P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Expensive Education
Parents to move court
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 14
The parents of certain students are contemplating moving the court against the recent fee hike in medical colleges of the state. They have even written to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this connection.

In the representation to the Chief Minister, the parents have alleged that the government has succumbed to the pressure from the lobby of private medical college managements. The fee hike has been effected in violation of the Supreme Court orders.

According to the prospectus, Rs 1-lakh fee could be charged from students on the merit list. They are admitted through both government and management quota. This fee amount was fixed by the fee fixation committee (FFC) formed by the government in 2006.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment delivered in the Painamdar versus others case, had observed that the fees fixed by the committee once should be binding for a minimum period of three years.

However, the government has effected the fee hike just after one year of the submission of the committee report, that is in violation of the Supreme Court orders.

The said judgment had also stated that every institution should have a uniform fee structure as far as merit seats, (government and management quota) is concerned. It is only in the NRI seats that different fee structure was allowed.

However, the government fixed Rs 3 lakh per annum fee for management quota seats and Rs 1.15 lakh for government quota seats. By doing so, the government has adopted dual fee structure in merits seats, that is illegal.

The judgment also states that along with the fee structure, all relevant documents and books of account must be produced before the FCC. It has to issue a public notice to know the contention of students, parents and institutional representatives regarding the fee hike.

However, the present fee hike was carried out by the FCC under pressure from the lobby of managements without taking into consideration the views of students or their parents, the parents alleged.

The parents have also alleged that according to the law, the education institutions cannot be aimed at earning profits. However, some of the medical colleges have declared their profits in crores.


As SAD prepares dossier on its leaders
Cong gropes for right man to head state unit
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 14
Even as a section of senior Congress leaders of Punjab has been lobbying hard to wear the mantle of presidentship of the state unit, the party high command has been finding it difficult to find out the right person for that job.

What has been causing problems to the party high command to select the right person to head the Punjab Congress is the fact that ruling SAD leadership has prepared dossier of various hot contenders for the same post and could launch legal proceedings against them immediately after any one of them takes over the reins of state unit.

Sources close to the Congress high command said the All-India Congress Committee, which was in process of selecting the right candidate to head the Punjab unit, was of the view that only that person should be given the responsibility who could not be attacked by the ruling SAD-BJP alliance of Punjab on any account.

Those leaders who have actively been lobbying for the post include Jagmeet Brar, Partap Singh Bajwa, Brahm Mohindra and Mohinder Singh Kaypee. However, the name of union minister for state Ashwani Kumar is also making rounds in the Congress circles.

The sources said the party high command was aware of the fact that the SAD-BJP alliance could drag a section of senior Congress leaders of Punjab in the Ludhiana City Centre scam and the bitumen scam, which surfaced during the Congress regime.

Adviser to the Chief Minister Daljit Singh Cheema said the alliance had not prepared any dossier of any Congress leader. He added that it was an internal matter of the Congress to select the right candidate for its state unit presidentship.


Mann assails Bhandari on Virk, ‘cats’

Chandigarh, September 14
Reacting to the BJP's reported statement that "no system is bad if it is used in a broader national interest," president of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), Simranjit Singh Mann, today said the statement exposed these forces to a broader moral, legal and constitutional question regarding taking the life of a citizen through an ideology of national interest, especially since India is bound by the constitutional law and its Article 21.

Mann said "Article 21 categorically lays down that no person will be deprived of his life and liberty without the procedure laid down by law."

"Besides, this unconstitutional statement of the BJP chief, Prof Rajinder Bhandari, has put the Punjab Government in a constitutional crisis as the constituent party of the government, the BJP, does not agree with its own government's policy of arresting Virk and taking action against the "cats" that were created outside the constitutional law of the land," said Mann. — TNS


Encroachments eclipse haveli of Wasti Ram
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 14
Even as the samadh of Bhai Wasti Ram, the most revered Sehajdhari Sikh of the 18th century and a contemporary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was demolished in December 1992 by a Muslim mob and still lies unattended outside the Lahore Fort, a major portion of his magnificent haveli in Amritsar stands encroached upon.

