P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


7 breaches in Ghaggar hits five villages
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 21
Due to floods in the Ghaggar, seven breaches occurred in the Khanauri-Moonak belts today affecting five villages, including Baopur, Nawan Gaon, Hotipur, Makror Sahib and Andana. Makror Sahib breach was the biggest at around 60 ft, while Hotipur’s breach was about 40 ft.

Ghaggar was flowing above the danger mark by touching the gauge at 753 ft, 1 ft above the danger mark, at the RD-460 at Khanauri, 55 km from here, this evening.

Due to this, the situation has become grim in several villages of the Khanauri and Moonak areas of this district.

A high alert has been issued by the district administration in 22 villagers of the Khanauri and Moonak areas.

According to information, due to the breaches water entered the standing
crops in 4,000 acres of the Khanauri and Moonak belt. However, no loss of life
has been witnessed.

Additional deputy commissioner, Sangrur, Indu Malhotra said six breaches had been plugged by the evening while around 10 ft part of the Makror Sahib breach was yet to be plugged.

She said the administration had appointed five officers after dividing the 22 villages into five sectors to closely monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, Punjab irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon today visited the RD-460 at Khanauri to take stock of the situation. He interacted with people and asked officials to provide all help to them.


Villagers panic as Ghaggar overflows
Minister transfers two officials for failing to act in time
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Villagers try to plug the 25-foot breach in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, near Ghanour, 35 km from Patiala, on Sunday; and (right) a huge tree that fell due to heavy water flow.
Villagers try to plug the 25-foot breach in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, near Ghanour, 35 km from Patiala, on Sunday; and (right) a huge tree that fell due to heavy water flow. Tribune photos: Rajesh Sachar

Patiala, September 21
A string of breaches in overflowing ‘Ghaggar’ and another seasonal rivulet “Pachhi Daria” has made lives of thousands of persons miserable in Patiala villages falling along the two rivulets.

Meanwhile, the Punjab irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon has transferred Bhakra Main Line (BML) Xen M.K. Jain and drainage department SDO Tarsem Chand, allegedly for not taking control over the alarming situation and for not getting siphons cleaned along the BML and the Ghaggar.

Fear gripped residents of many villages falling along the Ghaggar and Pachhi Daria, particularly near Khanauri, as Ghaggar started overflowing at Nanheri, Bathunia Khurd, Ballopur, Gulahar near Khanauri and Chamaru villages.

Gushing water crossed the danger mark of around 751 feet (above sea level) in Ghaggar and surpassed even the mark of 753 feet near Khanauri, which gave nightmares to residents of the area.

As there was no timely arrangements of sandbags initially, farmers and residents
of villages along the Ghaggar and Pachhi Daria, were forced to tackle the situation
on their own even as crops submerged under about two-feet deep water in most
of the areas.

The Pachhi Daria seasonal rivulet, carrying drainwater of Chandigarh and surrounding areas to Patiala district, turned monster for residents as it developed three breaches at Mehdoodan, Kami Kalan and Lachru.

“We were forced to plug the breaches on our own as there was hardly any help coming from the administration, which was seemingly busy in the VVIP arrangements in Patiala,” rued Harmel Singh, a farmer of Mehdoodan area.

Residents of the affected areas apprehended more trouble, particularly, during
night time.

“We have to take full vigil and even be ready for evacuation if water rising is persistent like this in Ghaggar,” said a resident.

Meanwhile, sources in the drainage department said rain in Ghaggar catchment area in Himachal had caused the problem, even as residents alleged that lack of proper care of drainage system had led to their misery.

As the news of flooding of certain areas of Patiala district reached the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, he dispatched deputy commissioner Vikas Garg, SSP S.K. Asthana and irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, to the affected areas.

While the DC arranged for sandbags for plugging of breaches, Sekhon supervised the breach plugging operations, launched jointly by residents and administration, at a number of places.

Besides transferring the two officials, Sekhon said he had ordered an inquiry
into the matter.

“No dereliction of duty, if detected during investigation, would be tolerated,”
announced Sekhon.


