P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Environmentalists claim
Tree-felling rules relaxed for influential persons
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 3
The decision of the Punjab government to relax the rules for felling trees in forest areas of the state has drawn flak from environmentalists. They have alleged that the rules have been relaxed on the plea that it will be benefiting for the farmers. However, the government is allegedly benefiting the influential persons of the state who have bought huge chunks of forest land at throwaway prices from poor farmers of Kandi areas.

They have alleged that a private company has recently acquired thousands of acres of forest land in Hoshiarpur. The acquisition of such large chunks of forests by private firms cannot be seen in isolation from the recent developments.

The government has recently reduced the felling period from 10 to five years. Besides, it has been laid that farmers will not require prior permission for felling and sale of fast growing trees such as poplar, eucalyptus, bamboo culms, subabul and mulberry trees from their fields.

Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa, wildlife warden from Hoshiarpur, who has challenged this in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, said there was already no ban on felling trees on cultivated land. However, if a designated forest area has been converted into agriculture land, green cover should be kept in tact over it. The present decision of the Punjab Forest Department would further encourage the influential people for converting forest lands into agriculture fields.

The government has also allowed the felling of dead, dry, fallen and dying trees throughout the year. Earlier, such trees can be felled only during a specific period and after proper certification from forest officials.

Prabhat Bhatti, who runs an NGO, Jagriti, said the definition of dying and fallen trees is very abstract. Any tree that even temporarily sheds leaves can now be designated as dying by a farmer. Even when strict rules were prevalent as per a forest survey of India report, 80,000 sq hectares of forest area was lost allegedly due to illegal felling.

Sandeep Jain, state functionary of the People for Animal’s Organisation, said the present government decision reflected shortsightedness. If the government really wanted to help the farmers it should grow more trees, especially those whose yield could help in boosting the income of farmers.

Gunraj Singh, former wildlife warden, said we would also seek information under the RTI Act regarding large chunks of forest lands purchased by influential persons and companies.

The forest area in Punjab has already reduced to the least in the country.


Education board in for major reforms
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Punjab School Education Board ( PSEB) that deals with lakhs of students at school level, is in for major reforms. All major branches dealing with examination, migration, affiliation, registration and results will be computerised soon. Results of all classes conducted by the board will be available online.

First of all, directions have been issued to update syllabi of agriculture and physical education subjects. The syllabi of both the subjects had not been updated for the past 20 years. The board is following the CBSE syllabus in case of maths and science subjects. In case of history, civics and Punjabi, the board itself prescribes the syllabus.

“Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Education Minister Upinderjit Kaur have told me to make the board one of the best in the country and I will do the best in this regard,” said Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, chairman of the board, talking to The Tribune here today.

A high-level committee of academics will be set up soon to inspect private schools affiliated to the board. The committee will be asked to find out whether schools were sticking to conditions laid down at the time of granting affiliation.

Functioning of the entire board would be made transparent. Examination forms will also be available online and students will not have to run around to submit these to the board. “It is my objective to make results of matric available online in June next year,” said Dr Dhillon. He said “I am a bit upset that till date no major effort was made to introduce computer-system in the board in a big way.”

He said the entire old record of results of various classes would be stored on computer discs which would be available at three places. “We are going to introduce the system of spot evaluation of answer sheets. Honorarium for evaluation will be raised from Rs 2 to Rs 4 per answer sheet but teachers will have to evaluate them at a place provided by the board”, he added.

Students and their parents will not have to come to Mohali for minor work related to their examination and results etc, he said. “We are upgrading all board’s depots at district headquarters. These depots will be linked to the board at Mohali via internet and will have all facilites.

The academic council, the finance committee and the registration committee will be reconstituted to tone up the functioning of the board. All decisions taken by the board will be made public through the public relations officer. 


Dalits lay claim to dera, NRI lands
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Dalits in Punjab have reiterated their claim on thousands of acres of land under control of religious deras, non-resident Indians (NRIs) and government departments, saying their present cultivation was in individual and not public interest.

Reiterating its demand of making “cultivators as owners of land”, the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan wants that amended land reforms should be implemented to end the age-old exploitation of landless Dalits.

Since the present owners of these huge pieces of land have never been cultivators themselves, the government should take them over for distribution among landless Dalits, demands the Andolan, planning a huge demonstration in Chandigarh on December 6 in support of some of its long standing demands.

