P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


CM for people-centric administrative set-up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called for a qualitative shift in administrative reforms to make them more responsive and public-oriented in order to address the social maladies of poverty and unemployment besides eradicating corruption from the government machinery.

Taking part in the deliberations with the members of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) led by its member V. Ramachandran, the Chief Minister said that the conventional administrative set-up was no more relevant in the present context and emphasised the need to bring administrative reforms with a public interface to instill confidence of the general masses in the state administration.

Citing the example of 'Sangat Darshan', he said that this concept of effective and efficient grievance redressal mechanism could be replicated in other states.

He said that this novel method of hearing and solving the problems on the spot had minimised the communication gap between the people and the bureaucracy.

The Chief Minister asked the ARC to give its recommendations to stamp out corruption from the government machinery. He said that corrupt practices prevalent at the cutting edge must be curbed with a heavy hand coupled with strong political will.

He also suggested that the commission must look into ways and means to give more autonomy to the states to ensure better functioning and proper coordination with the Centre in the implementation of various development schemes and programmes.

Badal underlined the need to give greater freedom in designing development and welfare schemes and asked for funds to be transferred to the states under centrally sponsored development and welfare schemes.

He also asked the ARC to carry out field visits to border areas in order to assess the ground reality.

Responding to issues raised by the Chief Minister, Ramachandran said though the subject of Centre-State relations was not within the ambit of the ARC, the commission would certainly convey the sentiments of Badal to the Finance Commission.

On the issue of corruption, Ramachandran said that abuse of authority at all levels in all organs of state had become the bane of our democracy.

He called for a restructuring of political, bureaucratic and judicial set-up to infuse public confidence in the democratic institutions.

He said the ARC has dealt the subject of corruption with great care, which was all-pervasive and eating into the vitals of our system, undermining economic growth, distorting competition and disproportionately hurting the poor and marginalised citizens and recommended some effective measures to check this menace administratively.

Prominent among others who were present on the occasion included chief secretary R.I. Singh, principal secretary to Chief Minister D.S. Guru, secretary information and technology Narinderjit Singh and director-cum-special secretary information technology R.K. Verma.

Member secretary Vineeta Rai, joint secretaries A.V. Prasad and Pradeep S. Kharola and director Sanjeev Kumar represented the ARC.


Amritsar byelection
One more stakes claim for SAD ticket
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Race for Shiromani Akali Dal ticket for t byelection to the Amritsar South constituency has hotted up with another Akali leader staking claim for the ticket here yesterday.

Jagdeep Singh Narula told reporters he had urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to give him chance to serve people of his constituency besides assuring him to win the seat by over 35,000 votes. He said he had called a meeting of ‘taksali’ workers of the area to draw up programme.

To a question Narula said he was demanding ticket after a senior SGPC leader persuaded him to contest the election and later consulting his supporters who also were enthused over it. If he was not given ticket by the SAD leadership then he would consider contesting the election as an Independent after consulting ‘talksali’ workers, he said. Earlier Gurpartap Sing Tikka, district president Youth Akali Dal and Inderbeer Singh Bularia, had staked claim for the ticket for contesting the election from the South constituency which fell vacant after the death of Raminder Singh Bularia. Senior SAD leaders along with SGPC members in the city are holding consultations with them for electing a candidate for the elections to be held on May 22.

Three SGPC members -Rajinder Singh Mehta, Jaswinder Singh Advocate, Kirandeep Kaur, six councillors, senior deputy mayor Ajaybir Singh Randhawa, Surinder Sultanwind, Shamsher Singh Shera, Jagchanan Singh, Amarjit Singh Bhatia and Amrik Singh Lalli, were among those present at the meeting organised by Tikka. At the other meeting organised by Bularia district president urban Bawa Singh Ghumanpur, Taksali leader Puran Singh Mattewal, two BJP coucillors Kanwalnain singh Gullu, Raman Mahajan, SAD councillor Avtar Singh Trakawala and other SAD leaders participated.


AISAD fields Kanda
Tribune News Service

Satnam Singh Kanda
Satnam Singh Kanda

Amritsar, April 24
Candidate fielded by the All- India Shiromani Akali Dal Satnam Singh Kanda is the person who had played key role in providing “safe passage” to Pakistan- based Sikh militants to hold talks with Indian government during militancy at behest of then Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and then Chander Shekhar in his capacity as senior vice- chairman of the Punjab Peace Council.

