P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


NRI count causes a scare
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
The Punjab government has initiated a count of non-resident Indians in the state, asking the district administrations to draw a list of those residing abroad “along with their local relatives and contact numbers, at the earliest”. At the same time, official sources claim that residents of the city and adjoining villages are not very forthcoming in giving the information as they are “scared about the real motive behind the count”.

Sumer Singh Gurjar, deputy commissioner, said, “All public fears are unfounded because out intention is only to compile a data bank. It is beneficial to have a detailed information chart for easier accessibility for the public as well as the administration. The information can be used for successful execution of events like special functions, festivals, conferences and even special projects.”

Jarnail Singh, local resident, said, “The unannounced move caught us off-guard. A tehsildar turned up at my residence a few days back when I was away. My family did not say much. In case, there is any official communication from the government it should have been made public. The government could have made the announcement in newspapers, spelling the details wanted and the purpose of the census.”

Manjit Singh, an engineer, said, “People are scared of giving any personal details outside, particularly financial. Even when the government conducts economic surveys, the figures are often misleading from the public.”

Darshan Singh, a farmer from Chhapar, said, “We are scared that the government might be collecting the data to levy some special tax. People will not be forthcoming with complete information in this case.”

Jugminder Grewal, SDM, entrusted with collecting data for the East Ludhiana, Dehlon, Koom Kalan and Jassowal subdivisions, said, “We are nearly complete with the data. We are not closing the books because there are a number of people who have not yet come forward with all the details of information. We are meeting people and informing them that data was a mere information bank.”

Another senior official said, “We are not very clear about the details and reasons for the data collection. The government might be formulating certain policy. We are also not sure whether this drive is being carried out in other districts of the state.”


Pak to allow Sikh weddings under Anand Marriage Act
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24
In a significant development, the government of Pakistan has decided to allow members of the Sikh community to register their marriages under the Anand Marriage Act.

An announcement to this effect was made by Sayyad Afzal , federal law minister, on the demand put forward by Pritpal Singh, president of the American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (AGPC), while addressing the Sikh sangat at Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib, to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Sikhs from different countries, including Manmohan Singh and Avtar Singh Sanghera, both UK-based Dal Khalsa and Babbar Khalsa leaders, were present when Pakistan’s law minister announced that the necessary ordinance would be issued within a week, enabling Sikhs to register their marriages under the new Act .

The AGPC president said the Sikhs used to register their marriage under the Anand Marriage Act. However, after Independence, the government of India scrapped the separate marriage Act for Sikhs. With the result, Sikhs had no option but to register their marriages under Hindu Marriage Act.

Meanwhile, a symbolic nagar kirtan (religious procession) was taken out in the gurdwara complex. It could not be taken out in the lanes and bazaars of Nankana Sahib, as a precautionary measure, in the wake of the emergency in Pakistan.

The AGPC Chief told The Tribune on telephone that more than 5,000 security personel, including those in mufti, were deployed to avoid any untoward incident.

The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, had written to Bishan Singh, president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, to not take out the nagar kirtan in Pakistan, keeping in view the security concerns of the Sikh pilgrims.

On the other hand, the radical Sikh organisations, in a meeting, held in Nankana Sahib rejected the resolution passed by the general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) yesterday for the cooption of Sikhs from foreign countries in the SGPC. The AGPC chief, Pritpal Singh, said the foreign Sikhs would not join any organisation, including the SGPC, which came into being under the Act, passed by the Parliament of India. The SGPC’s general house passed the resolution, urging the government of India to allow the cooption of some members from foreign countries. He, however, said they would accept any international Sikh body formed under the aegis of Akal Takht.

The AGPC chief said an 11-member delegation of Sikhs from different countries would meet General Pervez Musharraf or the Prime Minister of Pakistan before November 29. The delegation would urge General Musharraf to construct a corridor from Gurdwara Kartarpur in Pakistan, linking Dera Baba Nanak (in India) so that Sikh pilgrims could visit shrines in both countries.


