P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Ajnala from Khadoor Sahib 
Politics centrestage as Badal lays stone of Goindwal Sahib thermal plant
Varinder Walia and Gurbaxpuri
Tribune News Service

Goindwal, October 18
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal virtually launched the election campaign from this historic place today by announcing that the sitting MP, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, will be the SAD candidate from the newly created Khadoor Sahib (Tarn Taran) parliamentary constituency for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a public rally after laying the foundation stone of the 540-MW Goindwal Sahib thermal plant at a cost of Rs 2,700 crore, to be executed on Build, Own and Operate (BOO) basis, Badal called for a change of guard at the Centre. He said the first thermal plant in the Majha region would be completed by 2012.

Reiterating Punjab’s claim over Chandigarh and other left-out Punjabi-speaking areas, Badal said the Congress was responsible for not accepting the genuine demands of the SAD. He accused the Congress of discrimination against Punjab.

Sounding the bugle for the next parliamentary elections, Badal asked voters to get ready to oust the Congress to pave the way for the installation of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to seek fulfilment of the pending demands of the state.

Badal said the people of Punjab had a lot of expectations from the UPA government, but they were dejected due to the step-motherly treatment meted out to the state despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being at the helm of affairs.

MP and president, SAD, Sukhbir Singh Badal said the upcoming thermal plant at Goindwal Sahib would boost the overall development and growth in the Majha region. It would also improve the prospects of developing Goindwal Sahib as an industrial hub.

Sukhbir pointed out that setting up of this prestigious project in the Majha belt would silence Congressmen about the neglect of the region.

Information and public relations and water supply and sanitation minister Bikram Singh Majithia and rural development minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura lambasted the Congress for raking up the issue of neglect of Majha and Doaba regions in comparison to Malwa.

Majithia said the SAD-BJP government had completed infrastructure projects in the Majha and Doaba areas to the tune of Rs 3,372 crore this year alone, while ambitious projects to the tune of Rs 28,661 crore were in the pipeline to give a facelift to these two regions.

Local government minister Manoranjan Kalia said whenever the SAD-BJP government came to power, it ushered an era of overall development.

He said this project in the Majha belt would act as a catalyst for economic growth and would be instrumental in ushering in industrialisation at a faster pace. 

Goindwal: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today failed to announce the revival of Goindwal’s nucleus industrial complex, envisaged in 1980 amid much fanfare, which has lately turned into an industrial graveyard due to the closure of more than a 100 units.

The industrialists and local residents were hoping that the Chief Minister would announce some package for the revival of the sick units while laying the foundation stone of the first thermal plant in the Majha region. However, they were distressed when CM Badal and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal failed to announce any package to boost the sick industry here.

The ambitious industrial complex project was planned on 6,000 acres of land and tall claims were made by the successive governments to make it the most populated city after Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

However, both the Centre and the successive state governments failed to safeguard the interests of entrepreneurs of the area. The Goindwal Industries Welfare Association rued that there were certain units, which had closed down even before they started production like Noor Paper Mills, a Rs 18-crore project on which Rs 6 crore had already been spent by the promoters and the PSIDC. 


Union, state govts misused Constitution: CNI gen secy
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 18
Enos Das Pradhan, general secretary, Church of North India (CNI), today accused successive Union and  state governments of misusing the Articles of Constitution for facilitating  the enactment of anti-conversion laws.

Addressing the congregation on the second day of the 13th edition of the synod of the CNI being held in a local school today, he said one of the most disturbing trends of these legislations passed by many states was that re-conversion to Hinduism from other religions was not covered by them.

“The re-conversion to Hinduism has been kept out from the scope of such legislation by the government concerned on the pretext that re-conversion was like ‘returning’ home,” he pointed out and alleged that the objective of Article 2 of the Constitution, which covered freedom of religion, had been grossly misused by the government despite the principle of secularism in India.

“Does India belong to one religion? It is also seen that our national leaders do not miss a single opportunity to greet fellow citizens on the occasion of Hindu or Muslim festivals, but they never greet them on the occasion of Easter and Christmas. Are Christians in the country second-grade citizens who are always seen as an object of suspicion?” he asked.