Sloughing in Bhakra main line
Timely repairs prevent water from entering villages
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, September 21
Sloughing (movement of cement slabs) of the common bank of the Bhakra main line and Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL), near Bhauwal village in Bharatgarh, was reported today at around 5:30 am. The sloughing is around 165 ft wide.

Avtar Singh, a resident of Bhauwal village, was the first to notice it and he immediately alerted the villagers, the district administration and Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) officials.

However, before BBMB officials could reach the spot, officials of the company constructing the Kurali-Kiratpur Sahib road swung into action and started plugging the patch with mud, using its JCB machines and trucks.

Villagers said if the repair work had not started immediately, the water might have entered nearby villages of Bhauwal, Beli, Chajja Chownta, Kharota and Alowal and would have damaged the standing crop and property.

Around 5,500 cusecs of water was released into the Nangal Hydel Canal today and sources said the main cause of sloughing was lack of maintenance of the SYL canal.

The rainwater in SYL was 7 to 8 ft above the level of water running in hydel canal. Owing to lack of maintenance, rainwater has seeped into SYL resulting in sloughing.

“The SYL virtually lies abandoned and no maintenance is being done. Slabs
have moved away from their places in many parts. It will take three to four
days to fix up around 12 slabs, in dimension of 165 ft by 60 ft, that had
sloughed,” another source added.

While the incident took place at 6 am, the BBMB officials reached spot at around 8 am. XEN Mohan Singh, chief engineer K.K. Sharda, district administration and police officials were among those who reached the spot.


Reservoir filled to the brim; BBMB increases generation
Tribune News Service

Nangal, September 21
The level of water in Bhakra reservoir today reached a maximum 1680.28 feet, 28 inches more than the complete filling mark.

The level of water has risen due to heavy rains that have lashed Himachal Pradesh during the past three days. BBMB officials said the water inflow in Bhakra reservoir was 1 lakh cusecs yesterday.

The inflow has now reduced considerably and there was no cause of worry, said sources. The maximum water level of 1,680 ft has come on the last day of official filling season.

Keeping in view the rising water level, the BBMB has increased power generation to utilise the surplus water available in the reservoir.

The scheduled generation for Sunday from Bhakra powerhouses has been increased to 1,398 MW. The actual generation was 1,426 MW.

The generation from Bhakra complex on Saturday was 206 lakh units, 98 lakh units from Dehar Power house and 22 lakh units from Pong powerhouse. The Dehar powerhouse has now been closed for flushing.

Notably, full generation capacity of Bhakra Complex is 1,445 MW and full reservoir level of Bhakra is restricted to 1,680 ft while keeping a margin up to 1,685 ft for absorbing any flood inflows.

In case the level exceeds 1,685 ft, the spillway gates are opened. Normally, by maintaining full generation at BBMB, the authorities are able to restrict reservoir level to 1,680 ft.


Assembly can expel tainted member: Halim
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The expulsion of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha is no exception, at least not in the eyes of West Bengal speaker Hasim Abdul Halim, who says the assemblies should “start exerting themselves, but not indulge in witch-hunt”.

Halim, a former chairman of the executive committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and currently its treasurer, is currently in town for the ongoing Speakers’ Conference.

Citing an example of a Congress legislator from West Bengal, who had tendered fake medical bills, Halim said he was expelled by an enquiry committee of the house, while a police investigation in the case is still pending.

“I am not competent to comment on the facts of the case as I am not aware about the details. But I can certainly say the House has the power to expel any member who has committed wrong as a member of the august House. In this case, if Amarinder did something wrong as a Chief Minister, in principal the House has the authority to take action against him. But how much political vendetta is involved in the Amarinder case I cannot say because as Chief Minister he did send Badal to prison and there has been no love lost between them ever since.”

Drawing a comparison between Amarinder’s case and that of a Congress legislator from West Bengal, Halim told a group of lawyers at the residence of Punjab Lawyers Association president J.S Toor: “A Congress legislator never responded to notices of the House after his medical bills were found to be fake. He was then expelled and the matter handed over to the police. A byelection was held, while the police inquiry is still pending.”

Thereby, indicating that byelections of the Patiala seat may precede the Punjab Vigilance Bureau report.