Hansi-Butana Canal
Haryana using all means to get approval
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
As ground is slipping from under the feet of Haryana on the Hansi-Butana canal project issue, it is trying hard to use its political influence at the Union Government level to get the canal project cleared from the Central Water Commission ( CWC) by hook or by crook.

This is how the Punjab Government is viewing various theses being advanced by the Haryana Government to justify the construction of the canal for which neither any prior clearance was taken from the CWC nor the project discussed with Punjab and Haryana, both partner in the Bhakra mainline canal from which water is to flow in the controversial canal.

“On legal, technical and procedural count, Haryana has already lost the battle regarding canal project before the CWC and it was now trying to build a political pressure in various quarters to get the project cleared,” said a Punjab functionary. Haryana was not only trying to browbeat Punjab but its senior officers also had been using arm-twisting methods against officers of Rajasthan at the CWC meetings.

In fact, what has made Haryana sweating is a report submitted by chief engineer A.K. Bajaj of the Indus Basin Organisation to the CWC on the Hansi-Butana canal. In his report, the chief engineer has upheld the objections raised by Punjab against the construction of the canal. The report has also upheld Punjab’s technical objections that the canal’s alignment was such that it would impede the natural flow of rain water from upstream areas and lead to flooding of the vast area of Punjab.

However, this report submitted in January, 2007 was kept secret from Punjab by the CWC for about 10 months. Even the CWC kept Punjab in the dark for several months on the reply filed by Haryana to objections raised by Punjab on the canal issue. A strong protest was lodged to the CWC for its indifferent attitude towards Punjab on the canal project issue at a meeting held on November 22 in Delhi.

One of the Haryana officers at the meeting tried to provoke the CWC authorities by pointing that Punjab had levelled the allegation that the CWC was biased against it. However, the CWC authorities did not take any note of what Haryana officer said.

What has now alarmed Punjab, sources said, was the Haryana Chief Minister Bhupender Singh Hooda’s approaching the chairman of the BBMB to seek his help on the issue of Hansi-Butana canal project.

Sources said at the last meeting held by the CWC, a senior officer of Haryana R.N. Prashar had a verbal duel with a chief engineer of Rajasthan. Refusing to be cowed down, Rajasthan chief engineer had to tell Haryana officer to mind his own business and not to dictate what Rajasthan had to do on the sensitive issue of Hansi-Butana canal.

Sources said at the CWC meeting, Haryana officer was told that the thumping of tables would not win him approval from the CWC or the Union Government.

Punjab irriagion secretary, Suresh Kumar said he had no comment to offer. However, he denied that he conceded the framing of issue of SYL canal at the CWC meeting.

Punjab’s stand is that the canal could not be built as its command area was the same which was earlier to be fed by the SYL canal, the case with regard to which is sub-judice.


Sultanpur Lodhi on world religious tourism map
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Sultanpur Lodhi, November 24
Sultanpur Lodhi will be the first place in Punjab to be on the world religious tourism map because of its sanctity and heritage value.

This was disclosed by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal while interacting with mediapersons here today. The CM also paid obeisance at Ber Sahib gurdwara on the occasion of the prakash purb of Guru Nanak Dev.

He said representatives of the World Tourism Organisation had visited Punjab to identify places that have religious importance and Sultanpur Lodhi had been identified as a befitting place to be on the map. No place could hold more importance since this is where the Guru attained enlightenment, he pointed out.

The Chief Minister said funds would not be a problem for this prestigious project. A master plan for the planned development of Sultanpur Lodhi would soon be prepared.

At present, the Tourism Department is implementing a Rs 3.61-crore project to promote tourism in the Kapurthala-Sultanpur Lodhi tourist circuit and the ecological restoration of the Pavitar Bein project has been expedited.

Badal further said that keeping in view the religious value of this holy town, the government had initiated a series of steps to develop the city under the guidance of the newly constituted Sultanpur Lodhi Development Board.