Pradhan presented a comprehensive report about the work and mission of the CNI in the past three years to the members. He said though the church did not come under the purview of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the CNI believed that every member of the church had a right of information on happenings at all tiers of its governance structure.

He told the members about the Congregational Renewal for Effective Engagement in Mission (CREEM) process. The central effort of CREEM was to empower local congregations for the task of holistic mission in the 21st century. CREEM was working towards providing resources and training for the congregations to accompany them in their mission at the local level.

Speaking about the India Christian Marriage Act, 1872, he urged upon the diocesan leadership present at the synod to ensure that all records were maintained at the pastorate and diocesan level of every marriage conducted within their jurisdiction and the annual returns were filed regularly with the sub-divisional/district registrar.

Joel V. Mall, moderator, CNI, launched CNI minute-on-line to be available for everybody to read and know the working and decisions of the church over the past 38 years. He also released the book, “Curriculum of Confirmation Classes/Believers Baptism,” compiled  and edited by Acharya Ernest Talibuddin, former Bishop of North-East  India diocese.


Custodial death of 3 cops
Rights panel asks DGP to submit progress report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Taking cognisance of a complaint filed by an advocate, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed the DGP, Punjab, and SSPs concerned of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahar, Taran Tarn and Amritsar districts to submit a progress report on the arrest of 25 “absconding murder accused police officials”, who have been declared “proclaimed offenders” (POs) by the CBI Special Court, Patiala.

Advocate H.C. Arora filed the complaint on June 12, as the POs didn’t appear in the said court even once despite summons served on them repeatedly.

The case involves the death of the three policemen in custody. The complaint also stated that Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed the petition filed by Ram Singh, DSP, and other police officials seeking relief against their “possible” arrest in case they appeared in the CBI court. The order had further directed the SSPs of districts concerned to arrest all those absconding police officials.

This judgment had also mentioned the fact that the 25 police officials had been declared proclaimed offenders.

The commission has summoned the report on or before November 25 to know how many proclaimed offenders have been arrested or have surrendered before the court. What steps are being taken to apprehend them?

It is worth mentioning that the proclaimed offenders include one DSP (Ram Singh, posted at control room, Jalandhar), two SHOs (SI Harbhajan Singh and SI Balkar Singh, posted at Sadar police station, Jalandhar, and Sultanpur police station, respectively, three sub inspectors (Shivdev Singh, Jasjit Singh and Harpal Sing), two ASIs (Ranjit Kumar and Ashwani Kumar), nine head constables and remaining constables.


Hoshiarpur boy comes home in a coffin
Had immigrated to Syria 7 months back; family cries murder
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 18
Sarwan Singh nearly collapsed as his son’s body was being offloaded from cargo at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here today. It was for him a moment of tragedy - a tragedy his friends had warned him against when he was thinking of sending his 18-year-old son abroad.

Manjinder Singh set out for foreign shores seven months ago. He never returned, but on September 6 this year, the news of his death arrived. In between, he called his family only once. “He was sounding very jittery and said the immigration agents were into shady deals. We were surprised that he was calling from Lebanon. He had left home for Syria. When we asked the local immigration agents how all this happened, they did not offer any convincing answer. Manjinder never called back,” said 66-year-old Sarwan Singh, who regards himself lucky to have received his son’s body.

The process of recovering the body was painstaking and initiated at the highest level, with the family of Manjinder writing to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and the Indian Embassy in Lebanon for help. They then secured the intervention of Hoshiarpur MP Avinash Rai Khanna, who followed up the matter with the MEA. It took 42 days for Manjinder’s body to arrive.

Now that the body is in a highly decomposed state, a post mortem may not help, though the family is crying murder. Manjinder’s cousin Subhash Singh today told The Tribune that they had filed a complaint with SSP Hoshiarpur S.S. Gill soon after they received the news of their ward’s death. “The caller said Manjinder had been pushed off from some building. He asked us to forget him and said we would not be able to recover his body.”

The boy’s family, however, immediately completed the diplomatic formalities required to keep the body from being disposed off in Lebanon.

