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House nod to four Bills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Friendly jibes between the SAD-BJP and Congress members proved to be the only attraction in the otherwise lacklustre second day of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The Opposition played a rather timid role making the proceedings of the House come to a close earlier than expected. Interestingly, the ruling benches and the Opposition failed to take any notice of the judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on minority status of the Sikhs.

During the two-and-a-half-hour proceedings the Vidhan Sabha passed four Bills and tabled a report of the Privilege Committee. The Bills passed include the Punjab Tax on Entry of Goods into Local Areas (Amendment) Bill, 2007, and The Punjab Value Added Tax second, third and fourth (Amendment) Bills, 2007. However, a mild request by the Congress to initiate a debate on the Bills was ignored.

These Bills pertain to the levy of entry tax on yarn, dyes and chemicals and iron and steels, including scrap. All four Bills were moved in quick succession by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and were passed by a voice vote of the ruling benches.

There were some lighter moment when Badal told leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to relax and let him handle the affairs of the sate. “I have made things comfortable for you by taking away your worries, your worry (implying Amarinder Singh) will never come to bother you as he will never return to the House.

Again, the house split into laughter when Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was speaking on VAT, was interrupted by Rana Gurmeet Sodhi only to be told that he should remain silent as “he has lost Bhattal’s trust”. Bhattal, too, in a lighter vein told Badal to ignore what some young Congressmen say as they were not experienced enough. Later, she told reporters at her residence that she would be writing to the Speaker, seeking for more time to debate the Bills passed today and to allow a debate on the fiscal health of the state.

She sought a White Paper on the present fiscal health of the state.

 

Grants Disbursement
Govt faces embarrassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The SAD-BJP government had to face embarrassment today in the Punjab Assembly with regard to the disbursement of grants to village panchayats in the state for development works as even speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon questioned the government on this. On the issue raised by Akali MLA Balbir Singh Bath, the speaker said, “ I am also not aware that who has been distributing grants in my constituency.”

He said his Assembly segment had never been visited by any senior official of the Rural Development Department. “Which agency had been authorised to distribute the grant in my area? Who was responsible if money was embezzled?” he asked. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had to say that he would get an inquiry conducted in this regard. The speaker’s observations on the issue drew a thunderous applause from the Opposition benches.

Earlier, Bath while asking the question from the rural development and panchayats minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, said he should be informed about the competent authority disbursing the grants meant for panchayats. He said in his Assembly segment some unknown faces had been distributing grants.

As Bath raised the issue, most of the Opposition MLAs, including Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Makhan Singh, Randip Singh Nabha, Balbir Singh Sidhu and leader of Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal urged that the House should lay some criteria to distribute grants. However, the treasury benches said the wrong practices in this connection had been started by the previous Congress government. Opposition benches said they admit that it was a wrong practices but it should be corrected now. Opposition MLAs said they were ready to cooperate with the government on this issue. Brahmpura said he was ready to hold an inquiry regarding disbursement in his (Bath’s) constituency.

The other issue that dominated the House proceedings was the inquiries held and cases registered against sarpanches and panches. Congress MLAs, including Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Avtar Singh Brar, Makhan Singh, Randeep Singh Nabha and Jassi Khangura, sought the setting up of a committee to inquire into the registration of cases. However, Badal rejected the demand.

Earlier, replying to a question raised by Ajit Singh Shant, health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla said there was a proposal to set up an ultra modern cancer hospital on the PGI pattern at Bathinda.

 

Himachal HC issues contempt notice to Manoranjan Kalia
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Punjab Industries and Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia has been issued a contempt notice by the Himachal Pradesh High Court for his unbecoming behaviour with a Chief Judicial Magistrate at Nadaun in Hamirpur a few days ago.

Chief Justice V.K. Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol want Kalia to appear in person in the Shimla High Court in March to answer the charges.

“I have been informed that a contempt notice has been issued to me. I have the highest regards for the judiciary and I would be the last person to ignore or misbehave with a judicial officer,” said Kalia.

Kalia said : “It happened when I was on my way to Himachal in my private car to campaign for BJP candidates in Hamirpur district. At a naka, the police stopped us and wanted to check the documents of my vehicle.

“I explained that I am a Punjab minister and would not travel in a vehicle without proper documents. I also told the police that since an escort vehicle was accompanying me, the local police should rather extend all courtesies as a matter of protocol rather than insist on checking my documents.

