P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


BKU wants wheat MSP to be Rs 1,720 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Rejecting Rs 1,000 per quintal as price of wheat, the Bharti Kisan Union has urged the Centre to enhance the minimum support price to Rs 1,720 per quintal.

In a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, the finance minister and the agriculture minister, Balbir Singh Rajewal, president, BKU, has stressed that farmers had to spend Rs 30,937 on an acre to produce 18 quintals of wheat. Keeping in view such a high cost factor, the union government should peg the wheat price at Rs 1720 per quintal, he said.

Rajewal has met union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar in this regard. He has also submitted reports of experts giving details of the expenses to produce wheat. Rajewal said Sharad Pawar had assured him to announce bonus on wheat soon. It is not clear yet what will be quantum of the bonus.

He said it was true that the union government was worried over the low rate of growth in the agriculture sector but the only way out to raise the level of growth was to ensure remunerative price to farmers of foodgrains produced by them. He said not only in Punjab but also in other parts of the country, farmers were neck deep in debt and they were under stress because of this.


Govt to use vacant lands properly
PIDB made nodal agency
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Punjab government has initiated a major drive to enlist vacant and under-utilised government lands and to put them to better use and generate revenues. It has obtained information from deputy commissioners regarding lands owned by different government departments as well as other bodies.

The information is being compiled and inventoried by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, which has been designated as the nodal agency for the Optimal Utilisation of Vacant Government Lands (OUVGL) Scheme. Earlier, PUDA had been assigned the responsibility and the government had transferred a large number of properties to it.

Managing director of PIDB, Dr S.S. Sandhu, stated that the real purpose was not to sell these lands, as was being generally perceived. The exercise was aimed at first identifying and enlisting all lands owned by the government and its bodies, as no ready record was available at either the district or government levels. The present physical status of the land would be known and in the event of any encroachment, the government would take suitable legal action for restoration of government’s possession.

Lands prone to encroachment would be identified and protected. Also, land records pertaining to these properties would be checked and updated as it was possible that in the absence of timely up nation, unscrupulous elements may have taken advantage to grab these lands by manipulation of land records. The government would computerise these inventories to facilitate the management of these lands.

The government would also be utilising some of the vacant government lands for establishing new infrastructure like new grid stations or tube wells, etc. in new or old localities for improving the power and water supply network, new bus stands, new parks, and offices, etc with proper planning.

The remaining lands would be disposed of under the OUVGL Scheme in a phased manner. The revenue generated from the disposal of some of these properties would be spent to improve infrastructure like roads, street lights, water supply distribution and sewer network, etc where priority will be given to the area/ department to which such properties belong.

Thus, the revenue generated from the sale of properties would not be deposited in the consolidated fund. The coming year would see PIDB engaging itself more actively in both large and medium-level development projects where some of the funds so generated would be gainfully utilised, he added. Even Government of India departments, like the Railways, were leveraging their under-utilised property assets for future projects. 


Over 1 lakh kids in state not enrolled in schools: Survey
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 21
Punjab cannot dream of being 100 per cent literate, at least for a decade, as more than one lakh students are not getting even the elementary education. The data is official. The findings have been pointed out during a recent survey conducted by the state units of the Sarv Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to find out children who are devoid of elementary education.

The survey, conducted in January earlier this year, shows that 1,00,457 children in the state are not even enrolled for elementary education. It has been pointed out that a large number of students enrolled in schools under the special drive had quit midway.

The survey revealed that 30,012 students in the age group of six to eight and at least 70,445 students in the age group of eight to 14 were also not attending school.

Going by the age considerations, the officials are more concerned about the education of the children in the age of eight to 14 years because, minus elementary education, these students would not fit into normal schools.

"A large number might end up as daily laboureres," an official said.

Looking at the positive side of the SSA drive, a senior official said, "We have been able to bring down the ratio of the children deprived of elementary education to 50 per cent in the state. The dropout number in 2005-2006 was 2,27,645 which has been subsequently brought down to more than 50 per cent by launching schemes such as Elementary Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative Innovative Scheme.

