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SDM, 7 cops hurt in clash with agitators
Removal of dargah ‘encroachment’ led to incident
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
Subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Parmjit Singh, his driver and seven policemen were among 16 persons who sustained injuries in a clash with the mob opposing officials of the Municipal Corporation and district administration following the razing of encroached portion of Dargah Jhule Lal, near Hussainpura Chowk, being managed by non-Muslims, here today.

Superintendent of police (city) Kaustab Sharma and SHO, Rambagh, however, escaped unhurt. One of the policemen sustained serious head injuries.

The SDM and the policemen tried to protect them by hiding behind a official vehicle when the mob pelted them with stones. The vehicle of the SDM was damaged by the protesters. The police had to use heavy force to disperse the protesters. Additional force had to be requisitioned from adjoining police districts.

Talking to The Tribune, deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, who had gone to Chandigarh to attend a meeting with the Chief Minister, said the district administration would take tough action against those involved in the attack. He said an FIR had already been registered against 25 persons, who were spearheading the activists.

He said the MC tried to clear the “encroachment” on the main road due to serious complaints of frequent traffic bottlenecks. The management, dominated by non-Muslims, had encroached on the main road, causing great inconvenience to commuters.

The MC razed the encroached portion of the dargah last evening.

Activists of a particular community started assembling in front of the dargah and later staged a dharna on the road. When the police failed to pacify the agitators, it resorted to lathicharge to disperse them. When the mob pelted it with stones, the police used tear gas. The SDM sustained injures on his hand.

An elevated road will pass through the point where the encroachments were removed. The shopkeepers of the area put up the shutters as the clash occurred.

However, office-bearers of the dargah management claimed that the shrine was an old building and the attempt of the MC to raze it amounted to hurting their religious feelings. However, the deputy commissioner claimed that the management had encroached on a big part of the main road by constructing a boundary wall.

 

SAD-BJP Meeting
Panel to recommend appointments
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The SAD-BJP alliance today worked out a broad framework to resolve their differences on the issue of appointment of chairmen to various boards and corporations. The coordination committee of the SAD-BJP at its meeting held here today has appointed a two- member sub-committee comprising Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Manoranjan Kalia under Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to go into the entire gambit of issues concerning the functioning and political appointments to the boards and corporations.

BJP Punjab in charge Balbir Punj and deputy in charge Kiran Ghai, who were special invitees to the meeting, helped the two sides worked on assuaging their own party men and their alliance partners, but making the SAD concede to their demand of offering 30 per cent of the posts in the boards and corporations to the BJP. “We have 30 per cent seat-sharing in the government and we will settle for the same percentage in the appointments of the chairpersons to the boards and corporations”, Punj said.

The committee is expected to submit its report at the third meeting of the SAD-BJP coordination committee scheduled to be held in Delhi on December 10.

While the SAD-BJP leadership claimed that they had a meeting in a very cordial and friendly manner, the BJP has slapped an ultimatum on the SAD to notify the constitution of five boards for the revival of the industry in Punjab by December 15.

The coordination committee was attended by Sukhbir Singh Badal, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, B.S Bhunder and Capt Kanwaljit Singh of the SAD and Raj Bhandari and Manoranjan Kalia of the BJP. Navjot Sidhu of the BJP could not reach Chandigarh in time. After the meeting Badal and Punj held a closed door meeting in which Punj is believed to have asked Badal to introduce fiscal reforms.

Earlier refusing to make any specific comment on what transpired at the meeting SAD acting president Sukhbir Singh Badal said all deliberations of the meeting would be shared in the form of a written statement. But the statement was never released.

 

Govt to impose property tax
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Punjab has decided to impose property tax in the state shortly. This has been done to improve state’s fiscal position and comply with the directive of the central government to introduce reforms before the end of the year. After deliberations for several months, Punjab has been forced to take this decision in order to continue getting central assistance under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission to make local bodies self-sufficient.

Confirming this Punjab’s Local Bodies and Industries Minister Manoranjan Kalia said a decision to this effect had been taken in principle and would be notified soon. Elaborating further he said that the tax would be unit-based and would be imposed on all urban properties.

