P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Service in rural schools must for new teachers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
The Punjab government has decided to implement the condition making newly recruited teachers in the state to serve for three years in village schools. Director public instructions (secondary) Punjab Jagtar Singh Khatra stated this here today.

Khatra was addressing students on the occasion of National Science Day celebration at Chandigarh College of Education, Landran near here.

He said this service condition already existed in Punjab but had not been implemented and a proposal to take action against those who did not comply with the condition on joining services.

He added infrastructure in 351 senior secondary schools across the state would be upgraded. The upgradation would be taken in such a way that every constituency had at least three such upgraded schools, he elaborated.

Dr Khatra added the state government was keen on promoting science and technical education among students. To improve basic infrastructure in schools in the state, the government had already allocated Rs 141 crore. The government had sanctioned Rs 28 crore t for furniture in schools. The scope and prospects in science and technology have changed. Seeing the upswing, the government had decided to increase number of science schools and also sanctioned Rs 2 crore for providing science equipment in schools.

Dr Khatra said the department would promote eligible teachers as lecturers by March 15. The department has already started work in this direction by promoting science teachers while the remaining promotions in other subjects would be completed in stipulated time. He said the department was committed to promote quality English medium education in the state. He elaborated work to establish 141 Adarsh schools in the state had already begun. To promote primary education among village students, these Adarsh schools would play a vital role. The state government has already allocated Rs 75 crore for the above project.

On rising drop -out rate from schools, he said the government was taking steps to improve the situation. He attributed the increase in migratory population as the main reason for the increase in the drop-out rate. 


Adarsh Schools will lead to bias: MLA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Congress legislator from Qila Raipur Jassi Khangura has contested the claim of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal made on the floor of the House during the last session of the Vidhan Sabha wherein he had said that the Adarsh Schools scheme received kudos from the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Quoting Badal, he said Ahluwalia was so enthused by the Adarsh proposals that he stated it should be extended to the whole country.

However, Khangura said when I met Ahluwalia, the latter denied having ever made such a statement. “When I met him in Delhi, Ahluwalia clarified that all I did was endorsed Badal’s desire to improve school infrastructure in the state. The matter has never come before me so how can I endorse or reject it”, said Khangura.

The MLA, who addressed a press conference here today, the scheme would encourage discrimination. “Adarsh Schools would introduce a two-tier educational system, which has been scrapped in the UK and the US where such “Beacon” and “Pathfinder” schools have been closed because employers, etc, discriminate against students of other schools”.

Referring to an advertisement appearing in today’s newspapers that says that the government was setting up 141 Adarsh Schools at a cost of Rs 400 crore, Khangura presented a letter written to the Planning Commission by the special secretary (planning) wherein the state has demanded Rs 5.80 crore for each school, Rs 817 crore for all 141 such schools.

Terming the concept a gimmick, Khangura said during the inaugural address of the 1997 Vidhan Sabha session, the government had announced the setting up of such schools. However, for the full five-year term, the Badal government did nothing in this regard. Now, advertisements are being inserted in newspapers to “fool the people”. “When the government does not have enough resources for normal functioning, from where will it get money to build and run these schools?”

Quoting reports of Punjab having the highest school dropout rate in the country, he said: “The World Bank, too, in its report titled ‘Resuming Punjab’s Prosperity’ states that on any given day 36 per cent of Punjab’s state school teachers are absent”.

He said instead of setting up these schools, the government must introduce educational reforms, put check on politically motivated transfers of teachers, etc.


SGPC finally shows Bedi the door
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 28
The SGPC has finally dismissed Diljit Singh Bedi, assistant secretary, with immediate effect following charges of moral turpitude here today.

The order issued by the SGPC secretary has reversed its own three previous decisions taken by the SGPC chief and executive committee. At least four controversial orders had been issued by the SGPC in connection with Bedi in less than four months.

Today’s order says that Bedi stood dismissed from service on the basis of the decision of the executive committee taken on February 18 in Ludhiana. It further reads that the recent executive meeting has also reversed its decision of January 1 taken at Anandpur Sahib, wherein his (Bedi’s) suspension had been revoked. Today’s order had also reversed the decision taken by the SGPC chief regarding accepting of the resignation of Bedi taken on January 4.

Bedi had put in 27 years of service. He had joined the SGPC as clerk in 1981 and rose to the post of assistant secretary and also worked as publicity in charge. Though the SGPC chief was not in favour of giving harsh punishment to Bedi, two opposition SGPC executive members had reportedly told him that they won’t accept any decision less than his dismissal.