Though the demolition of his samadh in Lahore had hit the headlines, nobody bothered to preserve the heritage situated in Amritsar. The local heritage site is fast losing sheen despite repeated requests made by Amit Gauri, alias Rajat Gauri, the eighth direct descendant of Bhai Wasti Ram.

The magnificent monument is situated in the local Dhab Wasti Ram, which is named after Bhai Sahib, is in a bad shape. So much so, the two-century-old beautiful frescos in the samadh of Bhai Sahai Ram, younger brother of Bhai Wasti Ram, situated on the premises of the haveli has been whitewashed. Tall buildings, constructed on the very premises of heritage site, have surrounded both the monuments.

Dhab Wasti Ram is famous business centre of the holy city. Bhai Wasti Ram used to be visited by many great warriors of the 18th century. He was well versed in Sikh scriptures and enjoyed considerable influence in the Sikh community. One of the direct descendants of Bhai Wasti Ram, Inder Singh served as principal of Khalsa College, says Amit Gauri.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the place many times to mark the beginning of shobha yatra to mark the Janamashtami , but nobody bothered to look into the heritage value of the place.

A visit to the site revealed that the samadh of the younger brother of Bhai Wasti Ram is not visible from outside due to the mushrooming of the tall buildings. Amit Gauri sought reviving the pristine glory of the monuments. The monuments of Bhai Wasti Ram and his younger brother were built at the behest of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Bhai Wasti Ram lived through the long period of persecution the Sikhs during most terrified period and he was also witness to the rise of the community to political power in Punjab.

According to historians, Bhai Wasti Ram devoted himself to the study of medicine, and became famous for his skill in the use of indigenous herbs. He used to treat his patients free of charge. Bhai Wasti Ram died in 1802 at the ripe age of 94. A marble samadh was raised near the Lahore Fort at the spot where he was cremated. Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to visit it on the occasion of his death anniversary. However, the frenzied Muslims demolished the samadh in 1992.


Living off dowry is his business
Amritsar man ready to get fourth wife
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 14
Two “wives” of one man here yesterday sought police intervention to stop their “husband” from tying the nuptial knot yet again, probably for the fourth time, without seeking divorce from them.

Both women, Madhvi and Laxmi, had similar stories of woes to narrate. Both had been “duped” into marrying Mahesh Kumar, resident of Fatehgarh Churian, Amritsar, and were later turned out of his house when his demands for more dowry were not fulfilled.

Laxmi is pregnant with his child and said she had nowhere to go.

“I was married to Mahesh Kumar as per the Hindu rites in February, 2006. The match was fixed through his sister and brother-in-law who live in Gurdaspur. For the first few months, he kept me with them and was nice to me. But soon I was brought to Amritsar and my marriage turned into a nightmarish experience and I had to sleep on an empty stomach for weeks,” she said.

“His demands for dowry kept increasing and he would beat me every night. When I complained, he said when his previous two wives could not do anything to stop him, I would also have to tow his line. I was kicked out even though I was two months pregnant,” she said.

“I got to know that his first wife, Neetu, a resident of Patiala, also met with a similar fate and was made to leave his house,” she said.

Madhvi, the other complainant, said Mahesh’s sister Sushma Rani, who is a teacher, and her husband Kewal Krishan were party to the crime in making sure that innocent girls were given the impression that the boy belonged to a respectable family.

“The man is a fraud, who is in the business of demanding dowry. When the purpose is achieved and he knows that the parents of the girls cannot shell out more money, the girl is thrown out,” she said.

Madan Gopal, father of Madhvi, said he had given Mahesh a TV, fridge and other household items at the time of marriage, but now he was demanding Rs 4 lakh to buy a house.

“We were told that the boy runs a typing college. But later it came to light that even the typewriters had been taken on rent to make sure that the marriage materialises. We want the police to take action against him so that he is taught a lesson,” he said.

Vijay Kumar, senior vice-president of the Youth Congress, said he had met Laxmi, a resident of Gurdaspur, at the office of the Mahila Congress, and succeeded in making both affected girls meet. “We will launch an agitation outside the SSP’s office if action is not taken against the accused,” he threatened.

