the actual culprits would be behind bars by tomorrow, he claimed.

Amritsar: Officers of the Rural Development & Panchayats Department , panches and sarpanches of gram panchayats here on Sunday held a dharna in front of the of office of Zila Parishad which was also addressed by Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, minister of the department, in protest against the attack on the Mudhal. He along with and Jaspal Singh, deputy director, Jalandhar, were admitted to a private hospital, here, in a serious condition when they were assaulted by 15 armed men after the auctioning of of agricultural land, belonging to gram panchayat . — TNS


Unhealthy Scenario 
One post, two occupants
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
Two senior health officials are in the thick of controversy over their claims to the post of director research and medical education (DRME) in the Government Medical College here.

While regular DRME Dr Kiranjit Kaur has rejoined the office after cutting short her three-month leave, which she had taken to visit her daughter in the US, acting DRME Dr J.S. Dalal, who was given the charge in her absence, continues to occupy the office. Owing to this, Dr Kiranjit Kaur has alleged harassment and is planning to move women’s commission against the alleged maltreatment meted out to her.

Sources said Dr Kiranjit Kaur had written two letters to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. In her first letter, she had given the account of how she was maltreated on her return to the office. She alleged that when she came to the office to rejoin, she found Dr Dalal seated there. She sat on a sofa there. At this, Dr Dalal allegedly used abusive language against her and asked her to leave.

Thereafter, she went to the medical education secretary, who again kept her waiting outside his office. She then met the chief secretary and got her protest registered in writing.

In the second letter, she urged the Chief Minister to accept her resignation in protest against the maltreatment meted out to her. Dr Kiranjit Kaur, who is the wife of VC of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, has been waiting the government’s decision ever since.

She claimed that she was a regular DRME and was promoted by the department’s promotion committee and nobody had the legal right to remove her from the post.

Dr Dalal said he was acting as the DRME under the government orders. “I am just abiding by the government orders,” he said. He also refuted claims that he had misbehaved with Dr Kiranjit Kaur.

Sources in the department of medical education said though Dr Dalal was senior to Dr Kiranjit Kaur, the previous regime had chosen the latter for the post. Badal, who was on a visit to Patiala recently, when asked about the controversy, said seniority would be maintained while posting a DRME.

The proximity of Dr Kiranjit Kaur and her husband Ravinder Singh to Capt Amarinder Singh was believed to be causing her the trouble. While Dr Kiranjit Kaur was on leave, inquires were initiated against her by Dr Dalal.


BJP dharna

Ropar, July 22
The local unit of the BJP held a dharna at the Bharatgarh railway station in protest against the Bhakra Beas Management Board and railway officials for not opening unmanned level crossing for general public.

MP Avinash Rai Khanna said they had earlier decided to block rail traffic but after CM’s assurance they decided to hold a dharna. —TNS


Villagers stop work on dam

Banur, July 22
Residents of over 25 villages today stopped the construction work of a dam on the Ghaggar, near Chhat Bir, here today.

The villagers led by the Kissan Bachao Sangharsh Committee president Jaspal Singh reached the construction site this afternoon and made the contractor stop the work.

The villagers are protesting against the construction of the dam as it would lead to the cutting off of irrigation water supply to their villages.

The dam is being constructed as part of a NABARD scheme and will turn the stored supply water towards the Banur canal. The matter will be taken up for discussion tomorrow before the SDM, Dera Bassi. — TNS


Aid for kin of home guard
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 22
The family members of Jatinder Singh, a jawan of Punjab Home Guard, who had died recently following some health problems, were today provided with a financial assistance of Rs 29,500 and Rs 31,000 by the Punjab Home Guard Department and the Punjab police, respectively.

The jawan is survived by wife Sukhwinder Kaur and two children.

The aid was given to his family members at the bhog ceremony at his native Badochi village in the district.

Home guards commandant, Fatehgarh Sahib, V.K. Vaid said the family members would be given another Rs 8,700 from the welfare fund.


238 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
Around 238 persons donation blood at a camp organised by the Sant Nirankari Mission, here today.

The camp was held under the guidance of a team from Government Rajindra Hospital. Amarjit Singh, joint director, Punjab, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Head of the Patiala Nirankari Mission Gobind Kaur thanked the donors and the chief guest.


100 units of blood donated
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 22
The Blood Donors Society of Bassi Pathana organised its 84th blood donation camp at Aggarwal Dharamshala here yesterday.

The camp was inaugurated by Sirhind MLA Didar Singh Bhatti.

Around 100 units of blood were collected by a team of doctors of the PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Bhatti appreciated the efforts of the society in collecting blood. 