His services were acknowledged by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, in official correspondence , copies of which are with Kanda . He also flaunts his photograph with Rajiv Gandhi , clicked at official residence of the latter at New Delhi . He along with other members of the PPC were also deputed to hold talks with top militant Sikhs , lodged in Jodhpur jail that paved the way for providing safe passage to Pakistan- based militants who consequently held secret talks with the central government.


Deploy paramilitary forces: Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) yesterday demanded the deployment of paramilitary forces for election to the Amritsar (South) Assembly constituency on May 22.

In a communiqué to the Election Commission of India, PPCC chief spokesman Bir Devinder Singh the party feared the Punjab Police would indulge in rigging and booth-capturing in collusion with the SAD-BJP ruling alliance.

Bir Devinder Singh said the party had also demanded appointment of observers of the Election Commission to check violation of the model code of conduct, already in force. 


Leaders eclipse freedom fighters
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Hoardings put up by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on almost all main crossings in the city eclipse freedom fighters’ statues. They have become eyesore for people and tourists alike.

The hoardings have been put up violating orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court and election code of conduct in force due to the Assembly byelection to Amritsar (south) slated for May 22.

No road has been left without hoardings, not even the Grand Trunk road, national and state highways and the airport road. Every corner of the city is dotted with hoardings carrying advertisements.

The high court had banned such hoardings on railway tracks and roads in the municipal corporation limits as it distracts drivers causing accidents.

However, throwing the ban and the rules to the winds, a number of hoardings with pictures of the Chief Minister, leaders, local MLAs, mayor and councillors of the ruling party have come up.

The hoardings put up on the roundabout opposite Hall Gate has blocked view of the life-sized statue of Shaheed Udham Singh.

Similarly, persons coming from the airport and cantonment cannot see bust of Saif-ud-Din (1885-1913) installed on the Court road Chowk since a big hoarding has been put up.

Most hoardings hail the decision of SAD president for appointing his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia and K.S. Kang as patron and president of the Youth Akali Dal.

Big portraits of mayor Shavet Malik also figure appear on hoardings. How has the mayor, who has been appealing to keep the city ‘clean’, allow his pictures to be pasted all around?


Truckers tie up with NACO to check AIDS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The All-India Motor Transport Congress, that represents 40 lakh truckers and is an umbrella body of various truck unions and goods transport companies across the country, has tied up with the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) to check the spread of AIDS among truck drivers and cleaners.

Charan Singh Lohara, president of the Congress, said NACO had enough funds and knowledge to hold camps for truck drivers and cleaners to make them aware with regard to the preventive steps required to be taken in this regard. “We have no funds and source material to educate truck drivers and cleaners with regard to AIDS. That is why we have tied up with NACO,” he said.

He said NACO officials had been invited to the two-day conference that would be held under the banner of the Congress in Kolkata on April 26 and 27 to discuss various problems being faced by owners of trucks, truck drivers and cleaners, besides other issues. “We would chalk out a programme to hold camps at various places in the country for truck drivers and cleaners,” said Lohara.

Lohara said the issue of toll, diesel price, highway robberies and services tax would be discussed in detail at the conference.

Chairman of the parliamentary committee on transport Sita Ram Yechuri will be chief guest at the congress.


Even barbed wire fails to deter heroin smugglers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Bumper harvest of poppy in Afghanistan and other parts of the golden crescent could spell more trouble for Punjab already witnessing an increase in trafficking of narcotics, specially heroin, despite the border along Pakistan having been fenced.

Heroin is finding its way not only in the state for onward journey to Delhi and then to Mumbai and abroad, but there is also an increase in trafficking of its lesser derivative - smack being marketed for local consumption.

Even though the Special Narcotics Cell of the Counter Intelligence wing of the force has started making large-scale seizures which never happened before, sources say the recoveries point to the fact that the business of narcotic substances is thriving.

Peddlers of narcotic substances also are escaping justice with a number of recent cases of smugglers escaping from police custody when taken for court hearings. Though action was taken in one such high-profile case last year resulting in the dismissal of three cops, inquiries in other cases are still on.

