P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


SGPC bans recruitment
Sacks seven employees
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 26
The SGPC executive today banned recruitments/promotions till the annual election of office-bearers, due to be held before November 30. The recruitment of surplus staff in the SGPC has been receiving flak from the Sikh circles.

However, the proposal to appoint chief secretary and five directors of different wings would be excluded from the ban. A number of cases were filed in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

The SGPC executive has also sacked seven employees on charges of attempt to rape, consuming liquor and corruption. They were found guilty in inquiries conducted by senior SGPC officials.

Jathedar Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, said by removing employees from their respective posts a clear signal had been sent across the SGPC that the management wants clean administration. He, however, claimed the proposal to appoint chief secretary and five directors would be instrumental in streamlining the functioning of the SGPC.

The SGPC has also decided to install the portrait of Kanwaljit Singh , who was killed in the firing by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sunam.

The committee has also decided to constitute a panel of historians to vet the books on Sikh history of the Dharam Parchar Committee before publication. The SGPC has also mooted an idea to post manuscripts of Sikh history on its website which would be open to suggestions before publication of books. The executive has also given its nod to establish a martial art academy to promote “gatka”, fencing and archery.

It has also decided to approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for clemency to Devinder Singh Bhullar, who is awaiting death sentence. The meeting also passed Rs 11 lakh grant for a sports stadium being raised in the memory of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra at his native village. Rupees 10 lakh had been earmarked for the school at Guru Ka Bagh. The executive has also accepted the report which proposed to renovate Sikh shrines in Pakistan. 


Kidney case: Principal, DRME rivalry comes to fore
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 26
Working of the Department of Medical Education and the office of the Director Research and Medical Education (DRME) is mired in a controversy following allegations and counter-allegations in the case of suspension of principal Government Medical College due to personal rivalry.

This controversy has hit working of the Medical Education Department as doctors from different factions were taking opposite stands allegedly to settle personal scores with 
each other.

Entire medical fraternity, including top surgeons of the country have lent support to beleaguered principal Dr J.P.K. Shergill who had allegedly been embroiled in the removal of kidney of four- year- old girl Sonia, who passed away yesterday.

Levelling serious charges against Dr J.S. Dalal, DRME, husband of the suspended principal, Dr Inderjit Singh Shergill told reporers the former was nursing a grudge against his wife as she had not accommodated his (Dalal’s) son in the final examinations of the MBBS. Dr Shergill said according to records his wife had given him sufficient marks in internal assessment but in spite of that he failed to clear the examinations. He alleged Dr Dalal had even got changed his examination centres to CMC Ludhiana but that too did not help as his son could not clear practical and theory papers of the MBBS.

Dr Shergill questioned the wisdom of Dr Dalal why he had sought the original file of the case which was being investigated by deputy commissioner Amritsar Kahan Singh Pannu as directed by minister Tikshan Sood. He alleged Dr Dalal was pressurising the doctors involved in this case to give statements and affidavits against his wife to defame her. He said he did not know why and under whose pressure Dr Sudesh K Gulati, a senior surgeon who had operated on Sonia, had submitted a false affidavit that he was not involved in the surgery.

Dr Gulati at previous press conference held by Dr Shergill in the presence of other senior doctors had accepted he had operated on the child for Wilm’s tumour and had obtained written permission (in Hindi language) from the mother of the child before the surgery.

However, Dr Dalal said Dr Shergill was levelling baseless allegations against him though as a senior officer of the department he could seek any records from any hospital of the state for investigating the case. He said the suspended principal was committing mistakes one after the other and he could not ignore these.

Fearing tampering of official records Dr Shergill urged the state government for a probe by a premier investigation agency of the state.

Meanwhile, Shiv Dhar Dubey, father of Sonia, has demanded arrest of Dr Shergill and other doctors responsible for removing the kidney during the surgery besides seeking high-level probe by an independent agency.