The family will first cremate Manjinder and then begin their travel on the long road to justice for their dead ward. They are hoping the local MP will raise the matter in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Manjinder’s mother today appealed to others to never send their children abroad. “We committed a mistake. Let no one repeat it,” she said.

There are nearly 12,000 Indians in Lebanon, the majority working in factories and farms. Manjinder’s family still does not know where he was working. Ironically, they received the news of his death the day they received the first installment of money he had sent for his father, who retired from the police a while ago. The cheque amounted to Rs 30,000.



BJP to take part in farmers’ rail roko stir
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 18
The district unit of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has decided to extend support to farmers’ unions by way of participating in their agitations like rail roko andolan, against “anti-farmer” policies of the Centre and announcement of a meager bonus (Rs 50 per quintal) on paddy.

This was stated here today by district president of the BJP Jatinder Kalra. He also said in the light of this decision, the party workers would participate in the blockade of rail traffic on October 20, for which a call had been given by farmers’ unions to oppose the “loot” of farmers in the purchase of paddy and cotton in the grain markets.

Kalra also asked the Central government to implement the recommendations of the Agriculture Costs and Price Commission in a letter, which had sought Rs 1,000 per quintal as minimum support price (MSP) for paddy. He said besides the MSP of Rs 1,000 per quintal for paddy, the Central government should also give sufficient bonus to the satisfaction of the farmers.

Kalra also said the policies of the Central government were “anti-farmers”, due to which the economy of Punjab, especially economic conditions of farmers, was affected adversely. 


‘PM doesn’t need Sidhu certificate’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Senior Congress leader M.M. Singh Cheema yesterday accused BJP MP, Amritsar, Navjot Singh Sidhu of resorting to “cheap popularity” by alleging that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had not done anything for Amritsar whereas the facts spoke otherwise.

Cheema said Sidhu was trying to gain “cheap brownie points” by challenging the PM to a debate on this issue, but should remember it was not befitting his stature to do so.

While making it clear that the PM belonged to the entire country and not Amritsar alone, he said the PM was instrumental in the realisation of the Amritsar International Airport as well as the elevated road project in the city.

Cheema said a world renowned personality like Dr Manmohan Singh did not need a certificate from a small-time migratory politician like Sidhu.


Dhindsa for action against erring officials
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 18
PWD (B&R) minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa today directed the Sangrur deputy commissioner to initiate action immediately against those officials of procurement agencies, arhtiyas, truck operators and rice millers who intentionally create hurdles in the paddy procurement work.

This direction was given by the minister, who is an MLA from Sunam, at a meeting convened to review the on-going paddy procurement work in the district, here today. In the meeting, besides the officers, arhtiyas and truck operators also took part.

Dhindsa also asked them to complete the paddy procurement work in the district in a smooth manner by cooperating with each other. He also asked the officers to ensure the lifting of procured paddy from the grain markets immediately, as paddy was arriving at a fast pace.


Wheat that could have fed thousands left to rot
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Block Development and Panchayat Office, Pakhowal, near here, has stored around 600 qunitals of wheat at its rest house for the past two years.

The wheat supply had been received under the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojna and was to be distributed among panchayats.

The scheme has been based on the food-against-work policy. The panchayats were supposed to give the wheat to labourers as remuneration for working on development works in villages. However, the scheme was merged with NREGA on April 1.

The rest house at the office complex, where the wheat has been stored, has no doors. Foul smell emanating from the rotting wheat has filled the air of the office complex. Experts have declared the wheat unfit for human consumption.

A villager said: “Everybody knows that this wheat has been lying here for the past more than two years.” Even the garage of the rest house has been stacked with wheat bags, he added.

According to the information, the wheat supply had been received during the tenure of BDO Jaspreet Singh, who has been booked by the Vigilance in a case and investigations against him are still on.

Talking to The Tribune, block development officer Harmandeep Singh said he had joined the duty last month only and was trying to find records of the wheat.

Citing shortage of staff as one of the reasons, the officer said: “I have received some of the data and waiting for the rest. I will be able to comment only once I have full information about how the wheat is to be distributed. I will do it on a priority basis”.

He said his office should have around 12 panchayat secretaries and 10 gram sewaks, but he was left with only four employees. The rest had been transferred to other places.