The infrastructure, health facilities and transport connectivity of this historic town would also be upgraded which would further boost religious tourism, he said.

He said Rs 4.66 crore would be spent to upgrade the water supply and sewerage network of this town, keeping in view the increasing flow of pilgrims to this town in future.

A multi-specialty hospital with ultra-modern equipment with mobile vans facility would be set up to provide better health care here and the surrounding areas.

Badal announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the stadium.

Speaking on the occasion, education minister, Punjab, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, on behalf of the people thanked the Chief Minister for the magnanimity shown by him to bring multifaceted development of Sultanpur Lodhi.

MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said everybody should adopt and follow the teaching of the great Gurus to create a harmonious and peace-loving society.

Badal also inaugurated the bridge over the bein, besides laying the foundation stones of two 66-KV grid sub-stations with a cost of Rs 8 crore for Khallu village and Pandori Jagir.

Others present on the occasion included revenue minister Ajit Singh Kohar, chief parliamentary secretary, medical education and research Sital Singh, SGPC members and local SAD- BJP leaders.


UK keen on enhancing ties with state
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has taken up the cause of the Punjabi youth living in the UK. In an interaction with Mayor of London Kenneth Robert Livingstone here last evening, Badal suggested that retired British teachers could be involved in running a capsule course in English language for the Punjabi youth.

“It has been seen that most youth migrating to the UK suffer a major handicap due to their inability to communicate in English. Such a training programme would not only open a world of opportunity to the youth from rural Punjab but would also provide the UK a dedicated work force,” he said.

He said the Punjab government was committed to making Punjab a “natural investment destination” by offering world-class road infrastructure and air-connectivity.

The government of India has approved the setting up of an international airport at Mohali and in the industrial city of Ludhiana a project to provide Metro rail services has been initiated at an estimated cost of Rs 3,000 crore. Similar projects at Amritsar and Mohali are also being planned, he added.

The Punjab government was keen on joint ventures with the UK in the field of engineering and related sectors like information technology, nano-technology, bio-technology and modern agro-processing industry.

“We would like to export our horticulture and agriculture produce to the UK. We already have cargo facilities at Amritsar international airport.”

Highlighting Punjab’s tourism potential, Badal said the government had engaged the services of tourism specialist of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Robert Cleverdon to prepare a blue print to promote “River and Leisure Tourism”.

Appreciating the efforts of the government to promote bilateral business between Punjab and the UK, Livingstone said nearly a hundred million Punjabis living in the UK were contributing a lot to their economy. Any opportunity to further the business with Punjab would be a welcome move, he said.

Livingstone said the 21st century was the dawn of Asian century. World recognised India together with China and America as the G-3 nation, he added. The Mayor said the Britain was the 3rd largest investor in the Indian market and would undoubtedly like to further the business opportunities between the two countries.

He promised to establish a partnership between Amritsar and London. He invited Mayor of Amritsar Shawet Malik to London to sign an agreement in that regard.

Meanwhile, Badal requested Murari Bapu to offer prayers for the peace and prosperity of Punjab and also requested him to deliver a similar religious discourse at Malout (Muktsar) as well.

He was addressing a religious congregation during a religious discourse by Murari Bapu at Ram Bagh Garden, Amritsar.


Bhattal blasts Badal on beacon issue
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Punjab Pradesh Congress President Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has resolved to take Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his government head on by questioning every decision that has a direct or indirect bearing on the state’s functioning.

Firing a fresh salvo at Badal, Bhattal has accused the chief minister of indulging in unfair practices for ensuring victory of his protégé as president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) by “bribing members of the Sikh body by allowing them beacon lights on their vehicles and providing additional security guards”.

Bhattal made no bones about her views at a meeting of an advisory group of the party unit. “As a leader of the opposition it is my duty to question the wrong and I must say that beacon lights for SGPC members, violated the law and ethical practices”.