Recently Baljinder Singh, alias Satta, escaped after removing iron bars of the bathroom attached with the room where he was kept before a court hearing. The iron bars had been cut to facilitate his escape, according to a police investigation. In another recent case, two smugglers escaped from the Maqboolpura chowki in Amritsar.

Police sources said smuggling of narcotics was on from across the border despite the barbed wire fence. They said smugglers were known to study the movement of sentries and throw contraband across according to a plan worked out via mobile phones. They said besides this, smugglers were also known to fill contraband in rubber tubes to transport narcotic substances across riverine tracts.

According to figures, 113 kg of heroin was seized last year of which the Special Narcotics Cell was responsible for recovering 70 kg and the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for the rest. Maximum seizures happened in Amritsar district indicating it still remains a hotbed of smuggling. As many as 80 smugglers were arrested last year.

Besides the pick-up in the smuggling of heroin, which passes through the state to foreign shores, the sources said there was also a spurt in the sale of smack, another poppy derivative, which was being smuggled into Punjab from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where it is prepared illegally. Three days back, the Narcotics Cell arrested a 20-year-old former model Priyanka Das of Mumbai with 20 kg of smack, the largest such recovery made in Punjab. Priyanka is allegedly said to be a member of a Nigerian drug cartel active in the country. Three and a half months back 5 kg of smack, again the biggest recovery of its time, had also been seized from Amritsar.


Not interested in meeting Bhattal, says Sohan Singh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Even as Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has announced that she would visit Vein Puin village (Tarn Taran) to meet Sohan Singh who had rescued her nephew from the captivity of militants, the latter nurses a grouse, “as she (Bhattal) had refused to meet him during her stint as deputy Chief Minister”.

Talking to The Tribune, Sohan Singh, elder brother of Madha Singh, slain militant of the Babbar Khalsa, here today said that he was now not interested in meeting Bhattal.

When asked that Bhattal wanted to visit his house shortly, he quipped that he would welcome anyone whosoever visits the house of a Gursikh.

Recalling old days, Sohan Singh said he was compelled by one Jhanda Singh , a former sarpanch of Tanda, to use his connections to meet Bhattal regarding some minor work of his village.

He rued that when he sent a slip inside the office of Bhattal in Punjab Civil Secretariat, she flatly refused to give him time. “It was great shock for me since I had helped Bhattal and her brother Manjit Singh Bhattal as per the tenets of Sikhism,” he added.

When asked that Bhattal wants to use your good services for launching a campaign against the forces which are again active to revive militancy, he said he won’t take up any such assignment. “Such a gesture would send a wrong signal as if I am protégé of Bhattal.”


Capt writes to Antony over pay panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Punjab Defence Services Welfare Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh has drawn the attention of Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony towards what he describes considerable discomfort among the serving and retired fraternity of the defence services against the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission.

In a letter written to the minister, Capt Kawanaljit has stated “the general feeling gaining ground is that God and soldier are remembered only in adversity”. He has further stated a 14-15 per cent rise in pay when inflationary trends had crossed 7 per cent would in no way assuage any cross section of the employees.

“I feel that having a prominent soldier on the pay commission was the first step. Even the review committee set up to look into the grievances of the defence services and police has been taken over by the bureaucracy. There is a need therefore to not only ensure justice but also to be seen as just,” he added.

“Punjab has a considerable concentration of ex-servicemen who are rightly agitated at the findings of the 6 th Pay Commission,” he further stated.


SGPC wants Dewan Todar Mal’s haveli back
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 24
Four years after Dewan Todar Mal’s Jahaz haveli, considered a heritage building by Sikhs,was sold to a private trust, the SGPC has initiated efforts to get back the building.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh said here recently that the haveli was an important heritage building for the Sikhs and the SGPC planned to get it back from the trust which had bought it in September 2003.

The building was transferred in the name of the Punjab Charitable Trust, a Mohali-based registered body. However, the trust now refused to hand over the building to the SGPC.

In an appeal to the trust, Avtar Singh stated the Sikh body was ready to pay the trust the amount it had so far spent on the building. On the other hand, the trust members have been maintaining that Dewan Todar Mal was a member of their community and they had more right on the building.