High Court
College allowed to make B.Ed admissions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
A division bench, comprising Justice A.K. Goel and Justice Ajai Lamba, yesterday quashed the memo and show-cause notice issued to Punjab College of Education, located in Patiala district, by Punjabi University, Patiala, and allowed it to make admissions for the BEd course.

The facts of the case, according to the petition filed by Baba Dhall Education Society of India and the Punjab College of Education, that the university had issued a memo, dated October 23, 2006, and a show-cause notice, dated June 18, 2007, pointing out some deficiencies in the college and asking it as to why the affiliation of the college should not be cancelled.

The petitioners then moved the High Court. They averred that the deficiencies as pointed out by the university to them had been removed. It was only after proper inspection that recognition was granted by the National College for Teachers Education (NCTE).

It was also submitted that the director, public instructions (colleges), had also permitted the petitioners’ inclusion in counselling for 2007-08 for BEd admissions vide letter dated September 14, 2007. It was submitted that as the state had no objection therefore the university was not entitled to proceed for cancellation of affiliation.

Amarinder’s plea adjourned

Justice Ranjit Singh yesterday adjourned to September 27 the plea of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seeking permission to visit Dubai from September 26 to October 12 to study future prospects of investments he wanted to make there.

The same would now be taken up along with his main petition in which he has sought blanket permission for visits abroad by intimating the court before leaving the country.

Wakf Board case

The hearing on a petition, filed by Congress MLA from the Malerkotla constituency, Razia Sultana, seeking directions to the Punjab government against interfering in the functioning of the Punjab Wakf Board was adjourned to September 28.

The adjournment came in the wake of the state government seeking time for filing the reply. Razia had alleged interference on the part of the state authorities in the properties and financial affairs of the board and sought directions to restrain it from doing so. She also had referred to a notification vide which restrictions were sought to be imposed on the board.


Objections allowed in PPSC selections case 

Chandigarh, September 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed a bunch of petitions seeking to file objections to reports of the two High Court committees constituted to segregate tainted and non-tainted candidates selected by the Punjab Public Service Commission. The objections, which were filed today, were taken on record.

The said petitioners had been appointed when Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu was at the helm of its affairs and the allegations of massive corruption had cast aspersions on the selections.

The full bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain, Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Rajesh Bindal, also directed the High Court to supply within a week orders of the court and documents related to the case to the petitioners. Significantly, the prayer of the petitioners seeking day-to-day hearing of the case was not accepted.

The candidates were also directed to file additional objections, if any, within four weeks. The next date of hearing is November 14.

The application, containing objection by petitioner Balwinder Singh, stated that the court, vide order dated July 7, 2003, had upheld the orders passed by the Punjab government terminating the services of the petitioner and others who had been directly recruited to the PCS (Executive and Allied Services). The petitioner had been recruited as assistant registrar (cooperatives). 


Education commission remains a non-starter
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Punjab Education Commission has remained non-starter. It was set up at the fag end of its tenure by the Capt Amarinder Singh government to revamp the education system at school, college and university level in the state.

Eminent educationist and former vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, J.S. Grewal, was made its chairperson. Other members were former vice-chancellor of Punjab University K.N. Pathak and agriculture economist P.S. Rangi.

Besides it, secretary for higher education and secretary for school education were also taken as members.

However, no meeting of the commission has been held so far. The chairman was to be given Rs 3,000 per meeting as honorarium with a maximum monthly limit of Rs 30,000 and members were to be given Rs 2,000 per month with a maximum limit of Rs 20,000 per month.

In fact, the commission was set up following observations made by senior academics and administrators regarding the non-acceptability of Punjabi youth in the modern job market. Dr G.S. Kalkat, chairman of the Farmers' Commission, had observed that most of the students passing out from various technical and other professional institutions in Punjab were not employable in the modern job market because of poor standard of education in the state.

Asked about the fate of the commission, one of its appointees said "we are not aware whether the present government is interested in the commission or not. Whether it is keen for any reform in the education system or satisfied with the existing academic level in various institutions." 


Punjab to revive canal water charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Punjab Government is all set to revive “abiana” (canal water charges) in the state. Official sources said the irrigation minister had cleared the proposal in this regard and it had been sent to the chief minister for approval.

Once it is cleared by the chief minister, the recovery of "abiana" will start from the rabi crop, it is learnt. Earlier, the government was charging Rs 40 per acre as "abiana" for rabi and kharif crops. However, its recovery was stopped a few years ago.

The authorities are expecting an income of Rs 150 crore every year from "abiana."

“At present more and more farmers are pumping out subsoil water through tubewells. As power is free, they are not bothered to utilise their share for canal water for irrigation. But the situation will change with the latest decision," said an officer.


BJP infighting comes to fore
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 26
The foundation stone-laying ceremony of the trauma ward at the civil hospital here has become a bone of contention for the coalition government in view of the ongoing infighting among the BJP leaders for the past couple of days.

Fissures in the BJP have come to the fore going by the objections raised by the Punjab transport minister Mohan Lal Sharma that his name has not been mentioned on the foundation stone to be laid by Punjab health minister Luxmi Kanta Chawla. Moreover, the name of the minister, also the local MLA, has also gone missing from the invitation cards.

Sources said Sharma pulled up the senior health officers of the district, including the civil surgeon, for not mentioning his name on the invitation cards. The minister has also objected to not being invited for the government-organised function in his hometown.

The sources said the invitation cards, without the name of Sharma, had been dumped by the health authorities. The officers concerned were tight-lipped about the stone-laying ceremony of the trauma ward, to be built at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore.

Punjab BJP chief Rajindra Bhandari said the invitation card would be sent to the minister. He said he would talk over the issue to the health minister.

Efforts to contact Sharma proved futile till late this evening.

Coming down heavily on the transport minister, former Congress MLA Ashok Sharma said Mohan Lal Sharma had not only lost his identity in his hometown and in the BJP but has also been given a back seat in the SAD-BJP government.

Talking to The Tribune, Ashok Kumar Sharma said the state government had been taking credit for the schemes introduced by the UPA government. He claimed that the trauma ward in the local civil hospital was fully aided by the central government and the state government was only the executing agency for it.

Health minster Luxmi Kanta Chawla was not available for comments.


45 employees found absent
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 26
During a surprise checking of various government departments here this morning by deputy commissioner V. K. Ohri along with additional deputy commissioner Indu Malhotra, as many as 45 employees were found absent from duty in different departments. Besides, eight officers, including two PCS officers, were also not available in their respective offices when the deputy commissioner conducted the checking in their offices.

The DC confirmed that during the checking of the offices, he had found about 45 employees absent from duty. Regarding the absence of officers from their respective offices, the deputy commissioner said he had come to know that all of them had been performing their official duties at one place or the other at the time of checking of offices.

According to official information, the breakdown of employees, who were found absent from duty during checking, is as follows: Office of XEN PWD B&R construction division (eight employees), office of XEN PWD B&R provincial division (nine employees), district food and supply office (four), district town planner’s office (two), XEN water supply and sewerage board’s office (three), district transport office (two), deputy commissioner’s office (one), SDM’s office (eight), DEO secondary (six), civil surgeon’s office (one) and ADC (development) office (one).

The officers, who could not be available to the deputy commissioner at the time of checking in their offices, were additional deputy commissioner (development), district transport officer, assistant commissioner (general), district development and panchayats officer, district revenue officer, civil surgeon, XEN PWD B&R (provincial division), and XEN PWD B&R (construction division).

ADC Indu Malhotra said the administration was now sending show-cause notices to all officials found absent. 


