P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Toeing Party Line
Mann threatens action against senior leaders
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 11
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, has threatened disciplinary action against the senior leaders of the party, who were not toeing the party line.

He took a dig at the absence of senior leaders like Baldev Singh Sirsa vice-president, Gurjitinder Singh Bhikhiwind national general secretary and Satnam Singh Bheru, Daya Singh Kakkar and other youth leaders at a party meeting here today.

Mann warned if these leaders continued to work against the party’s interests disciplinary action would be taken against them.

However, Sirsa and Bhikhiwind told The Tribune the party did not belong to any individual adding they were loyal soldiers of the party and would remain so till death. They said they were not working against the party in any manner and supported move of Bheru for exposing the persons responsible for dividing the party.

Mann told the media Daljit Singh Bittu,former senior vice- president of the party had deviated from the main aim of attaining the Khalsa Raj enshrined in the Amritsar resolution of 1994 for which he had taken oath at Akal Takht. He said Bittu should be excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for killing innocent persons like Chamkaur Singh Rode and Labh Singh for attaining Khalistan.

Lashing out at the acting president of the SAD (B) for spending crores for exploring the feasibility of the metro trains in main cities of Punjab Mann said instead of introducing the metro project the state government should have taken steps to improve health and education scenario. He said the SAD (B) had promised to give different and better administration to the people before last Assembly elections but it was following in the foot steps of previous government headed by Amarinder Singh by lathicharging unemployed women and farmers of the state.


Explain, Behru told

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 11
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today asked the chairman of its kisan wing to clarify his stance on the recent statements issued by him regarding bringing about a truce between party chief Sirmranjit Singh Mann and expelled senior vice-president Daljit Singh Bittu.

Chairman of the wing Satnam Singh Behru had recently formed a five-member committee that had pledged to sort out differences between Mann and Bittu. In a statement here today, the party said Behru had formed the committee without consulting the party leadership.

With a warning to desist from indulging in such indiscipline, Behru has been asked to explain as to why and on whose directives he had constituted the committee. — TNS


Malerkotla Firing
Tempo union chief remanded; traders booked
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla , October 11
Sangrur SP (D) Bhupinder Jeet Singh Virk today recorded statements of traders and transporters. A tussle between traders and the tempo union led to an agitation by the traders here yesterday and the police had to fire in the air to disperse the agitators.

Virk said he would submit the inquiry report to Sangrur SSP Arun Pal Singh in a day or two.

Meanwhile, SHO Swaranjeet Singh was declared unfit for giving statement by doctors of the civil hospital. He had allegedly suffered injuries in the stone-pelting by traders.

The police has registered a case against around 100 traders, including transporter Suresh Kumar, for violating Section 144 imposed in the town yesterday.

Tempo union president Abdul Sattar, alias Pilli, who was arrested yesterday on a complaint of Suresh under Sections 452, 294, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC was produced in the local court, which remanded him in judicial custody for 14 days.

Tight security arrangements were made at the hospital and at sensitive places in the town to avoid any untoward incident.

A meeting of the traders, transporters and members of the tempo union was arranged by administration in the local government rest house. Malerkotla SDM Jaspal Singh Jassi and DSP Gurpreet Singh Walia interacted with them.

They assured the administration of efforts to maintain peace in the town.

The traders had blocked the Malerkotla-Ludhiana main road for about four hours in protest against the alleged police favour to the tempo union.


Power Tariff Crisis
BJP ministers meet Advani, Rajnath
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The ongoing tussle between ruling alliance partners in Punjab, the SAD and the BJP, today took a new turn.

The Punjab leadership of the BJP called upon its high command to intervene and “prevail upon” Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal on the issue power tariff hike in urban areas of the state.

All five BJP cabinet ministers - Manoranjan Kalia, Master Mohan Lal, Tikshan Sud, Luxmi Kanta Chawla and Swarna Ram - accompanied by the Punjab BJP chief Rajinder Bhandari and party in charge Balbir Punj, called upon L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh at New Delhi.