Bhattal said that the chief minister owed an explanation to the people of the state and to the opposition party. She said, “Badal has to justify how on the one hand security guards of the Congress leaders, including those who faced threats for fighting terrorism, were being withdrawn, two security guards each were being provided to SGPC members. Badal's party has an overwhelming majority in the SGPC and he is only trying to give out doles selectively”.

She highlighted the case of Congress MLA, Tarlochan Singh, whose father was killed by terrorists and former education minister, Harnam Das Johar, who survived a number of attempts on his life, to highlight what she called the “double standards” of the ruling alliance.

She clearly saw a direct link over the withdrawal of security guards to Congress leaders with the “vendetta unleashed by the present Akali-BJP government on Congress leaders”.

Bhattal cited a report of the DIG (crime), who, she claimed, had on the directions of the Governor probed the allegations of registration of false cases against Congress workers and sympathisers, in the Bholath constituency. She said that the inquiry had established that at least 60 per cent of the cases registered were false.

Bhattal and working president of the state unit of the Congress Mohinder Singh Kaypee have sought an appointment from the Governor, to submit a memorandum and another list of 344 "false cases" against Congress workers across the state. She said the Congress planned to organise protest meetings at the district level to expose the "vendetta politics" and the all-round failure of the present government. 


Decision on security assailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
A member of the national executive of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, has criticised the government decision to provide guards to SGPC members without assessing the threat perception to them by terrorists.

Dr Dayal said it was unfortunate that Badal had tried to bribe members of the SGPC by offering them security guards and red lights on the eve of the poll.


Bardhan opposes unbundling of PSEB
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 24
A. B. Bardhan, general secretary of the CPI, has opposed the proposed unbundling of the PSEB, saying that this would put an additional burden on the common man.

Bardhan said instead of unbundling the Punjab State Electricity Board, the state government should compensate the board for the losses that it was suffering.

Bardhan was here today to deliver the inaugural address of the 20th conference of the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation.

Interacting with media persons, the CPI leader admitted that certain lapses had been committed by his party in handling the Nandigram issue. However, there were no differences in the CPI on Nandigram.

He said the Arjan Sen Gupta Committee report had stated that 77 per cent of the population lived on just Rs 20 daily. It was a sad commentary on the economic policies of the central government.

Earlier, in his inaugural address on the 6th Conference of State Bank of Patiala Employees Union (Punjab State) which was attended by more than 6,000 employees of the bank, he said the State Bank of Patiala Employees Union always stood in the forefront of the trade union movement in the country. He said the business of the bank in the past 15 years had increased manifold but the number of employees had decreased. Regarding the role of the All-India Bank Employees Association, he said the association had brought to surface the problems of economy and in respect of the non-performance assets where big business houses doing business of crores of rupees are not repaying any dues of the banks.

Speaking on the economic reforms, he said that if the reforms could not improve the condition of the poor man, there was no benefit of such reforms. Attacking the stock market, he said the Sensex has already crossed 20,000-mark but it has no concern for the development of the poor.

He congratulated the federation for completing 50 years. Addressing the conference, C H Venkatachalam, general secretary, All-India Bank Employees Association, said the wealth of the country was concentrated in the hands of a few houses only. He regretted that bank money was under the control of some influential families and not in the reach of common people.

On the merger of associate banks with the SBI, he said capital adequacy ratio, NPA level, per employee profit and per employee business of these associate banks was better than that of the SBI in which the government has proposed to merge these banks. He said the association was against the merger of associate banks with the SBI and was going on strike on December 3. He congratulated the employees of the State Bank of Patiala for the agitation programme against the merger.

Earlier, employees of the State Bank of Patiala took out a procession in the city and Harban Singh, founder-president of the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, hoisted the union flag.



Inside Babudom
Crisis over police officers’ postings 
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
A multi-faceted crisis is brewing in the Punjab Police over posting of officers.