“They allowed us to go. But before we could go, the police stopped us again. Bewildered at the police behaviour we thought that perhaps since we are from the Opposition party, BJP, the ruling Congress is trying to prevent us from coming and campaigning in Himachal Pradesh on one pretext or the other.

“So we decided to sit in a dharna till we were allowed to proceed. Some local workers of the party also joined us in the dharna which continued till we were allowed to go,” claimed Kalia.

On reaching Hamirpur, the Punjab minister lodged a formal complaint with the deputy commissioner about his alleged harassment by the police. There he was told that a team headed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) was conducting the checking at Nadaun.

“Till then I was not aware that there was a CJM at the naka. Further, in Punjab, judicial magistrates do not conduct any such special checking,” added Kalia.

Upset at the behaviour of the Punjab minister, the CJM reportedly sent his report to the Shimla High Court, which took suo moto notice of the incident and issued a contempt notice to Kalia.

 

Tampering with proceedings
Panel for booking officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Privileges Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in a report tabled in the House has recommended registration of a case against two former employees of the Assembly for tampering with proceedings to mislead the House and cause loss to the exchequer. The committee report recommends former secretary Nachhattar Singh Mavi and under secretary Tara Singh be booked under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and their pension and other post-retirement benefits be stopped.

The record pertains to proceedings of the previous ( 12th) Vidhan Sabha. On March 1, 2006. Bir Devinder Singh asked if a scheme of 188 acres by the Improvement Trust, Amritsar, had been notified under Section 42 of the Punjab Town Improvement Trust Act, 1922, and further if certain areas in the scheme had been exempted.

Following the then local government minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh’s reply, it was alleged the minister was involved in embezzlement of over Rs 100 crore. To resolve the issue then Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced that a committee of members of the House would be constituted to look into the matter. A committee was constituted by the speaker the same day.

However, on April 21, 2006, the Vidhan Sabha secretariat issued a corrigendum wherein the reference to the constitution of an inquiry committee was omitted. A notice of Privilege Motion was brought before the House by SAD members Manpreet Singh Badal, Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Gobind Singh on September 14, 2006, alleging that the record of the Vidhan Sabha had been tampered with to protect Chaudhary Jagjit Singh who had been accused of corruption.

The 12-member committee constituted under Surjit Kumar Jiani submitted its report today. Subsequent to the tabling of the report, SAD legislator Virsa Singh Valtoha started a discussion on the report that was interjected by Bram Mohindra of the Congress.

Leader of the House Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal intervened to suggest a committee of the House be formed to look into the acquisition of land by the Improvement Trust, Amritsar.

Accepting the report tabled earlier, speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon also accepted the resolution.

 

Separated by Partition, families long to meet Muslim relatives in Pak
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Khadoor Sahib, December 18
Many Muslim families of this Majha heartland who were converted to Sikhism so that they could save themselves from the communal frenzy in 1947 yearn to meet their relatives in Pakistan.

Many who stayed back in India or were left behind, were converted to Sikhism. They grew up believing in Waheguru, while their families across the border believed in Allah.

These are true-life tales of families separated during Partition, building separate lives across the India-Pakistan border, and then finding each other through determination and luck.

Mahana Ali, who was born in a Muslim family in 1932 at Bhail village, near Jatti Umra (the native village of Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan), is now Bhai Gurmohinder Singh. He still remembers offering prayers in a mosque before Partition. However, after the killing of his elder brother, Jana, by a frenzied mob, his mother Karm Bhari urged a Sikh farmer, Manna Singh, to take care of her son and left for the newly created Pakistan. She feared that her second son could also be killed if taken to Pakistan. Bhail village was a Muslim-dominated. Later, Baba Uttan Singh, the then dera chief of Kar Sewa, Khadoor Sahib, took him (Mahana) to a gurdwara and brought him up like his own son. Now, Gurmohinder Singh (earlier Mahana) is a staunch follower of Baba Sewa Singh, the new chief of the dera. The dera chief gives him a lot of respect and calls him “Bhail Sahib” (Bhail is the native village of Mahana). Being one of the most trustworthy followers, the dera chief has entrusted him the assignment to collect donations from a particular region. Now, Bhai Gurmohinder Singh recites Gurbani every day.

During a visit to Khadoor Sahib, Bhai Gurmohinder Singh told The Tribune that he had visited Pakistan on the initiative of Col Partap Singh Gill, a former Lieutenant-Governor of Goa, Daman and Diu, who founded the Jatti Umra-Hind-Pak Milap Trust and met his elder sister Jano after more than half century. He had also met Nawaz Sharif who gave the delegation a red carpet welcome. Sharif had hosted lunch and dinner at his residence and put vehicles at their disposal for taking a round of various cities and towns of the country.

Similarly, there are a number of families in villages of Bhullar and Thathi Khara in Tarn Taran district who were converted from Islam to Sikhism after Partition. Din Mohammad of Bhullar village is now Dewan Singh, while Sardar Ali has become Dara Singh. Another villager Surjit Singh was Khurshid Ahmad, while Gyan Singh was Alla Baksh. Most of the converted families in Bhullar village are followers of Dera Radha Soami, Beas.

Though the Jatti Umra Mel Milap Trust did a yeoman’s service in bridging the great divide by arranging meetings between the split families of India and Pakistan, after the death of Colonel Gill nobody has come forward to revive its activities.

 

In his teacher’s memory
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Amrik Singh Gill, along with his brother Col Sardul Singh Gill (retd), has instituted a scholarship of Rs 10,000 in memory of his teacher late Pt Dina Nath, who served as headmaster at Chawinda Devi School, near Amritsar, in the 1950s.

“Whatever one may become, one always remains indebted to a good teacher. But in my own humble way I am trying to return as little as I can do in his name. I still love that great soul,” said Amrik. “I urge others to follow our example and institute scholarships in the the memory of teachers they liked the most,” he said.

Recalling the moments he spent as a student with Pt Dina Nath, Amrik, who has held important positions worldwide, including agricultural adviser to former President of Botswana Q.K.J. Masire and in the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry of Vietnam, besides being an organic consultant in several countries, said Panditji’s mind was active and not accumulative. He was endowed with a remarkable assimilative capacity.

“My elder brother Col Sardul Singh and I were nursed during our formative years at Chawinda Devi School by the personal warmth and brilliance of his mind. Panditji, who was headmaster in that school, left behind a very distinct personal flavour and fragrance which we continue enjoying,” said Gill.

Amrik and his brother, who belonged to Dudhala village, near Amritsar, have deposited Rs 1 lakh in a fixed deposit. And its interest, which will be Rs 10,000 per annum, will be given to the boy who will stand first in the plus II examination in Government Senior Secondary School, Chawinda Devi.

Amrik and his brother have also set another example worth emulating. They have also instituted another scholarship of Rs 10,000 in memory of their late step brother Niranjan Singh. “In our society relation of step brother, step mother and step sister is not a cherished one. But I believe relationship is how we structure and define it,” he says. “We brothers consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have a step brother like Niranjan Singh, who made a huge contribution to get us educated,”he adds.

When our father died we had nothing in the name of assets. It was Niranjan who did the job of a truck driver after being discharged from Army to fund our studies.

A scholarship of Rs 10,000 every year will be given in his memory to a girl student topping plus II at Government Higher Secondary School, Chawinda Devi, he further says. For this a scholarship of Rs 1 lakh has been deposited in a bank.

POLITICS
 

CPI for longer House session
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 18
As Punjab has been facing the worst financial crisis and poor law and order situation, the Assembly session should not be just a ritual Also the session should not be less than of 10 days, as a brief session can not find solutions to people’s problems. National executive committee member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) Dr Joginder Dayal stated this to The Tribune on phone yesterday.

Dr Dayal said the CPI was of the view that the Assembly session should come out with solutions of people’s problems in Punjab, and crises being faced by the state on fronts like financial, law and order.

He said the Assembly session should also discuss suicides by farmers due to agrarian crisis.

COMMUNITY


Rural disabled kids not cared well: Study
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Ninety per cent of the parents in the rural areas of Punjab do not provide or work towards providing any special education to their disabled children. This has been revealed in a study conducted by Yadwinder Kaur for the Department of Human Development and Sociology at Punjab Agricultural University.

In what is claimed to be a new research project towards the care of disabled children in rural areas of the state, it has been recommended that a full-scale survey should be carried out to understand the gravity of the situation and devise a methodology for the optimum care of the dependents.

The focus of study titled “Assessment of family support to rural disabled children” by Yadwinder Kaur was to assess the family support provided to rural disabled children in the state. The sample consisted of 150 families with children who were orthopaedically, mentally, speech or hearing challenged. The study was conducted in rural areas of Ludhiana and Sangrur districts.

The study revealed that at least 64 per cent of the disabled children were primarily taken care of by their mothers alone in the family. At least 82 per cent of the disabled children were not taken along by family members to any social functions. Parental lack of knowledge, economic problems and lack of resources added to lacking care of the disabled.

The study supervised by Dr I.J.S.Jaswal as the major adviser reveals that disabled children were subjected to constant psychological stress, which has a negative effect on siblings and creates misunderstandings within the family. Behavioural problems, common with the disabled children, are a stress factor for the families.

It has been found that more than half the parents were engaged in indulgence towards their "special children". This was because they were uneducated in the special care techniques the special children needed. State intervention towards optimising parental care has also been recommended in the study.

 

Mann questions Punjab police
Where is the ‘uniformity’?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Chief of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjeet Singh Mann has questioned the Punjab police saying the cops wear uniforms that are of different colours.

Mann claimed that the police, home guards and cops attached with the Jail Department were not being given shoes as per schedule.

Sometimes for years they do not receive their uniform and as a result they buy the material and get it stitched at personal cost.

Mann, a former IPS officer of the Punjab cadre, has shot off a letter to the Punjab home secretary saying, “You will see these officials wearing shades of various Khaki coloured uniforms and not confirming to the official norms, since they buy the cloth themselves, they choose a shade of beige instead the official Khaki colour. Turbans as such are of various hues”.

The shoes and boots are of the worst quality, if they are ever given. Mann said some cops never find a pair of matching shoes that are of the same size.

We are living in modern times. Why we can’t call for quotations from the shoe and boot manufacturers of repute who could be held responsible for the supply of shoddy goods. The cops wear private jackets of every pattern and colour. Where is the supervision of the DGP and his staff or the district magistrates under whom the district police functions?

The discipline in these forces is so bad that the officers don’t check the flaunting of these rules; more because they are responsible for not supplying them with uniforms as per regulations and most of them don’t adhere to the norms themselves.

Meanwhile, Mann added that on December 6, when a posse of policemen came to arrest him at home, the leading officer of the party was not in uniform.

The raiding party from Patiala never informed the SSP Fatehgarh Sahib before arresting me, said Mann.

Why all these rules and procedures were were overlooked? The answer is that there is never any in-service training in the police force and as a result they have practically become “extortionists”, alleged Mann.

 

State jails overcrowded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Punjab jails are overcrowded. Against authorised capacity of 10,854 males and 888 females, there are 14,860 male and 859 female inmates in jails in the state. Most crowded is Amritsar jail where 2137 male convicts and under-trial prisoners are lodged against capacity to house 1455 male inmates.

In Bathinda jail, male inmates are 1,325 against capacity of 485. Likewise, in Jalandhar jail, there are 1,365 male inmates against capacity to handle 475. The worst case is of Ropar jail where 439 inmates are housed against capacity of 30 only.

Reply to an unstarred question asked in this regard by Ajaib Singh Bhatti was tabled in the House today. In the reply, minister for jails, Hira Singh Gabaria, said there was a proposal to set up a modern jail in Kapurthala and one at Faridkot. He said jails would be linked with industry to train inmates in vocations.

 

Docs told to educate masses on TB
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 18
Besides doctors of the allopathic system, the role of doctors of other systems of medicines, like ayurvedic and homoeopathy, is of vital importance in controlling the spread of tuberculosis (TB). So all doctors should whole-heartedly ensure the successful implementation of the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) to have a check on the spread of TB.

This was stated by Sangrur civil surgeon Satwant Bhalla while addressing government ayurvedic doctors of the district at a programme organised by the District TB Control Society on the topic of “Importance of RNTCP in controlling spread of TB” at the Civil Hospital campus here today.

District TB officer Surinder Singla said hundreds of undetected and improperly treated TB cases in the district were a big hurdle in the control of TB. Dr Singla said the TB control society was in the process of getting the support of doctors of all systems of medicines by imparting training to them about the RNTCP.

He appealed to the doctors to educate parents of unmarried girls and rich persons against hiding their disease.

 

Car hits boy, taken along, later abandoned
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, December 18
A Jammu-bound Indica car hit a 14-year-old boy on the Jammu-Pathankot highway near Sujanpur and the car occupants took the injured along for treatment. The critically injured boy was later abandoned by them near Pappar Mor, Mansar road near Samba in J& K.

The Jammu and Kashmir Highway Patrol police took him to the Medical College and Hospital, Jammu.

Acting on a complaint, the Gurdaspur police party impounded the vehicle involved in the accident and located injured Sunny, a resident of Kailashpur in Sujanpur from the Jammu hospital.

The SP said on a tip-off provided by eyewitnesses at the scene of the accident, the police solved the crime. He said the car ( JK02AF-4859) involved in the accident belonged to Sweta Raina of the Gangial locality in Jammu and was driven by Deepak Kumar, her driver.

The police has seized the vehicle while the driver was absconding. The injured has been handed over to his family members.

A case has been registered.

 

TB cases on the rise in state
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Tuberculosis cases in Punjab are increasing. “New sputum positive case detection rate is on the increase,” according to a statement issued by the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare.

A meeting on tuberculosis control programme chaired by T.R. Sarangal, mission director, was held here yesterday. Up to September-end, 28,412 cases had been put on treatment. Of these, 11,534 cases are new positive cases.

The cure rate in Punjab is 84 per cent which is on a par with the national level.The department has decided to set up an intermediate reference laboratory for cultural sensitivity test at TB hospital in Patiala. It will help cure multi-drug-resistant TB patients.

 

Team to check overcharging of fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Punjab government today constituted a five-member team to check overcharging of fee by private medical institutes, including nursing, pharmaceutical, para-medical, ayurvedic and homoeopathic and medical institutes in the state.

Tikshan Sud, medical education and research minister, said he had been receiving complaints regarding overcharging of fees by some institutes. He said the team would raid medical institutes to check irregularity and overcharging of fee.

The minister said the committee would include Dr Jai Kishan, professor and deputy medical superintendent, TB Hospital, Patiala, Dr Dharm Veer, professor of ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr L.L. Gambhir, associate professor skin, GMC, Amritsar, Dr G.S. Rai, associate professor, forensic medicine, and Dr Ashwani Sharma, associate professor, GMC, Amritsar.

 

Holiday on Dec 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Punjab government today declared a public holiday on December 21 on account of Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid) in all government offices, corporation, boards of government and educational institutions.

However, the session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha will be held on December 21 (afternoon sitting) as per programme, and officers, employees connected with this programme and Vidhan Sabha business on this day will attend the offices and organisations as usual, said a spokesman of the Punjab government. 

COURTS
 

Verdict on Amarinder’s bail plea today
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Can the orders granting bail to an accused be modified without amounting to review of the same?

The vital question of law on the powers of the court to look into and subsequently modify its own order again is expected to be answered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday while delivering verdict on an application filed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh.

He is seeking the extension of interim protection initially granted to him in a corruption case till the filing of challan in the matter.

While the State of Punjab is claiming that the application is not maintainable as the court cannot open the order after it has attained finality in the Supreme Court, the former Chief Minister’s counsels are not agreeing.

They are, rather, claiming that an order granting bail to an accused is not final. As such, there is no bar in taking it up again for modification; and the action does not amount to review of the order.

As the matter came up for hearing at about 2.30 pm before Justice Ranjit Singh after being adjourned twice in the morning due to non-presence of the state counsel entrusted with the brief, the counsel for the former Chief Minister quoted examples to drive home the idea that courts have been modifying bail orders without actually reviewing the same.

In fact, the courts have been entertaining second bail applications filed by accused. If the first bail order was final, there was no scope for the accused to move the court again.

Otherwise also, the court was modifying the conditions of bail, like directing the accused to surrender passport; or was even canceling bail applications, without actually reviewing the orders, counsel asserted.

The state counsel, on the other hand, contended that Punjab had moved the Supreme Court against the initial orders; as the orders had attained finality it would not be appropriate for the court to examine or modify the same again.

Replying to specific queries by the court, the counsel said Capt Amarinder Singh was called just once to join the investigations in May after he was granted interim protection by the court.

She added that the challan had been presented, but the investigations were still on.

She further added that the state was not going to call him; and as of now they were not seeking his custody.

After hearing the rival contentions, Justice Ranjit Singh further extended the interim protection granted to him till today and reserved orders on the case. The same are expected to be pronounced on Wednesday.

Before parting with the case, Justice Ranjit Singh verbally questioned the state on the logic behind its concern for the former Chief Minister’s custody.

“If the investigation is over, how are you concerned with his custody?” the Judge questioned.

“Except for subjecting him to humiliation, what other purpose does the state want to achieve?”

 

Exclusive rights for Gurbani telecast to ETC challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Guru Nanak Universal Brotherhood Society (regd) through its secretary, advocate Hirdey Pal Singh has moved an application to intervene in the matter pertaining to the exclusive rights given by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) for direct telecast of Gurbani from Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, to ETC Punjabi channel.