Citing examples, he said bigger but older domestic properties would invoke lesser tax as compared to newer, but smaller buildings. The details had been worked out, but small modalities were still required following which the property tax would be imposed. This will lead to increased inflow of revenue for the local bodies, but at the same time reduce arbitrary discretion with officials of the local bodies.

He confirmed that this was part of the fiscal reforms undertaken by the state. He said that Punjab was continuing to receive grants and funds from the Centre despite warnings. 

 

Protect environment, says Dalai Lama 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
The Dalai Lama, Tibetan spiritual leader, today made a fervent appeal for a peaceful development of the world.

Addressing a gathering of intellectuals and religious heads of various religions and beliefs during the International Conference on Interfaith organised by Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha of the UK, and the Elijah Interfaith Institute from Israel at Guru Nanak Dev University, the Dalai Lama said we should strive to save our planet and for the well-being of humanity. He feared that disaster would stare us in the face in case we failed to protect our ecology and environment. He favoured the adoption of an international policy to protect national habitats in view of global warming reaching alarming proportions.

He pleaded with the religious leaders to come on one platform through these conferences to generate goodwill.

The Dalai Lama said the concept of war was totally outdated and the present day political leadership must work for peace and harmony in this fast changing world.

Jewish Rabi Jonathan Secks, while delivering the keynote address, urged the people to draw out the best wisdom and tradition from each religion for developing a universal faith encompassing whole religious beliefs and tenets. He said Sikhs had shown a new path of service with humility and respect for all religions.

The Arch Bishop of Catholic Church, Ranchi, said the present world was facing crises of faith. He suggested that we must put our respective houses in order so that we could face the challenges of the present era.

Bhai Mohinder Singh of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham,UK, said it was indeed sad that in spite of the fact that all religions speak of paramount peace, still thousands of people belonging to the minority religious communities had been massacred while Islam had been targeted as the main culprit.

He suggested that people must come together for a deeper understanding of religions through pilgrimages besides holding regular meetings of religious intellectuals.

Rajya Sabha MP Tarlochan Singh stressed on the need to introduce basic information about all faiths at the school level.

 

Red Beacons
MLA seeks Centre’s intervention
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 28
Terming the grant of red beacons to SGPC members as an act of bribery, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has sought the Centre’s intervention in the matter.

In a missive sent to union home minister Shiv Raj Patil, the PPCC demanded that the matter be looked into and appropriate action be taken. Besides, the Congress is also planning to take up the matter before the Gurdwara Juridical Commission.

Congress legislator from Bholath Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the announcement made on the eve of elections of the religious body had raised many eyebrows. Questioning the requirement of red beacons for SGPC members, Khaira contended that members were ‘preachers’ and did not need beacons for this purpose.

He said the decision was ‘highly condemnable’ as it was a tactic to woo the SGPC members to vote for SAD candidates. He said the Congress felt that the SAD had polluted electoral politics of the state and now its senior leaders were all out to corrupt the SGPC too.

He even challenged the presence of Sukhbir Badal in the general house meeting of the SGPC that was held before the presidential elections. Khaira said Sukhbir was not even a baptised Sikh, so in what capacity was he interfering in the working of the religious body. He said the Punjab Chief Minister and his son were trying to prevail upon the religious body which had an autonomous status.

Speaking about the policies of the state government, the Congress legislator said the ruling combine were misleading the general masses by making tall claims in the media. 

 

Cong concern over fiscal mismanagement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
A group of Congress leaders has expressed grave concern over what they call “fiscal mismanagement” of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab. In a joint signed statement, the leaders that include former minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, Tej Parkash Singh, Avtar Henry and Ramesh Dutt have said Punjab’s fiscal position is getting worse by the day despite huge grants to the state by the UPA government.

Brushing aside SAD-BJP allegations of Punjab getting a step-motherly treatment at the hands of the UPA alliance, these leaders quoting figures said during the Five-Year Plan finalised and approved by the NDA government, Punjab got financial stance in the shape of centrally sponsored schemes to the tune of Rs 5,240.80 crore in 2002-2007.