The SGPC chief said sentiments of the Sikhs were attached with the haveli and the trust should give it back to the Sikhs, assuring them that the SGPC would revamp the building within six months and maintain it thereafter.

Dewan Todar Mal holds an important position in the Sikh history by virtue of his having performed the last rites of younger Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, Baba Zorawar Singh (9) and Baba Fateh Singh (7), who were entombed alive by the Mughals for not embracing Islam and Mata Gujri who had died of shock.

The Dewan had bought the most expensive piece of land in the world history to cremate the Sikh martyrs as he was asked to vertically place gold coins on the land and only that much of land was given to him which he could cover with the gold coins. As per an estimate, he had paid more than 78,000 gold coins to buy a small piece of land where the three martyrs were cremated. Gurdwara Joytisaroop later was built on the land where the three had been cremated.

The Sikhs had constructed a spacious congregation hall at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to commemorate his noble service, which is a symbol of great respect the Sikhs have for Dewan, and therefore the sale of his house had caused a flutter amongst religious circles.

Avtar Singh said the SGPC had already constituted a committee to look after the building. He said the SGPC was going to send a formal missive to the trust and would initiate a dialogue to resolve the matter, failing which other ways to find a solution would be thought over. 


Pardon Sarabjit: UK-based body to Musharraf
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Manmohan Singh, UK-based president of the World Sikh- Muslim Federation (WMSF) has urged Pervez Musharraf President of Pakistan to pardon Sarabjit Singh on death row in bomb blast case, and added if has completed the term awarded in life imprisonment he be released without delay on humanitarian grounds.

In a press note here today he said he had urged Musharraf India should not be given a chance which might create differences between the Sikh-Muslim friendship. He said they were against death penaltyand the WMSF had sympathy for the family of Sarabjit. He said t Indian government should also pardon death penalty awarded to Prof Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and release him. 


For transparency’s sake
Quality consultancy for dev projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab government today made public the decision on government investments in development projects for scrutiny by introducing external auditing by independent Quality Assurance Consultants. A panel of 22 agencies has been finalised by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, the nodal agency for the scheme. A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting here this morning.

Media adviserto theChief Minister Harcharan Bains said the government also decided to introduce the Standard Bidding Document and e-tendering for all major government projects to ensure transparency and quality control in development projects in the state.

Every government project will have an inbuilt system of quality assurance and audit by independent outside agency from the stage of preparation of estimates to actual completion of the project. It was also decided that all projects with an outlay of Rs 3 crore or above should be assigned to these consultants and small projects clubbed to avoid additional cost of consultancy services.

Of the 22 agencies short-listed for the purpose, 13 will monitor projects on highways and bridges while nine would be tasked for similar work in water supply, sewerage projects and building projects. Various departments of the government had been asked to finalise terms and conditions for quality assurance and technical support services as per their specific requirements in a month.


GSI team collects ‘meteorite’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 24
A two-member team of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) from Chandigarh, headed by senior geologist Baldev Singh, today visited the field on Jawandha road in Sunam where a suspected meteorite had fallen in the wee hours yesterday. The team also held a conversation with the farmer, Harjinder Singh, in whose field it had fallen. It also inspected the spot.

In charge of the Sunam city police station Davinder Attri said he had handed over the suspected meteorite to senior geologist Baldev Singh. Sources said the GSI would now send this suspected meteorite to its Central laboratory.


Ex-DRME victim of vendetta: Wife
Threatens moving court
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 24
Indira Dalal, wife of former director of research and medical education (DRME) Dr J.S.Dalal, has alleged her husband had been a victim of political vendetta as he had probed the case of a medical college student of an influential family.

Indira alleged Dr Ravinder Singh, vice-chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, and his wife, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, a former principal of Government Medical College, Patiala, were instrumental in getting Dr Dalal removed as the DRME.

She alleged her husband had probed the case of admission of Gaurav Partap Singh, the doctor couple’s son, who was admitted to a medical college at Ludhiana and who later migrated to Government Medical College at Patiala in violation of rules and regulations. Indira said Gaurav had studied commerce stream up to plus II level, but managed admission to MBBS course.

His admission had been challenged by advocate Ashish Goyal.