The applicant argued that members of the Sikh society were aggrieved by the fact that Gurbani telecast from the Golden Temple was not available uniformly on all platforms of transmission of satellite channels owing merely to the internal tussle of channels and transmission platforms.

The result was that the telecast was limited to the subscribers of one or the other platforms.

Many Sikhs who had opted for platforms like Tata Sky were deprived of the same, it was further stated.

Taking up the application, a Division Bench, headed by Justices J. S. Khehar fixed January 17 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

 

High Court
Jalandhar SP tenders apology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
A Superintendent of Police today apologised for leveling allegations against a counsel while investigating a criminal case.

Appearing before Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after being summoned, Jalandhar’s SP (City) Sarabjit Singh told the court that he was sorry for certain observations that were made against the counsel in a reply signed by him. He also assured the court against the repeat of the same and added that the reply had already been withdrawn.

Coming down heavily on the cop, Justice Ranjit Singh observed that the police was investigating the case against an accused, but ended up leveling allegations against a counsel. The judge also questioned him about basic law that categorically stated conversation between an accused and counsel was “privileged”. The judge added that the same could not have been referred to in the reply.

After accepting the SP’s apology, the judge directed the filing of a fresh reply in the matter and added that the copies of the reply previously filed be taken out of the record.

EDUCATION
 

PTU sacks 110 striking daily wage workers

Jalandhar December 18
Embarrassed by the prolonged strike and resistance to join duties by Tuesday despite warning, Punjab Technical University (PTU) today terminated the services of as many as 110 daily temporary employees, who were on strike.

The PTU had taken the decision to issue termination letters to nearly 60 muster roll and 50 daily pay list employees for their resistance to obey the orders from the registrar to join back duties, university sources said.

Notice issued to muster roll and daily pay list employees contained the conditions that if anybody failed to join the duty by Tuesday evening it would be understandable for the university that those who disobeyed the orders were not interested in continuation of their services and would soon be terminated immediately “the university will initiate necessary legal action against these daily wagers as per the rules and will start issuing termination orders beginning tomorrow,” registrar of the University Sarojini Sharda Gautam said.

Earlier, the delegation of the PTU Non-Teaching Employees Association led by its president Yaadwinder Singh held a series of meetings with the university authorities led by the Vice Chancellor of the university , Dr S.K. Salwan.

“After three rounds of talks during daylong deliberations, the university authorities agreed to set up a high level committee to redress employees’ grievances. The employees should present all the facts and grievances before the committee, whose findings will be sent to the Board of Governors for approval,” Dr Salwan said.

The talks remained inconclusive as striking employees decided to consult their legal experts before accepting the offer of the university. “We will examine the Supreme Court judgement on regularisation of ad hoc employees through all legal aspects and will decide final course of action tomorrow,” an association office bearer said. — PTI

ADMINISTRATION
 

Forests Dept faces acute shortage of staff, equipment
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 18
Though the load of work has doubled for the Forests Department due to its merger with the Wildlife Department a few years back, it is facing an acute shortage of staff and equipment in three Doaba districts, including Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr.

According to highly placed sources, over 60 per cent of the total sanctioned posts of forests guard are lying vacant in the three districts.

Only 27 forests guards are working against the total sanctioned posts of 68 forests guard in Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr, the sources said, adding that no guard had been recruited since 1998 in the division.

Due to shortage of forests guards, each of them has been asked to look after two or three beats making it difficult for him to take care properly of the area allotted to him.

The work of the department too has further increased nowadays with the increase in the straying incidents of wild animals from the lower Shivalik Hills into these three cities.

Besides, the department is lacking proper equipment in catching them. The department has neither any tranquiliser gun nor a proper cage to catch the strayed wild animal, the sources added.

The Jalandhar Forests Division has only one cage, but that too does not work properly. Interestingly, the same cage was fixed at Pholriwal village of Jalandhar district in last week of November to catch the suspected panther, but the cage could not close automatically due to some fault.

Similarly, the tranquiliser guns are brought from Chhatbir Zoo, Tiger Safari, Hoshiarpur, in case of emergency as was done in an attempt to catch the suspected panther a few weeks back, the sources said, adding that the Jalandhar Animal Husbandry Department had recently got a tranquiliser pistol, which is also borrowed as and when required.

Jalandhar forests ranger Davinder Singh said he had already apprised his seniors about this.

 


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