On the other hand for the 11th Five-Year Plan finalised by the Congress-led UPA government, Punjab will get central assistance to the tune of Rs 14,382 crore during the period. This nearly three-time increase is attributed to the generosity and magnanimity of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

They expressed surprise over the fact that despite huge financial help given by the Centre, the financial health of the state is deteriorating with each passing day.They said only Rs 72 crore had been released to the state as its share towards centrally sponsored schemes’ total outlay of Rs 522 crore. This was a continuous trend as it was going to deprive the state of the huge funds from the centrally sponsored dues for the states to the tune of Rs 1,250 crore. 

 


 

Follow-up 
DCs told to form plan panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Realising that crores of rupees of central funds meant for rural and urban development schemes will be stopped, the ruling SAD-BJP government in Punjab has issued instructions to all deputy commissioners to immediately constitute district plan committees which are mandatory for the execution of all development schemes that are to run in partnership with the Centre.

The DCs have been asked to have the committees in place by December 15 so that the information is passed on to the central government for incorporation in the budget. The committees are needed as funds under the national agriculture development plan, backward areas, rural development projects and also the urban renewal mission funds for Ludhiana and Jalandhar are linked to it.

The Tribune had highlighted in these columns that the government was facing an odd situation on this front.

Sources in the government said the committees would, at present, have elected members of the existing zila parishads and municipalities. However, fresh elections to these bodies are due in January next year and the committees would be reconstituted. So far, the committees may be loaded with Congressmen, but the composition can change after the elections.

Thanks to the formation of the committees, Punjab will now be eligible to a share in Rs 25,000 crore agriculture development plan spread across five years. Beside this these committees are a mandatory requirement to avail the Rs 2,053 crore city development project for Ludhiana and Rs 3,150 in the case of Amritsar covered under the Jawaharlal Nehru urban renewal mission.

The Punjab government in its instructions has also spelt out the composition of the committees, 20 per cent of all members will be nominated and 80 per cent of the seats will be filled through an election among existing zila parishad members and municipal councilors.

 

Consumers still get hiked power tariff bills
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
Despite claims made by the Punjab government to put on hold an increased power tariff proposed by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) a few weeks ago, residents in of the city and elsewhere in the state still have been getting bills according to the increased tariff.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has often been quoted saying the new tariff will not be enforced.

However, residents still are receiving bills according to the revised power tariff. Sources in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) reveal that the power board has received no communication whatsoever from the state government in this regard.

A highly placed source revealed that the board had no option but to prepare bills according to the tariff recommended by the PSERC.

J.C. Chowdhury, deputy director ( tariff), too confirmed here today that till yet, except PSERC orders to increase rates, the board had not yet received any instructions from the state government.

Sources also reveal that ever since the PSERC decided to revise tariff in September 2007, the board had gone into an overdrive to prepare bills at increased rates and modalitities to issue bills at new rates were put in place. At that time it was decided to increase the tariff by 8.4 per cent for domestic consumers, 7 per cent for industrial users and nearly 12 per cent for agricultural consumers.

A lot of hue and cry was made by political parties, particularly the BJP, with which the ruling SAD has an alliance.

However, after days of confabulations within the SAD and the BJP, the Chief Minister had gone on record saying the new tariff would not come into effect.

The power board, before the increased tariff came into being, sold electricity worth Rs 8,100 crore to customers of all sections. With the hiked tariff, the board planned to collect Rs 900 crore per annum which came to Rs 75 crore per month.

With no instructions coming from the state government to the power board, customers are surely feeling the pinch.

An interview with a cross section of power consumers belonging to industrial, agricultural and other sections revealed that they had to shell out more to pay power bills according to increased tariff.

Many customers are putting their payments on hold thinking that the power board, acting on the directives of the state government, would take back the inflated bills and send them fresh bills based on the old tariff structure.

 

Chief Khalsa Diwan
Vedanti pacifies warring factions
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, today intervened to bring a rapprochement between two factions of the Chief Khalsa Diwan over the election of office-bearers.