Air India Bombing
Cop rules out key suspect’s involvement

Toronto, September 26
A Canadian police officer who travelled to India to interrogate Lal Singh, one of the prime suspects in the 1985 Air India bombing, has testified before an inquiry commission that he came away believing that the man was not part of the conspiracy.

Lal Singh, who was suspected of checking bags containing bombs on Air India flight 182, which blew up off the coast of Ireland in June 1985, killing 329 persons, had been taken into custody in India in 1992.

Lal, also known as Manjit Singh, was wanted by the FBI for the attempted assassination of an Indian diplomat in New Orleans. Moreover, he was a high-ranking member of a Sikh organisation carrying out militant activities in Punjab.

Lal had tried to consume a cyanide tablet after being arrested, tried to commit suicide by banging his head against a wall and had tried to bite off his tongue, causing such damage that much of it had to be cut by doctors.

Inspector Jim Cunningham of the RCMP submitted before the inquiry that the interview of Lal he conducted at an Indian police station in 1992 left him believing that he was not involved in the bombing of the plane. Nor did a police line-up viewed by the clerk who checked the bags - who was flown to India for the purpose - yield positive identification.

“I would have to say that he was in a position that, knowing or suspecting what he may have provided to the Indian authorities and what not, that he had nothing to lose by admitting to it, if he had been involved in Air India,” Cunningham said.

Lal Singh may have been facing even greater penalties in India for his activities there than he would have been facing in Canada for the bombing of the Air India flight, he said. — PTI


Bank strike today
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 26
More than 45,000 bank employees of all associate banks including State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Indore, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur will observe a daylong strike tomorrow, general secretary of the State Sector Bank Employees Association N.K. Gaur said here today.

On a call of the association the employees have decided to go on strike against the decision of the State Bank of India management to merge all these associate banks with SBI. N.K. Gaur said the merger would lead to monopolisation and also these banks will lose their regional identity.

According to sources, a rally will also be organised in front of the State Bank of Patiala Head Office on the Mall on September 26.


Proposal to put Balongi under Mohali MC
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 26
A proposal has been floated to bring Balongi under the Mohali Municipal Council for better development of area.

Cabinet minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh claimed this at sangat darshan function held here today. He said with an aim to impart more facilities it has been planned to include Balongi under Mohali Municipal Council. He added that Kharar bypass and bus stand projects are on anvil and will soon come up in a big way.

While talking about the adequate DAP supply, he added that Markfed has recently purchased 3 lakh quintal DAP so that farmers do not face shortage in the later months. He added that the IFFCO has reduced its production of DAP which may lead to shortage later. “But we are already equipped to deal with any kind of shortage,” he claimed.

He assured the farming community that 24-hour uninterrupted power supply would be provided for the tube well connections. He distributed cheques worth Rs 25,000 to various panchayats in area. He said that the first phase of sangat darshan in all 125 villages of constituency has been completed.


Custodial Death
Four cops suspended

Kharar, September 26 
Four cops deployed at the Balongi police post have been suspended following an inquiry by a Mohali SP-rank officer into the alleged custodial death of Naresh Kumar, a resident of Mohali on August 10. The investigating officials said SI Gurvinder Singh, ASI Gurwant Singh, munshi Sukhwinder Singh and head constable Harpreet Singh were being suspended for deriliction of duty.

Mohali SSP R.S. Khattra said all four have been suspended and sent to the Police Lines and it was death due to negligence. — TNS


Notice to state govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Division Bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ajai Lamba today issued notice to Punjab chief, home and education secretaries for October 11 on a writ petition filed by Swaran Singh Boparai, vice-chancellor of Punjabi University. Boparai has sought directions against any interference in his working as the vice-chancellor or any attempt to curtail his powers by the state government.

He has prayed for directions to ensure that the law and order is maintained in the university.


Lakhowal for paddy MSP hike

Jalandhar, September 26
Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal has asked the Union Government to raise the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy from Rs 675 to Rs 916 per quintal.