Prabhjot Kaur, project coordinator of the Andolan, says that successive governments in Punjab had been promising land for houseless in the State. At the fag end of their terms in office, the ruling parties stage dramas of issuing allotment letters, which end up in petty fights among Dalits and poor families without ever solving their problem of housing.

The Andolan is now demanding a five-marla plot for each landless and houseless family. Besides each such family should be given a two-marla plot for dumping of cowdung.

Among other demands raised by the Andolan include immediate end to bonded labour as directed by the 1998 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Practice of discrimination at cremation grounds, she says, continues to be a serious problem. The government has to take immediate steps to protect funeral rights of the Dalits by demolishing the barriers of caste and untouchability.

Offences under the Untouchability Act should be amended to make them punishable for seven-year imprisonment and backlog in government services should be cleared and the reservation laws amended to ensure reservation in private sector as well.

The Andolan also wants strict action against police officials responsible for the arrest of their fellow workers who were taking out a peaceful procession in the Lehra area of Sangrur district. It also wants representation for Dalits in the syndicates of universities of the state.

Taking serious view of increased use of insecticides and pesticides, the Andolan also wants an immediate review of mechanised farm practices and their replacement of organic and small farm practices.


World Disability Day
Admn plans survey of disabled
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
The district administration here will have disabled persons in the district surveyed to include them in government-sponsored schemes, said deputy commissioner K.S.Pannu at a function of the District Red Cross Society on the occasion of the World Disability Day here today.

He said to reduce in the grant of benefits to almost every physically and mentally challenged, it was planned to issue disability certificates by next year.

Pannu said in 2006-07, the District Red Cross Society distributed 1.25 lakh artificial limbs, 70 tri-cycles and 10 hearing-aids among the disabled. He lauded NGOs like the Rotary Club in helping the disabled.

Dr Lehamber Singh, civil surgeon, said the possibility of disability could be reduced considerably if pregnant women delivered in hospitals and newborns were given crucial medical aid soon after delivery.

D.P.S.Dhillon, district education officer (secondary), said the Education Department had decided to have ramps to classrooms for classes I to VIII for the benefit of disabled students. He said under the Inclusive Education programme, the disabled students were not taught in separate sections, but where healthy students were taught.

Dr Amrit Singh Arora, assistant civil surgeon, said the Health Department issued disability certificates twice a day required for free bus and rail travel, besides pension and Income Tax benefits.

S.P.Bangar, District and Sessions Judge, was the chief guest at a seminar on disability organised at the school for the blind, Lohgarh.

He said under the Mental Health Act, the disabled had been assured protection of rights.

He said the Act promised free treatment for the mentally challenged at the Government Psychiatric Hospital without any prejudice against them.


Bhindranwale’s Portrait
Bhattal to meet Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal on Saturday said she would meet the Governor, Union Home Minister and Prime Minister to urge them to get the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale removed from the Golden Temple’s Sikh Museum.

In a separate statement, the CPI leader, Dr Joginder Dayal, has also strongly opposed the portrait at the museum. He said the SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal should look ahead and not open old wounds.

He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had political control over the SGPC, should not play political games to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state.

The SGPC had unveiled the portrait in the museum a few days ago.

Meanwhile, Bhattal held a meeting in this regard with party MLAs. About a dozen MLAs were present at the meeting. Bhattal said the party was opposed to the installing of the portrait at the museum. She said Badal was maintaining silence on the issue. He should make his views public on such a sensitive issue that was bothering various sections of the society.

Bhattal will take party MLAs along to meet the Governor, it is learnt.


Stay away from Sikh matters, SSF (M) to Cong
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
Warning the Congress party, the Sikh Student Federation (Mehta) yesterday asked the party to stop interfering in the internal matters of Sikhs.

The federation was reacting to the remarks allegedly made by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, on the installation of the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale in the Sikh Museum at the Golden Temple premises here.

Amarbir Singh Dhot, district president (urban), along with national general secretary of the federation, in a press statement said the Congress should refrain from interfering in the internal matters of the Sikhs. 


‘Cong, not SAD, failed on law & order front’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
Slamming former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s statement that total lawlessness was prevailing in Punjab, SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra has said Capt Amarinder Singh was trying to rake up the issue without any rhyme and reason. He also criticised the Congress effort for making an issue out of the installation of the portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the Sikh Museum in Amritsar.

“Capt Amarinder Singh and the Congress are trying to confuse people. Firstly, the previous Congress regime was a complete failure on the law and order front. I think that Amarinder had not done proper homework on this issue. Secondly, the SAD does not come into picture as far as the installation of the portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was concerned.

Amarinder Singh, who was in the city yesterday to mourn the death of businessman Ashu Jain, who was gunned down by two assailants, had alleged that there had been total collapse of law and order in the state.


Anti-Sikh forces active in state: Bittu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Chairman of the presidium of the Shiromani Akali Dal (A) Daljit Singh Bittu today said anti-Sikh forces had become active in the state and that they had started interfering in the internal affairs of the Sikhs.

Addressing a press conference here today, Daljit Singh said installation of the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale at the Golden Temple museum was an internal matter of the Sikhs and others should not feel agitated over this issue. He said Sikhs had never objected to the memorials raised for the late Indira Gandhi and other leaders who were known for “anti-Sikh” stances.

He said if any one dared to burn the effigy of Bhindranwale or remove his portrait from the museum in the Golden Temple, he would be punished. 



British Columbia offer to upgrade school education 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Visiting Premier of British Columbia (Canada) Gordon Campbell today offered services to work together with the Punjab Government in upgrading technical skills and knowledge through experts and teachers' exchange programmes in spheres of primary and secondary education, tele-medicine, bio-technology, nano-technology and information technology.

Campbell made this offer during the banquet speech at a dinner hosted by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in honour of the visiting delegation here last night. The delegation comprised eminent experts, scientists and teachers from various disciplines.

Badal informed the delegation that Punjabis shared a special bonding with British Columbia-one of the most prosperous and advanced provinces in Canada.

Project plan

The Punjab government has chalked out a comprehensive plan of Rs 123.3 crore under major extension, renovation and modernisation (ERM) project for the rehabilitation of 1st Patiala feeder and Kotla branch in a phased manner.

A decision to this effect was taken here today by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a meeting with senior officers of the Irrigation Department.

Under this plan 1500 villages of Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda, Ludhiana and Barnala would be benefited and 1.7 lakh acres of additional land would come under canal irrigation, added Badal. 


Bhindranwale Portrait Controversy
SGPC justifying Operation Bluestar: Bitta
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, December 3
Maninderjit Singh Bitta, president of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, today said the portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale installed by the SGPC in its museum at Amritsar was ‘blatantly wrong’ and in fact this decision of the SGPC actually justified Operation Bluestar.

Talking to The Tribune here today, he said Bhindranwale was actually a terrorist and his photo should not have been installed alongside portraits of other leaders of Sikh faith. He called Bhindranwale a puppet in the hands of Pakistan and has demanded an all-party meeting to be convened as soon as possible on this issue lest it snowballs into a major controversy in future.

Bitta said people from all walks of life visit the museum and hanging of Bhindranwale’s portrait by the SGPC sends a wrong 

Bitta added that Daljit Singh Bittu and Jasbir Singh Rode had today threatened to gherao him, but when he went to Nabha he did not meet even a single person set up either by Bittu or Rode to ‘gherao’ him.

He added the central and the state level intelligence agencies should serve the nation with a responsibility.

Bitta said that 300 police cats deployed by the former DGP S.S. Virk were actually property dealers and had amassed wealth to the tune of crore of rupees. He said that an inquiry should be instituted into the matter.

He showered praise on the PPCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and said she was a taksali Congress leader.

Bitta added the UP government should provide proper security to Rahul Gandhi who was facing a kidnapping threat.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Harpal Singh, vice-president of the Punjab unit of the organisation.

Nabha: The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front president Maninderjit Singh Bitta on Monday lashed out heavily on the leaders advocating installation of the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale at the museum of the Harmandar Sahib.

He said Simranjit Singh Mann, Jasbir Singh Rode and Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu, who were hailing the decision of the installation of Bhindranwale's portrait, were of criminal nature and wanted to destabilise the peace of the state by issuing their pro-Khalistani speeches.

He claimed with such type of stand the trio could get uninterrupted money from their foreign bosses.

He said Mann promoted militancy in the state and was again trying to divide society with his petty thought. Commenting on the statement of Mann, describing Bhagat Singh a militant, he said what could be expected of a person whose forefathers were traitors.

Bitta seemed unprepared and fumbled on many occasions during the press conference organised at the residence of front advisor Sushil Jain. Speaking about Bhindrawale, he said there were only “12 Gurus”, but was corrected by mediapersons. He said how Bhindrawale, who was responsible for Operation Bluestar, elimination of 36,000 lives and turmoil in the state, could be equated to the great Sikh Gurus.


State mulls over marriage Act for Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Sixty years after Independence, Sikhs in Punjab are set to get the right of marriages registeredoutside the purview of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or the Special Marriages Act, 1954, which till now covered Sikh marriages.

The SAD-BJP regime in Punjab has plan to bring in legislation allowing Sikh couples to get marriages registered separately.

The Sikhs have been demanding this for long saying by registering their marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, their identity as a religion separate from Hinduism, was being curbed. The marriage ceremony among the Sikh community is called “Anand Karaj” and is performed in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. The ceremony is different from the Vedic rituals performed during Hindu marriages, Sikh intellectuals have argued .

Since Independence, Sikhs had not been given this right of separate laws for the registration of marriage as other minorities in the country like Christians, Muslims and Parsis.

At the time of Independence, the Government of India never “gazetted” - or adopted the Anand Marriage Act, 1909. This Act, enacted by the British, gave a separate identity to the Sikh marriages held as per the “Sikh Rehat Maryada”.

Now Punjab will have to introduce its provisions that may be the similar to the Anand Marriage Act of 1909, but the title may vary since the state cannot “adopt” a pre-Independence Act on its own. A high-level meeting was held to deliberate on the subject and it was decided an ordinance will be brought, if a Bill is not tabled in forthcoming session of the Vidhan Sabha commencing in the middle of December.

Legal implications were being studied, sources in the Punjab government said. Last week neighbouring Pakistan announced that Sikhs would be allowed to register their marriages and the Anand Karaj Act would be enacted. The announcement had come at Nankana Sahib on the occasion of Gurpurb on November 24.

Ideally for the Sikhs, a uniform law passed by the Indian Parliament, that would be applicable to the entire community all over the country, would have been the best option. With a Supreme Court ruling making it mandatory for marriages to be registered across the country the deadline is the end of January and by that time a separate act for the Sikhs will help.

Meanwhile, separately, the Law and Justice Committee of the Government of India, will take up the matter of the Anand Marriage Act at its meeting to be held in New Delhi tomorrow. 


Moga Sex Scam
Akali leader’s son seeks permission to inspect files
Tribune News Service 

Chandigarh, December 3 
A day before the hearing of the Moga sex scam in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Barjinder Singh, son of senior Akali leader Tota Singh, today filed an application seeking permission to inspect the judicial files and "make copies of the proceedings".

In his application, Barjinder Singh has stated that the manner in which the proceedings before the high court have been reported in the press, the impression is that they are also alleged to be connected with the scam.

Describing it as a serious matter, Barjinder Singh has added that the applicant has the right to be heard before findings in this regard are recorded by the high court. The non-participation of the applicant would be contrary to the principles of natural justice, he asserted.

Quoting newspaper reports, he has asserted that an application has been moved by Bharat Bhushan Garg and Inderjit Singh. The two have stated that they were pressurised by Tota Singh and his son to desert the Congress party and join the Akali Dal, failing which they would be implicated in some false case. 

"It is common knowledge in Moga that Bharat Bhushan Garg and Inderjit Singh stand charge-sheeted by the trial court for the offence of committing rape…," he has stated. 

Barjinder Singh has further asserted that he has been advised to submit that on the basis of their application, "there is no sufficient ground for any inquiry at all, whether by the police or by any other investigating agency, including the Central Bureau of Investigation, so far as the applicant and his father are concerned. The application, he has added, seems to be an attempt to create defence in the earlier case. 

Barjinder Singh's application is expected to be taken up, along with the main case, by a Division Bench of the High Court, headed by Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, on Tuesday. 

Tota Singh's son’s name had surfaced in the Moga sex scam proceedings on the previous date of hearing after Moga residents Bhushan Garg and Inderjit Singh had stated before the court that they were falsely implicated due to political pressure at the instance of Baljinder Singh. 

Bhushan Garg's wife and Inderjit Singh are municipal councillors. Seeking the handing over of the cases to the CBI, the two, through counsel Sant Pal Singh Sidhu, had further expressed apprehensions that the accused in the matter may get a clean chit as senior police officers and highly influential persons were involved. 


Book Mann for sedition, says Sud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Senior BJP leader and medical education and forest minister, Punjab, Tikshan Sud today demanded that Simaranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), be booked for sedition for hurting feelings of countrymen by calling Bhagat Singh, a petty terrorist.

In a statement issued here today, the BJP leader said it was unfortunate that a person like Mann was being allowed to make such provocative statements.

He said Mann should understand that freedom of speech in the garb of which he was making these statements was granted to every citizen due to the ultimate sacrifice made by Bhagat Singh.

Giving a call for social boycott of Mann, Sud said all citizens cutting across political lines should socially boycott Mann. 


Probe ordered into ‘misuse’ of Red Cross funds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has ordered an inquiry into the alleged misuse of Red Cross funds by different districts of the state.

All four divisional commissioners have been directed to conduct a probe into the working of all Red Cross Societies of the districts and submit report within 15 days to the chief secretary.

Instructions to this effect were issued by the Department of Personnel of the state government yesterday. aOn November 30 the government had issued directions to all deputy commissioners not to collect funds from people visiting government offices in the name of Red Cross or any other organisation. 


Blanket bail to Amarinder
Punjab fails to file reply again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
For the second consecutive time, the State of Punjab has failed to file a reply in the matter pertaining to the grant of blanket bail to state's former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Following the state's request for additional time, Justice Ranjit Singh of the high court said he hoped that the state was not intending to violate the court orders.

As the matter came up for hearing this morning, the state counsel requested the court for the grant of two weeks time to file a reply. Accepting his request, Justice Ranjit Singh fixed January 15 as the next date of hearing in the matter. But before parting with the case, the Judge exclaimed: I hope you do not intend to violate the court orders or do anything that would create complications.

The judge also asked counsel for the former Chief Minister to place on record the Supreme Court's orders dismissing the Special Leave Petition filed by the state in the city centre case.

It may be recalled that the state's attempts to seek adjournment on Capt Amarinder Singh's petition for blanket bail had on the last date of hearing also generated sharp verbal reaction from the high court.

Amarinder Singh had earlier moved the high court seeking directions for the grant of blanket bail to him in view of what he termed as politics of vendetta unleashed against him by the Akali-BJP government since it came to power in March this year.

"The SAD-BJP alliance led by Parkash Singh Badal does not seem to have any agenda except to unleash revenge against its political opponents," the former Chief Minister had asserted. He had added that the manner and method adopted by the Punjab police in arresting its former chief S.S.Virk, while ignoring all norms and rules of law, showed the working of a vindictive mind which could go to any extent to take revenge.

Describing it as "shameless abuse of power" and "mockery of provisions of law", he had added that the state machinery was being misused for involving opponents in false cases.


Notice issued to industries dept secy
Wilful violation of orders on subsidy release
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
After the secretary, department of industries, admitted a backlog of Rs 350-crore industrial subsidy in an affidavit filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a Division Bench today issued a suo motu contempt notice to him for wilful violation of orders on subsidy release.

Taking cognisance of the matter, the Division Bench, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Ajai Lamba, observed in the open court that an affidavit had been filed in the court, stating that Rs 100 crore would be released by March 31 next year.

The Bench added that in the affidavit it had been admitted that there was a backlog of Rs 350 crore. As such, the violation of the court orders dated May 11, 2006, to this extent stood admitted.

Issuing the notice, the judges ruled that the matter may be listed before the Bench hearing contempt proceedings. The judges also directed the listing of the matter on December 10.

The judges, on the previous date of hearing on the petition filed by Bahia Resorts Private limited, had observed: It has been pointed out that in order passed in CWP 1436 of 2005 on May 11, 2006, a statement was made on behalf of the state government that subsidy amount of Rs 100 crore will be released per year.

Though an affidavit has been filed on May 11, 2007, by H.S. Pabla, additional secretary to Government, Punjab, department of industries and commerce, stating that the government was committed to abide by the order, it is not clear whether for 2007-08, the subsidy has been paid.

He further points out that as per the affidavit itself, there is a backlog of Rs 350 crore and, thus, there is violation of the order dated May 11, 2006. Before we take cognisance of the violation of the order of this court, we give one more opportunity to secretary to the Punjab government, Department of Industries and Commerce, to file an affidavit within a week making it clear that order dated May 11, 2006, stood complied with or to show cause why contempt proceedings be not notified.

Earlier, in its petition against the State of Punjab and another respondent, Bahia Resorts had stated that the government, in 1996, came out with industrial policy and gave incentive for the development of hotel industry. Subsequently, huge amounts were invested. It was nowhere mentioned in the policy that the subsidy amount to be released was subject to availability of funds with the industries department. He added that the state, on January 3, rejected the petitioner's request to adjust the subsidy amount.

In his affidavit, the secretary had stated that there was a backlog of approximately Rs 500 crore. Out of the total, Rs 150 crore has already been disbursed during 2005-06; and 2006-07. He had added that Rs 350 crore was pending disbursement.

Fine imposed

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the State of Punjab for removing a woman telephone operator in the office of the Punjab Excise and Taxation office at Patiala for alleged unauthorised absence and the rejection of her appeal against removal by the appellate authority.

The petitioner, Lalita, of Patiala was a daily wage telephone operator since March 7, 1996. After she returned from maternity leave, she was not allowed to join the duty.

She had moved the high court then, which ordered status quo.

Her appeal to the financial commissioner, excise and taxation, was turned down, but it was contended by the petitioner that the appellate authority in passing the order never examined the case in entirety.

Disposing of her petition, a Division Bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Sham Sunder set aside the order dated February 27, 2007. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Khehar observed in the open court that it would be appropriate to impose costs of Rs 25,000 on the respondents. Out of the total, Rs 10,000 would be paid to the petitioner to meet the cost of litigation.

The remaining amount would be deposited with Punjab State Legal Services Authority within one month.

Justice Khehar further observed that the action in contesting the writ petition was most regrettable.

It seems there was no application of mind at the time when senior officers were disposing of appeals on the administrative side.


Pbi varsity officials gave up only additional charges: JAC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
The joint action committee has reacted to the news item in sections of the Press that certain senior teachers have resigned in solidarity with former vice-chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai.

According to a press note issued here today by the JAC the persons who had submitted resignations were trying to mislead the public, Press and the government to save Boparai from nquiry so that truth did not surface. Among the persons who submitted resignations, seven persons had already retired and got the positions as undue favours in violation of rules and regulations and the University Act. These seven persons were S. P. S. Virdi, who was using suffix doctor but he was not a Ph. D, U.C. Singh ,who took study leave with pay but did not complete Ph D and the former vice-chancellor ordered his reversion, Prof T. A. Sharma was the first retired professor who became OSD to V C for doing petty work of a clerk.

Dr Baldev Singh became the chief coordinator (examination) on a non-existent post. M.S. Gurm and H.S. Sohal reveal the same story.

Dr B S Sandhu who resigned as registrar is defended by the former vice-chancellor out of way in a bribery case and remained a loyalist in all victimisation cases against the teachers, non-teaching staff and students. Sucha Singh Gill, dean academic affairs was with the former vice-chancellor but he never took action against him.

The release added Jaswinder Singh got his close relatives recruited in the university who did not fulfill qualifications and got many other undue benefits for himself.

The JAC pointed out of these not a single teacher had offered to resign from substantive post they held. Many of these persons like A.K. Dham, Ritu Lehal, Kulwinder Singh, Deepak Kumar, Gurmeet Mann, Sunita Dhir, Rakesh Mohan Sharma, Jaswinder Singh, A.S. Chawla, S.K. Verma, H.S. Bhatti and Jagtar Singh had only resigned from additional charges and they did not resign from substantive posts also.

The JAC requests the government of Punjab to institute a high- level inquiry against Boparai and his coterie into all these irregularities so that truth came out. In an another press note by the Forum for Educational Action and Reforms here today said the exit of Boparai was a great relief to all democratic,secular and freedom loving academic circles. 


BEd: Institute for special children starts
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, December 3
Punjab's first institute to impart B.Ed degree to teachers for educating special children was dedicated to its people on the International Day for Disabled Persons here today.

V.K. Meena, deputy commissioner, dedicated the institute to the people of the state during a ceremony, which was also an attempt to highlight the work of disabled persons. The institute is named the Umang Red Cross Institute of Special Education (URCISE) for running B.Ed special education (mental retardation).

Meena said the degree course would be conducted by Punjabi University, Patiala. The institute would provide trained teachers for teaching mentally and physically challenged patients. The one-year B.Ed course has 20 seats.

The exhibition organised on the occasion showcased not only the talent of mentally and physically challenged persons, but also their will to stand on their feet. Their hand-made items included file covers, manually prepared cards, candles, pots, book binding, etc. Items of daily need prepared by them drew the attention of visitors.

Recipient of the 2002 National Award for outstanding contribution towards the welfare of physically challenged people, the B.Ed college will be another feather in the cap of the local chapter of the Indian Red Cross Society.

The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has given approval to the URCISE, Baba Farid Cultural Centre, for running the B.Ed course. 


Jaspal Singh to be Pbi varsity VC?
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 3
Jaspal Singh, principal, Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, and former diplomat is certain to succeed S.S. Boparai as vice-chancellor of Punjabi University.

Anjali is acting VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Anjali Bhawara, education secretary, was today posted as officiating vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala. 

Sources close to the Punjab government maintain that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has made up his mind to have Jaspal Singh as the new vice-chancellor of the university.

Sources say that Badal had made a promise with Jaspal to make him the vice-chancellor of a state university. Now, when a vacancy had been created with the resignation of Boparai, he was committed to fill the same with Jaspal, who is also a member of the SGPC on behalf of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

Besides, he is also a member of the political affairs committee of the SAD.

Jaspal is also very close to former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who has also exerted pressure on Badal to appoint him as the vice-chancellor. Gujral had appointed Jaspal as the Indian Ambassador to Mozambique during his tenure as Prime Minister.

Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, former vice chancellor of Punjabi University, has also been staking claim to the post. But the Chief Minister has not agreed to the same and has asked him to look after the work for the establishment of the Guru Granth Sahib world university. He is member secretary of the trust set up by the SGPC in this connection. 


300 pc rise in vegetable export to Pak in Oct

Wagah, December 3
An impressive 300 per cent rise in fresh vegetable export from India to Pakistan has been recorded for October in comparison to September this year. In October 14,717 tonnes of fresh vegetable worth Rs 1,912 lakh was carried to Pakistan.

It was a whopping 300 per cent rise from September that recorded export of mere 4,249 tonnes of fresh vegetables worth Rs 546 lakh.

However, 6,422 tonnes worth Rs 799 lakh were sent from November 1 to 15.

The tremendous surge in the export of fresh vegetables is an apparent result of the decision to allow trucks through Wagah since October 1. Previously, the trucks had to be unloaded a kilometre ahead of the Wagah border gate. The goods were then taken across the main gate by potters, making it a time consuming and tedious process.

According to joint commissioner, Customs Department, Amritsar, Sanjay Sharan, the volume of trade between the two countries will further increase in the scheme of things for trucks. “We are going give more suggestions to our counterpart in the forthcoming meeting to increase the trade,” said Sharan, while hoping that Pakistan would allow more items to pass through Wagah.

Punjab’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Bikram Singh Majithia, has said to facilitate this procedure, the two sides will open a dedicated cargo gate so that all cargo traffic passes through the new gate for trucks only. It will also make tourist inflow hassle-free. Majithia added that a proposal to establish a dry port near Wagah has already been sent to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. It will felicitate exporters and importers.

There is also a sharp increase in the import of dry and fresh fruits. In October, 3,134.508 tonnes of dry and fresh fruit worth Rs 4,661.55 lakh had been imported through 237 trucks from Pakistan through Wagah. It was up from September that recorded 2,358.927 tonnes worth Rs 3,739.26 lakh.

However, meat export recorded a decline. In October, 565 tonnes of meat worth Rs 383 lakh was exported. It was down from 868 tonnes worth Rs 582 lakh in September. — ANI


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