SP City (II) S.S. Mann said an inquiry had been ordered into the case and the DSP (Civil Lines) asked to carry out the investigations.


Taksal to raise Bhindranwale memorial
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 14
Damdami Taksal has decided to raise first-ever memorial in the name of its former chief Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in his ancestral village, Rode. The taksal will spend crores of rupees on the construction of the gurdwara and other memorials.

The memorials will include Gurdwara Sant Khalsa, to be constructed at the birthplace of Sant Bhindranwale, apart from constructing a big school and a stadium in the village itself .

Talking to The Tribune here today, Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, chief of Damdami Taksal, said the foundation stone for the proposed gurdwara would be laid on September 17 by Giani Gurbachan Singh, head granthi of the Golden Temple, Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, Baba Dya Singh , Baba Narinder Singh and Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi .

The taksal chief said huge gates would be erected on all entry and exit points of the village.


Hindi scholar collapses on stage, dies
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 14
It seemed prophetic. “One never knows when the cruel hands of death snatch away one’s life.” These were the last words uttered by renowned Hindi scholar Laxmi Narain Sharma, a former professor of Panjab university, Chandigarh, seconds before he collapsed on stage during Hindi Diwas celebrations at the Punjab Languages Department of Punjabi University here today.

The function came to an abrupt end when Laxmi Narain Sharma, who was delivering a lecture on the importance of integrating Punjabi language with the national language, collapsed on the stage.

The audience was in a state of shock as the organisers, after providing him first-aid, took him to the Patiala Heart Institute where the scholar was declared “brought dead.”

The function turned into a condolence meeting with noted personalities paying tributes to the departed soul.

The director of the languages department, Avtar Singh, said Laxmi Narain’s contribution to the growth of the Hindi language not only in India, but also in foreign lands, was immense.

Anjali Bhawra, secretary, higher education and languages, sent her condolence message from Chandigarh. Among the writers who paid tributes to the scholar were Prof Dev Dutt Bhatti, Phul Chand Manav, Dr Mahesh Gautam, Rajinder Kaur Aneja, Om Parkash Anand, Dr Navrattan Kapoor, Prof Manju Walia and Yogeshwar Kaur Manav.


100 days of employment for 1,000 rural youth
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 14
As many as 1,000 unemployed rural youth will be given 100 days of employment as part of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme from October 1 onwards. A total of 13,000 persons, falling under the below poverty line (BPL) category, have been issued job cards in different villages of the district.

Addressing a press conference, MP Navjot Sidhu, who was accompanied by Amar Singh, joint secretary of the Government of India’s Department of Rural Development, said the rural employment guarantee scheme was the most sought-after and demand-driven scheme of the Centre.

The district administration has identified tasks worth Rs 15 crore for which rural unemployed youth will be employed as part of the centrally sponsored scheme.

An amount of Rs 15 crore had been sanctioned in the past for Amritsar district, but out of this only Rs 35,000 was utilised.


No clue to Harprabh

Patiala September 14
The police has failed to trace 5-year-old Harprabh who was kidnapped from Patiala on September 8. The kidnappers had allegedly killed his grandmother before kidnapping the child.

Peeved at the failure of police, his paternal uncle Bhupinderjit Singh, a Non- Resident Indian, today announced an award for someone who gave any information about the missing child. — TNS


SDMs can now stop child marriages

Chandigarh, September 14
The Punjab government has designated subdivisional magistrates (SDMs) as child marriage prohibiting officers in the state.

A spokesman for the social security and development of women and children department said all SDMs would also perform their duties and exercise powers under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 within the areas in their respective sub-divisions.

He further said child development and project officers (CDPO) of the department in the sub-divisions would also assist the child marriage prohibiting officers.

Rai Sikhs

A 24-member delegation of Rai Sikhs led by Sher Singh Ghubaya, chief parliamentary secretary, Punjab, along with Dr Satnam Singh, president of the All-India Rai Sikhs Welfare Association called on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday and thanked him for getting the Rai Sikhs enlisted in the Scheduled Caste category by the Union Government. — TNS


24 Indians sent back

Amritsar, September 14
Twentyfour Indians, most of them Punjabis, who had flown to Slovakia on September 9, were sent back yesterday. They arrived at the Rajasansi international airport by an Air Slovakia flight. — TNS


Relief to Amarinder till Sept 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Reflecting on the sweep of Section 438 CrPC (pre-arrest bail) and observing that apprehensions of former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh cannot be discarded outright, Justice Ranjit Singh today issued a notice to Punjab for September 18 and also granted interim relief to Capt Amarinder Singh against arrest till then.