The top brass does not have enough available IPS officers at the SSP-level, on the other hand, Punjab Police Services (PPS) officers are pressing their claims to be promoted to the IPS against vacancies besides wanting to be posted as SSPs.

Thirdly, a fluid situation has emerged with regards to posting of new district police chiefs at Muktsar and Moga.

The immediate task is the availability of enough IPS officers at the SSP-level.

There are a total of 21 cadre posts of district SSPs and two more posts at Amritsar and one post at Ludhiana. Another 14 cadre posts at the same level exist in the commando battalions and elsewhere that have been earmarked as cadre posts, thus making it a total of 38 posts.

The Punjab Police has only 40 officers at the SSP-level and the actual availability of officers who can be posted in the districts is only 25 IPS officers. The main problem is the faulty system of allocating IPS officers.

Since 2000 only seven officers have been sent to Punjab cadre whereas the requirement is of about three to four every year.

The paucity has also occurred on other counts. Four officers - Ram Singh, Kapil Dev, Pramod Ban and Amit Prasad -- have requested that they should not be posted in the districts while Naresh Kumar was changed when the Dera Sacha Sauda issue flared up in May this year.

Two officers - Sudhanshu Srivastava and A.S. Rai -- have gone on deputation while two more - B Chandra Sekhar and V Neerja - have requested to be sent on deputation and their cases are under process.

Davinder Singh Garcha was removed as SSP, Moga, a few weeks ago while Kartar Singh was booked in a case recently at Jalandhar, hence ruled out. Paramraj Singh is facing a charge sheet while Tejinder Singh is seen by the Akalis as the man who as SSP, vigilance, Amritsar in the previous Congress regime registered cases against their leaders.

Harinder Singh Chahal is the one who got his son recruited as DSP, he still has to find favour for a posting in a district while Surinder Pal Singh continues as SSP, vigilance, Chandigarh as he is the investigating officer in a case against the Badal family.

Another aspect emerged last week when the Punjab Government, posted two PPS officers, Gurpreet Singh Gill as SP, headquarters, Muktsar and Ashok Bath as SP, headquarters, Moga. The plan was to get orders issued, to have them declared as “officiating SSPs”. Now the Home department has reportedly refused to issue orders to hand over charge of SSP to these two officers.

Sources said it would be contempt of court as the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a pending case, has passed an interim order that only IPS officers can be posted on cadre posts.

Till the orders are issued, Gill and Baath are calling the shots in their districts. The PPS officers association has, meanwhile, met the director-general of police NPS Aulakh saying, in case non-IPS officers are considered, then the posting of SSPs should be out of the seniormost 14 PPS officers who are eligible for promotion to the IPS.

However, the matter is held up on account of another pending court case where a stay has been granted. The police wants the stay to be vacated.


Staff sore as pay panel terms not yet notified
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 24
Resentment prevails among lakhs of employees against the Punjab government for not notifying the terms and references of the Fifth Pay Commission so far. As a result, the pay commission has not been able to start functioning even after its constitution and appointment of its chairman a year ago.

Talking to The Tribune today, a member of the advisory board of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union Raj Kumar Arora said as the state government had failed in notifying terms and references of the pay commission, disappointment prevailed among lakhs of employees of the state government, who are waiting an increase in their salaries and allowances.

Arora asked Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to make the pay commission operational by notifying its terms and references as early as possible. He also said Badal government had done nothing so far for the welfare of employees though it had made a number of promises, including an increase in the retirement age of employees from 58 years to 60 years, with the employees in the SAD poll manifesto.


Discrepancies in pension payments exposed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 24
During a survey conducted by the Indian Ex-services League, Punjab, it was found that ex-servicemen and widows, drawing pension directly through banks, were getting less pension in some cases because of erroneous pension revision by the concerned bank branches at various locations.

A couple of months back, pension of Ranjit Kaur, widow of Subedar Gurdial Singh, was revised by the bank at the instance of the league and a sum of Rs 83,000 was paid to her. Earlier, she was drawing pension directly from the State Bank of Patiala branch situated at Amloh, and the bank was paying her the family pension of a Sepoy instead of a Subedar.