Talking to mediapersons at the new grain market here today, Lakhowal, who is also the president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), said a five-member delegation of farmer organisations from different states had met the Prime Minister on September 12 and asked him to increase the MSP. He was here to inaugurate the procurement of paddy at the new grain market. — TNS


Pulkanjri Heritage
Farmers want more compensation
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Pul Kanjri (Indo-Pak border), September 26
Pul Kanjri village, where dance and melodious voice of Moran (a nautch girl) used to ring out during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has failed to convey to the authorities its voice on compensation for land to be acquired for building a heritage site here.

Though the district administration has ordered acquisition of land owned by three families, including the pond in the area, the farmers are up in arms against the administration for giving them remuneration far lower than the market price for their eight acres. The farmers have decided to move court if the administration failed to pay adequate compensation.

Ffarmer Shiv Singh, told The Tribune the district administration had announced only Rs 11 lakh per acre as compensation for the land to be acquired while they wanted at least Rs 21 lakh per acre though their land fell in A category which fetches around Rs 40 lakh per acre in the market. He said the meeting was presided over by deputy commissioner Kahn Singh Pannu in the matter.

Pannu said there would be no discrimination in awarding compensation to the farmers for the land acquired and they would be paid as per the rules and regulations of the state.

The government headed by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had declared Pul Kanjri a heritage site and decided to develop it as a tourist destination last year. However, the project is yet to see the light of the day as the government has failed to acquire the land.

However, the Army authorities, has renovated the war memorial at Pul Kanjri established in the memory of the nine soldiers, who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, in three months of the government declaring Pul Kanjri a heritage site last year.

Shiv Singh rued even their representatives, including Gulzar Singh Ranike, minister of sports, and Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP, had failed to plead their case with the authorities. 


Two teenagers arrested for killing father
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 26
The police arrested two teenaged brothers for killing their father with a shovel and iron rod late night at Lakhewali village in the district.

Deceased Sukhcharan Singh (50) used to thrash his wife which provoked his sons to kill him in a fit of anger, according to an FIR booked under Section 302 of the IPC at Muktsar Sadar police station.

The accused Gurpreet Singh(17) and Malkit Singh (15) in a statement to the police said their father was mentally ill and often beat up their mother "mercilessly".

The two other sons of the deceased had reported the matter to the police following the incident.


Holiday in pvt schools on Sept 28
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 26
The Amritsar district administration has declared a holiday in all private schools in the district on September 28 in view of the state-level function to be organised here to celebrate birth centenary of Shaheed -e-Azam Bhagat Singh.

Deputy commissioner K.S.Pannu, said a large number of VVIPs, besides general public is expected to take part in the function to be organised in Ranjit Avenue.


Govt promises to train education volunteers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Bowing to the wishes of education volunteers, some of whom threatened to commit suicide by jumping from a 400 feet high water tank at Kapurthala yesterday, the Punjab Government has promised to train them for appointment as regular teachers.

Representatives of these education volunteers held a meeting with education minister Upinderjit Kaur here today. Education secretary K.B.S. Sidhu and other senior officer of the education department, Seema Jain, was also present.

There are about 3,000 volunteers who were appointed four years ago under the education guarantee scheme at various places to teach students from class I to V. They are paid Rs 1,000 per month as honorarium. "We were promised that the honorarium will be enhanced every year and later we will be absorbed in the department," said Kulwant Kaur, who is a postgraduate in Punjabi. However, neither our honorarium was enhanced nor were we absorbed as teachers, she added.


Students chips in for SOS village kids 
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, September 26 
Students of the local Patel Public School collected a total of Rs 81,500 for children at the SOS village.

The money was contributed by schoolchildren from their own pocket money and collections were made from relatives and friends, too. The school authorities presented a draft for the amount to the administration of the SOS village.
The school authorities presented mementos to the students for contributing for the noble cause. The SOS village administration also presented certificates of young students in recognition of the concerns shown by them.


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