When Dr Dalal filed an affidavit in court in connection with the facts of admission of the said student in the court, Dr Ravinder Singh and Dr Kiranjit Kaur “got after” Dr Dalal and wanted to weaken the case. She alleged the doctor couple was close to Dr J.S.Bajaj, vice-chairman, Punjab Planning Commission, who happened to be personal physician of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

She threatened to move court for a probe by the CBI into the case of admission of Gaurav if the transfer of her husband as DRME was not vacated. Effort to contact Dr Ravinder Singh, vice-chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, failed.

Dr Ravinder Singh avoided comment on the admission of his son, saying he was an a meeting. Later, he refused to come on telephone line.


Mohali Land Dispute Case
Patiala IG to handle inquiry
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The ongoing battle of wits between Punjab Police chief N.P.S. Aulakh and Mohali senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurdarshan Singh Khatra has taken a new turn with the state’s top cop directing the Patiala inspector general (IG) of police to get the complaint against the Mullanpur Garibdas station house officer (SHO) Kashmira Singh inquired by an IPS officer.

The Mohali SSP had earlier got the complaint against the SHO inquired into by deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Raj Balwinder Singh Mrar. Based on the report submitted by the DSP, the SSP had reported that the complaint received against the SHO did not have any basis. He had also claimed that the SHO was not even remotely involved in the case and so there was no question of dereliction of duty on part of the SHO.

The report submitted by the DSP was forwarded to the DGP recommending that the suspension order passed by him in the case be reviewed.

The DGP reviewed his orders yesterday revoking the suspension of the SHO but has now ordered his transfer to the Jalandhar range.

However, the Mohali SSP had transferred the SHO to the Mohali Police Lines on April 22. SSP Khatra when contacted said the SHO had proceeded on three-day casual leave as his father was being operated upon at Patiala. Khatra said he had also been away and that he would look into the matter soon. DGP Aulakh, when questioned today about the conduct of the SSP and whether the latter’s comments stating he would examine the references sent by the DGP regarding the case were appropriate, said Khatra had rung him up and told him that there was no question of disobedience of any orders. The DGP said Khatra had said he had only forwarded a factual report regarding the case.

But it seems the “factual” report had not met with full favour by the top cop. Aulakh said he had decided to get the whole incident inquired into by an IPS officer. He said he had sent a letter to the Patiala zone IG to get the inquiry conducted from within his zone.

The case shot to the limelight after Chandigarh resident Balwinder Singh had represented to the DGP that a group of 20-25 persons had forcibly entered his land in Mullanpur Garibdas village after harvesting his standing wheat crop.

The DGP had ordered the suspension of the SHO on charges of dereliction of duty for failing to take prompt action in the matter on a reference given by Patiala deputy inspector general (DIG) of police Paramjit Singh Gill on April 17.

The DIG had maintained that the SHO failed to take action on the complaint of Balwinder Singh despite his recommendation.


Death of Inmates
Jails to have more docs, says Gabria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Jail minister Hira Singh Gabria told reporters today a proposal had been sent to the health minister for posting one doctor for 500 inmates in jails.

At present one doctor looks after more than 1000 inmates resulting in delay in detection and response to a medical problem. In Ludhiana Central Jail, there is just one doctor and a pharmacist for 2,500 inmates.

On a recent news report in The Tribune that 120 inmates had died last year for want of medical care, Gabria said he had met health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla seeking mobile laboratories for jails.

He said Chawla had assured him to provide, doctors and paramedics in jails all over the state. He said mobile laboratories would prove more handy.


Babus ‘riding’ their luck
Score over legislators in getting luxury vehicles
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Even as legislators await the Toyota Innova vehicles promised to them, more than a year back, bureaucrats in Punjab are luckier, with the state government purchasing 20 luxury vehicles for them.

Twenty luxury vehicles, including three Toyota Corolla cars, seven Honda City cars and 10Maruti SX-4 model vehicles are presently parked in the Secretariat parking area awaiting delivery to the bureaucrats.

Secretary, personnel, S S Rajput, when queried on the issue, said the Corolla vehicles were to be issued to principal secretary-level officers, while the Honda City and SX-4 vehicles were for administrative secretary-level officers. The cars are awaiting registration before being distributed to the officers.

While the bureaucrats, who primarily do with the trusted government work horse- the Ambassador car- are in for a bonanza, the legislators have not struck it rich yet. Though the legislators have been in line to receive Innovas or gypsy vehicles, according to their liking their case has been delayed for some time.