‘Paddy bonus a cruel joke’
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 18
The bonus of Rs 50 on paddy announced by the Centre was a cruel joke on farmers of the state. Satnam Singh, president, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, told TNS that successive governments had ignored grievances of the farmers, especially from Punjab. “While other states get royalty for their natural resources, we are being unfairly targeted by not being given remunerative prices for our produce,” he alleged.

Farmers unions have been agitating for decades to get the price of agricultural produce linked to the price index, but to no avail. Even the present government has failed to notify the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission, which also justifies this demand, he said.

The bonus was too meagre, given the steep rise in the prices of farm inputs. Farming had become an unviable proposition and that was reflected in the growing debts of the farmers and the suicides across the country, he added.

The practice of announcing bonus should be scrapped and the government should instead increase the price of the crop at the outset. This yearly ritual had lost significance and been reduced to just an eye-wash, he pointed out.

The kisan leader also urged the government to give adequate compensation to the farmers of the hail-hit areas.


Farmers to get over 8.9 lakh quintal quality wheat seed 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 18
The government will provide 8,99,329 quintals of quality wheat seed to farmers in the forthcoming rabi season.

MLA Jagbir Singh disclosed this while addressing participants at a farmers’ training camp organised by the agriculture department on rabi crops at Jamsher village here yesterday.

Under the crop diversification scheme, wheat would be sown on 34 lakh hectares as compared to 34.88 lakh hectares last year. But the need of the hour was that the farmers adopt the latest farming techniques and bring down the input costs. They should only use techniques and seeds certified by agriculture scientists, he stressed.

The farmers should also take up allied ventures like dairy farming, pisciculture, bee-keeping and poultry farming to augment their income, he added.

Dr Tarsem Singh, joint director, exhorted the farmers to avoid the wheat-paddy cycle and sow oil seeds, sugarcane, maize and barley. The area under barley had been raised to 30,000 hectares this year from 16,000 hectares last year.

Similarly, the area under gram was being raised to 10,000 hectares from 3,000 hectares last year, he added.

Dr Tarsem Singh said the farmers should look after the health of soil and use the prescribed quantity of fertilisers and pesticides after getting their soil checked from any of the 66 soil testing laboratories being run by the department across the state.

Dr Kulbir Singh Deol, chief agriculture officer-cum-project director, Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) Scheme, said Rs 11.50 lakh had been released under the project. He said 10,000 hectares had been brought under peas, legumes, pulses and sunflower this year.

The department would also ensure that farmers use zero tillage machine for sowing wheat on 40,000 hectares, he added.


Farmers demand Rs 22 lakh per acre 
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 18
Farmers of the Ghaggar area of Khanauri-Moonak belt, whose land, about 670 acres, had been acquired by the government for widening the Ghaggar and construction of embankments under the Ghaggar project, are a disappointed lot as they feel that the state government has given them meagre compensation.

The Ghaggar Control Committee, an NGO of the Khanauri area, has decided to take up the issue with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in 10 days. Besides, the committee will also ask the Chief Minister to install a regulator on the Momian drain near Rasoli village (Patiala district), so that the flood water, which passes during the monsoons through Batisdara (RD 455) at Khanauri and damages standing crops, could be stopped from entering thousands of acres from Rasoli village to Karrail village (near Moonak).

Talking to The Tribune, chairman of the Ghaggar Control Committee Jugraj Singh Hotipur said the farmers, whose lands had been acquired by the government for the Ghaggar project, should be given Rs 22 lakh per acre as price of the land instead of Rs 6.80 lakh per acre.

Hotipur said the committee also demanded separate compensation for the tube well motors and houses of the farmers, situated on the acquired land. Besides, no shifting charges of tube well motor connections should be taken by the Punjab State Electricity Board from the farmers, he added.

Hotipur also demanded that bank instalments of the flood-affected farmers should be postponed at least for a year. 


A village of foundation stones
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chak Fateh Singh Wala (Bathinda), October18
This small village having family connection with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is dotted with a string of foundation stones laid as far back as 37 years ago and still waiting for the works to be taken in hand.