In another case, Sher Singh, who was being paid the pension of a Sepoy instead of Subedar, received Rs 1,65,000 as arrears on the intervention of league, general secretary of the league Prabhjot Singh said here today. 


Bapu to hold katha at Kailash Parbat
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24
Sant Morari Bapu, for the first time, will hold Ram Katha at Kailash Parbat in June-July next year when the yatra to Kailash Mansarovar begins and approval in this regard is being expected from the Chinese government soon.

Talking to The Tribune, he said earlier too he had visited Kailash Mansarovar but could not hold the Ram Katha there as he was not allowed to stay there for a few more days. This time, he had sought permission from the Chinese authorities to hold Ram Katha in the parikarma of the Kailash Parbat.

Morari Bapu is in the city deliver religious discourses on the significance of amrit (nectar) which is the main topic of his explanation. The katha is being organised by the Ram Katha Samiti, Shivala Bhaian, from November 17 to 25.

The Bapu said he would also hold Ram Katha at various places in Pakistan as he has been invited by the Hindu community there to deliver discourses. He would also visit various temples across the border which were in a dilapidated condition.

Earlier, addressing the devotees, the Bapu favoured 50 per cent reservation for women in Parliament. He said society which failed to respect women tended to decay.


Badal pays obeisance at Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, along with his wife Surinder Kaur Badal, today paid obeisance at Harmandar Sahib and extended Gurpurb greetings to all people and Sikh community.

Lakhs of devotees paid obeisance at the temple and took a dip in the holy sarovar. “Jalaou” were displayed at sanctum sanctorum, Akal Takht and Baba Atal Rai Sahib in the morning. Religious Diwan and Gurmat Samagam were held at Manji Sahib Diwan Hall on the temple complex. Kiran darbar and kavi darbar were organised in which famous kirtani jathas and renowned poets recited hymns.

Malerkotla: Sikh devotees today celebrated the 538th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji. Devotees gathered at the Singh Sabha Gurudwara to participate in the celebrations. A nagar kirtan was carried out here led by "Punj Piaras" and passed through the decorated streets and bazaars of the city. Tight security arrangements were made by the local police under the supervision of DSP Gurpreet Singh Sikand during the nagar kirtan.


2-yr child deported
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24
A two-year-old boy, who arrived here last night on an Uzbekistan flight from Germany, via Tashkan, with his mother and two siblings, was not allowed to get down at Amritsar because he was travelling on a Pakistani passport.

According to sources, after the immigration authorities insisted that the child be deported, his mother decided to take him back on the return ticket.

An immigration official said as per the rule, passengers holding passport issued by the Pakistan government can be allowed entry only at international airports in metropolitans like Delhi, Mumbai.

Local officials of Uzbekistan Airways refused to divulge information about the case. Airport director Arun Talwar said the matter concerns the immigration authorities and the Airport Authority of India was not involved with it in any way.


SPO shoots himself at chowki
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 24
An SPO, Ram Singh (45), posted at the Jorre Pul police chowki, near Amargarh, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle at the the chowki last evening.

Sangrur SP (D) Bhupinderjit Singh Virk told this reporter over the phone today that the SPO first fired around 12 rounds from his service rifle at the police chowki and later shot himself in a room of the chowki.

The post-mortem examination of the body was conducted at the Malerkotla civil hospital.

Virk said the police had initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC in the case.


4 bodies found
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, November 24
The police here has recovered two unidentified bodies from a jungle in Samgoli village near Dera Bassi. The bodies were semi-charred.

According to the police, the bodies seemed to have been brought to the secluded place last night.

Remains of the two bodies were noticed by a resident of the village this evening who then informed the police.

The police said there were no reports of anyone missing from the village or nearby areas. The bodies have been sent to the Dera Bassi civil hospital for postmortem.