According to government sources, the legislators were earlier given the option to buy Maruti Gypsy or Qualis vehicles. When Qualis went out of production, they were given the option of Innova vehicles. While most of the legislators have opted for Innovas, some have decided to go in for Gypsy vehicles, which they want to use as their escorts.

The government had earlier decided to buy the vehicles for the legislators directly from the Toyota manufacturer in Bangalore. But with the tax quotient being more in Bangalore, the Finance Department advised that the vehicles be purchased from 
Punjab only.

However, as only one tender was filled in for supply of the vehicles, the Department of Personnel has decided to send the file back to the Finance Department for approval.


Labour dept officers sans basic facilities
No phone, fax, vehicle at disposal
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Punjab may be moving up the technology ladder, but the same does not apply to its Labour Department, which still lives in antiquated times, with its field officers doing without even a phone or fax and only dreaming of having a computer of their own some day.

A brain-storming session for the critical appreciation of the working of the department at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration here yesterday saw officers lamenting the lack of any infrastructure at their disposal.

They said besides lack of a basic facility like phone in many offices, the officers did not have any vehicle at their disposal to either conduct inspections or reach trouble areas in case of a crisis. “I am a member of the crisis group formed by the department, but I do not have either a phone or any conveyance at my disposal,” said assistant director, factory, M.P.Berry during the interaction.

Labour officers also claimed there was no motivation among field officers, with a single promotion taking up to 20 years. Coupled with this was the fact that the workload was increasing by the day, with 50 per cent of posts for officer lying vacant. Besides, they also listed operational difficulties.

Assistant labour commissioner (ALC), Jalandhar, Inderjit Singh, pointed out that the law was silent on new emerging professions like the call centre industry. He said likewise the department was unable to enforce regulations in the unorganised sector, which accounted for as much as 92 per cent of all business generated in the state due to staff constraints.

The officers also claimed that there was no calender for training staff at regular intervals and there were some officers who had retired without attending even one training course. “Field staff, particularly labour inspectors, need updating of their knowledge on a regular basis,” said S.S.Bandhi, ALC, Jalandhar.

The Labour Department is facing constraints in serving not only the industrial sector, but also the employees covered by it. The Labour Welfare Board, constituted to provide small loans for bicycles, fans, sewing machines and awarding ex-gratia of Rs 10,000, besides other welfare measures, is also almost defunct.

The officers said most of the schemes were on hold for more than four years.

Labour minister Tikshan Sud inaugurated the first session, which was also attended by P.Ram, principal secretary, and Raminder Singh, labour commissioner.

Mahatma Gandhi centre director-general B.K.Srivastava said the centre was on its way to institute a labour welfare study centre.


High Court
Bhadaur gurdwara case
Punjab told to furnish chief secy order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Taking up the Bhadaur gurdwara case, Justice H.S. Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the state of Punjab to furnish order, if any, passed by the chief secretary on an explanation furnished by then deputy commissioner of Sangrur S.R. Laddar.

As the matter came up for further hearing, the arguments revolved around Laddar’s letter to the chief secretary. The letter, clarifying his position, was dispatched on April 4.

The officer reiterated he had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the death of a person, who as per then Barnala SSP S.K. Asthana, had died in police custody.

In his letter, placed before the court, Laddar said he wanted to bring to the notice of the chief secretary the true facts based on official records pertaining to the land of gurdwara.

“During the demarcation of the land one of the factions was able to erect a boundary wall, which led to clash in which some people were injured and Robin Masih died,” the letter reads.

The IAS officer stated he received a phone at 10.30 pm on October 11, 2006, from Asthana informing him that a person taken in custody had died.

Laddar said after he had ordered the “magisterial inquiry”, Asthana wrote a letter that, in fact, Robin Masih had not died in police custody, but in a private hospital due to injuries sustained in the clash.

The officer said since he had marked a magisterial inquiry into the incident, it was not proper for him to withdraw or modify the earlier order marked to the SDM, Barnala, in order to keep transparency.

Before parting with the case, Justice Bhalla also asked the state to submit separate lists of IAS and IPS officers charge-sheeted by the court, having cases pending against them, or who have been charge-sheeted in the departmental proceedings. Issuing the directions, Justice Bhalla directed the filing of a comprehensive list by May 1, the next date of hearing in the case.