The village elders have lost all hopes of the development works being initiated for which these foundation stones were laid. They say that the government has forsaken the village after laying these foundation stones.

Two elders, Major Singh and Harbans Singh, said more than 50 foundation stones were laid during the previous regimes of Badal, but none of these, except construction of a cremation ground, has been executed.

The village folk have constructed 11 overhead tanks with their own contributions to lay the drinking watersupply system as the government delayed setting up a water pumping unit. A sum of Rs 1.70 lakh was spent on each of these overhead tanks that supplies water to about 35 households, said Harbans Singh.

He pointed out that foundation stone for a stadium was laid on December 14, 1979, but now it has got hidden behind plantation. A two-acre piece of land where a foundation stone was laid by Badal’s wife, Surinder Kaur, on June 9, 1971, for constructing a hospital and community centre, has over the years turned into a pool of filthy water that flows from the lanes. A half-built community centre that has now become a shelter for stray cattle and dumping garbage also stands on the land.

The villagers lament that not even a drainage system has been constructed as a result of which the lanes get submerged under water during rains. Residents of the village narrate a long list of problems of lack of infrastructure and basic facilities.

The farmers who were camping in the ground outside the focal point said while the Punjab government has firmly ordered the procurement agencies to lift paddy from grain markets within 72 hours, but the work was being done at a very slow pace. More than 85,000 bags of paddy have piled up for being lifted and not even an inch of space was left vacant in the grain yard of the focal point.

Balwinder Singh and Ajaib Singh, who were among several farmers at the focal point, said they were waiting for lifting of their produce for the past 16 days. They had brought 500 bags of paddy each on October 2 and were waiting for it’s lifting.

They said many farmers were still waiting for auction of their produce that has been delayed on technical grounds. The farmers pointed out that two district officers visited the focal point yesterday to look into the progress of procurement but even then the process was slow.

Ajaib Singh said that only four truckloads of paddy was lifted today, while the focal point was overflowing with the produce. Many farmers did not get proper place to offload their produce and as such it has been stacked in any available open space. Some farmers were seen dumping their produce in the compound of the DRDA training centre.


‘Scrap controversial residential scheme’
Farmers allege Badal gave 87 acres to colonisers from the Amritsar Improvement Trust Scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Farmers whose land is due for acquisition under the controversial Amritsar Improvement Trust residential-cum-commercial scheme has alleged that if the previous Capt Amarinder Singh-led government had favoured a private builder, the SAD-BJP government preceding him had also ignored the advice of the Improvement Trust and sliced off 87 acres from the scheme.

The farmers, who have formed the Amritsar Farmers Committee, while releasing information obtained under the RTI, claimed that the Amritsar Improvement Trust passed a resolution in 1995 stating that criminal proceedings should be initiated against colonisers who were trying to develop the proposed scheme area.

Rajiv Randhawa of the Action Committee said despite notifying the illegal colonies in the scheme, the government allowed the scheme to lapse and then renotified it after three years minus the 87 acres in which Mohan Vihar (24.17 acres), Amarjit Enclave (26.86 acres) and Medicos House Building Cooperative Society (12.5 acres) have come up.

Randhawa said when the controversy over the exemption given to 32 acres of Veer Enclave came up in the Vidhan Sabha during the last Congress government, the then SAD House leader Parkash Singh Badal had said he was ready to let the issue of the exemption given to 87 acres also be probed. He said, however, later this did not form part of the ambit of the Dhandha Committee and the government was not ready to give information on the issue when questioned through the RTI.

The committee members said the Local Bodies Department claimed that “the noting” under which 87 acres had been left from the scheme was not available in the department “as the file concerned is not available”. He said the department had also claimed that there was no provision to charge external development charges (EDT) from the four colonies left out from the scheme as they had been transferred to the corporation.

S.S. Bal, another member, disclosed that the government admitted that no new layout plan had been prepared after exempting Veer Enclave from the scheme.

Meanwhile, the Action Committee said after successive exemptions by both previous Badal and Amarinder governments, the entire project had become untenable. It demanded that the government could scrap the scheme. 