Artistes meet Yograj Sedha

Patiala, July 22
“Choose the highest ideal and live your life up to that”, said Yograj Sedha, a theatre and film personality at a “Roobru programme” organised by the National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, at Sahit Sadan, Department of Language Punjab, here yesterday.

In an interaction with NTAS artistes, Sedha advised them to equip themselves with all technical aspects of theatre for a successful career. Yograj said the presentation of patriotic plays was the need of the hour and it was the duty of the artistes to highlight the sacrifice of martyrs.— TNS


Lok Adalat
758 cases disposed of
Tribune News service

Patiala, July 22
A lok adalat was organised in the district court complex under the chairmanship of Inderjit Singh, district and session judge and chairman of the District Legal Services Authority.

The adalat had six benches and each bench was presided over by a judicial officer, who was assisted by a senior advocate and a social worker.

Of the total 913 cases that were taken up, 758 were disposed of with the mutual consent of both the parties. A total of Rs 41, 46,142 was disbursed to the concerned persons.

According to the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, a person falling in the following categories are entitled to free legal aid: beggars, women, children, mentally ill, disabled, victims of mass disaster, a victim who is a SC/ST and those whose income is less than Rs 50,000 per annum.

Any person seeking disposal of his case through lok adalats can contact the district and session judge, civil judge (senior division) or assistant district attorney, (legal services), at Room No. 134, 1st Floor, District Court Patiala. The additional civil judge (senior division) can be contacted at the sub-divisional level for the same.


‘Need for Green Revolution II’
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 22
Agriculture in the state has reached saturation point and there is a need to launch a second phase of Green Revolution by setting up food processing units and exporting agricultural produce at a large scale.

This was stated by director of the Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation Amardeep Singh Cheema at a meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. 

Cheema asked her to chalk out plans for providing easy loans to farmers at reduced rate of interest. He apprised her of drug menace gripping northern states, particularly Punjab where predominant source of living was agriculture. 

Cheema requested Sonia to instruct ministries dealing with agriculture, youth and sports welfare, food processing and science and technology to give a special focus to Punjab, which is bordering state and had born the brunt of terrorism. 

He pointed out seed replacement, diversification from wheat paddy cycle, improved farm techniques, introduction of eco-friendly fertilisers, insecticides and weedicides were the need of the hour in view of fast changing world scenario post WTO. 


One killed in car crash
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 22
Anil Kumar, alias Jolly, a resident of Kharar, was killed in a car accident last night.

The incident took place near Bansawali Kharar village octroi post around 11.30 pm.

The car that Anil Kumar was driving collided with a tree. He was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he was declared brought dead.

The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174, CrPC, on the complaint of deceased’s brother Mukesh.


Dubious travel agent held
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 22
The local police has arrested an NRI travel agent from the New Delhi airport. The travel agent has allegedly duped many of crores on the pretext of sending them abroad.

The travel agent, Amandeep Singh, alias Gurmeet, has allegedly made Rs 5 crore from his dubious business. The local court has sent him into14 days’ judicial remand. Later, on medical grounds, he was hospitalised at the local Civil Hospital.

SSP Paramjeet Singh said the police would try to recover the money of innocent people from Amandeep Singh.


112 gm smack seized
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
As part of its ongoing anti-social drive, the Patiala police seized 112 grams of smack, here today.


Varsity flouts norms to admit staff’s ward
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
Guru Nanak Dev University has allegedly overlooked rules for NRI admissions in B.Tech (computer science) for the second consecutive year with a view to accommodating the ward of a senior official of the university who had secured low marks in the Combined Entrance Test (CET) conducted by Punjab Technical University (PTU).

The seats for wards of employees under the NRI quota were also increased from four to eight by constituting a sub-committee a few days before the admission.

Without doing so, it was difficult to ensure admission for the son of the senior official.

However, T.D. Narang, dean, academic affairs, whose son superseded some deserving candidates, claimed that the admissions were done strictly as per the advertisement published by the university. He said though he was officiating as vice-chancellor on that day, yet he appeared before the counselling committee as parent and did not use his influence to disturb the merit.

The worst sufferer is Ajaydeep Singh Grewal, son of a widow, who could not get admission to the university as he had submitted a draft of foreign currency the same day. This despite the fact that he had ranked three in the list prepared by the counselling committee.

Ajaydeep’s father, a senior reader in the department of genetics, had died on September 19, 1992.

Interestingly , the university authorities had fixed the date for NRI counselling despite the fact that it clashed with the date of counselling of Punjab Engineering College and the University Institute of Engineering and Technology. The candidates were telephonically informed about the date of the counselling.