The order stated that Amarinder, if required to be arrested, would be released on bail to the satisfaction of the arresting officer. Importantly, the said order is effective till September 18 only, the next date of hearing when there would be detailed arguments on the bail plea.

The judge observed in his order that it would be appropriate to ascertain if there was any move to either register a case against the petitioner (Amarinder) or to proceed against him. Significantly, the senior deputy advocate-general, Punjab, M.C. Berry, informed Justice Ranjit Singh that so far no FIR had been registered against the petitioner.

Berry averred before the judge that the apex court had made a strong observation in a case (SLP No. 1753 of 2002) where a high court had ordered that the petitioner be given 15 days’ notice in writing before he was arrested. The apex court had said, “We are surprised that such an order could have been passed by the high court”.

Amarinder Singh had sought pre-arrest bail or that he should be given 10 days’ notice in case he was to be arrested or a case registered against him at any place in Punjab.

Justice Ranjit Singh pondered over the petitioner’s contention that given the instances involving B.I.S. Chahal and former DGP S.S. Virk, it was highly likely that he too would have to bear the brunt of vendetta politics.

The petitioner’s counsels, M.L. Saggar and Himmat Singh Shergill, averred that in context of paragraph 35 of the Gurbaksh Singh Sibia judgment of the apex court, the high court would have power to grant blanket bail.

The judgment, according to the petitioner’s counsel, implied that filing of an FIR was not a condition precedent to the exercise of power under Section 438 CrPC.

They also submitted that the petitioner’s fear of arrest was not misplaced as both Chahal and Virk had been arrested without following the due procedure of law.


High Court
Verdict reserved on Chahal, others’ bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Justice Surya Kant today reserved the order on the bail plea of B.I.S. Chahal, managing director of Today Homes G.K. Gambhir and three other officers of the company. All the petitioners, accused in the Ludhiana City Centre case registered by the state Vigilance Bureau in Ludhiana on March 23, are already on interim anticipatory bail, and seeking confirmation of the interim relief.

Cutodial death: Notice to Punjab

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today issued notice to Punjab over a custodial death case of which Justice Rajesh Bindal of the high court had earlier taken suo motu notice and ordered an inquiry into by a Sessions Judge.

The fact-finding inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of Kewal Singh, son of Buta Singh, while he was lodged in Central Jail, Ferozepur, had found that according to the post-mortem report, the deceased had as many as 13 injuries on his person. The news of Kewal’s death on April 20 had appeared in a newspaper on April 22.

The inquiry report said that after considering the evidence and story put by the jail authorities, it was found that injuries could not have been sustained in the manner the authorities were claiming and thus the jail officials’ story was concocted.

It was further stated in the report that injuries, according to medico-legal examination, had been inflicted by a blunt weapon or by hitting him on hard surface. Thus, torture was not ruled out. Justice Bindal had ordered the entire report to be placed before the Chief Justice who, while heading a division bench, issued notice to Punjab for September 28.


HC summons former MLA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today summoned former independent MLA from Barnala, Malkiat Singh Keetu, who is now with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), to appear in person before it on September 27. He was also ordered to be impleaded as a respondent in a petition relating to alleged seizure of the petitioner’s commercial vehicle.

The petitioner, Rajwinder Singh, submitted that his commercial vehicle, which was being used for ferrying goods was taken away on July 29, 2007, following Keetu and his musclemen's diktat to not allow any ‘Tempo’ operator to load or unload any goods if he was not a member of the Tempo Union. He pleaded that this was illegal and arbitrary as it was against the spirit of the free movement of registered commercial vehicles.


Corruption Case
Office superintendent acquitted
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 14
Former office superintendent in the department of director of health, Mohali, Daljeet Singh Kohli was acquitted in a corruption case today.