Advani and Rajnath have deputed Balbir Punj to speak to Badal on the issue on their behalf, said a senior minister while talking to The Tribune over the phone from Delhi this evening.

The Punjab BJP delegation had left for Delhi this morning. The ministers had informally raised the matter of power tariff hike at the cabinet meeting yesterday night where the SAD had made it clear that “the issue of power tariff would be discussed with the BJP national leadership”.

The Punjab BJP leadership said it firmly conveyed to Advani and Rajnath Singh that “the people of Punjab should not be burdened with enhanced rate of power to subsidise power in rural areas.” The BJP had to change tactics last evening after seeing the stance of the SAD.

It may be recollected that SAD’s core group of senior leaders of the party had met at the residence of Badal on October 5 and decided that the party may not be in a position to bend much as rolling back the tariff will be next to impossible, nor has the SAD committed anything to agree on BJP’s demand. On other hand, Sukhbir Badal had held a meeting with Bhandari and they had outwardly “patched up” at least for public consumption.

Meanwhile, in Chandigarh leader of opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal dared the BJP to withdraw support to the government if they were serious on power tariff hike. The BJP, she alleged, was doing just lip service and shedding crocodile tears. 

‘No discussion on Sukhbir as CM yet’

BJP chief Rajinder Bhandari said the issue of making Sukhbir Badal the chief minister of the state had not been discussed by the SAD with the BJP. It may be mentioned that Master Mohan Lal had been quoted in a section of the media that the BJP would have no objection to having Sukhbir as CM.


Bhattal against political vendetta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The PPCC president and former chief minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said today that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who himself was facing cases of disproportionate assets, had no right to get such cases registered against others.

Bhattal said she was against the politics of political vendetta.

On this kind of politics, peoples’ time and money was being wasted.

Told that her party had started it, She said it was not the question who started it. But it was time to stop it now.

As the Badal government was focusing only on registering cases against its opponents, it had become unpopular among the people in just seven months,” said Bhattal.


Cop’s second daughter dies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 11
In another setback for the family of Gurjant Singh, his daughter Veerpal Kaur (20) succumbed to her burns at the PGI, Chandigarh, today afternoon. She is the fourth member of Gurjant’s family to have died after the incident. She was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, on October 1 with over 90 per cent burns.

Family sources said because of Veerpal’s death, Rampal Kaur, Gurjant’s physically handicapped daughter, will now return the police medal to the DIG (Faridkot Range) after the bhog ceremony on October 14.

Today a memorandum demanding justice was submitted to Jatinder Jain, DIG Faridkot Range by the members of an action committee headed by Jagjit Singh Joga (Communist Party of India).



Project to clean village ponds revived
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 11
The Punjab government has revived the cleanliness of the village ponds under the centrally sponsored Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWDP) scheme as Muktsar deputy commissioner Vikas Garg today inaugurated one such micro project at Ramgarh Chungha village in the district.

Under this project, the overflowing village pond water would be drained out into 18 hectares of barren land. Besides irrigation of the erstwhile wasteland, this project would save several houses from getting inundated during the rainy season, the officials of the Soil and Water Conservation Department said on the occasion.

Other villages where the work in this regard was presently being carried out were Chak Badhai, Maur, Akal Garh and Chak Madrasa for which the second installment of Rs 13 lakh had been sanctioned, the DC said.

The scheme was launched in 2001 but it came to a halt in 2002 due to various reasons, the DC added.

In all, 52 villages of Lambi and Muktsar blocks have been identified under the IWDP project for the treatment of wasteland and cleanliness and management of the ponds.

The watershed development funds have been initiated in these villages for the implementation of the scheme, as the villagers ought to contribute 10 per cent of the total cost of the project.


Cong to protect premis’ religious rights
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Taking a clear stand, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today said it would protect religious rights of followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda.

President of the PPCC Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today not only talked about protecting religious rights of the dera but also of other religious groups. There was complete freedom for every individual to follow any religion and no one can stop anyone from doing so, she added. The SAD-BJP government had failed to protect the religious rights of followers of the dera, she added.

“Premis( followers of dera) were being targeted and injustice was being done to them. I will visit all places where they have been targeted apart from meeting Congress activists against whom false cases had been registered,” she said. For political reasons, they have been forced to accept siropas, she added.

Several senior Congress leaders and MLAs were present when Bhattal made all these observations. She said what Akali leaders were doing was against the path shown by Sikh Gurus. She said Sikh Gurus fought to protect religious rights.

Asked about the entry of Reliance and other corporate houses in retail business in the state, She said in an era of globalisation no one could be stopped from doing business. However, the Punjab Government should come out with a policy to protect the business and trade of small and marginal shopkeepers. Both small shopkeepers and big retail chains could co-exist if the state government came out with a balanced policy to address this issue.

On the one hand Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was making statements against big corporate houses, on the other hand he had been inaugurating malls owned by big businessmen like Ponty Chadha at Ludhiana.

On wheat price hike, She said the Manmohan Singh government had taken a historic step by raising wheat price to the tune of Rs 250 per quintal in one go. People from Punjab would go to Delhi to thank the central government, she said.

Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi would visit Punjab after the harvesting of paddy. Rahul was keen to attend a function with regard to the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, she added. 


Information panel to hold two sessions
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 11
In a major move, aimed to provide speedy justice to the general public, the Punjab State Information Commission has decided to hold two sessions on daily basis from October 15.

Presently, the commission is holding one session everyday during the morning hours. According to a circular issued today by the Chief Information Commissioner Rajan Kashyap, the commission would be holding two courts, one each in morning and evening sessions. The courts would be held from Monday to Friday. The evening session would commence from 2.00 pm.

Punjab State Information Commissioner P.P.S. Gill said apart from the timings, courtrooms, along with the number of cases to be heard, have been allotted to various information commissioners.


CM condoles Sharma’s death

Chandigarh, October 11
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today condoled the death of Ludhiana-based freelance writer Vinod Sharma. Badal said Sharma was a man of great talent and had varied tastes in literary circles. Media adviser to the chief minister said he was among the few people with whom cricket legend Sir Don Bradman had been interacting through letters. — TNS


Sidhu, Majithia exude bonhomie
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 11
Amritsar MP Navjot Sidhu and Minister for Information and Public relations Bikram Singh Majithia made a joint appearance to declare that there were no “personal differences” between them.

Speculations had been rife in political circles about the “strained” relations between the two.

Sidhu proclaimed that he had great affection for Majithia, whom he regarded as his “younger brother”. He said he would love to work hand-in-hand with Majithia for development of Amritsar, because of his cordial and friendly ties with him.

On the other hand, Majithia told mediapersons he would lead the election campaign in favour of Sidhu during the next Parliamentary elections. 


Satgur elected Nagar Panchayat president
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 11
On the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court election to the post of president of the Khanauri Nagar Panchayat was today held at Khanauri, 55 km from here. Sangrur deputy commissioner V.K. Ohri was present as observer at the time of election while Moonak SDM R.P.S. Walia conducted the election as convener.

The Moonak SDM told on telephone Satgur Singh was elected president of the Khanauri Nagar Panchayat unanimously Out of 13 members of the panchayat nine were present.

To a question he said four members of the panchayat and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who as an MLA had the right to vote in the election to the post of president of the panchayat, were not present at the meeting though agenda copies of the meeting had been sent to all members and the MLA.


62 clear PCS (judicial) exam
Tribune News Serivce

Chandigarh, October 11
Sixty-two candidates have qualified for viva voice on the basis of Punjab Civil Service (judicial branch) main examination held at Patiala between July 20-22, 2007, the result of which has been declared.

An official press release issued by the high court said date, time and place for viva voice would be intimated to the successful candidates shortly.

Roll numbers of those qualifying (not in the order of merit) are: 1002, 1004, 1007, 1014, 1021, 1022, 1037, 1039, 1064, 1066, 1071, 1075, 1079, 1081, 1092, 1108, 1111, 1113, 1122, 1129, 1149, 1167, 1176, 1182, 1192, 1210, 1213, 1214, 1218, 1220, 1223, 1233, 1244, 1277, 1278, 1293, 1302, 1315, 1316, 1320, 1336, 1338, 1343, 1371, 1372, 1379, 1384, 1387, 1388, 1408, 1415, 1417, 1446, 1457, 1458, 1460, 1477, 1481, 1491, 1503, 1516, 1537.


Underweight paddy bags found at 4 firms
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 11
A team of the Punjab Agro Foodgrain Corporation conducted raids at the premises of commission agents of paddy in three mandis of the district today.

The team found underweight bags of paddy with moisture and waste material at the premises of four firms.

Director of the corporation Aman Deep Mittal said, “At Mirje Ka Dyalpura village, we seized 21 bags in which we found waste material mixed with paddy in sealed bags. At Bhai Rupa village, one bag having 3 kg less paddy was seized. At Sadhana village, three underweight bags were seized.”

Mittal said he would recommend suspension of the licences of the firms involved in illegal practice.”


Rice millers want PM to clear confusion
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 11
The rice millers and exporters here have sought urgent intervention of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clear the confusion with regard to the embargo on the export of non-basmati rice. The president of All India Rice Exporters Association Mr Vijay Setia talking to the Tribune on phone from Karnal (Haryana) today said the government must protect the interest of farmers who had gone ahead for diversification and had cultivated high value paddy varieties like sharbati, PUSA 1121, Super and DP which have enhanced their income manifolds.

A significant increase in the paddy prices have shot proved beneficial for the farming communities especially in Punjab, Haryana and UP.

Meanwhile the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association in an appeal to the Prime Minister have requested him to place a cap on the exportable varieties costing less than US $ 400 per tonne which would include permal and IR 6 and 8 varieties.


Centre’s policies anti-farmer: Capt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said today that the Union Government’s policies with regard to the revival of agricultural economy were discriminatory and contradictory. He said the national development council had taken a decision recently to promote agri-economy and free farmers from indebtedness.

However, against providing relief to farm sector, the Union Government had increased rate of interest from 7 per cent to 9 per cent on funds being provided to agricultural cooperative banks for long-term loan to farm sector. Farmers would have to pay 12 per cent interest on such loans, he added. Cooperative banks were being made to compete with commercial banks. By doing so, the Union Government was out to make cooperative banks, which were providing loans at reduced interest rate to farmers, irrelevant, he said.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who will be leading a potato growers’ delegation to Germany and Holland tomorrow to explore possibilities of export, said the Union Government’s policies were anti-farmer. It had been keeping price of farmers’ produce depressed by resorting to various direct and indirect regulations. However, it had put no regulation on the price of inputs such as tractors, pesticides and seeds used in agriculture sector, he added.

He said Punjab farmers, who produced foodgrains worth Rs 35,000 crore every year, faced a negative trade balance in this sector of Rs 15,000 crore because of constant rise in the price of inputs.

He said he had told the union finance minister how the Union Government had discriminated against Punjab in financial assistance for short-term credit restructuring. Punjab had been given only Rs 84 crore out of a total package of Rs 14,500 crore. For long-term credit restructure, Punjab had been given just Rs 21.51 crore out of Rs 4,839 crore. It was just 0.44 per cent from the total national allocation of funds, he added.


Amritsar to be air linked with Srinagar soon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 11
There is a proposal to revive air connection between Amritsar and Srinagar.

Leading airlines Jet Airways has sought permission to operate a daily flight between the two cities from the next month.

Talwar informed that according to the tentative schedule, which would become operational in the first week of November, Jet Airways will operate 50-seater ATR aircraft from Delhi to Srinagar, and on return journey the aircraft will connect Amritsar. 


Bathinda rly station to get facelift
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 11
Considering the heavy rush of passengers at the Bathinda railway station the railways plan to install Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) at the station.

According to railway sources, the passengers will feed their travel details into the ATVM, pay by debit or credit cards, and collect their tickets.

Bathinda is one of the most important railway stations of the Northern Railway and also the biggest railway junction in Asia as it receives and dispatches trains from altogether six directions. Railway sources said at least 10 clocks would be installed at the station.

The railways has also decided to install Train Indication Boards (TIB). Measures are being taken for providing facilities to the passengers and giving a face-lift to the seating arrangements on the platforms. Another passengers-friendly step is the installation of small trendy looking shelters on the platforms. 


Jutti Makers
MPs moot cooperative
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 11
Asking the Muktsar district administration to help traditional Punjabi jutti artisans form a cooperative society, members of the parliamentary standing cCommittee on commerce today interacted with jutti makers of the district. They assured the artisans of all support in improving their economic condition and giving a boost to the trade.

The panellists, led by committee chairman and Lok Sabha member Kanshi Ram Rana, visited the artisans’ workshops in Malout and Muktsar. The artisans apprised the MPs of their problems, including unavailability of raw material at affordable prices and lack of government support for marketing their products.

The artisans also submitted a memorandum to the parliamentarians, seeking the establishment of a raw material depot, a cluster in the form of cottage industry at Malout, proper marketing and standardisation of the products, financial assistance in the form of “long-term-low-interest credit” and giving the Punjabi jutti a “geographical identity”.

“The purpose of the visit is to understand your problems and recommend the remedial measures to the union government,” Rana said addressing the artisans.

Rana asked deputy commissioner Vikas Garg to facilitate the artisans in making a cooperative society so that the Centre could extend them benefits of various schemes.

The artisans highlighted their difficulty in repaying the loans due to decline in the demand for the Punjabi jutti. An artisan said he had already paid Rs 83,000 in the form of interest so far but was still being pulled up by the bank authorities for not paying the actual loan amount of Rs 50,000.

A large number of jutti makers have no work. “We want work. We have no work,” said a woman who told the delegation that the women like her had already lost their job of doing embroidery on the jutti with men folk of the community incurring heavy losses in the trade.

Other members of the delegation included Rajya Sabha members T. G. Balakrishna, Mohammad Ameen and Banwari Lal Kanchal and Lok Sabha member E. Punnuswami.


Illegal Detention of Minor Girl
2 cops directed to pay Rs 10,000 each
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
In an illegal detention case, Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the then station house officer and a sub inspector of an Amritsar police station to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 each to the detainee.

Taking up a habeas corpus petition filed in 2004 by Harbhajan Kaur alleging illegal detention of her 14-year-old daughter by the two policemen then posted at Amritsar’s police station ‘B’ division, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: “Since the detainee has been released and no further action has followed thereon, I am not inclined to direct the registration of a case against the respondents or to direct their prosecution for keeping the detainee in illegal custody.”

The Judge added: “They, however, must compensate the detainee for keeping her in illegal custody, which must have left some scars on this young mind…. Taking into account various aspects of the case, I find that the ends of justice will be met in case the respondents are directed to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 each to the detainee.

The Judge further directed that the respondents were required to pay the compensation within a period of 15 days from receiving the order’s copy. Amritsar senior superintendent of police was also directed to ensure the payment of the compensation amount by the two respondents within the stipulated period. He was also asked to intimate the court regarding the order’s compliance.

In his detailed order, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: “The respondents have not only detained the girl illegally, but have attempted to mislead the court and the judicial process in raising misleading pleas. Both respondents are clearly responsible for this illegal detention.”

“They were even present during the raid by the warrant officer and slipped away when facts actually started surfacing. Their conduct in illegally detaining a young girl of 14 years cannot be condoned,” Justice Ranjit Singh further ruled.

The Judge added: “The case was adjourned from time to time and on July 22, 2005, this court observed that from the report of the warrant officer it cannot be clearly discerned if the detainee was found in the illegal custody of the respondents in the premises of CIA staff, Majitha. It was also noticed that no satisfactory explanation was forthcoming from the respondent police officials about the purpose for which the detainee was found present with constable Amarjit Kaur.”

The Judge further observed: “This court accordingly directed the chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Amritsar, to conduct a fact finding enquiry after affording opportunity to lead evidence to both the parties. The CJM was directed to submit his report within a period of three months.

The CJM, however, could not conclude the enquiry within the stipulated period and sought the extension of time to do the needful.

“On October 26, 2006, it was noticed by the court that the CJM had not cared to intimate the latest portion of the case in regard to the enquiry to be held by him. The registry was directed to obtain the latest status of the enquiry.

The CJM then sent the enquiry report… After perusing the enquiry report submitted by the CJM, it was noticed that the detainee was found illegally detained without registering any case against her.”


Mobile court halted as lawyers protest
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 11
The mobile court started at Talwara town in Dasuya subdivision with much fanfare on October 2, was discontinued today as members of the Bar Association, Dasuya, did not attend the same at Hajipur and observed strike. They said their cases in regular courts were getting affected.

The decision for the three-day strike from October 11 has been taken at a meeting of the association, Dasuya, held under the presidentship of Balbir Singh Gill today.

Gill said the mobile court had been set up by the state government and Punjab and Haryana High Court for providing speedy justice to the litigants of Kandi area. The mobile court was functioning at Kamahi Devi, Jandwal, Hajipur and Talwara four days a week. He said facilities like availability of oath commissioner, photostat machine, typing men, judicial papers and forms, etc. were not available at the abovesaid villages.

Moreover, the space in the bus in which the court was functioning was quite inadequate. There is no security arrangement for the lawyers there. They had to get adjournment of their cases in regular courts at Dasuya whenever they had to attend cases in the mobile court.

They said the litigants were spending extra money because of this. Firstly, they had to visit the office of the lawyer at Dasuya one day prior to the hearing of the case for preparation of the same and on the fixed day of hearing at the venue of the mobile court. Further, they had to take the lawyers to the mobile court, said Gill.

The association demanded discontinuation of the mobile court. The next meeting of the association will be held on October 13 to decide the future course of action, he added.


8 IAS officers shifted
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Punjab Government today ordered fresh postings of eight IAS and nine PCS officers. Notably, the Public Relations Department has seen a major change.

D.S. Jaspal is back as secretary, PR, while holding on to his charge as principal secretary, transport. Tejveer Singh will be the new DPR while holding on to his existing work of special secretary, planning and special economic package.

Among the PCS officers H.S Pabla will be the new additional secretary, Vigilance and also the controller, printing and stationery.

Other IAS officers transferred are: B.K. Srivastava goes as director-general, Mahatama Gandhi state Institute of Public Administration, T.R. Sarangal, secretary, health and family welfare will now hold additional charge of mission director and project director, AIDS control society, Jagjit Puri will be the new secretary, medical education and research, K.B.S. Sidhu in addition to his existing work will be the commissioner, AYUSH, Khushi Ram will hold additional charge as director, welfare of SCs and BCs and Manisha Trighatia is the new additional secretary, education-cum-director-general, school education.

The PCS officers to be transferred are: Kulwant Singh is the new additional deputy commissioner (development), Amritsar, A.S. Bains will be the director, land record, settlement and consolidation and land acquisition, Jalandhar, Devinder Singh becomes additional secretary, housing and urban development, Mohan Lal has been posted as additional deputy commissioner, Sanjay Popli goes as joint director, industries and commerce, Dilraj will be the joint secretary, tourism, T.K. Goyal is the new joint secretary, transport and Amandeep Bansal has been posted assistant commissioner(general) Sangrur.


2 killed, 3 hurt in accidents
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 11
Two people have been killed and three seriously injured in different road accidents here. Manbhavan, a native of village Behar, Mandi (HP), was killed in a accident near Kharar bus-stand at midnight.

He and his two friends Rakesh and Jatin were triple riding a motorcycle coming from to Rupnagar. All the three worked in a private firm at Rupnagar.

The incident took place when a speeding Tata safari vehicle PB02-AG-0033 coming from Mohali hit the motorcycle. All the three sustained serious injuries, while Tata Safari driver escaped form the spot. They were rushed to the Kharar civil hospital, where Manbhavan was referred to PGI, Chandigarh. He died on his way to the hospital.

Rakesh and Jatin too received serious injuries and were referred to PGI in the morning. The police have registered a case against driver of Tata Safari Harminder Singh, a resident of civil lines, Jalandhar under section 279 IPC. The case has been registered on the complaint of Sandeep Kumar, a relative of Manbhavan.

In another incident, a student of Guru Gobind Singh Polytechnic College, Khanpur was killed in a road accident at around 9 am today. Satwinder Singh, a resident of Khudda Lahora and Navdeep Singh, a resident of Khudda Jassu were going to their college when a speeding Punjab roadways bus hit them. Both sustained serious injuries and were rushed to Kharar civil hospital. Satwinder was referred to PGI where he was declared brought dead.

The police have booked a case against driver of the bus Nirmal Singh, a resident of Moga. No arrest has been made so far. 


Varsities in trouble over RTI Act
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 11
Many universities in Punjab have run into trouble with the chief information commissioner for denying information or providing “half baked and uncertified facts” to A.K.Bhandari, here under the Right to Information Act. He had sought information on admission details to various courses for which entrance tests were conducted.

Bhandari had sought information on the number of seats available in different courses and vacant seats after the admission process was completed. The courses included all engineering, medical, MBA and diploma courses.

The application seeking information, under the Act, was sent to all universities on June 28 and replies should have come by July 27. Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar and Punjabi University, Patiala have not replied to the facts sought.

Panjab University and Punjabi University said the applicant must send a bank draft as the Indian Postal Order (IPO), sent by them, was unacceptable. On being sent a copy of the government notification, justifying IPO, the universities again demanded a draft. PAU authorities asked the applicant to visit the university and take the information.

Guru Angad Dev University for Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Ludhiana, gave a reply only when sent information that it could be fined at a rate of Rs 250 per day in case of a delay. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, first asked for Rs 50 as fee and only on being sent a copy of the government advertisement stating Rs 10 was the correct fee did the university reply.

Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training first sent back an “unnecessary question” and replied later.

Bhandari was not satisfied with the replies he received. “None of the copies is certified and I want detailed and certified information”, he said.

Bhandari has decided to take up the matter with the high ups of the commission. Explaining the purpose of the information, Bhandari said my aim was to explain how these institutions were exploiting children and their parents in the name of competition.

An average parent pays huge sum to get his child enrolled in a coaching academy. He spends a big amount on forms and counselling for the same course in different institutions.

He demands scrapping of the CET and making entrance tests on the basis of AIEEE, for all institutions as is the case in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. He also said as per data given by universities it was clear that a number of seats remained vacant even after the completion of final counselling. 


Mid-day Meal
Teacher accused of stealing ration
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 11
A teacher of an elementary school here has been accused of stealing and selling ration meant for students under the mid-day meal scheme.

The residents of Kukar Majri village near Amloh have complained to the district administration that one of the lady teachers at elementary school has been stealing and selling wheat and pulses meant for providing food to the students.

In a written complaint addressed to the deputy commissioner, the villagers said the food being served was also half cooked and unfit for human consumption. In the complaint letter, the villagers said when they brought up the matter with the teacher, she not only misbehaved with them, but also refused to give replies to their queries.

Moreover, the teacher was not maintaining any record of the wheat, pulses or the money being given by the government for the said scheme. They also demanded a probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, principal of the school, when contacted refused to comment on the issue. The deputy commissioner was also not available for comments. 


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