Meanwhile, Bedi has said he will move the court against the decision. He claimed that the SGPC could not dismiss an employee without hearing him. 


Depts in no hurry to send cases to AG office
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
How pension cases of “ retiring” government employees are treated in Punjab, the office of accountant general, empowered to authorise pension after dealing with such cases, has shed light on it.

As a norm, every department is supposed to send the case of “ would be retiree” employees six months before the last day of his/ her retirement to the AG office complete in all respects. But no office of the Punjab government has been following this norm.

There are about 1.50 lakh pensioner employees in Punjab and 10,000 in UT. Each month 1200 cases of pension are received from Punjab and 400 from UT.

AG Punjab Onkar Nath here today said only 0.74 per cent of the 14,637 the total cases for pension were received six months in advance in 2007. In fact, number of cases received after retirement was 26.33 per cent and 17.76 per cent were in the month of retirement and 22.46 per cent one month before retirement. He said 18.92 per cent cases were received two months before retirement and 2.72 per cent three months before retirement and 7.99 per cent four months before retirement.

And of all 14,637 cases received in the year, 5,974 were incomplete and hand to be sent the departments concerned for removing deficiencies. However, the department concerned tak time to send back the cases after removing deficiencies. Of the 5,974 cases returned to the departments concerned, 15.60 per cent were sent back to the AG office after completing remaining formalities in a month. In case of 32.51 per cent cases, the department concerned took two months and 21.90 per cent cases they took three months to remove deficiencies and report back to the AG office.

And there are 828 cases( 13.86) per cent which were not received back in the AG office till January 31 this year even six months after these were referred back to the departments concerned to remove deficiencies. Onkar Nath said most of the departments keep the would be pensioners in dark on sending their cases to the AG office. Of the cases of 14637 employees sent to the AG office for pension , 9025 of them visited the AG office to pursue cases.

“ You see the lack of trust employees have developed in the system in which they served for years that they themselves were chasing their cases in the AG office. And many of them did not have even basic information whether their cases had reached the AG office or still lying in the office they had served before retirement”, said Onkar Nath.

“ We can understand the plight of an employee, who stops receiving salary after retirement and waits for the starting of pension”, said Onkar Nath.

“To deal with problems faced by employees in case of pension we have set up suvida cell in the AG office. We have launched a website. Each pension case is now being allotted code number. Employees concerned can check the status of their cases on website. We have also kept a dedicated telephone line for them.Even employees concerned can send up information through e-mail”, said Onkar Nath.

He said the Punjab Police was the best department as far as preparation of pension cases was concerned. The Punjab Police had appointed a DSP- level officer as nodal officer to visit the AG office on weekly basis to get all deficiencies in the pension cases removed. 


Wasting funds MC style
RCC slabs covering drain to be replaced
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Nangal, February 28
Nangal Municipal Council officials are busy getting RCC slabs covering main drain of the town in the Rajnagar area removed. They have engaged two labourers who are finding it hard to break the concrete cover with hammers. They are working at the site for two days and have been able to break just a few feet area.

On the other hand rationale of council officials behind breaking the RCC structure is that it has gone weak. The workers executing the work at the spot said the roofing used to shake when vehicles were parked on it. So the council is breaking the structure and to strengthen it.

Breaking and again carrying out RCC work seems to favourite pastime of the council workers here. For the said spot the council authorities have floated a tender worth lakhs for breaking and then reconstructing the RCC structure.

Sources here said RCC roof was laid on the main drain of the town to cover it as it was a nuisance to people living in surrounding areas. Allowing parking of heavy vehicles on it was never the objective. Moreover even after strengthening the roof cannot sustain heavy vehicles as there is no solid base under it. So breaking the roof would not serve any purpose.

The council authorities said the RCC roof was being broken and re-laid on the demand of people. However, the sources said work was being carried to please a few who wanted to park their vehicles on slab.

The said case is not the only one of funds’ misuse with cash -rich Nangal Municipal Council. The council has been maintaining 32 parks in about 3 square km area of Nangal. Most of these parks are a shambles. The council authorities have never looked towards the parks after installing costly equipment in there. The result is all facilities at the parks have been stolen. However, sources added on papers repair and maintenance of parks has been going on.

Minister of local government Manoranjan Kalia has said spot checking would be made mandatory before any development work is carried out by municipal councils. The move was aimed at checking wastage of funds by replacing the RCC, concrete flooring or road works before time.