Fee on cattle purchase

The Punjab government decision to charge fee from dairy owners and farmers, purchasing cattle from sources other than the fairs, has come under the judicial scanner.

Acting on a petition challenging the imposition of the fee, a Division Bench, comprising Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina, on Thursday summoned the complete record.

Issuing the directions, the Bench also fixed May 1 as the next date of hearing in the matter. As the case against Punjab and others came up for hearing, counsel for Nanha and seven other petitioners belonging to Jalandhar district sought directions for quashing a circular and subsequent letters by the district development and panchayat officer of Jalandhar.

The petitioners claimed through these communiqués, a contractor, Kashmir Chand, had been authorised to collect four per cent of the purchase price as free from the owners purchasing cattle not from fairs.

Going into the background of the matter, the petitioners said it was mandatory for the government to ensure the holding of the fairs for their convenience.

Quoting the provisions of the Punjab Cattle Fairs (Registration) Act, 1967, the petitioners contended the fairs were, in fact, to be held every month. While the government had on one hand failed to hold the cattle fairs, it had on the other hand authorised the collection of fee just to harass the dairy owners and others.

Terming the action as arbitrary and unjust, the petitioners added the government or the private contractor had no right, power or authority to collect fee on private transactions or cattle purchased by them from fairs in adjoining districts.


Change in Physical Education Course Nomenclature
Abohar college students at receiving end
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
It is a classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. On one hand, the inspection committee of Panjab University gave provisional affiliation to MA (physical education) course at Guru Nanak College, Abohar, and on the other hand, universities authorities have send the roll numbers, DMCs (detailed marks card), roll numbers and even the cut-off list for M.PEd course instead of MA (physical education).

The case brings to the fore the lack of coordination among various quarters of the university and its affiliated colleges. The MA (Phy Ed) course was started two years back with provisional affiliation for one year.

In the meantime, the university, which has been running the same course over the years, upgraded the syllabus, added a new subject and changed its nomenclature from MA (Phy Ed) to M.PEd.

Since Guru Nanak College, Abohar, had only got the approval to run the MA (Phy Ed) course, they could not have renamed the course. At the same time, Abohar students were sent admit cards and DMCs of M.PEd course to appear in annual examinations of April 2007.

The matter came to the Senate in its meeting held in March 2008 and as a special case, the House decided to give extension of affiliation to the college on the condition that the examinations of the course will be held as per the syllabus of MA (Phy Ed).

Interestingly, even after a decision in this regard was taken in March, the students still received their roll numbers, cut-off list and even the date sheet of M.PEd to appear in the annual April 2008 examinations. Moreover, the college was not even conveyed about the same in the stipulated time frame.

As a result, 26 students of the final year reached the examination venue on the date of the M.PEd examination only to find that the university has not send them any question papers. The same exercise was repeated for the next examination.

Nachatar Pal Singh, principal of the college, said, “Our students are at the receiving end without having any fault of theirs. When the university changed the nomenclature, it was done in our college automatically. That is why we have been receiving roll numbers, cut-off lists and even DMCs of M.PEd.”

When the examinations (conduct) branch of the university was contacted, assistant registrar (conduct) Gopal Krishan said, “Question papers are only sent after we receive a centre statement from the examination branch. The examination branch is responsible for sending a centre statement pertaining to each course and numbers of question papers to be sent.

In this case, we were sent a centre statement of MA (Phy Ed) and the date sheet has not been made as yet for the MA (Phy Ed) exams.

When contacted, Varinder Kapoor, joint controller of examinations, PU, said, “We have told the department of physical education to prepare a date sheet soon and we will conduct the examinations immediately thereafter.”


Nursery of paddy seedlings ploughed
Tribune News Service

Kalanaur, April 24
In accordance with the government order the Agriculture Department ploughed a 15-marla nursery of paddy seedlings at Kalanaur village near here on Thursday.

These were to be used for early transplantation over 10 acres in the area. Agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah accompanied by Gurdaspur DC Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, chief agriculture officer B.S. Kahlon and certain progressive farmers were present at the spot. The nursery was owned by Harpreet Singh, a farmer. 


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