Sharing his views on the ongoing controversy over the Tata’s Nano plant in West Bengal, he said, “There was no problem, the issue had more or less been resolved. Out of the 1,200 farmers, 1,100 had accepted the money for their acquired lands and more had expressed willingness to accept it, which had risen substantially owing to the project”.

The plant, he said, was not the biggest industrial unit in the state. “But the one with a lot of international ramifications. Nano is the world’s cheapest car and has a huge export potential. People have seen through the politics behind the turmoil. It will not only end the agitation, but the political career of the person behind the turmoil,” he said.

The West Bengal speaker for nearly three decades said the political parties in the country must introspect criminalisation of politics.

“Assemblies must assume a more powerful role and throw out criminals from the House,” he said, while at the same time observing that the Congress had gained ground in the country over the past three months.

He concluded by saying that based on the feedback he had received, the Indo-US nuclear deal had boosted the image of the Congress and could help the party in the next Lok Sabha polls.


4 Bangladeshis trying to enter Pak killed
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 21
Four Bangladeshi nationals trying to enter Pakistan from the Indian side were killed by Border Security Force jawans in Fazilka sector today morning.

DIG BSF V.K. Sharma at a press conference in the afternoon said Bangladeshi nationals aged between 20 and 60 crossed over the barbed wire fence near the post between Mauzam and Check Amira in Fazilka at 6.05 am.

Electric current in the barbed wire fence is switched off at 6 am and BSF patrol parties change duties at the same time.

As the four Bangladeshi nationals jumped over the barbed wire fence, the BSF jawans signalled them to stop, but they tried to run towards Pakistan.

Upon this, the BSF jawans fired on them. All four were shot dead. The body of one of them lay at 15 m from the zero line, while that of others at about 40, 50 and 80 m from the border.

After a search of the bodies of the Bangladeshis, their passports were found and their identity established as Hallan Mian (23), Fariq Mian (41), Faiz Ali (46) and Lal Mian (66), all residents of Sunamgangj district, Bangladesh.

According to police sources, Rs 16,000 in Indian currency was also recovered. Their cloaks carried some clothes.

The BSF DIG said they appeared to be trained in intrusion. He said in Pakistan’s check-post of Gazi Base across the zero line, hectic activity was witnessed.

There were about 50 to 60 Pakistan Rangers and officers compared to 12 Rangers normally in the Pakistan check-post on routine days. He said the Pakistan Rangers appeared to be awaiting the entry of these Bangladeshis.



Patiala all set to greet Rahul
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 21
Rahul Gandhi is visiting the home-constituency of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at a time when the latter is away to the UK for his treatment.

Posters, banners and hoardings welcoming Rahul and put up by the leaders of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), District Congress Committee (DCC) and the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC), which was said to be the driving force behind Rahul’s Punjab visit, have been splashed all over the city.

After his interaction with students, which has been kept a “discreet affair”, around 2 pm in the GTB Hall of the Punjabi University, Rahul will push off straight to Phool Cinema, where he is scheduled to meet the DCC and other senior Congress leaders.

“We have made all arrangements for the programme at the cinema hall. MLAs, former MLAs, PPCC members and other prominent Congressmen will meet Rahul ji. The PPCC is enthused over Rahul’s visit to Punjab and particularly Patiala. He will be staying at the cinema hall for over an hour,” said Vishnu Sharma, former Mayor, Patiala, and PPCC member.

After his programme, Rahul is likely to head for “Panj Peer Mela” on the Samana road and is also said to visit the Samana township.

Rahul’s visit is being felicitated by the PYC, but former NSUI leaders, including its
former Punjab chief Harpal Singh, is coordinating the university part of Rahul’s visit,
said sources.

Interestingly, the entry to the hall would strictly be for students and no political leaders would be allowed to enter the hall, the sources added.

Rahul will have a tete-a-tete with students as he is intending to target the “young blood” of Punjab in his bid to propel the progression of the Congress in the state.

Besides youngsters, Rahul will be meeting Dalits and girls in two different programmes at Jalandhar and Gurdaspur.


