P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


VB clean chit to Beas MLA
Varinder Walia and P. K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, October 28
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) has given a ‘clean-chit’ to Beas MLA Manjinder Singh Kang in the disproportionate assets case against him.

In the supplementary challan put up in the court of Additional Sessions Judge at the last hearing, the bureau had stated that the charges of property disproportionate to his known sources of income against Kang had found to be baseless. According to legal experts, the latest developments in the case have come as a big relief for the Akali MLA.

The bureau has clarified change of stance, pointing out that sum of fixed deposit receipts and equity shares in the name of the Akali MLA were double because of an error in calculation during initial investigation. The figures were rectified in the supplementary challan.

The initial inquiry was conducted by an IPS officer on the basis of which the first challan was filed in the court. A state police services officer later took over the investigation. The supplementary challan, which is based on latest investigations, has stated the charges against the Akali MLA were proved to be false.

However, Kang said the matter was before the court and he did not want to comment on it.

In the earlier challan, the bureau had given detailed account of the ‘benami’ property said to have been made by Kang when he was chairman of the Forest Corporation during the Akali-BJP regime.

Sukhdev Singh, SSP, Vigilance, said this was additional investigation based on evidence and Income Tax Department statements in which nothing objectionable was found in the account of the Akali MLA and his family members. He said the rest depended on the court.

Kang, a relative of SAD chief and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was arrested by the bureau on charges of corruption on September 28 and later released on bail.


Badal hospital reflects poor health services in state
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28
The poor health services in many government institutions in Punjab can be gauged from the fact that a surprise visit to 50-bed hospital in Badal, native village of the Chief Minister, by Dr J.S. Bajaj, vice-chairman, Punjab State Planning Board, found only three patients against seven doctors. This is happening as patients prefer not to go to Badal village hospital because of lack of proper medical facilities there.

This was revealed by Dr Bajaj while talking to The Tribune after the first meeting of the State Health Review Committee held under his chairmanship at the Circuit House here on Thursday. He said the committee was constituted because of the reports of bad health services. The committee would conduct an intensive survey of the government medical institutes.

The review committee was constituted in September 2007 by the state Chief Minister to assess the achievements of the World Bank-aided project. Specifically, the committee would conduct an in-depth review of the structural organisation and operational framework of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) and assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the management systems so far established.

It would also conduct visits to a number of district hospitals, sub divisional hospitals and community health centres and assess the quality and efficiency of the delivery of health care at each of these health stations.

The committee would also visit the three special training and teaching institutions at Badal, Amritsar and Mohali, which are under the management control of the PHSC and conduct a short academic review of the physical facilities as well as the process of education.

The committee would finally propose the requisite remedial measure aimed at optimising the cost-effective and efficient management of the PHSC as well as of hospitals and training institutions under its control and management.

Dr P.K. Dave, former director, AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr Deoki Nandan, director of the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW), Tejveer Singh, special secretary, Planning, and Dr Sukhdev Singh, director, Health Services, Punjab, are members of the committee who attended the meeting.

However, Dr Bajaj said medical institutions like “Panj Pyara hospitals” and the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Hospital, which were in a bad shape, had started giving satisfactory results following surprise visits on behalf of the state government.


Trauma centre delayed, officials clueless
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 28
The trauma centre announced to be set up at the Government Rajindra Hospital here with great fanfare last year has failed to take shape. The GOMCO Alumni Association and the Patiala Health Foundation (USA), under the patronage of the state government, had announced its decision to set up a trauma health-care centre at the hospital at an estimated cost of Rs 50 crore. One acre land was earmarked for the purpose. The decision to set up the centre was announced by chairman of the alumni association and vice-chancellor of Baba Farid Health University Ravinder Singh last December.

According to sources in the medical college here, the alumni association had proposed to provide modern health-care services to the common people in cases of accidents. The then Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had also reportedly released a special grant of Rs 1 crore for this project.

The construction of this project was to commence in May last year and the centre was proposed to be located in a multi-storeyed building. Repeated attempts to seek comments from Ravinder Singh proved futile.

J. S. Dalal, director, Research and Medical Education, said he could not throw any light on the reasons for the delay.


Move to check sale of adulterated food items
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, has geared up to check the sale of adulterated, spurious and unhygienic eatables and sweets in the state, especially in view of the ongoing festival season.

Taking a tough posture against any possible sale of substandard food items, Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, health and family welfare minister, has directed the Health Department officers to take immediate steps to check the sale of these items.

In this connection, an emergency meeting of civil surgeons of the state was held here today under the chairmanship of Vijay Kain, principal secretary, health and family welfare. The civil surgeons had been directed to take immediate steps in their districts to ensure that adulterated food items and sweets, including khoa, did not find a place in the markets. They had been asked to remain extra vigilant, especially in view of the heavy demand of these items during the festival season.

Kain asked them to identify the entry points from where adulterated material for sweets was being brought to the state from other states and also conduct special raids at godowns and other storage points of these items. He directed that a uniform strategy be adopted in all districts and the health officials must focus on big traders indulging in the sale of adulterated food items and the violators must not be spared at any cost.

He asked them to form teams and conduct frequent inspections of sweet shops and halwais and obtain samples, wherever any food item was suspected to be adulterated. Besides, the civil surgeons had also been asked to take help of the police, wherever required, to conduct raids.

Tilak R. Sarangal, secretary health and mission director, NRHM, Roshan Sunkaria, secretary health and managing director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, Dr Sukhdev Singh, director health services, Dr S.P.S. Sohal, director, family welfare, were also present during the high level meeting.

Further, in order to maintain a check on the situation from state headquarters, a control room has been established in the Room No. 219 of the directorate, Sector 34, Chandigarh. This control room will function under the direct supervision of Dr A.K. Khullar, deputy director, health, till the end of Diwali. Anybody who has information regarding the sale of synthetic or duplicate khoa can contact the control room or call at telephone no. 0172- 2605595. 


Left will not allow N-deal: CITU
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 28
Left parties will not allow the government to finalise the Indo-US nuclear deal at the cost of country’s independence nor will they play in the hands of any political party to topple the UPA government.

This was stated by national secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and former MP Dipankar Mukherjee while talking to mediapersons here this afternoon.

Mukherjee criticised the recent statement of US under-secretary for political affairs Nicholas Burns for expressing hope for the finalisation of the nuclear deal by the end of this year when the Parliament session begins.


SAD (Mann) holds Panthic rally
P.K. Jaiswar

Atari, October 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today held a Panthic rally near the Atari border and resolved to end “deraism” in Punjab. It asked the Jathedar of Akal Takht, SGPC and the state government to clarify their respective stand on the issue in the wake of bail to the Dera Sacha Sauda chief.

Addressing the rally, party chief Simranjit Singh Mann said his party would continue its struggle till the issues concerning the Sikh Panth were resolved.


BJP camp on tips to MLAs, ministers ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
It aimed at training BJP MLAs, ministers and mayors in Punjab. A two-day camp organised by the BJP concluded here today where ‘experts’ in various fields “taught” the elected representatives modern governance and newer development models and funding procedures.

Terms like build, operate and transfer (BoT) and the public private partnership, often used and adopted in funding of development projects, were explained to the MLAs. During one of the discussions the Delhi-Noida toll road was also referred to and how traffic generated income was explained. The camp held here touched upon five major aspects —leadership style, good governance, inter-personal relationship, the BJP’s working style and expansion of social base.

BJP’s central party in charge Balbir Punj, who has been deputed by L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh to speak on their behalf to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the power tariff hike, was among the senior leaders, who attended the camp.

BJP’s Punjab unit chief Rajinder Bhandari termed it “ a refresher course in learning new practices and learning was an unending process”. the elected representatives were told to expand social base of the party to make it acceptable to all sections of society, including rural population, said Bhandari, who is a professor by profession.

Reading of certain books and periodicals and specialised magazines was advised to keep the abreast with changing technologies and developments.

The elected representatives today have to be multi-faceted. It was explained how to deal with different types of social groups and their demands. An example was quoted that while dealing with semi-illiterates the mental level has to be adjusted. On the other hand, when dealing with a highly-educated and aware section of society, the mental-level and aptitude has to be adjusted accordingly.

On Leadership it was advised to assess the demands and find solutions on the basis of new funding models. With resources dwindling it makes sense to educate the MLA’s about schemes and procedures, said a senior BJP leader. Do not make hollow promises or indulge in dramatisation, was another advice. 


15 medical scientists honoured
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28
Fifteen distinguished medical scientists of international repute were honoured with the Memorial Oration Awards for their contribution in their respective fields at the 47th national conference of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS). The conference concluded here today at the Conference Hall of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Eminent medical scientist Hardas Singh Sandhu, organising secretary of the conference, said 10 memorial orations were delivered by distinguished medical scientists on the concluding day.

Prof J.S. Bajaj, president emeritus, Premarama Chandran, president of NAMS, and Hardas Singh Sandhu, organising secretary, thanked the university authorities for providing assistance for the successful completion of the conference.

The speakers pointed out that the deliberations of the eminent medical scientists held during these three days would not only benefit medical professionals, but also the general public. They said the academy was extensively considering and making earnest efforts to bring the expensive medical treatment within the range of the common man.

Sandhu said the academy on this occasion honoured 15 distinguished medical scientists: M.V Padma Srivastava, New Delhi, received the Achanta Lakshmipathi Oration Award (2006-07), S.P.Kaushik, Lucknow, the Glaxo Oration Award (2006-07), S.K. Jindal, Chandigarh, the R.V. Rajam Oration Award (2006-07), B.C. Das, Noida, the Dr Pran Nath Chhuttani Oration Award (2006-07), R.C. Sobti, Chandigarh, the Sir Shriram Memorial Oration Award (2006-07), Saroj Chooramani Gopal, Varanasi, the Col Sangham Lal Memorial Oration Award (2006-07), Madhuri Behari, New Delhi, the Gen Amir Chand Oration (2006-07), Gulzar S. Chhina, USA, the Dr B.K. Anand Oration Award (2007), Vinod Kochupillai,New Delhi, the Dr V.R. Khanolkar Oration Award (2006-07), Leelavathy N., Bangalore, the Dr S.S. Misra Memorial Award (2007-08),Muzaffar Ahmad, Srinagar, the Sir Shriram Memorial Award (2007-08), Meenu Singh, Chandigarh, the Sir Shriram Memorial Award (2007-08), K.S. Gopinath, Bangalore, the Dr R.M. Kasliwal Award (2007-08), Shamanna Ramaswamy, Chennai, the Dr Vimla Virmani Award (2007-08), and Sayeed A. Tabish, Srinagar, the Sir Shriram Memorial Award (2004-05).


Computer teachers block rail, road traffic
Dharmendra Joshi/Tribune News Service

Sultanpur Lodhi, October 28
Thousands of passengers had to suffer as members of the Computer Teachers Union, Punjab, blocked rail and road traffic today demanding th regularisation of service in Sultanpur Lodhi, hometown of education minister Dr Upinderjeet Kaur.

The Jammu -Tawi Express train had to stop for two hours due to the blockage at Sultanpur Lodhi Railway station. Members of the union also blocked road traffic at Talwandi Chaudhrian bridge chowk.

The protesters, led by state president of the union Gurwinder Singh, raised slogans against the state government for not regularising their services despite promises made to them .

Addressing the protesters, representatives of the union criticised the state government for not implementing the decision of increasing the salary of teachers having B Sc (IT/CS) and similar degrees.

The union leaders alleged the computer teachers had not been paid salary for three months. They were also deprived of annual increase in salary and from the benefit of medical leave, they said, adding if their demands were not considered sympathetically, they would start gheraoing ministers.

The union members lifted the blockage only after an assurance from representatives of district administration that the state government had agreed to consider their demands positively.

The union had planned to hold state- level protest rally in Kapurthala where the education minister was residing nowaays but the venue was reportedly changed as the police had made arrangements to foil the protest.


NGO sets up bank to conserve indigenous seeds
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Dadwal (Hoshiarpur), October 28
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Kheti Virasat (Punjab), has started collecting indigenous seeds of various verities of crops found in the Shivalik foothills in the state for their conservation and to promote organic farming. The initiative is first of its kind in the state.

After conducting a survey across the state to identify indigenous varieties of seeds, the NGO found that villagers of the Kandi area were still using indigenous seeds of various crops, including pulses and vegetables.

The NGO has taken initiative to conserve traditional crop varieties with community participation. It has set up a seed bank. Kheti Virasat advocates the farmers must save seeds, breed new varieties and exchange and trade these to get rid of hybrid seeds.

During the first phase of a programme on seed collection and awareness among farmers about organic farming, the NGO selected around 12 villages, including Dadwal, Hardo Nek Nama, Rampur Haler, Sansarpur, Adochak and Aglour in Hoshiarpur district.

It organised a function for farmers at Dadwal village today to promote conservation of traditional and indigenous variety of seeds. With the initiative, the NGO aims at breaking corporate monopoly over seeds.

Agriculturist Adarsh Vig, a reader from the Department of Botanical and Environment Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, educated the farmers on seed monopoly being created by multinational companies and new IPR laws. Director of the NGO Surinder Singh gave tips on organic farming and sustainable agriculture to the farmers.

Talking to The Tribune, joint director of the body Chander Prakash said a seed panchayat would be held in each village.

Scientists and environmentalists were of the view that with the onset of the Green Revolution, the whole agriculture had been industrialised or commercialised. One of the most negative results of the commercialisation of agriculture was the total dependence of a farmer on external sources for all his farming inputs, including seeds.

Earlier, farmers used to save and share their seeds. However, now, they completely depend upon companies for their agricultural requirements. Indigenous seeds are more suitable to a particular region or situation than any hybrid variety, they said.

Listing properties of the indigenous or traditional seeds, the agriculturists said these were hardy, pest-resistant, could withstand unfavourable conditions in the area of their origin, required less water and nutritional inputs, more suitable to organic method of farming and might even have special characteristics such as nutrition, fragrance or colour.

On the other hand, they said, the hybrid seeds were more prone to pest attacks and diseases. Besides being costlier, these couldn’t be saved or shared among farmers.

In case of improved varieties, which are not hybrids, it is usually illegal for farmers to save or share these, the agricultural experts added.


Seminar on AIDS
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28
The Science Department of Khalsa College, Amritsar, organised a seminar on “Science, Environment and Health” to spread awareness about current issues and discuss ways to deal with problems like AIDS and the effect of the misuse of oxytocin on human health.

A.S.Padda, medical superintendent, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, was the chief guest of the occasion. He said a faulty lifestyle and changing value system were harmful and there was a need for serious thinking to deal with these issues.


Amritsar Shooting
Look-out corner notice against accused

Amritsar, October 28
The police today here issued a look-out corner notice against Harjinder Singh Gill, alias Bonny, who allegedly shot dead Shankar Dass of the Hathi Gate area when his scooter collided with his car.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP said the police had also sealed the account of Bonny besides initiating steps to seal his property. He said the accused was acquitted in six cases, including those of murder and attempt to murder. The accused was also wanted in a similar case in the United States, it is learnt.

Shankar Dass was killed in road scuffle on October 25 night near Hathi Gate. — OC


Villagers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 28
More than 200 villagers of Gujra-Bahri staged a dharna and blocked the traffic for more than 2 hours at Gujra Chowk on the Pathankot-Jammu national highway link road, near Sujanpur, 20 km from here, today to protest against the callous attitude of officers of the Irrigation Department and Upper Bari Doab Canal.

Ishwar Dass, a resident, said in spite of repeated requests made to deputy commissioner, Gurdaspur, and SDM, Pathankot, for banning the movement of heavy vehicles on the Gujra-Behari-link road no concrete action had been taken. He furhter said the officials had installed a board banning entry of heavy vehicles, but in the absence of any statutory provision, the movement of vehicles had continued causing a considerable threat to the residents


SSPs seek transfer

Chandigarh, October 28
In what could signal a new trend in the Punjab Police, two SSPs posted in what are perceived as prestigious districts of Muktsar and Faridkot have asked to be posted elsewhere.

SSPs Pramod Ban of Muktsar and L.K. Yadav of Faridkot have cited personal family reasons to be relieved of their posts. Sources in the Punjab Police confirmed the developments, but added that the reasons cited by both were “family compulsions”.

The Lambi and Gidderbaha Assembly constituencies represented by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, respectively, fall in Muktsar district. Working president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal represents the Faridkot Parliamentary seat.

Already the post of the SSP, Mansa, has been vacant for the past one month and when the SSP, Mansa, Ram Singh was shifted, the additional charge was handed over to the SSP, Bathinda. — TNS


Tanker carrying ammonia overturns
Tribune News Service 

Banur, October 28
A tanker laden with ammonia gas overturned near Jangpur village around 5.30 pm this evening.

The tanker was owned by real gas company, Ram Nagar village, and was to make the delivery at a pharmaceutical company here.

A vehicle tried to overtake the truck near an IOC petrol pump. In a bid to avoid collision, the truck driver turned the steering and lost control of the vehicle.
The truck overturned and smashed into a power transformer. Consequently, traffic was held up for half an hour.

While truck driver Praveen Kumar managed to escape, people nearby caught hold of cleaner Arun Kumar.

Fire department officials and DSP Rajpura Bhupinder Singh Khattra reached the spot and eased out the traffic congestion. The police is investigating the case.


GND varsity signs MoU
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28
Guru Nanak Dev (GND) University signed an MoU with the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), New Delhi, for five years in the presence of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was here to participate in the 47th Conference of NAMS, yesterday.

GND University and NAMS have mutually agreed to promote the continuation of research interest among medical professionals and collaborate and intensify their efforts in academics and training activities in areas of bilateral interests.

Vice-chancellor Prof Jai Rup Singh signed the MoU on behalf of the university, while Professor Premaramachandran, president, and Prof J.S Bajaj, emeritus president, signed on behalf of NAMS.

The VC said the university would organise short-term research training programmes for NAMS scholars.


Fellowship for VC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28
The National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) has conferred fellowship upon renowned geneticist, Prof Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, here at the 47th Conference of the NAMS which concluded here today.

Singh is amongst the pioneers of human genetics in India. He set up an independent Department of Human Genetics and a Centre for Genetic Disorders, the first of its kind in India. This internationally recognised centre is known for its largest collection of DNA and lens samples for congenital cataract.

He was the first to initiate prenatal diagnosis for genetic diseases in Punjab and has done significant basic and clinical research on genetic toxicity of drugs, infertility and eye diseases. 


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