A senior teacher, on a note of anonymity, said, "The officials might be correct about the figures of children deprived of elementary education. However, to say that the number has been halved in approximately only a year is an overstatement."

District Ferozepur tops the charts of the children deprived of elementary education, with 12,680 children followed by Amritsar with 8,583. Ludhiana is third with 8,234 children out of school, of which 3,558 are in the age group of six to eight while 4,676 are in the age group of 8 to 14.

Sawan Iqbal, assistant director SSA, Chandigarh, said the survey was conducted to verify the number of children not availing themselves of elementary education facilities in the state under the special drive.

“We will make all-out efforts to enroll these children at the Alternative Innovative Education Centre AIE. Based on aptitude of the candidates, they will be admitted to their respective preparatory class,” he said.

According to another official, the ratio will rise as the government has discontinued the Education Guarantee Scheme EGS. The EGS has played a pivotal roll in spreading education on the primary level.


Virk Case
Usage of rules discussed on Day 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
It was a discussion of FIRs and the usage of rules on the second day of arguments in former DGP S.S. Virk’s case wherein he was suspended from service.

While the counsel for the applicant Virk maintained his stand on the biased attitude of the Punjab Government towards his client, the counsel for Punjab state refuted all allegations. Both counsels in the hearing today pondered on the issue whether the order of chargesheet was served to the DGP or not.

The public prosecutor for the state of Maharashtra stressed that as per rules if two governments are not able to decide on a particular issue, then the matter must be taken up with the Central government.

He argued that the former DGP whose parent cadre was Maharashtra was with them as his deputation period was over. Furthermore, the counsel placed on record the letter of the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra wherein he had expressed his surprise on the arrest of Virk on September 9, 2007.

It was mentioned in the letter that the former DGP was repatriated to his parent cadre in April 2007 and he had joined the Government of Maharashtra on April 27, 2007.

Subsequently, the counsel for the state of Punjab then argued the government’s stand on it. The counsel started her arguments saying, “After hearing the arguments of the counsel for Maharashtra, it seems that they have found their long lost love.”

Taking note of the comment made by the counsel for Punjab, vice- chairman (A) of the Tribunal stated the question of long lost love was not being discussed here. We are here to discuss the suspension of the former DGP.

The counsel for Punjab stressed that Virk’s counsel has laid stress on the all extraneous things that do not come under the ambit of the present application. She argued that Virk was still with the state of Punjab and is our officer.

Subsequently, the counsel for Punjab said that the parent cadre of the DGP had to seek the permission of the Punjab Government.

Giving his argument on this point, the counsel for Virk said as per the new rules, the parent cadre doesn’t need to take permission of the borrowing state. The counsel for Punjab then averred, “If this is the new rule, then my learned friend will give better arguments on this point.”

Replying in a second, the counsel for Virk said, “The arguments change with every case.”

The counsels for Prakash Singh Badal and the Centre also argued on their clients stand. The counsel for the Centre could not give any explanation when the Tribunal asked him to justify the delay on their part for taking a decision in the former DGP’s case.


It ran from 1907 to 1927
No trace of Patiala-Sunam monorail 
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 21
Many find it difficult to believe that in this capital (Sangrur town) of the erstwhile Jind state, more than 80 years ago, monorail from Patiala to Sunam via Bhawanigarh was used to transport goods and persons.Now no remains of the said monorail between Patiala and Sunam exist, but information available in this regard shows that monorail used to run at that time in this area.

According to information, the idea of starting a monorail in the erstwhile Patiala state was executed by then Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh for transporting goods and persons in his state. This monorail, reportedly known as Patiala State Monorail Trainways (PSMT), started in1907, but closed in1927 as people started losing interest in it due to the arrival of vehicles and construction of better roads. In the initial days of monorail, it was pulled by bullocks, mules but later steam locomotives replaced the animals.

The PSMT, a unique railway system, is now considered world’s most obscure railway system. However, no signs of the track of the monorail or any other material related to the track (Patiala to Sunam track) were available nowadays. Besides, from Patiala to Sunam (56-km-long stretch), 24-km-long rail track from Sirhind to Morinda was also covered by the monorail of the PSMT.

Rajiv Jindal, who recently published a book in Punjabi language on the history of the erstwhile Jind state “Sanghar Ton Sangrur”, said today that the distance by the monorail train from Patiala to Sunam had been covered on a single steel rail along with a balance wheel running on a concrete road strip. He added though the monorail was now a thing of the past, but the state government should initiate steps to discover the remains of the monorail track in this part of the state, so that it could be preserved for the generations to come. 


SAD’s Delhi Rally
SGPC managers to oversee arrangements 
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 21
The SGPC will be geared up for the “ Insaaf rally”, of the SAD at New Delhi on February 26 . For the success of the rally the SGPC has decided to depute its senior officials, including gurdwara managers of the Golden Temple, Amritsar , Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala to make arrangements .

Probably it is for first time the SGPC, supreme body of the Sikhs, will depute its functionaries for the political rally of the SAD .

SGPC president Avtar Singh today justified the participation of the Shiromani Committee in a big way on the pretext that one of the major agenda for the rally was move of the Haryana government to form a separate gurdwara committee for Sikh shrines in that state . “The SGPC would defeat the nefarious designs of the Congress government to form a separate gurdwara committee” , quipped the SGPC chief .

The SGPC chief said he had requested the Sikh babas of “Kar Sewa Wale” to arrange “langars” (community kitchens ) for the activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal expected to reach New Delhi in a big way. He said Baba Harbans Singh, Baba Sukha and Baba Labh Singh would arrange langars at Karnal, Delhi etc .

“I shall reach New Delhi on February 25 - one day in advance , to review the arrangements”, said the SGPC chief . “Instead, the Congress had not missed any opportunity to bring miseries to the Sikh community”, he said. The SGPC chief announced “come what may , the SGPC would frustrate move of Haryana government to form a separate gurdwara committee”.

On the other hand , the central government had not yet acceded to the demand of the SGPC to return the precious manuscripts , taken out by the CBI at the time of Operation Blue Star , despite reminders .


SAD-BJP govt indifferent to plight of farm labour:BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has taken serious note of the SAD-BJP government’s indifferent attitude towards ‘khet majdoors’(farm labour) in Punjab. Farm labour in the state has been facing serious crisis due to lack of opportunities to work in fields but the government is not bothered to address the problems, said Paramjit Singh Kainth, a senior BSP leader.

Kainth said “ a khet majdoor hardly gets employment for a week in a village and does not get any employment in urban areas also because job opportunities in towns and cities have also shrunk”. He is facing problems in getting wards educated. As neither doctors nor medicines were available in civil dispensaries in rural areas, the labour was also facing serious problems in getting treatment from private hospitals that charge very high fee.

Family earning of most of the farm labourers is even less than Rs 1,000 per month. It had become difficult for them in such circumstance, said Kainth. He said the state government should make special efforts to provide financial assistance to farm labour. Their loans should be waived.

Kainth said the Congress, which claimed to support ‘aam-adami,’ was also silent on the issue of farm labour. “ The Congress has not even once talked about the problems faced by farm labour”, he said. The Congress was worried more about rich people and it had ditched poor people, he said.


Nangal, birds’ holiday spot
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Nangal, February 21
You could call it a birds’ paradise. Nearly 30,000 migratory birds of 25 different species are ‘holidaying’ these days in fields, swamps and marshy areas around the Nangal reservoir in Ropar district.

Blessed with verdant forests, rich flora and fauna and crystal-clear water of the reservoir, one can see an interesting kaleidoscope of insect and bird life. In the early morning and evenings, you may see ‘V’ formations etched against the sky.

Nestled in the foothills of the Shivaliks, the area is a delight for bird lovers. The Ministry of Environment and Forests recently included Nangal in the national list of wetlands. Shovellers, pintails, large and small cormorants, coots and bar-headed geese can be easily spotted.

When we reached the area, fluttering of wings and a myriad of shrill calls greeted us. Far away we saw large echelons of birds circling around the lake.

This time also we noticed a colony of the painted stork in marshy areas. Grasslands along the Swan, a tributary of the Sutlej, were alive with high-pitched calls of the black-winged stilt. Other globally endangered birds like the steepe eagle and the Egyptian vulture were also sighted.

Says wildlife photographer Prabhat Bhatti: “The number of brahminy ducks, pintails, black-necked grebes, red-necked grebes, large cormorants, mallards, coots, moorhens, darters, terns and ruddy shell ducks in the area has been on the rise for the past many years. Bar-headed geese and common pochards make their presence conspicuous in thousands.”

Besides the resident birds, including the red jungle fowl, large Indian parakeet, Indian cuckoo and the Sarus, one can watch a large number of birds from far-off hills flocking the area.

The birds that depend on wetlands for nesting, feeding and roosting are called waterbirds. Many waterbirds are migratory. During their long annual sojourn, the birds regularly cross national and international boundaries along the well-defined flyways.

According to ‘Handbook on Indian Wetland Birds and their Conservation’, written by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India, of the 1,230 species found in the Indian subcontinent, nearly 350 are migrants.


Man fighting for life after vasectomy 

Tarn Taran, February 21
Balwinder Singh, a local resident, has been fighting for his life for the past about two months after undergoing vasectomy at a government health centre.

Balwinder, who is father of five daughters and a son, got the operation done on the persuasion of a nurse of the local civil hospital.

He was taken to the Community Health Centre, Kairon, 16 km from here, on December 14, 2007. The doctor who conducted the operation gave him Rs 1,100 for further treatment. Soon after the operation he felt some uneasiness because of the stitches.

He contacted the nurse, who established his contact with the doctor who had performed the operation. The doctor denied treating him by saying that as he had already been given Rs 1,100 by the Health Department to get treatment.

Balwinder, who is a vegetable vendor, started getting treatment from here but his condition started deteriorating as swelling appeared on his some private parts of his body.

He was even unable to move. He went to the local civil hospital for treatment where a doctor on seeing his serious condition not only denied him admission but insulted him by saying that all this was due to his fault as he despite being a resident of the town had gone to a rural health centre for vasectomy.

His neighbourers who have been helping him now find it difficult to extend more help.

He was narrating his tale of vows to newsmen here today. Amrit Kaur, civil surgeon, expressed shock and felt sorry for the behaviour of the doctors.

She said it was the duty of the department even to move the PGI, Chandigarh, for treatment of the patient. While urging the newsmen to admit Balwinder at the local civil hospital, the civil surgeon assured an independent inquiry into the whole incident.

Later, Balwinder had been moved to the hospital. 


TB, AIDS, drug abuse linked: Doc
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 21
Educated youths, students and teachers can play a vital role in controlling the spread of diseases like TB and AIDS by generating awareness among the masses about various remedies to control these diseases. For this purpose, they should come forward with a missionary spirit as this is a need of the hour.

This was stated by district TB officer Dr Surinder Singla while addressing a programme on “TB, AIDS and drug abuse- Importance of public awareness” organised by the Lions Club (Top), Sunam, at a school in Sunam yesterday.

Dr Singla said TB was closely linked with HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, so to control the alarming spread of TB checking of spread of the HIV/AIDS was necessary by way of promoting voluntary blood donation and adopting safe injection and safe sex methods. Drug addiction habits should also be discouraged, he added.

A magician from Chandigarh, Ved Parkash, entertained the gathering with tricks, besides disseminating information on the preventive and curative aspects of the TB and AIDS.


NRI historian ‘rediscovers’ Maharajas of Punjab
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
What started as a casual interest in his Sikh lineage has become a labour of love on Sikh history for Peter (Bhupinder) Bance, a Sikh, whose great-grandparents migrated to the UK in early 1930s. Important aspects of life of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the son of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his family that were hitherto unknown would have been lost to the Sikhs but for the efforts of Peter.

Currently in Punjab, accompanied by his wife Satnam, Bance is researching material for his third book on Maharaja Ranjit Singh. In a chat with The Tribune, the author of “The Duleep Singh” and “The Sikhs in Britain”, both pictorial narration of history, he shared his discoveries that may surprise many Punjabis. “I have discovered that General Ventura - a great Italian with Mahraja Ranjit Singh, lies buried in a cemetery in Ludhiana.”

“The diamond Kohinoor was handed over to Maharaja Ranjit Singh by Afghan king Shah-Shuja-ul Mulkat in a building in Bhadaur House, (then the Bhadaur Fort) where Central Post office is located in Ludhiana.”

This author, historian, antiquarian and Maharaja Duleep Singh archivist is concerned at the fast pace of destruction of history. “There is no interest in preserving our heritage”, he says lamenting that the haveli of Rani Jindan, wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and mother of Duleep Singh in Amritsar, has been pulled down; the samadh of Maharaja Sher Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who ruled Punjab from 1841-43 has been destroyed.

Talking about his sojourn from a real estate agent into Sikh history, he recounts, “One day I casually accompanied a friend in London to see the house where Duleep Singh had lived. This kindled my interest in Sikh history and set off a series of events one leading to another. I started by advertising in local English papers for information about Queen Victoria’s godson Maharaja and was amazed when some people with first hand information, documents or pictures responded. Ultimately, it all culminated in my first book on Maharaja Duleep Singh. My interest has now turned into a full time job and it continues to grow”.

Bance probably has one of the biggest private collections of rare and old manuscripts, documents and reports relating to Punjab and the British interest in the state. He has original paintings of the princes Victor Duleep Singh and Fredric Duleep Singh, about 400 rare original prints of pictures showing Sikhs and Punjabis during historic occasions, many of which are reproduced in his books, over 300 signed books by authors, including the Cunningham’s 1849 book on Sikh history.

One of the rare books that Bance has brought with him is a qaida (book) in Gurmukhi written by Giani Partap Singh, a Sikh academician, scholar and calligraphist, who was also tutor of Duleep Singh in England and whose great-grandson Harpreet Giani is a Barrister in Chandigarh.

Some of the other rare collections Bance has acquired include a 300-year-old handwritten Guru Granth Sahib, one of the first. Rani Jindan’s belonging with him includes a jewellery box, her armlet, a tikka and pendent. He also has the original telegram sent by Duleep Singh intimating the British abut the death of Rani Jindan.


Probe into Ferozepur roads ordered
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, February 21
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has directed the director (quality& control) PWD, to inquire into the reports regarding poor quality of work and materials used during the construction of various roads made under PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna) scheme of the union government.

The CM has mentioned a list of seven roads. They include Khai Pheme Ke to Mamdot, Gudhar Dandi to Guruharsahai, Ferozepur-Fazilka road to Midha, Jalalabad to Lakhewali, Muktsar-Jalalabad to Ratta Ther, Muktsar-Jalalabad to Guruharsahai and Ferozepur City to Kamalawala.

All these roads are in Ferozepur district. The CM has told the director to personally visit these roads and submit his findings within 15 days. 


Roadways Diesel Scam
3-member panel to probe
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 21
Two days after multi-lakh diesel scam in Punjab Roadways depot was detected here, deputy commissioner here N. K. Wadhawan today constituted a three-member committee consisting of executive engineer, Public Health Department, Kulwant Singh Saini, deputy director factories Harjit Singh and deputy controller finance and account I. K. Bhargav to check the stock, including spare parts and tyres of buses etc. in the store of the depot.

The committee will submit its report to the DC in one month. Members of the Punjab Government Transport Workers Union held a meeting today in this regard.


Missing farmer’s body found in canal
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathanan, February 21
Body of Narinder Singh (42), a debt -ridden farmer, resident of nearby Talania village ,who had been missing from home since friday was recovered today from a canal near Sarai Banjara village near Rajpura. After a post- mortem examination at civil hospital, the body was handed over to relatives. Relatives said it was a case of not living within means and tension led to taking his life.

The relatives, who had come to take the body said Narinder Singh had three acres and taken Rs 80,000/- loan from the Milk Co-Operative Society of the village four years ago and he was also paying instalments to the Society. But suddenly he disappeared from home on friday. The family members lodged a report with the police. They said he had less income more expenses and he was hardly meeting his both ends, so he was in tension from some time.

Malkiat Singh ASI, who was handling the case said he had committed suicide by jumping into the canal. He was mentally sick and his suicide had nothing to do with the debt. 