The police has not ruled out foul play in the case. However, sources said it would be an arduous task to identify the bodies since they were charred beyond recognition.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old youth who was to get married tomorrow was found dead on the railway tracks in Lalru this morning.

According to the police, victim Talvinder Singh, who lived in Lalru with his family, was to get married to a girl in Karnal.

Talvinder’s family informed the police that they had returned yesterday after the shagun ceremony and Talvinder was with guests and friends last night at home. However, around 10 pm, he went missing and the family tried to locate him.

They presumed that he would have gone to stay with his friends for the night. This morning they were informed that Talvinder’s body was found on the railway tracks.

In Zirakpur, an unidentified body was found hanging from a tree in a park.

The victim, in his thirties, seemed to be a migrant labourer and according to the police, the possibility of his having committed suicide cannot be ruled out. The victim was found hanging from a green dupatta by employees of a marriage palace in Dhakoli from their park area. They informed the police.

The body has been sent for a postmortem examination to the Dera Bassi civil hospital.


Conflicting Dates of Birth
Entry in birth certificate to prevail: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that in case of conflicting dates of birth, the entry in birth certificate issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths would prevail over the entry in school leaving certificate.

As such, the matter should not be relegated to civil courts in a mechanical manner, except when the certificate is unreliable, suspicious or appears to be procured or manipulated.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Rajive Bhalla, ruled: A passport officer cannot, as a matter of routine, direct the applicant to approach the civil court.

The Bench ruled: “As and when an application is filed before a passport authority and there appears to be a conflict between entries in the birth certificate issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths and the entry of birth in a school leaving certificate, the entry in the birth certificate issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths would prevail and except where the certificate is unreliable, suspicious or appears to be procured or manipulated, parties should not be relegated to civil Courts in a mechanical manner.”

The ruling comes on a petition filed by Resham Singh against the Union of India and other respondents for quashing the order dated August 22 declining to make a correction in the petitioner’s passport. The passport mentioned his date of birth as July 23, 1962, on the basis of an entry in his matriculation certificate.

As the US embassy in New Delhi required the petitioner to submit an authenticated document regarding his date of birth, the petitioner sought issuance of a birth certificate from the Registrar of Births and Deaths. After receiving the certificate, the petitioner realised that his date of birth recorded in the births and deaths register was May 26, 1962.

Consequently, the petitioner asked the passport officer, Jalandhar, to correct the entry. As the authority failed to decide the application, the petitioner moved the High Court.

In their detailed order, the judges ruled the passport officer is well within his jurisdiction to satisfy himself about the genuineness of a certificate. In case it appears to be suspicious, manipulated or procured, he is justified in relegating the party to approach a civil court for declaration regarding his date of birth.

A passport officer cannot, as a matter of routine, in situations as obtaining in the present case, direct the applicant to approach the civil court. “We are of the considered opinion that the passport authority erred by relegating the petitioner to seek a declaration before a civil court and refusing to entertain his plea for correction of his date of birth,” the judges added.

Allowing the petition, the judges directed that the matter be remitted to the passport officer, Jalandhar, for considering the petitioner’s application for correction in the date of birth in the passport.


Bid to get clean chit for registrar sparks row
Syndic, agitating teacher dub move as unprecedented
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 23
An effort by the Punjabi University authorities to seek the syndicate nod over the approval of subsistence allowance and re-instatement of registrar Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu by way of an “in-circular meeting” has taken a new turn with syndicate member Prem Singh Chandumajra and the agitating Joint Action Committee (JAC) office-bearers dubbing the act as “unethical” and “un-necessary”.

The “unprecedented” effort by the registrar, who was also the secretary of the 18-member varisty syndicate, and an interesting observation in the circular in his favour were being seen as an attempt by vice-chancellor Dr S.S. Boparai to give a “clean chit” to Dr Sandhu.

Dr Sandhu is said to be close to Dr Boparai.