However, in the present case Nangal municipal council authorities do not seem to have carried spot checking. Had spot checking been done the authorities concerned could have spotted the waste of funds.

The council has elected representatives for over two years now. The elections could not be held as the president of the local BJP had filed a petition in the high court against the demarcation of wards. However, now it is the BJP government. Still the elections are not in sight.


Harassment to passengers
Forum tells Railways to pay Rs 55,000
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 28
Subash Trehan of Urban Estate here booked 11 berths in Chhattisgarh Express (train number 3238) from Jalandhar to Mathura for March 11, last year.

When he along with 10 family members and friends reached the station to board the train, they found S-6 coach, in which their seats were reserved was not available with the train. At this, they, including five women and a child, had to board S-7 coach and had to travel standing for 13 hours without any sleep in the night.

Following this Trehan sent complaints to station superintendent, Jalandhar, DRM, Ferozepur Division, GM Northern Railways and union railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav about the harassment caused to him and his family due to non-attachment of a reserved coach with the train but to no avail.

On May 11, last year he filed moved Jalandhar District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum which held the Railway Department responsible for the non-attachment of the reserved coach in its order, copy of which was issued today.

President of the forum M.M. Bhalla and member Surinder Mittal directed the Railway Department to pay Rs 55,000 to the 11 passengers for harassment.

Holding The Railway Department responsible for deficient service , the forum observed `It is proved the rail authorities had not attached S-6 coach with the relevant train and for it the compliant had to suffer without seats and had to remain awake during the night journey.’

Trehan said he would again send a complaint along with the order of the forum to Lalu and higher rail officials for appropriate action against the erring Railway officers and personnel for the inconvenience caused to them due to their fault.


PPSC to recruit PCS officers: CM
Inaugurates textile unit
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bhindran (Sangrur), February 28
As the Union Public Service Commission has reportedly declined to hold selection of officers for the Punjab Civil Service (PCS) and allied services, the Punjab government has made up its mind to entrust selection of the PCS officers to the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).

To a question Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the recruitment of the PCS officers would now be made by the PPSC.The Chief Minister also said in the light of directions of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC), the Punjab government would deposit more than Rs 1000 crore subsidy arrears with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today.

Badal was here today in connection with the inauguration of a textile unit. He inaugurated the Avani Textiles, a for the ginning of narma (raw cotton) and manufacture of cotton yarn. Cost of this project is Rs 135 crore while its installed capacity is 13367 metric tonnes of cotton yarn per annum.

Badal said the Avani textiles would provide direct employment to 900 persons and indirect jobs to 4000 persons. Besides this, the state government would also earn Rs 35 crore per annum in the form of taxes. The government was also planning to set up more such textile units in the state to produce not only yarn, but also cloth and garments, he added.

Badal said the state government would do everything for the welfare of the farmers and development of agriculture. He said due to“wrong policies” of the central government, farmers of Punjab were facing financial crisis. Besides this the Centre ,by giving tax concessions to the industry in the neighbouring states, had hit Punjab industry.

Badal also announced Rs 10 lakh grant for the development of Bhindran village, 7 km from here on the Sangrur-Patiala road.

Punjab industry and commerce minister Manoranjan Kalia, MP from Sangrur Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, chairman of the Avani Textiles Lajpat Rai Jindal, and area in charge of the SAD for Sangrur Assembly constituency Parkash Chand Garg were among the speakers.

Punjab PWD B&R minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa and general secretary of the SAD Prem Singh Chandumajra were also present on the 


State gets 104 MW additional power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Science, technology and environment minister Bikram Singh Majithia today formally commissioned eight Bagasse-based cogeneration projects (104.25 MW ). These have been set up with an investment of Rs 422 crore.

At a function organised at the Solar Passive Complex here today he started the 8 cogeneration projects at Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Barnala, Patiala, Mohali, Mukatsar, Sangrur and Gurdaspur. These have been facilitated by PEDA.

The minister said keeping in view the interest shown by industrialists in cogeneration, the target of cogeneration for the next five years had been enhanced from 220 mW to 400 MW.

Since a cogeneration project of 30.80 mW is already functioning, the total co-generation capacity in the state has risen to 135.5 MW.

Secretary, science and technology A.S. Chhattwal said multinational companies were showing keen interest in solar energy and tenders for solar parks to generate 100 mW of power would be floated soon. Chief executive, PEDA, T.P.S. Sidhu stated that PEDA was providing the technical and facilitation services for setting up of these projects under the New and Renewable Sources of Energy Policy-2006.