Soldier invalidated during leave entitled to disability pension
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
In a significant judgement, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that a soldier discharged after sustaining injury while on leave was entitled to disability pension admissible to defence personnel invalidated out of service.

The ruling by a High Court Division Bench, comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Mohinder Pal, comes on a petition filed by soldier Gurjit Singh of Anandpur Sahib against the Union of India and other respondents.

Pronouncing the orders on his petition in an open court, the Bench held, “The petitioner sustained injury / disability during his service engagement, although being on annual leave. The disability would be deemed to be attributable to, and aggravated by, military service.”

“In this view of the matter, we have no hesitation in holding that the petitioner will be deemed to have been invalidated out of service, and is entitled to disability pension as is admissible to defence personnel who are invalidated out of service.”

In their detailed order, the judges added, “For these reasons, the writ petition is allowed and the petitioner is held entitled to 20 per cent disability pension constituting both the elements i.e. service and disability.”

The judges also ruled: This pension, with all consequential benefits, will be paid to him from the date of his retirement. The respondents shall pay all arrears to the petitioner within two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, failing which the petitioner will be entitled to interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum.

In his petition before the High Court, Gurjit Singh had earlier contended he was enrolled in the Indian Army on September 1, 1999, and was granted leave for a month on May 11, 2001.

He sustained injuries after meeting with an accident. After being discharged from a hospital, he joined duty and remained with his unit for about a year before being presented before a medical board. As per the Board’s opinion, the petitioner was discharged from the Army on November 31, 2003.

Arguing before the court, counsel for the petitioner claimed Gurjit Singh had put in about four years and three months of service, but was not granted disability pension after his discharge from service.

The counsel had added the petitioner’s disability pension claim was rejected by the authorities concerned on June 14, 2004 on the ground that the disability was neither attributable to, nor aggravated by military service.

The respondents, in fact, contended that the accident took place in the petitioner’s native village when he was on leave. It had no connection with his service. As such, he was not found entitled to disability pension.

After going through the records and the contention of both parties, the judges agreed with the petitioner and allowed his plea.


Fake Degree
7-yr wait for probe 
Record from school, DEO office missing
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 21
The apathetic attitude of the Department of Education towards teachers recruited against fake degrees is delaying inquiries and the teachers allegedly got recruited on the basis of fake degrees are enjoying perks not deserved for years.

Case of teacher Randhir Singh working against an aided post in Khalsa Senior Secondary School Ropar illustrates the fact. Randhir Singh got recruited in the school in 2001 using B.Ed. degree against the aided post of JBT teacher in the said school.

Former principal of school Jaswinder Pal Singh Sohi in a complaint to higher authorities of the Education Department alleged the B.Ed. degree Randhir Singh had used for getting recruited was fake. However, no action was taken on the complaint and accused teacher continued enjoying the perks for about seven years now.

The complainant then approached the district education officer (DEO) Ropar under the RTI Act regarding details of B.Ed degree of Randhir Singh. When the DEO office authorities did not reply, he moved the state commission. In an affidavit submitted to the commission, the principal of Khalsa school maintained the degree in question was not traceable in school records.

A copy of the B.Ed. degree should also be available with the DEO, Ropar since it is on his approval a selection against an aided post is held valid. However, the DEO has failed to produce the record regarding approval for selection.

The complaint has alleged the entire record of the case had gone missing from the school concerned and the DEO office.

Randhir Singh said the complainant had personal grudge against him. He was just trying to torment him. However, asked from which college he obtained the B.Ed degree against which he was selected, Randhir Singh refused to divulge it. He said he would produce the record only in court.

The DEO of Ropar, said the inquiry into the case had now been taken by director-general education Krishan Kumar.

Krishan Kumar said he had directed Randhir Singh and the DEO to produce the degree in question. However, they have failed to produce the record. “I have given them 15 days’ time to produce the degree and other relevant record pending which the grant in aid against the post Randhir Singh is working would be stopped.”