Jathedar Vedanti stepped in to end growing factionalism in the premier Sikh institution on a request of former chairman of the National Minority Commission Tarlochan Singh. Tarlochan Singh was present when both Charnjit Singh Chadha and Bhag Singh Ankhi, representatives of opposite groups, embraced each other after retaining their posts of president and secretary, respectively.

Tarlochan Singh had arranged a meeting of leaders of both factions last evening to find an amicable solution to the tussle within the institution. Dr Santokh Singh and Nirmal Singh have been elected vice-president and resident president, respectively.

According to the direction of Jathedar Vedanti, the newly elected office-bearers would work till April 30, 2009, so that the Diwan could get time to revise its constitution.

The 105-year-old Diwan, apolitical till recently, has been embroiled in controversies for the past few years. It had split in 2003 when the ruling group terminated the membership of 284 members (about 60 per cent of the total members), debarring them to cast their votes in the elections scheduled to be held in January, 2004. The split had come to the fore during the celebrations to mark the hundred years of its inception.

The Diwan was founded much before the formation of the SAD and the SGPC, which were formed in 1920 and 1925, respectively. 

 

Badal cracks whip on babus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Perturbed over growing instances of bureaucratic indifference and lack of responsiveness towards their political masters, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today took Punjab’s bureaucracy by the horns and issued a veiled threat asking them to fall in line. “If you perform your job well, there is no need for me to hold sangat darshan functions,” is what Badal told the babus without mincing words.

Though he did not single out any officer, but his tone and tenor indicated that he meant business and would not hesitate to name officers against whom he had been receiving complaints from the people and more so from the elected legislators of the SAD and the BJP. If the large-scale meeting of all deputy commissioners (DCs) and senior superintendents of police (SSPs) is any indication then these officials have no choice but to respect Badal’s directive of marking out two days a week, exclusively for interacting with and redressing grievances of the people.

Even as Badal addressed two separate meetings of the DCs and SSPs, the message - though he did not spell it in so many words, but was common to suggest that “a public servant means an officer who serves the public and it should not be misconstrued to mean maharaja of sorts”. He asked the deputy commissioners to spare Tuesday and Thursday in every week for this purpose.

SAD partner, the BJP, has complained to Badal about non-responsiveness of officers and the matter was also brought up at the coordination committee meeting of the SAD-BJP held earlier in the day. But senior officials feel that not much meaning should be read into these meetings which are routine.

 

Scrap bombs cause scare
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Scrap bombs were found from a sewer manhole in Focal Point causing a scare in the area late tonight.

The police said about 13 scrap bombs were recovered in a joint operation by municipal corporation’s sewer men and the police. The sewer was reported overflowing in the evening. The sewer men went to the spot to clean it. When they further cleaned it, live scrap bombs were also found.

The police said the Army would be called in tomorrow to find whether there were more scrap bombs in that manhole and other manholes too.

 

Deported KCF militant nabbed
Dharmedra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, November 28
The Kapurthala police nabbed a Khalistan Commando Force (Panjwar) militant from Delhi Airport this morning soon after his deportation from Canada.

Confirming this, Kapurthala SSP Rakesh Agarwal told The Tribune that the militant Jasbir Singh Sheera was wanted in a number of cases related with militant activities in late eighties and early nineties in Phagwara subdivision of Kapurthala district and in several parts of Jalandhar district.

Agarwal said the police had received information that Sheera had been deported from Canada after being caught there with fake travel documents.

Subsequently, a special team was sent to nab him at the Indira Gandhi International Airport as soon as his flight landed there, he said.

The SSP said two cases of murder and attempt to murder had been registered against him at Phagwara, whereas he was wanted in six cases by the Jalandhar police, including recovery of RDX.

He was reportedly exonerated by the court in some of the these cases, however, the exact picture would be clear only after studying his entire record tomorrow, he added.

A permanent resident of Umarpura village in Phillaur subdivision of Jalandhar district, Sheera was produced in a Phagwara court late this evening and the court remanded him in two-day police custody.