State chosen for Bamboo Mission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Punjab has chosen as a nodal state by the Union Agriculture Ministry to implement the National Bamboo Mission Programme for promoting cultivation, value addition, processing and marketing of bamboo crop.

Tikshan Sud, forests and wildlife preservation minister said to promote diversification of land use, Punjab had submitted a proposal to the union government for promoting cultivation, value addition, processing and marketing of bamboo.


4 teachers lose job for fake papers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 28
Services of four regular ETT teachers, recruited by the Sangrur Zila Parishad, have been terminated by the authorities on the charge of submitting fake residence certificates to get job.

The teachers whose services have been terminated are Om Pati (Government Primary School, Nawagaon), Balbir Singh and Naib Singh (Government Primary School, Banarasi), and Jagdish Singh (Government Primary School, Kudni). All schools fall in Andana block of Moonak subdivision in this district. The teachers were appointed in October, 2007.

Sangrur ADC (D) Harnek Singh confirmed the dismissal of the four teachers.

He said a complaint had been filed with the authorities concerned against these teachers. An inquiry conducted by the Moonak SDM found the residence certificates submitted by the teachers at the time of their appointment to be fake.


Ekta Manch accuses VC of graft, seeks probe
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 28
Accusing Guru Nanak Dev University vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh of corruption and seeking a probe, Ram Sharan Paul, convener, Punjab Ekta Manch, here today sent an affidavit to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

At a press conference, Paul alleged that the VC had embezzled funds when he was co-ordinator of the Centre for Genetic Disorders from 1990-1998. “He collected lakhs from India and abroad, but instead of remitting these donations to the varsity, he deposited it in his personal account. There was a fire in the centre recently and the records might have been burnt,” he alleged.

In the affidavit submitted by him, Paul has demanded an inquiry into the paper setting for conduct of PMET-2005. The GND varsity was asked to conduct the pre-medical test, which was earlier conducted by Baba Farid Medical University.

Paul also raised the issue of “unauthorised” taking over of a privately-managed Amardeep Singh Shergill Memorial College, Mukandpur, after it was declared sick. “The intriguing factor in the taking over of the college is that Dr Jai Rup Singh did not place the matter before the university’s academic bodies, including the Senate,” he said.

He also questioned the scrapping of BSc (hons) course in physics, human genetics, biotechnology, microbiology and five-year integrated course in master of computer application, master of technology and master of business management.

The affidavit also gives a list of names of teachers who have been allegedly illegally appointed in the university departments.

Dr Jai Rup Singh said he was busy and could not comment on the issue.


Patna Sahib Jathedar criticises Vedanti
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 28
Patna Sahib Jathedar Iqbal Singh today again criticised Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti for “unilaterally” making an appeal to Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Damdama Sahib, to call off the dharna.

Jathedar Iqbal Singh on the telephone decried the action of Jathedar Vedanti who appealed to Jathedar Nandgarh, allegedly at the behest of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal without taking jathedars of other Takhts into confidence.

To a question, Giani Iqbal Singh said Jathedar Vedanti and Jathedar Nandgarh were guilty of violating the ardas and denigrating Akal Takht. He said the Sikh clergy had no right to change the dates of Sikh events.

In yet another development, Jathedar Iqbal Singh said Takht Patna Sahib had derecognised Bhai Ram Singh as chief of the breakaway group of Damdami Taksal due to his opposition to the stand of the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib on the Nanakshahi calendar.


Cong threatens stir over road condition
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 28
The Congress has threatened that it will launch an agitation if steps are not taken to improve the condition of the Ropar-Anandpur Sahib road.

District Congress president Ramesh Dutt Sharma and Nangal MLA K.P.S. Rana said here today that with Holla Mohalla scheduled for next month, about five lakh devotees from across the state were expected to visit the holy town of Anandpur Sahib. If the government fails to improve the condition of the road with the next two days, the Congress would hold a dharna.

The national highways authority has allotted the tender for four-laning of the road to certain company. The road is dotted with potholes. Its condition is even worse in the Bharatgarh area.


Fast-track court to try Chahal case
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, Feburary 28
Sessions judge G. K. Rai today referred the attempt to murder and land grab case involving BIS Chahal former media adviser of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to a fast-track court for trial.

Earlier, the sessions judge had referred the case to the court of additonal sessions judge A. K. Mehta on February 25. But the said court had sent the case file back to the sessions judge expressing inability to try the case citing some reasons.

As per directions of the sessions court, all accused, including BIS Chahal appeared before the fast-track court headed by Manjinder Singh, additional sessions judge, this afternoon.