The vigilance bureau had lodged an FIR against him under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act for possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income on January 24, 2002.

Investigating officer in the case H.S. Randhawa had alleged that Daljeet Singh had misused his post from March 1, 1988 to March 31, 1993.

It was alleged that he had spent Rs 11,75, 091 whereas his income was Rs 9,55,698.


Adopt new tech to earn more: VC tells farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 14
The two-day Kisan Mela at Punjab Agricultural University concluded here today as vice-chancellor M.S.Kang gave away prizes to progressive farmers who were winners of the various produce competition. Besides, prizes were given to different firms for their best display in the agro-industrial exhibition.

Addressing the farmers, Dr Kang urged them to adopt precision farming technologies evolved by the university to achieve maximum production with minimum inputs.

He said PAU had focused its research priorities on prevailing constraints in agriculture and problems being faced by the farmers. "We are developing technologies that are pro-small farmers and eco-friendly", he added.

The following are the results of various competitions:

Produce competition: Amrik Singh of Dalla village, Jalandhar, for mitha; Bhag Singh of Baroti village, Hoshiarpur, for kachalu; Dosanjh Agricultural Farm, Jagatpur village, Nawanshahr for arvi and tinda; Gurdev Singh of Cheema Kalan village,Jalandhar for maize; Gurmeet Singh Sohi of Nathmalpur village, Ropar for chillies, marigold and rose; Harnek Chand of Ghattian wali village, Ferozepur for guava; Iqbal Singh of Goomti Kalan village, Bathinda for Halwa Kaddu; Jagjeet Singh of Agoul village, Patiala for popaya; Jaspal Kaur of Naserabad village, Kapurthala for tori; Jaspreet Kaur of Dayalpura Bhai Ka village, Bathinda, for bittergourd; Jinder Singh of Sandhuana village, Ropar for capsicum; Karmanpreet Singh of Islamabad village, Hoshiarpur, for malta; Paramjit Singh of Jalberi Gehlan village, Fatehgarh Sahib, for lemon (Baramasi); Rajinder Singh of Gopalpur village, Ropar, for sugarcane; Sarwan Singh Chandi of Boolpur village, Kapurthala, for raddish, cowpea and brinjal; Sukhpal Singh of Dayalpura Bhai Ka village, Bathinda, for ghiya kaddu; Surinder Singh of Saraud village, Sangrur, for bel; and Tirth Singh of Sandaur village,Sangrur, for bhindi.

Competitions held for farm women, the following were the winners in different categories:

Taranjit Kaur of Khattra Chuharm village, Ludhiana, for knitting with leftover yarn; Rajdeep Kaur of Sherpur Kalan village, Ludhiana, for candle decoration; Gurpreet Kaur of Khattra Chuharm village, Ludhiana, for nutritious pinni; and Navdeep Kaur of Sherpur Kalan village for clay modeling.

For women entrepreneurship, Rajni Gupta of Ludhiana was the winner, while Harpreet Kaur of Sangrur was the runner-up.

The following firms were awarded for the best stall display in different categories: M/s IFFCO (Ludhiana); UPL (Mumbai); Paras Miracle (Ludhiana); Markfed, Chandigarh; Modern Kheti (Nabha); John Deere Equipment Pvt Ltd (Pune); Standard Combines Pvt Ltd (Barnala); Dasmesh Mechanical Works (Amargarh); Kalsi Metal Works Pvt Ltd (Jalandhar); Falcon Gardon Tools Pvt Ltd (Ludhiana); Deep Spares (Nabha); and Speed Ways Tyre Retreading, Ludhiana.


Students get tips on grooming personality

Patiala, September 14
Blossoms Senior Secondary School organised a seminar on career and personality development on the school premises here today.

The seminar was organised for students of classes X and XII, Principal Hermeet Oberoi said. It was organised in association with Sri Sanskar School of Etiquettes and Career Development, Noida.

Counsellors from Sri Sanskar School gave tips to students on personality development and selection of career.

The students appreciated the efforts of the management and sought more such sessions in the future. Their queries were answered by counsellors Mariganka Gupta and Nupur Arora. — TNS


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