Visit not to impact politics, says Sukhbir
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 21
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal has claimed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Punjab will not impact political scene and that he is coming as a tourist and the state welcomes all tourists.

The SAD chief, who was here last evening to attend social functions, said the party was prepared to face the Congress and other political outfits whenever elections to the Lok Sabha were held.

He enumerated the achievements of the SAD-BJP government in one and half years like efforts towards self-sufficiency in electricity generation, provision of roads, best transportation and removal of grievances of people.

He said the Congress leadership of Punjab had been left with no issue, hence, they were trying to make issues out of non-issues. SAD rallies had become a major worry for Congress leaders, he claimed.

The SAD chief assured that the town would be developed as a tourist attraction and promised basic amenities to villages and towns.

“The state will witness development in all fields, including education, industries, transportation and power generation. People of Punjab will have various other facilities also,” he added.


Rahul’s visit enthuses Cong leaders, workers
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The three-day visit of Congress general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi from tomorrow has enthused leaders and workers of the Punjab Congress.

It will also provide a pause to the ongoing spat between the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress over issues, including the expulsion of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Despite utterances of senior SAD and BJP leaders, Congressmen are busy mobilising workers for the events in their areas to impress Rahul.

For those aspiring for a party ticket for the general elections, it is an opportunity to demonstrate popularity to strengthen their claims.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has asked SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal reasons for not allowing any debate on inadequate relief to victims of floods in the state.

“Instead of pointing fingers or a begging bowl towards Rahul, they should explain what they have done with Rs 1,643-crore remitted by the UPA government to the state to mitigate sufferings of people of the state in general and farmers in particular in case of natural calamities. Sukhbir should ask his father about this money given by the Centre. It could have been either misappropriated or unutilised. It is why in spite of promises, the SAD-BJP alliance did not allow any debate on it in the House,” she said maintaining “criticism of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Punjab by Sukhbir was unnecessary.

“If they want more money from UPA government, they should welcome Rahul Gandhi and insert advertisements in newspapers to welcome his Punjab visit,” she added.

These political skirmishes apart, Rahul’s visit with general elections just months away, has assumed tremendous importance.

The faction-ridden Punjab Congress will apparently come together for a united show to demonstrate to Rahul how good the party can perform in the general elections.

While in some parliamentary constituencies, some candidates stand too tall in their shoes to face any opposition, yet there are several seats for which five or more candidates are putting everything at stake.

Patiala, for example, may see Preneet Kaur as a natural choice. Other sitting Congress MP Rana Gurjit Singh may have to shift from his present seat, Jalandhar, which now stands reserved.

Seats to witness a tough competition for Congress ticket are many. Ferozepur, for example, may witness a fierce fight.

Besides, once firebrand and staunch Badal-basher Jagmeet Singh Brar, others in the run include former chief parliamentary secretary Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi and his colleague in Congress Legislature Party Sunil Kumar Jakhar.

In Ludhiana, besides Manish Tewari there are at least six others in the run. Same is true for Bathinda, Sangrur, SAS Nagar and Khadur Sahib seats. In fact, Congressmen are confident of performing well in the Malwa belt.


Reserve 10 pc seats for bright rural students: Badal
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 21
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has exhorted vice-chancellors of various universities and principals of colleges in the state to reserve at least 10 per cent seats exclusively for bright rural students to enable them to compete globally.

Badal said this while addressing a seminar on the book “Gurmat Sabhayachar”, authored by renowned Sikh scholar and former SGPC chief Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, at Punjabi University here today.

Badal said the basic concept of Sikhism was to ensure equality in society by removing the existing disparity between the rich and poor.

“The proposed 10 per cent reservation of seats in educational institutions will be
a humble effort to achieve this objective in line with the great ideals of Gurmat,”
said Badal.

He appreciated the efforts of the managements of private engineering and technical colleges for having already taken this decision from the current academic session.

“I have already impressed upon management bodies of private medical colleges to devise ways and means to implement a similar system in their colleges,” said Badal.

The CM directed the vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr Jaspal Singh, to immediately finalise the modalities to implement the proposed reservation scheme.