A large number of teachers with fake degrees got recruited in government schools. After the matter was brought to the fore in these columns, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, taking suo motu notice of the case, ordered an inquiry into the matter. In the subsequent inquiry, a large number of teachers were found to be possessing fake degrees. Some of the accused teachers had even produced fake M.Sc (physics) degrees.All degrees from Magadh University were found to be fake.

Sources in the department alleged if an inquiry into degrees used by teachers to get promotions was held it would turn out to be another scam.


Re-conduct of Punjabi paper ordered
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 21
The Punjab School Education Board has ordered the re-conduct of the Punjabi subject examination of Class V students.

The examination took place yesterday, and it was found that the question paper had been set from the old textbook, which had not been used by the students.

In a press note issued by the board here, chairman D.S. Dhillon stated that it was found that at least 40 per cent of the question paper was outside syllabus.

The examination would be re-conducted on March 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The examination centres and supervisory staff would be the same.

The question paper would be based on the new textbook published by the board in the subject (Punjabi Pustak-5) for the session 2007-2008.

The structure of the question paper will also be on the pattern specified in the syllabus published by the board for the session.

The board has also nominated a high-powered committee to look into the faux pas.


Casteist remarks
PSHRC tells Guru Nanak varsity to probe
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 21
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has directed Guru Nanak Dev (GND)University authorities to look into the complaint a woman programmer against head of the department (HoD) for casteist remarks.

The commission in its order said it felt that the complaint by Jyoti Kalyani, programmer in the university, in which she had accused HoD Amarjit Singh Sidhu of abusing her by caste, could be best looked into and disposed of by the university itself.

The programmer, in her complaint to the PHRC and the CM, Punjab, had alleged that from the day she had joined the department, she was directed to perform duties from the storeroom which did not behove the status of class A officer.

She alleged that when she demanded necessary infrastructure she was humiliated by the HoD. However, Dr Sidhu refuted the allegations.

The complainant also alleged that later the HoD did not send her name to be published in the prospectus and telephone directory of the university for 2006 and later in 2007 due to prejudice.

Dr G.S. Bhalla, a senior professor in the Department of Commerce, corroborated the caste bias charges. He said he was witness to the issue. 


Taming Travel Agents
LBP chief for 20-yr jail, Rs 25-lakh fine
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 21
Terming the move on an enactment by the Punjab government against illegal travel business to save people from loot by unscrupulous travel agents as major victory of his party, president of the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) Balwant Singh Ramoowalia today said some clauses in the draft document (Bill) were insufficient to award harsh punishment to the travel agents, looting people in the name of sending abroad.

Ramoowalia added the LBP wanted the Punjab government to make changes in the proposed Act to award 20 years’ sentence along with a fine of Rs 25 lakh in every case, besides registration of a case against their family members under Section 120-B of the IPC. He also said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had assured him the proposed Act would be passed in the Budget session.

Ramoowalia also produced some persons before the media persons, who had got money back from the travel agents with his efforts. Ramoowalia also handed over lakhs to some persons, who had been cheated by travel agents. According to Ramoowalia as part of Sri Guru Ravidas Ji birthday celebrations, in 15 days his party had succeeded in taking Rs 84,63,500 of 26 families from the travel agents and returning it to affected families. 


Boy’s tongue slashed with blade
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 21
Six unidentified youths slashed the tongue of student Umesh Kumar (17) with a blade under the Multanian overbridge, here on Wednesday night.

Father of the boy Madan Lal Bagga said, “Umesh was on his way to his friend’s house, when six youths intercepted him and took him to an isolated place. They gave him blows, frisked his pockets and took out Rs 100 he had. When the boy shouted for help, one of the accused took out a blade from his pocket while others held of him. They then pierced his tongue.”

“He became unconscious and after a few hours when he regained consciousness, he reached his house. His clothes were smeared with blood,” he added. The boy was then taken to the civil hospital, where doctors had to give 12 stitches to sew it together.

The father of the boy is physically challenged. Bagga disclosed the injured boy was not in a condition to give statement. The police had been informed about the incident, he said.

Police officials said they had not received any written or verbal statement from the injured till the filing of the report. But on seeing the condition of the boy, an investigation had been initiated. A case would be registered after the statement of the victim is recorded.


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