 

Fast track court for NRIs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Punjab government proposes to set up a fast track court to deal with the problems of NRIs. A request will be made to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

A proposal to this effect was mooted by SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who said the cases pertaining to NRI affairs had been reportedly lingering for years.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the empowered steering committee for the NRIs sammelan to be held at Chandigarh and Jalandhar on January 5 and 6.

Disclosing this here, media adviser to the Chief Minister said in another significant decision the committee asked the government to set up NRI police stations-cum-facilitation centres in six districts of Moga, Nawanshahr, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Ludhiana.

 

Contempt of Court
HC orders arrest of Amritsar resident 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed an Amritsar resident to be taken into custody for casting aspersions on judiciary in an application.

The orders directing the police to take Jaswant Sarpal into custody were issued by a division Bench of the high court headed by Justice Mehtab Singh Gill only after the former refused to withdraw the application.

As the application came up for hearing before the judges, Sarpal loudly stated in the courtroom that he was not feeling sorry for levelling allegations in the plea and the court was at liberty to act against him.

Taking a serious view of Sarpal’s conduct and the contents of the application, the Bench observed: “The application moved today by Jaswant Sarpal is prima facie and on the face of it contemptuous. He has cast aspersions not only on the court, but also on the high court Chief Justice, judges of the court, judges of the district courts and Anmol Rattan Sidhu, additional advocate-general, Haryana. This type of intemperate language, which demeans the dignity of the court, cannot be tolerated, whatever the grievance of the petitioner”.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Gill further observed: “We asked the petitioner to withdraw the application. But, he has in a defiant tone and loud voice stated that he will not feel sorry for the allegations levelled in it and will not withdraw it.”

The judge ruled: “There is no need to go any further in this petition. Probably, the contemner thinks he can say whatever he likes against any judge and get away with it.”

Further ruling that there were sufficient grounds to charge the contemner, the judge recorded: “We asked him as to whether he has anything to say about the charge to be framed against him, but he stated he has nothing to say and the court was at liberty to award him any punishment.”

The judge directed: “Jaswant Sarpal is taken in custody under Section 14 (4) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. The contemner is at liberty to furnish bail bonds and one surety of the like amount of Rs 10,000 to the satisfaction of the arresting officer. If he does furnish the bail bonds and the surety, the arresting officer shall release him on bail. Mahabir Singh, sub inspector, police station, Sector 3, Chandigarh, is directed to take the contemner into custody and hand him over to the superintendent, Burail Jail, if he does not furnish the bail bond and surety.”

The judge concluded: “The matter be placed before the Chief Justice for appropriate order so that the contempt petition could be taken by another Bench.” The case will now come up for further hearing on January 9 next year.

 

Harassment case against MLA: records summoned

Chandigarh, November 28
After observing that Hargobindpur MLA Balbir Singh Bath was prima facie involved in the harassment of some Jalandhar residents, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today summoned the relevant record.

Taking up a petition by Jalandhar resident Sewa Singh and another petitioner, Justice Surya Kant of the high court fixed January 24 as the next date of hearing.

The petitioners had alleged that they were subjected to humiliation and harassment by the local police on the basis of fictitious and frivolous complaints at the instance of Bath.

Seeking directions to the police authorities for the protection of their life and liberty, the petitioners also prayed for a 15-day notice in case they were required to carry out any inquiry or investigation.

Giving details, the petitioners alleged they were being harassed following the proceedings arising out of a marital dispute between Sewa Singh’s daughter and the relatives of respondents Sukhman Preet Singh and Amrit Pal Singh. The action against the petitioner was the fallout of this case, the petitioner contended.

Taking serious note of the allegations, Justice Surya Kant observed in the open court that prima facie it appeared that the local police did harass the petitioners at the behest of the local MLA.

Such an inference was obvious from the fact that so-called complaints from non-existent persons were entertained and petitioners were summoned to the police station.

This could not have been done except for their arm-twisting and to bring them to terms with the respondent Sukhman Preet Singh and Amrit Pal Singh against whom the daughter of the petitioner had got a case registered.

However, before passing any order to suitably compensate the petitioners in monetary terms for the harassment caused to them by the local police, the Bench directed that the records pertaining to the complaints be produced before the court.

 

Status quo ordered in MC property case

Chandigarh, November 28
Taking up a petition seeking directions to Punjab, the Fazilka Municipal Council and other respondents for quashing an order vide which prime property of around Rs 10 crore of the council has been “wrongly and illegally handed over” to a cotton mill, a division Bench of the High Court today directed the maintenance of status quo.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover also issued a notice of motion to Punjab and others for March 19 next year. The judges also directed trees on the land in question not to be chopped.

In his petition, Sukhjeet Singh and another resident of Fazilka had sought the quashing of the impugned order dated October 3 passed by the additional director, Local Government. The petitioner had contended that after the order prime property was handed over to the cotton mill with the active connivance of the official respondents. The petitioners had added that as a result huge loss had been caused to the exchequer. Elaborating, the petitioners claimed that prime property had been converted into that of a lesser value. 

 

4 cops convicted of torturing colleague
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
The court of additional sessions judge (ad hoc)-cum-Fast Track Court Bhupinder Singh Sidhu today sentenced four policemen to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a penalty of Rs 15,000 each on them for torturing, abducting and illegally detaining special police officer Gurmeet Singh and members of his family.

The CBI had farmed charges against inspector Des Raj, sub-inspector Gurmail Singh, assistant sub-inspectors Teja Singh, Naib Singh and Ranjit Singh and head constables Karamjit Singh and Pritam Singh for torture of SPO Gurmeet Singh and his family at Muktsar in October, 1994.

While, Ranjit Singh died during the case proceedings, the court acquitted Des Raj and Naib Singh.

SPO Gurmeet Singh had filed a complaint with his seniors that he had been tortured in the police station by his fellow policemen in October, 1994. As no action was taken on his complaint, he moved the court. Following this, the police picked up members of his family and tortured them.

In its report, the CBI stated that the relatives of the SPO’s family, including his brother Manjit Singh, his father Mal Singh, his mother Jagir Kaur and sister Malkiat Kaur, were picked up and taken to the Gidderbaha police station and illegally detained there by SI Gurmail Singh and ASI Teja Singh. Subseqently, a warrant officer of the high court raided the police station and rescued them.

 

Fake currency: CBI probe sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
In a public interest litigation filed in the high court, advocate H.C. Arora has sought a CBI probe into fake currency case allegedly involving Punjab police officer G.S. Pherurai. Action has also been sought against government officials turning hostile in the case.

Pherurai was acquitted by a fast track court of Ambala cantonment on October 6.

The petitioner contended that inquiry by the police would not be useful due to possible involvement of senior police officials.

 

GND varsity honours Dhir
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
Guru Nanak Dev (GND) University today honoured two distinguished litterateurs of Punjabi, Santokh Singh Dhir and T.R. Sharma, with life fellowships in recognition of their contributions to Punjabi literature.

Former chairman of the Minority Commission of India Tarlochan Singh presided over the function and bestowed the fellowships on two litterateurs. Vinakshi, daughter of Sharma, received the fellowship on behalf of her father who was indisposed.

Vice-chancellor Jai Rup Singh welcomed the eminent writers. Senior professor Dharam Singh read out the citation of Sharma while Prof Harbhajan Singh Bhatia presented the citation of Dhir.

The vice-chancellor reiterated his commitment to promotion of the Punjabi language, literature and culture as per the aims and objectives of the university.

Expressing concern over the present condition of the Punjabi language, Tarlochan Singh said it was one of those languages which had not been given due attention for their development. Even in our neighbouring states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan, the condition of the Punjabi language was pitiable. He regretted that the Punjabi community could not avail itself of the grants under the Maulana Azad Education Fund Scheme for the past 20 years.

The share of Punjab has been decreasing in central services and allied services. It is clear that there are some shortcomings in our present education system, he added.