Commending the outstanding contribution of Professor Badungar for bringing out his second book on different aspects of Sikhism, the CM said Badungar had aptly made an endeavour to disseminate the message and philosophy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Punjab Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal, who presided over the seminar, felicitated Professor Badungar for his contribution.

Others present on the occasion included chief parliamentary secretary Raj Khurana, SAD general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra and Patiala division commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia.

Earlier today, Badal inaugurated the Baradari Palace, a heritage hotel of Neemrana Group of Hotels, located in the pristine surroundings of the Baradari Gardens.


Indo-Pak Mushaira: Naseem Nikhat steals the show
Chander Parkash and Bharat Bhusan Dogra
Tribune Reporters

Pathankot, September 21
Last evening was different in the town as Urdu poets gathered here for the Indo-Pakistan mushaira organised by the World Spiritual Awareness Foundation.

The mushaira was organised in the memory of late Janab Rattan Pandorvi,a noted Urdu poet and ghazal writer of this town.

Sukhbir Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, was the chief guest, while Master Mohan Lal, transport minister, Punjab, presided over the function. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, senior BJP leader, was the special guest at the function which went on till late in the night.

Noted Urdu poet Janab Hasan Kazmi set the mood of the evening with “Gaon laute shehar se to sadgi achchhi lagi, Hum ko mitti ke diye ki roshni achchhi lagi”.

Naseem Nikhat, a woman poet, tried to awaken people to female foeticide. She said, “Hamare qatil se koi puchhe, bhala hamara kasur kya hai; Jo rehmada me marte ho, kehta hamara hazoor kya hai."

She got applause from people for her, “Zara si shohrat pe hai ye aalam, Chirag suraj pe hans rahe hain”.

Janab Wasim Bareailvi kept alive the interest of the audience with “Tumhari raah mein mitti ke ghar nahin aate; Isi liye to tumhe hum nazar nahin aate”.

Dr Malik Zada Mansoor Ahmed recited “Na khofe bark na khofa sharer lage hai mujhe, Bus apne bagh ke phoolon se dar lage hai mujhe”.

Dr Rahat Indori, known for his style of recitation of Urdu poetry and different writings, stole the limelight and made people stand on their chairs to cheer him.

He said, “Andhere charon taraf sayen sayen karne lagay; Chirag hath utha kar duaein karne lagay; Saliqa jin ko sikhaya humne chalne ka; Woh log aaj humein dayein vayein karne lage”.

Janab Sheen Kaif Nizam also kept people’s interest alive with “Tere ankhein Khuda mehfooz rakhey; Tere aankhon mein hairani bahut hai”.

Janab Meraj Faizabadi, known for revolutionary writings, started with famous couplet, “Mujhko thakne nahin deta ye zaroorat ka pahar; Mere bachche mujhe boodha nahin hone detey”.

Dr Ravi Zia, another noted poet, said, “Dariya ne sookh kar mujhe hairan kar diya, Us par ka safar mera aasan kar diya”.

M.F.Farooqi, a Punjab Police officer, got applause for, “Mushkil tha sambhalana jab wifre huay pani mein, Fir shod diya khud ko dariya ki rawani mein”.

Janab Tariq Sabzwari, noted Pakistan poet, who could not come for some reason, recited his couplets on the moblie phone and said he was mentally at the function though physically he was sitting in his house in Pakistan.

A souvenir was also released. Bikramjit Singh, Punjab minister for public relations, along with 10 MLAs attended the function.


Disposal of toxic waste impedes road project
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
The ambitious project of creating green zones on the Wagah road has literally brought the task of Rohan Rajdip Construction Company, entrusted with the task of four-laning the 30-km stretch connecting Verka to Wagah, to a standstill.

The company is facing the problem of disposing the highly toxic material dumped along the roadside by a private mill, in a clandestine manner, over the years.

The toxic material, Petroleum Coke (Pet Coke), is high in sulphur and a cheap source of heat as compared to the coal from mines.

To mislead the Pollution Control Board and district administration, the mill had touted that visitors from Pakistan or any other country crossing over to India via the Wagah Indo-Pak Joint Check-Post or international Attari railway station would be greeted by “beautifully manicured and landscaped green gardens” en route the road and along the bye-pass that connects it to the main highway.