Interestingly, the circular, issued by Dr Sandhu himself in his capacity as the registrar and secretary of the syndicate, has sought the approval of syndicate members saying, “Dr Sandhu was framed for fulfilment of a particular motive and under a conspiracy.”

The circular says that some “facts” that have popped up along with the hearing of “certain eye-witnesses” by the VC, suggested that Dr Sandhu was falsely implicated.

Virtually blasting the Vigilance Bureau theory, the circular says, “The VC listened to eye-witnesses and certain recordings which revealed that Sandhu was implicated in a false case. Moreover, in its bid to implement its plan, the VB has not brought forth the person “used” by it and has not even put forth the facts presented by Dr Sandhu on record. The transcripts of the recordings should be kept secret as making them part of the syndicate proceedings could cause embarrassment to one or more parties. Under the changed circumstances, the vice-chancellor has ordered to get the re-instatement of Dr Sandhu approved from the syndicate.”

However, the circular, a copy of which is with The Tribune, fails to pinpoint the details of “eye-witnesses” and “recordings”. The meeting circular also seeks the approval of the ad-interim appointment of Dr S.S. Khehra as registrar. Dr Khehra had worked as registrar in absence of Dr Sandhu. On the other hand, senior SAD leader and syndicate member Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra termed the entire exercise as “baseless” and “uncalled for”.

“There is no provision for in-circular meeting. There is no precedent either. Moreover, what is the need for such a meeting over a routine matter. It is not an emergency. We oppose it particularly when the syndicate had already rejected it on October 18,” said Chandumajra.

Similarly, Prof Manjit Singh, convenor of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), said the university calendar had no provision for any such meeting. “We are going to oppose it,” he said.


Revamp education system: Experts
Tribune News Service

Jalvehra (Fatehgarh Sahib), November 24
Academics and educationationists from various parts of the state today participated in a symposium at the Canadian Institute of International Studies (CIIS) to draw up strategy to revamp the education system to meet demands of the industry and make it more contemporary and career oriented.

Titled "Modernising Education System To Meet Industry Challenges" was presided over by Editor- in- Chief of The Tribune H. K. Dua who called upon the policy makers to review the curriculum more frequently to meet the challenges faced by the country in the changing global scenario. He expressed concern the syllabi of various courses remained unchanged in the country for over two decades. "It was not without a reason that major countries of the world rose to astonishing heights. These countries have invested in education and got the dividends", said the Editor- in- Chief.

Dua said there was need to motivate parents to get the girl child educated on a par with the boys. He said there was lack of will to change the education system, which could have far-reaching consequences.

Welcoming the delegates, Lt- Col B. S. Sandhu (Retd), said the education system in the state was out of focus and bookish while the industry today wanted skilled persons. He said the country’s population was underutilised because of limitations of educational system. He said the country"s human resource reserves could be a strength in making the nation a major world power in the years to come.

Dr Manjit Singh Grewal, Institute Director of CIIS, said the significance of career-oriented education could not be underestimated. Ron Sky, coordinator engineering studies of the Georgian College Canada, said even developed countries faced similar problems as faced by India. He said educationists in developed nations drew educational programmes only after seeking advice from representatives of the industry so that students could be imparted education as per the industry’s needs.

R. K. Sharma, from Cordia Institute, said suitable manpower to run the hi-tech industry of today was missing in the country. There was no shortage of jobs, but of skilled professionals. Educationist G. S. Dhillon said state’s education system had degenerated. Even today 50-year-old education was being imparted to the students.

A. S. Chatha, a former chief secretary of Punjab, said the education system was in a shambles and decentralisation of the whole system could help bring positive change. Rashpal Malhotra, director-general of the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) suggested modern training for the teachers to keep them up-to-date with the changing environment.

Lt Col said the symposium had been organised as Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had urged the academics to give suggestions to help the government refurbish the education system. He said a report would be prepared and submitted to the state government soon. 


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