In a representation to the Governor-cum-chancellor, vice-chancellor and the vigilance department, Nirmaljit Kaur Grewal, a senior lecturer at the Government College for Women, alleged that her son was denied admission on the university campus though he had got the 3,556th rank in CET while the rank of Gaurav Narang, son of T.D. Narang , ranked 7,886 and succeeded in getting admission. However, the dean, academic affairs, said Chandan Sharma, another ward of a university employee who had a lower rank than his son, also got admission under the NRI (employees) quota.

Last year too, a candidate had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for admitting students under this category against the clauses mentioned in the prospectus. The date for this case has been fixed for next week 


Kolkata varsity moot court champion
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
West Bengal National University of Judicial Sciences, Kolkata, won the Commonwealth Moot Court Competition that concluded at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL), here today.

National Law University, Jodhpur, ended runner-up in the competition.

The first best mooter award was given to G. Subramaniaum (NLU, Jodhpur), while second best mooter award went to A. Mukherjee (NLU, Jodhpur) and third best mooter to A. Lahiri (NUJS, Kolkata).

The competition was organised by the RGNUL in association with the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA).

Fifteen teams took part in the three-day competition.

Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, who is also member of the general council of the RGNUL, was the chief guest at the valedictory function.

In his address, Justice Kumar said it was a big achievement for a university that was only a year old to organise its second international moot court competition.

He was of the opinion that in the era of competition honesty had taken a back seat. He asked students to inculcate the habit of reading.

The function was attended by Mr Justice Inderjit Singh Walia, district and session judge, Mr Justice K.K. Karer, senior sub judge, A.P.S. Virk, additional deputy commissioner and Narinderjeet Singh Sekhon, SP (H).

The competition was inaugurated by Ramesh Inder Singh, chief secretary, on July 20.

The preliminary rounds were conducted on July 21, whereas semifinals as well as the final rounds were conducted today.

According to Dr Gurjeet Singh vice-chancellor of the RGNUL, the competition had given students an opportunity to interact with best mooter from across the country.


Proposed fee hike
MBBS aspirants in a quandary
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
Parents of a large number of MBBS aspirants have accused the state government of indulging in double standard by proposing a sudden hike in fee of MBBS and BDS courses.

M.P. Singh and G.D. Singh, whose children have secured good ranks in the PMET, said medical colleges should charge fee as mentioned in the BFUHS prospectus.

“We are not prepared for this sudden hike in fee,” they said while criticising the government decision to propose the fee hike.

They said students who got ranks between 200 and 400 and were likely to get admission in private colleges were unhappy with the proposed fee structure.

Under the existing structure, government-run MBBS colleges were charging annual fee of around Rs 13,000, while private colleges were charging around Rs 1 lakh annually.

For BDS courses, the government institutions were charging an annual fee of around Rs 11,000, while it was Rs 75,000 per annum in private colleges.

There is a separate fee structure for NRI candidates and other faculties for BAMS and bachelor in homoeopathy courses.

The state government was in the process of revising fee structure for MBBS and BDS courses, the entrance test for which had already been conducted and a merit list finalised.

The medical education department has called a meeting for fee revision on July 23 in Chandigarh.

The parents said with the decision, medical students had nowhere to go, as the PMET had been conducted very late and counselling in other streams had already been completed.

Most students had left their seats in universities in the hope of getting admission to MBBS and BDS courses.

They said if the government wanted to hike fee, it should have notified earlier to give ample time for the aspirants to decide if they wanted to pursue the stream.

They have sought the deferment of the decision for one year.

Former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who held charge of the department during the previous Congress regime, said the fee hike should not be announced at this stage, as a large number of candidates would be affected by this and they might not be able to take admission.

She suggested that the state government should pump in funds to bail colleges out of the financial mess.


Nod to new courses in Punjabi varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
A meeting of the academic council of Punjabi University was held recently under the chairmanship of academic affairs Sucha Singh Gill. The council approved the starting of various courses at the university and its neighbourhood from current academic session.

New courses to be started include masters of physiotherapy and sports sciences with 20 seats; certificate course in Spanish in the department of foreign languages; BA (hons) in gurmat sangeet; and MA in Buddhist studies were given approval.

The council approved starting of MCA on Punjabi University Neighbourhood Campus, Rampura Phul; B.Tech in electronics and communication and computer science engineering at the College of Engineering, Rampura Phul; and BCA on its Joga Ralla Neighbourhood Campus.

The meeting gave its approval to start B.Sc (biotechnology); BCA and postgraduate diploma in computer maintenance and networking at Punjabi University Guru Kashi College, Talwandi Sabo.


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