 

Punjabi varsity staff to continue stir
Dean (alumni) tenders resignation
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
The Joint Action Committee, comprising representatives of teachers, students and non-teaching employees of Punjabi University, which had launched an agitation against former vice-chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, announced here today that it would continue its agitation even though the vice-chancellor had resigned.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Manjit Singh, convener of the committee, said their agitation was against the harassment and victimisation of teachers, non-teaching employees and students of the university and the protest would continue till they get justice.

The committee wants that the ongoing Vigilance inquiry against the vice-chancellor should be taken to its logical conclusion, he said, adding that the new vice-chancellor must assure the protesters that those who had been victimised at the instance of Boparai shall get justice, he added. Moreover, the new vice-chancellor should be an academician.

Dr Manjit Singh listed a number of instances of omission and commission of Boparai that included postings on non-existent posts.

Meanwhile, some senior functionaries of the university, including Dr Jaswinder Singh, dean (alumni), and Dr Baldev Singh, professor in charge of examinations, resigned today.

Senior teachers, who had been holding additional charge, had put in their papers yesterday. They included officer on special duty to vice-chancellor T. A. Sarma, director of public relations Gurmeet Singh Maan, dean (youth welfare) Sunita Dhir, and professor in charge (finance) A. S. Chawla.

Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, head of the psychology department, resigned yesterday saying that he did not want to continue in office after Boparai had decided to quit.

 

Region’s first B-school for women
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
In all fairness to the fair sex, the region’s first-ever stand-alone women business school is all set to come up on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway.

For the purpose, land has already been acquired and the matter has been placed before the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for the issuance of letter of intent. Punjab government’s approval and Punjab Technical University’s affiliation has also been sought by the Aryans Business School (ABS) for establishing the institute.

The institute, Aryans Business School for Women expects to undertake the admissions process for the 2008-09 session. The development is significant as data provided by the Centre for Women Business Research, based in Washington, says women have 50 per cent or even greater stake in nearly 11 million private companies based in the US.

“A similar trend is now emerging in India,” says ABS chairman Anshu Kataria. “Even now the ratio of women managers in the corporate world is on a rise.”

Otherwise also, the popularity of management studies among women can be gauged from the fact that nearly 13,000 candidates took CAT on November 18 at Chandigarh alone. Out of the total, a substantial number of candidates were women.

Giving reasons behind the move to establish an all-women management institute, Kataria says in the interior of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir people are still not comfortable with the idea of sending girls to co-educational institutes for higher studies, even though women prove to be better managers with superior administrative and professional skills.

 

New machine to prevent burning of paddy straw
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 28
Despite the several known ill-effects, a large number of farmers in Punjab still continue the old practice of burning paddy straw for preparing their fields to sow wheat or other crops.

Now a new machine called Happy Seeder has been developed, which will prevent farmers from burning paddy straw.

The Punjab Agriculture Department has been carrying out demonstrations of the machine to farmers in their fields across the state, said agriculture director B.S. Sidhu while talking to The Tribune.

The department had purchased 15 machines for holding its training, testing and demonstration programmes. Sidhu said, “Apart from preventing the farmers from burning paddy straw, the fertility of the land remains intact and the cost of sowing wheat also reduces with the use of this machine.”

Agricultural engineer (implements), Jalandhar circle, Manmohan Kalia told The Tribune that over 50 extensive field demonstrations of the machine had already been held in different villages of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts.

The new machine, developed by PAU, Ludhiana, mulches the entire portion of straw, Kalia said, adding that it simultaneously prepared the land for sowing another crop. Two models of Happy Seeder were available in the market costing Rs 70,000 to Rs 75,000 on 25 per cent subsidy.

 

Shingaar Blast
Another suspect held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
In a major fillip to the Shingaar cinema bomb blast case, the city police has nabbed an alleged terrorist Bhavdeep Singh, considered to be close to Gurpreet Singh, who is wanted in the Mullanpur RDX recovery case.

Senior superintendent of police R.K. Jaiswal said though the involvement of Gurpreet, Bhavdeep and others in the case was not established, they were surely among the prime suspects.

Bhavdeep was nabbed near Dakha last night. The police said Bhavdeep’s arrest would lead to the arrest of prime accused Gurpreet Singh soon.

 


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