The construction company is faced with the problem of disposing the same, which may lead to a delay in the scheduled date of completion of the project by July 2010.

If the construction company dumps the material in populated areas, it could cause a major health hazard.

Even Ajay Kulkarni, project director, did not give a satisfactory answer regarding the dumping of the material. As of now, the area continues to be ‘danger zone’, dumped with garbage and ash.


Dengue claims one life
P. K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
While Veena Manak of Sadar Bazaar in the cantonment here died of dengue, two cases suspected of the disease have come to light.

They were admitted to a private hospital here. They are Vijay Puri and Monika
Puri of Kashmir Avenue and Shastri Nagar areas. Health authorities have not
confirmed the cases.

The Health Department sprayed insecticides and cleared the stagnant water in the area from where the cases were reported.

Residents warned to keep water coolers and pots clean and drain out the water as mosquito breeds in the containers having water.

Kits to detect dengue fever were reportedly made available by the department in the Civil Hospital after the cases were reported.

Dr Lehmbar Singh, civil surgeon, said although the department was aware of the dengue scare, it was difficult to ascertain the reason of Veena’s death as he was out of station.

He said he would to look into it after reaching the city. He said the department had sufficient kits and medicines to tackle dengue.

Thirteen teams, led by supervisors, had been sent in the city, especially in slum areas in town’s periphery. Spraying of insecticides was entrusted to these teams.

The department also made a six-bed ward at Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Hospital though sans the facility of platelets required to treat and provide white blood cells.

Dr Swarnjit Dhawan, district epidemiologist, said eight confirmed cases of dengue were reported in the city in one month while there was one suspected case of dengue. Dr Dhawan confirmed that Veena had died of dengue.

Meanwhile, three cases of jaundice were identified at Kamo ki Gali near the Jallianwala Bagh area here.

Dr Dhawan said chlorine tablets were distributed, besides taking water samples from the area. He admitted the area was getting contaminated water supply.


PCMS doctors on warpath
Retirement age of medical teachers
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 21
Stung over the Punjab government’s proposal to enhance the retirement age for medical teachers in Punjab to 65 years, the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has not only opposed the move, but has urged the government to drop the proposal, as it will lead to an “exodus” of doctors from medical colleges.

The association feels the enhancement of the superannuation age limit was in no way any solution for the shortage of medical teachers.

Besides it will not be able to save state medical colleges from de recognition. The proposal will further aggravate frustration in the medical education field as well as the PCMS cadre.

Rather than curbing the existing shortage of teachers, it would open the floodgates for the exodus of those stagnating PCMS doctors as well as medical teachers from medical colleges whose promotion channels will get blocked by enhancement of the retirement age.

“By raising the retirement age, the promotions of associate professors will be
blocked for more than five years and, consequently, this would delay the
promotion of MD and MS doctors as assistant professors,” said the PCMS state
president, Dr Hardeep Singh.

The PCMS Association feels that it was an irony that on the one hand, MD and MS doctors were available and were waiting to be posted and promoted and on the other, the state’s medical colleges were facing the de-recognition threat.

“These doctors will be left with no alternative but to seek premature retirement and opt to join private medical colleges and, this way, the shortage problem in the government medical colleges will further get aggravated. There are instances that even after 25 years of service and armed with higher MD or MS qualifications, the state has preferred not to benefit from the expertise of these doctors and, in turn, frustration has forced such specialist doctors to resign from government jobs,” said Dr Hardip Singh.

The PCMS Assocation felt that the “vested interests” in the medical education bureaucracy were trying to mislead the government and that the bureaucrats were not bothered to come up with some permanent solution for de-recognition of state government medical colleges to “look after their own personal interests.”

“The shortage issue can be solved by Dynamically Assured Career Progression (DACP) scheme, already accepted by the Fifth and Sixth Pay Commissions.”

The gravity of the unemployment situation in medical education field could be
assessed by the fact that more than 25 postgraduate doctors had applied for
recent PPSC selection of assistant professors for the eye and ENT departments,”
said Dr Hardip Singh.