Counsel of the accused requested the court to decide the application filed by them previously, directing the prosecution to produce copies of certain documents annexed with the charge sheet filed in the court but not supplied to them. The judge instructed the additional public prosecutor to file reply to the application on March 14.

Chahal algong with several relatives was booked under Sections 307, 452, 379, 148, 149 of the IPC on the complaint moved by Harchand Singh of Daad village at Sadar Police Station on June 10, 2007.

He was facing accusations of attempting to commit murder for the purpose of taking possession of prime land forcibly, in connivance with his relatives in October 2006.

Other accused Kartar Singh Garewal, Jagdish Pal Singh, Jaswinder Pal Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Harjinder Singh residents of Daad village were also present during court proceedings. The case will now come up for hearing on March 14.


Bhadaur Gurdwara Row
Probe report placed before HC
Our Correspondent

Barnala, February 28
The crime branch today produced its first inquiry report by SP Ranjeet Singh Dhillon, crime branch, before the high court Bench of Mr Justice L.N.Mittal. The court fixed March 26 for the next hearing.

Bhadaur gurdwara Kand Virodhi Action Committee general secretary Gurmail Bhutal said another writ filed by the committee demanding a CBI inquiry into the entire episode was pending. The high court had already fixed the hearing of that case also on March 26. Now the Bench of Mr Justice Mittal had clubbed the hearing of both cases.

The gurdwara clash took place in October 2006. Ruban Masih was killed and several were injured seriously. The police had registered two FIRs in this case against 152 persons, including the then MLA Balbeer Singh Ghunus. The police had held the mob guilty for the death of Ruban.

But the inquiry conducted by Dhillon had pointed towards the then SSP, S.K.Asthana, holding him responsible for the death of Ruban. He had submitted this report to the crime branch in August 2007. But a political family came to the rescue of the SSP.


High Court
5 PAU professors to continue in service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Issuing a notice of motion for April 22, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed five Punjab Agriculture University professors to continue in service on the posts they were working on. Three of the petitioners were to retire on February 29 upon attaining the age of 60.

In their petition against the Union of India and other respondents, the petitioners had earlier contended that the state of Punjab had not implemented the central government’s decision of increasing the age of retirement from 60 to 62.

The matter was taken up by the state with the university, but the authorities concerned had contended that they were not in a position to bear the financial burden. Arguing on behalf of the petitioners before a High Court Division Bench of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice K.C. Puri, counsel Surdershan Goel had contended once the central government had taken a decision, it was imperative on the university to implement it in view of Article 254 of the Constitution.

Elaborating, the counsel had asserted university was a subject covered within entry 25 of list three to seventh schedule of the Constitution, in which central government laws prevailed over state government laws.

Notice to irrigation secy

Taking up a public interest litigation alleging failure of the Punjab government to maintain rivulet Holy Bein associated with Guru Nanak Dev, HC Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia issued notice of motion for March 21 to the irrigation secretary and Deputy Commissioners of Hoshairpur and Kapurthala.

In the petition, the Chandigarh-based Singh Legal Foundation had earlier sought directions to maintain it in accordance with its status and importance.

Shifting of labs stayed

The HC today stayed till further orders the state of Punjab’s order of February 7 directing the shifting its laboratories from Jalandhar, Bathinda and Amritsar The directions were issued after preliminary hearing on a public interest litigation filed by Ashwani Kumar of Amritsar district. He was seeking directions to quash the orders of shifting these laboratories.

The laboratories at Jalandhar and Bathinda undertake testing of foodstuff samples. The one at Amritsar checks the samples of smuggled intoxicants, narcotics, opium, poppy husk etc. The division bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, while staying the order, issued notices for April 23 to the Punjab Health Department Secretary and others.

Shortage of teachers

In a public interest litigation, the issue of persisting shortage of teachers in state-run elementary schools in rural areas of Punjab was raised before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Taking up the petition filed by Gurmeet Singh of Barnala and Rajinder Singh of Patiala district, Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia issued notices for April 23 to state of Punjab and other respondents.


Roll numbers on website
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
The Punjab School Education Board has put roll numbers for open school and private candidates on its website www.pseb.ac.in <http://www.pseb.ac.in>.

The private candidates appearing in class VIII examination 2008 and the private and open school candidates appearing in the class XII examination 2008 could download these roll numbers from the website. The roll numbers for private and open school candidates for class X examination 2008 would be put on the website on March 6.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |