Nominations to Senate
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, October 31
However, despite strong opposition by the government nominees, the senators authorised the vice-chancellor to nominate any three educationists as syndics much to the chagrin of government nominees. On this, agitated Valtoha said he and his supporters would give a dissenting note.
The Akali MLA brought the matter to the notice of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was in the city today.
The supporters of the VC, including Dr Gurnam Singh, a former Dean (Academic Affairs) and Dr Amarjit Singh of GNDU termed the demand of Valtoha and his supporters as a “threat to the autonomy of the university.” The situation worsened when Dr Santokh Singh, a senator, alleged that education secretary Anjali Bhawra had brought the list of three persons, including Dr Dalbir Singh Verka, a former Akali MLA, Rajmohinder Singh Chhina, a senior BJP leader and K.S.Bath - an MLA from the ruling party, with her for their nomination as syndics.
Taking a serious view of the allegations, K.S. Bains, a retired IAS officer, asked Dr Santokh Singh to tender unconditional apology to the Education Secretary. When Dr Santokh Singh said that he was ready to apologise if education secretary refuted the allegations, Bhawra quipped, “ I am not answerable to him (Dr Santokh Singh). “Then I don’t apologise,” said Dr Santokh Singh.
A majority of the senators suggested that there should be election for nominating the syndics, which was opposed by the Akali MLA on the pretext that there was no precedent in the history of GNDU Senate.
When contacted, Valtoha admitted that he had told the senate meeting that the nomination or selection of syndics should be made after consulting education secretary, DPI and other senators. He, however, claimed that he had pleaded that the government was ready to cooperate with the university but Vice-Chancellor must reciprocate the gesture of the government.
However, most of the senators, close to Vice-Chancellor, said at the meeting that government had already three syndics in the Syndicate, apart from the three ex-officio members - education secretary, finance secretary and DPI. If more government nominated members were taken in the Syndicate it would ‘jeopardize’ the autonomy of the university.
Amritsar, October 31
The truck-load of ‘Sanchis’ was being transported to New Delhi so that it could be sent to Canada through shipment or by air. However, the private publishers claimed that there was not even a single complete ‘Bir’ found during the search of the truck.
Private publishers Jeewan Singh and Chattar Singh lodged a formal report at local kotwali against unidentified persons.
Had the seizure of the ‘sanchis’ been mentioned in the FIR, it would have created unsavoury religious crisis. Since Sikhs term Guru Granth Sahib as living guru, any seizure of the Holy book would have become case property, which no Sikh could tolerate. The Sikh scholars feel that issuance of Ordinance; banning private publishers to print Guru Granth Sahib could create similar problems in future.
The district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said that entire “Sanchis” had been unloaded in the SGPC’s Bhai Gurdas Hall. Guidelines would be sought from Akal Takht and SGPC for handling the ‘Sanchis’.
However, Harbhjan Singh, owner of the private publishing house, alleged that an SGPC member and a rival publisher was behind the ‘hijacking’ of their truck. He said the “Sanchis” and other religious literature worth Rs 15 lakh were loaded in the truck by showing full respect as per Sikh maryada.
Quoting a message of Akal Takht, issued on November 20, 2001, Harbhajan Singh claimed that there was a provision to send ‘Sanchis’ and religious literature to foreign countries.
Strict restrictions for Pak fans at Mohali
Chandigarh, October 31
About 250 fans from Pakistan are expected to stay in Chandigarh to watch the match
Senior officers of the Punjab Government today held a meeting to make strict arrangements to prevent disappearance of any Pak visitor.
At today’s meeting, Chief Secretary, Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary, Home, Dr B.C. Gupta, DGP N.P. S. Aulakh and other senior officers were present.
The Punjab government is in touch with the Union Government to deal with certain issues related to the visit of cricket fans from Pakistan.
Last time about a dozen of Pak cricket fans had disappeared after seeing the match. While a few of them had been traced, others are yet to be located.
This time visitors will not be allowed to go beyond the limit of town(s) for which the visas will be granted to them .
Visas will be granted to them for four days or a week, they can come on any day till the validity of visa. “We are busy to tackle this problem. If all visitors arrive on one particular day, it will be easy for us to pick them up in buses to Chandigarh from border and make proper arrangements for their security etc,” said a senior officer. However, if they come on different days, then it will be a bit tough.
More than 100 take ill after partaking langar at college
Kharar, October 31
Health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla visited the hospital and interacted with students. She announced free treatment for the students and directed that food samples be collected from the aforesaid college.
All affected students were admitted at the civil hospital here. They were hostellers and were natives of Himachal Pradesh, UP, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.
Kamaldeep of Ghaziabad (UP) said a religious ceremony was held at the college. The langar cooked in the morning was again served in the college mess as dinner and included kheer, dal and roti.
“Some of our colleagues started vomiting. Today, almost everybody had severe stomach pain and started vomiting and suffered from dysentery. It was then that the college people rushed us to the hospital in buses,” said Naveen Thakur of Hamirpur. Almost all those who took ill were first year mechanical engineering students.
One of the students, Niknesh, was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, when he suffered acute dehydration and registered low blood pressure. Later, in the evening he was stated to be fine.
At the hospital two to three students were provided one bed, while a few others had to manage in the corridor. By evening only 26 students were admitted and rest all were relieved after giving first-aid. Teachers were admitted at other private hospitals in the city.
Money meant for village works going down
Chandigarh, October 31
For random checking, the department has selected five villages which got maximum grant in each block. Reports coming from the field have revealed that in certain villages, where Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore had been given for carrying out various works, a small amount has been spent while lot of money has been either siphoned off or wasted on works not allowed under the rules.
Asked in this connection, Satish Chandra, Secretary, Rural Development, said checking of works had been ordered and an action would be taken if concrete evidence was found with regard to the irregularities committed in the execution of works. Every official and sarpanch concerned would be afforded full opportunity to explain his or her position. Many village panchayats had approached the state government for ordering such an inspection.
However, at certain places, officials of the department are not cooperating with the flying squads in carrying out inspections of works. Sources said today when flying squads reached Sanaur in Patriala disrict to collect record from the block office, it found certain rooms of the office locked. Sources said even senior officials at the block level were not present.
Checking was recently made in one of the villages in Fatehgarh Sahib. Panchayat there had not deposited lakhs of rupees, earned from leasing out the panchayat land, in the bank account for four years. A substantial amount was spent on earthwork, which is not allowed under rules in the village. Earthwork in villages is supposed to be done voluntarily with the collective effort of residents.
Taking action in this case, the state government has already suspended three block development and panchayat officers, one district development and panchayat officer and certain other officials for dereliction of duty, especially for not checking the bank account of the panchayat.
Another case regarding not giving on lease 40 acres of panchayat land for the past three years has also come to light in the Fatehgarh Sahib area. An inquiry has been ordered to fix the responsibility in this regard.
Power Tariff Row
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 31
All BJP ministers met Badal for a brief period immediately after the formal meeting of the cabinet late last evening to take up the issue of revised power tariff. BJP ministers told Badal to resolve the issue of revised power tariff at the earliest possible.
The BJP told Badal that the issue could not be buried as it had made its stand public on it. They said they wanted a concrete solution and no verbal discourse on the issue. It would be better for all concerned to resolve the issue without any further delay.
The issue has been hanging fire for the past several days and the main opposition Congress party in the state has been taunting the BJP in this regard almost every day.
The delay in resolving the issue has made the BJP further toughen its stand in this regard. Obviously, an on-going discreet tug-of-war in this regard between the SAD and the BJP has affected the image of the coalition government and it has provided a chance to the opposition to take pot shots on it.
BJP ministers wanted that the burden of revised power tariff should not be put on power consumers and it should be borne by the state government. They wanted that the state government should pay Rs 272 crore for the current fiscal year from the state treasury to the PSEB to save power consumers from the extra burden.
Badal, BJP party sources said, told ministers that the issue would be discussed in the core committee of the SAD in next two or three days. After that some decision on the issue would be taken.
Badal is also scheduled to meet the BJP leader, Balbir K Punj, who has been authorised by the party high command to deal with this issue on behalf of the party high command.
Punj was here for two days early this week and he was keen to meet Badal to hold another meeting on this issue with him. However, Badal who had some prior engagements, was not available for a meeting. Earlier, Punj had held a meeting with Badal but that had remained inconclusive.
It appears that Punj had authorised the BJP ministers, including Manoranjan Kalia, who is leader of the party in the State Assembly, to take up the issue with Badal as and when he got the chance. That is why BJP ministers took up the issue with Badal after the cabinet meeting.
Besides taking up the tariff issue with Badal after the cabinet meeting, certain BJP ministers had earlier put up queries regarding the provision of police commissioner system in the draft of the new police Act that was approved by the cabinet at the meeting. Sources said the BJP was told that the provision had been made in the light of a Supreme Court order in this regard.
Still, it will be the discretion of the government to set up the system or not
Badals seek court’s permission to visit abroad
Rupnagar, October 31
In their application moved in court today, they sought permission for going to South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai and Sharjah.
They would be meeting NRIs settled in these countries and urge them to invest in Punjab.
Meanwhile, the court today issued notice to the state for reply on the corruption charges against PS Badal, Surinder Kaur Badal, MP Sukhbir Badal and others.
Release of Development Grants
Tribune News Service
Sangrur, October 31
According to information here, bills of the development grants, to the tune of about Rs 2.25 crore, have not been cleared by the local treasury office even after a month, as the finance department has not given its nod to the treasury to clear the bills for the release of development grants. This grant is for development works in villages of this district. The amount of Rs 2.25 crore of the development grants reportedly belongs to the office of the ADC (Development) and the DDPO.
About 15 days ago the Sangrur deputy commissioner had talked to the Director, Treasuries, to get this development grant of Rs 2 crore passed. The director had assured the DC that these bills would be cleared in four to five days, but to no avail so far.
Even today the DC reportedly sought information from the treasury officer about the fate of these bills. But the treasury officer said he had not received any instruction from head office so far to clear the bills of such large amounts.
Punjab for Punjabis, says Dal Khalsa
Amritsar, October 31
The occasion was the launch of its two-day Punjab Jagao March from Akal Takht here today to highlight issues like female foeticide, drug abuse and influx of migrants. Earlier, an ardas was performed in the memory of Beant Singh, who had assassinated Indira Gandhi 23 years ago.
A jatha of 500 activists of the radical group took part in the march, carrying saffron flags and placards and raising slogans “Punjab for Punjabis”.
H.S. Dhami, former head of the Dal Khalsa, eulogised Darshan Singh Pheruman, who died upholding the cause of Panjabis. The organisers honoured his family on the occasion.
The next phase of the March would begin tomorrow from Phagwara and homage would be paid to the victims of the 1984 riots.
Leaders of the Khalsa Action Committee and the Sikh Students Federation (Bhindranwale), including Daljit Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh and SGPC member Karnail Singh Panjoli, also participated.
Cop ‘beats up’ truck driver
Sangrur, October 31
After Rajbir Singh was beaten up, local truck operators and drivers, led by Amarjit Singh, president of the Sangrur Truck Union, blocked the main road at the Sangrur-Mehlan road chowk (near Old Truck Union here) for an hour. They only lifted the blockade when DSP Pritpal Singh Thind assured strict action against the “erring” policeman.
Amarjit Singh said Rajbir Singh had been moving towards the weighbridge of the truck union here to get his loaded truck weighed when he was beaten up by Kewal Singh mercilessly. He further said cop Kewal Singh boarded the truck from the door on driver’s side demanding money from Rajbir but as Rajbir refused to give money to him, he beat up Rajbir mercilessly.
Amarjit Singh also claimed that the DSP had assured them that the head constable would be suspended.
When contacted DSP Prit Pal Singh Thind said the police was conducting an inquiry in this case. If Kewal Singh was found guilty, strict action would be taken against him.
He claimed as per information the head constable had asked the truck driver to move his vehicle in proper direction, on this an altercation took place between the policeman and the driver, which led to the said incident.
Mohali, October 31
Garcha said the Congress government had given more rights to the panchayats and had authorised them to distribute pensions to the old and disabled in the villages.
This step had not only proved a boon for the beneficiaries but had also helped in maintaining a direct link with them.
Now that the right had been taken away from the panchayats, beneficiaries would have to face harassment at banks to withdraw the money.
The old, widows and physically handicapped persons would have to open accounts in banks and also fulfil the condition of maintaining a minimum balance for getting the pension benefit of Rs 250 per month.
She said the panchayats were given the right under the 72nd amendment of the constitution and by withdrawing the right, the state government had also violated the constitution.
She alleged that the SAD-BJP combine was unnecessarily harassing the panchayats and the sarpanches owing allegiance to the Congress were being
She demanded that the right of the panchayats be restored so that people were saved from harassment.
Surprise checks on sweet shops
Fatehgarh Sahib, October 31 The district health officer said they had received reports of some shops selling food made from synthetic milk. He said a team of heath officials took 11 samples from different sweet shops to ascertain if adulterated food was being sold. The health officer said the department also destroyed a large quantity of food being sold out in the open. — TNS
Fatehgarh Sahib, October 31
The district health officer said they had received reports of some shops selling food made from synthetic milk.
He said a team of heath officials took 11 samples from different sweet shops to ascertain if adulterated food was being sold.
The health officer said the department also destroyed a large quantity of food being sold out in the open. — TNS
Sidhu Damdami among four honoured
Amritsar, October 31 Harjinder Singh Dhillon, a Sufi scholar, was awarded the Baba Sheikh Farid Award for his contribution to the research on the subject at the function held at the Punjab Naatshala here. G.S. Sidhu Damdami, editor, Punjabi Tribune, was presented with the Baba Bulle Shah Award for his contribution to the field of Punjabi print and electronic journalism. Senior Hindi journalist Shammi Sareen of the Dainik Bhaskar group was the second media personality who was honoured with Peer Budhu Shah Award for progressive journalism for his analytical reporting of Punjab politics. Sufi Singer Saida Begum was awarded with Sai Mian Meer Award. Her first album, “Sanwal Mera Yaar” was also released on the occasion. The awards were given by Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, who was the chief guest and Mata Gurbaksh Kaur Chak Vandal, patron of the sanstha. The programme was presided over by Sant Gian Dev Singh, chief of Nirmal Panchayat Akhara (Kankhal). Kuldip Kadar presented qawwali, while Saida Begum and folk singers Gurpal Singh Pal and other presented Sufiana kalam on the occasion.
Amritsar, October 31
Harjinder Singh Dhillon, a Sufi scholar, was awarded the Baba Sheikh Farid Award for his contribution to the research on the subject at the function held at the Punjab Naatshala here. G.S. Sidhu Damdami, editor, Punjabi Tribune, was presented with the Baba Bulle Shah Award for his contribution to the field of Punjabi print and electronic journalism.
Senior Hindi journalist Shammi Sareen of the Dainik Bhaskar group was the second media personality who was honoured with Peer Budhu Shah Award for progressive journalism for his analytical reporting of Punjab politics. Sufi Singer Saida Begum was awarded with Sai Mian Meer Award. Her first album, “Sanwal Mera Yaar” was also released on the occasion.
The awards were given by Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, who was the chief guest and Mata Gurbaksh Kaur Chak Vandal, patron of the sanstha. The programme was presided over by Sant Gian Dev Singh, chief of Nirmal Panchayat Akhara (Kankhal). Kuldip Kadar presented qawwali, while Saida Begum and folk singers Gurpal Singh Pal and other presented Sufiana kalam on the occasion. — OC
Virk’s bail petition reveals loopholes in judiciary
Chandigarh, October 31
As the hearing on his bail plea resumed before Justice H.S. Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today, it became apparent that the state chief secretary took four days to respond in writing to a communiqué forwarded to his office regarding Virk's arrest.
In a reply to the court's query, state's additional advocate-general Reeta Kohli said Virk was arrested on September 9 and the information regarding the same was communicated to the chief secretary by the director (vigilance) the next day. A copy of the same was also forwarded to the home secretary. The chief secretary's noting on the file is dated September 14.
After going through the details and documents the court had asked Kohli to submit, the judge made a note on the matter.
In an attempt to justify the delay, Kohli said she was not aware whether the chief secretary was in town at the time of receiving the communiqué and the noting.
It also emerged during the bail application's hearing that information regarding the former DGP's arrest was given to the ministry of home affairs on October 19 - over a month after he was taken in custody by the state vigilance bureau in connection with the case.
The case also witnessed objection by the defence counsel to the use of certain 'adjectives' and 'innuendoes' by the state counsel. Representing Virk, Punjab's former advocate-general R.S. Cheema said the use of certain 'adjectives' was not called for.
Earlier during the hearing, Kohli had asserted that Virk was more of a "deserter" and an "absconder". After he was placed under suspension, tracking him down became a task in itself.
The court, on Tuesday, had asked the state to produce records pertaining to intimation sent by the state to the Centre or Maharashtra regarding Virk's arrest.
Bibi seeks interim bail
Chandigarh, October 31
In two petitions filed before the High Court, she has sought pre-arrest bail in the matter and quashing of the FIR registered on December 1, 2003, at Anandpur Sahib police station under Section 188 of the IPC. She has also sought directions for the cancellation of all subsequent proceedings. The petitions are expected to be taken up by the High Court tomorrow.
Bibi was booked by the police on the allegations of being part of a mob, even though the District Magistrate’s orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were in force. The prosecution had claimed that Bibi raised slogans in Parkash Singh Badal’s favour after a case was registered against him.
Claiming to have been implicated in the matter, Bibi said the allegations contained in the FIR were false. In any case, the police had no jurisdiction to file a challan in the matter. Seeking pre-arrest bail in the case, she added that non-bailable warrants had been issued due to her non-appearance.
Chahal case hearing adjourned
Chandigarh, October 31 At the very onset, Chahal’s counsel sought permission for him to travel out of the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s jurisdiction, while praying for the modification of court’s earlier order in this regard. He added that Chahal was involved in several cases and needed to travel to Delhi in connection with these cases and consult with his lawyers. All this while, Chahal remained present in the court during the hearing. After hearing the submission a Bench headed by Chief Justice Vijender Jain asked the counsel to move a formal application in this regard and adjourned the hearing.
Chandigarh, October 31
At the very onset, Chahal’s counsel sought permission for him to travel out of the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s jurisdiction, while praying for the modification of court’s earlier order in this regard.
He added that Chahal was involved in several cases and needed to travel to Delhi in connection with these cases and consult with his lawyers.
All this while, Chahal remained present in the court during the hearing.
After hearing the submission a Bench headed by Chief Justice Vijender Jain asked the counsel to move a formal application in this regard and adjourned the hearing.
Sikh farmers struggling, claims Pak radio
Majitha, October 31
According to reports, in a recent programme, Radio Pakistan highlighted the anti-farmer policies of the Punjab government, and charged India with discriminating against farmers of Punjab by distributing the northern state’s waters to neighbouring states.
Contradicting Radio Pakistan’s allegation, sarpanch of Mazwind village Sukhdeep Sidhu said scarcity of water was a global phenomenon and it was primarily occurring due to climate change.
Sidhu said keeping that factor in mind, the Punjab government was advising its farmers to plant crops that needed less water during irrigation. The state government is also spreading awareness about methods of modern crop-diversification and cropping patterns.
Sidhu said those programmes were aired only to expose the hidden agenda of the Pakistan government. It also reveals how parochial are the views across the border.
The programme reflects the twisted mentality of people producing and airing it, said a Majitha farmer.
The people of Punjab understand the nefarious designs of the Radio Pakistan and rarely tune in to listen to it, he added.
Jagjit Singh, an agricultural officer, said after a campaign started by the Punjab government, farmers of the state, educated and not so well educated, are taking better decisions on matters relating to agriculture.
The farmers also get to learn about new varieties of the crop and often seek to diversify their work to earn more profit. This practice has helped to bring the groundwater table up by nearly 40cm.
Punjab’s average growth rate of 10 per cent is amongst the highest in the country, clearly reflecting the progressive economy of the state, he added. Punjab also boasts of a 58 per cent literacy rate and one of the highest per capita incomes in India. — ANI
Sexual harassment charge against DSP
Jalandhar, October 31
In her complaint, the woman alleged that she had been falsely implicated in a “kabootarbazi” case in Moga and the DSP wanted sexual favour from her to bail her out.
She was reportedly living alone in her house as her husband had gone abroad. The DSP came to her house last night but had to flee after when some residents of the locality came to know about the incident. He reportedly left his mobile behind.
The SHO of the police division No. 6, Gurmeet Singh, told The Tribune that no FIR has been registered in this regard so far. Faridkot SSP, who has the additional charge of Moga, said he had come to know about the incident only from mediapersons.
“Let SSP, Jalandhar, Arpit Shukla send the report in this regard. Only after that I will be able to comment on, he added. To a query, he said the DSP had been relieved for two days for attending a two-day (on Thursday and Friday) training course at the police academy, Phillaur. It was surprising in what capacity he visited the woman’s house.
Adarsh School becomes reality as CM lays stone
Gurdaspur, October 31
The school building will come up at a cost of Rs 3 crore by March 2008 on 15 acres of panchayat land. The government has already released the money for the construction of the building.
The Chief Minister also announced that three existing schools in each Assembly constituency would also be upgraded (infrastructure wise) to the level of an Adarsh School. Apart from this, the government had also planned to equip the laboratories of the existing schools.
He also announced that 17,000 more teachers would be recruited to fill vacant posts in various schools in
Talking to mediapersons, he ruled out emergence of terrorism in the state, saying that the government was prepared to crush it. He was addressing a gathering at the Jor Khed Mela held in the memory of Baba Bhoore Shah at Jaura Chhatra village.
Earlier, the agriculture minister flayed the Congress for harassing the Akali leaders and workers during their rule. Those who spoke on the occasion included Sewa Singh Sekhowan, former Akali minister, and Gurcharan Singh Babehali, MLA, Gurdaspur.
The Chief Minister also released a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the development of Jaura Chhatra village and Rs 5 lakh for the Jor Khed Mela committee of the village.
Rectify research stagnation, PAU told
Ladhowal (Ludhiana), October 31
Reminding that PAU was a “temple of research for public welfare”, Badal asked M.S. Kang, PAU vice-chancellor, to have the faculty moving towards meeting the research and result outputs, a major need of the hour. Badal asked Professor Kang to meet him after the function.
Professor Kang, talking to The Tribune, later, said, “I agree with the Chief Minister’s remark on the university academic agenda needing a resetting. We are already at the job.”
At a brief conversation at the sidelights of the function today he also referred to certain financial matters of the university.
Complimenting the FieldFresh for its state-of-art technology project, Badal said the company should open at least one centre in each of the districts.
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said the company recently undertook an initiative of partnership with farmers under which 80 of its partner farmers received the internationally acclaimed Euregap certification.
Patiala, October 31
The programme commenced with, Anukampa, a prayer dance, in which various social issues like the dowry, importance of the girlchild and secularism were highlighted. Focus of the function was environmental changes particularly the climate change.
The chief guest honoured class X toppers (2006-07). The Chief Justice lauded the efforts of the manager, Rev Henry Lewis, and the principal, Rev Janet Joseph.