Medical teachers against raising retirement age
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMSA) Association has opposed the Punjab government’s move to raise retirement age of medical teachers to 65 years.

Dr Hardeep Singh, president of the association, said raising the retirement age was no solution to the shortage of medical teachers and threat of de-recognition of state’s medical colleges.

“This proposal”, he said, “will lead to frustration in medical education and PCMS cadre”. He alleged that it would lead to exodus of stagnating PCMS doctors and medical teachers from colleges whose promotions would be blocked with the raising of retirement age.

“Raising of retirement age will block promotions of associate professors for five
more years and delay promotion of MD/MS doctors as assistant professors serving
in PCMS cadre.

It is ironical that on one hand MD/MS doctors are available and waiting to be posted and promoted and our colleges are facing a threat of being derecognised,” he said.

The PCMSA feels PCMS doctors, left with no alternative, will seek premature retirement and choose to join private medical colleges.

The problem of shortage of medical teachers in government medical colleges
will be aggravated.

Even after 25 years of service and MD/MS qualification, the state has not utilised the expertise of these doctors and in frustration they resigned and the government lost specialist doctors.

Dr Hardeep Singh cautioned that vested interests in medical education were trying to mislead the government.

The medical bureaucracy was not bothered to come up with a permanent solution for de-recognition of government medical colleges by the Medical Council of India.

“This move will accentuate the shortage of medical teachers. The Dynamically Assured Career Progression (DACP) can solve the issue of shortage of medical teachers. The Fifth and Sixth Pay Commissions have accepted the DACP.

This will provide time- bound promotions to all teachers and there will be no shortage of teachers,” Dr Hardeep Singh said.


Farmers encroach upon anti-flood drains
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 21
A large number of drains, which had been constructed in the ’60s to control waterlogging and floods, have been encroached upon by farmers.

This was revealed following the release of a government report on the illegal possession of land at Chhapar, Latala and Dhulkot villages in Ludhiana district.

Though office-bearers of civic bodies feel that the restoration of the encroached land to the Drainage Department will help fight the menace of overflowing ponds, waterlogging and frequent floods, nobody has taken a stand on the issue, for the obvious reasons of losing votes.

Many farmers of the area had ploughed land belonging to Drainage Department. This has resulted in closure of drains, which used to carry away rainwater and saves ponds from being overflowing. The encroachers included village panchayats and their office-bearers too.

According to the Revenue Department report, at least 30 persons of Chhapar village had been cultivating crops on a drain measuring 55 kanals and 5 marlas.

Twentyeight farmers of Dhulkot village were found to have encroached land of the same drain measuring over 72 marlas.

About 100 kanal meant for a drain in the jurisdiction of Latala village is being cultivated by 22 families of the same village.

Moreover, about 285 kanals was found to be illegally possessed by a few civic bodies. No action has been initiated on the report yet.

“It is submitted that the drain existed here earlier. But, rainwater was never siphoned through it and the farmers have made it cultivable along with their adjoining land. The report has been prepared on the basis of records and verification by the public,” read patwari’s report for Latala village.

Sarabjit Singh, a former panch of Chhapar village, said the civic body, at a general body meeting held in 2003, had unanimously passed a resolution to get the encroached land freed and restored to the Drainage Department. However, no action was taken on it.


7 arrested in kidney scam
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
The district police has arrested seven persons for being allegedly involved in the illegal trade of kidneys.

Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, said the accused were acting as middlemen to take the victims to Patna in Bihar, which has emerged as the next destination for illegal kidney transplants.

The SSP said the arrested were accomplices of Vickey Bhatia, one of the main accused and an absconder in the kidney racket case in 2002.

According to information, the police has raided various places around Guru Nanak Dev Hospital after a tip-off and later arrested the accused from a liquor vend.

Those arrested had been identified as Sukhdev Kumar of Ludhiana, Jatinder Kumar of Nakodar, Suresh Kumar of New Delhi, Paramjit Singh and Sonu of Amritsar, Vijay of Shahpurkandi and Shekhar of Patti in Tarn Taran district.


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