Accident victim dies due to ‘negligence’
Tribune News Service

Nabha, Octber 18
An accident victim lost his life today in the local civil hospital for lack of medical assistance. The victim kept writhing in pain and his condition kept on deteriorating in the night but no doctor or paramedical staff came to his help. Rajinder Singh (38), a local resident, and his wife were taken to hospital on Friday after being hit by a Maruti car on the Nabha-Chhintawala road.

While the doctor on duty refused to admit his wife, terming the injuries minor, Rajinder Singh was shifted to the ward after first aid as the doctor on duty found his injuries “simple” and the condition normal. Rajinder kept on crying with pain and could not pass urine. Even the catheter also could not clear his bladder. However, the X-ray of the patient confirmed fracture of pelvic bones and there were clear head injuries.

Family of the patient alleged that despite their repeated requests, no specialist doctor was called and the patient was not even sent for CT Scan, a practice that is very common in the emergency ward. They alleged that all this happened because a deal was struck between those who hit Rajinder and his wife and the health officials on duty. They also said that in the night they pleaded with the ward attendant, the sole in charge, as the nurse on duty had gone to sleep, many times to call the doctor as the patient was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, but he paid no attention to their pleas and gave them a tablet.

The deceased’s brother said the attendant had locked the ward from inside. In the morning, when he unlocked the door, the family members approached Dr Darshan Singh in the trauma ward for help. But by the time he turned up, the patient was breathing his last and could not be saved.

Jasbir Singh, a cousin of Rajinder Singh, said Dr Darshan Singh, who was also in charge of the ward and monitoring of the patient’s condition, didn't visit even once during the night and there was no pharmacist or nurse in the ward. He wondered how a doctor who resides in Patiala was made the ward in charge.

The family members and relatives today demonstrated in front of the trauma ward. They demanded registration of a criminal case against the guilty health officials.


Antelope found shot dead, minister orders probe
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, October 18
An antelope was found shot dead in forests of Surewal village here today. Villagers came across the dead animal at around 4 am. Activists from an NGO, People For Animals (PFA), also reached the spot. District president of the PFA Shiv Kumar Sharma said poaching had been going on in the area for quite sometime. He added that the organisation had duly informed the Wildlife Department about the issue, but the department never initiated any action. He claimed that this was the third time a wild animal was shot dead. Earlier, two such incidents had come to light.

He said the villagers had informed the department at 4 am itself, but no official reached the spot. He added that the owner of the gun, with which the animal was shot, could be traced from its bullet found in the animal’s body.

Villagers said the poachers might have hunted the antelope for its horns that were worth Rs 7,000 in the market. After the animal was shot, it ran towards the village and died on the periphery area. But since the antelope was around three quintals in weight, the poachers could not pick it up and left it.

Villagers apprised forests and wildlife preservation minister Tikshan Sud of the issue, who assured them of action against the erring officials. Later in the afternoon, Wildlife Department official H.S. Gujral sent an inquiry team to the spot. The antelope’s postmortem was also conducted.


PWD to be computerised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Punjab is all set to fully computerise the PWD (B&R) to monitor ongoing projects and bring transparency in the working of the department.

Stating this here, PWD (B&R) minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa said the focus of computerisation would be on systems for financial and personnel managements, office automation, messaging, file tracking etc.

Giving details of the project, Dhindsa said the department also planned to use the statewide wide area network (WAN). He said road sector specific systems would be procured, developed/customised and implemented to meet the requirements for roads information, roads maintenance, GIS-based MIS, project management systems etc.


‘Ineligible’ person continues as varsity director 
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 18
Punjabi University, Patiala, has achieved a dubious distinction, not for its achievements in education or sports arena, but for appointing an “ineligible” person as its director (physical education) and then allowing him to continue to ‘usurp’ the top sports slot for more than three years and till date.

Interestingly, the university top authorities have not only allegedly been ignoring its “gross lapse” in respect of appointment of Dr. Raj Kumar Sharma as its director (sports) since 2004, but it has also been ignoring the University Grants Commission (UGC) letter, which had categorically told the university that the UGC had rejected the request of the university regarding relaxation in qualifications for the post of director.

In response to a letter of the then registrar of Punjabi University, Patiala, seeking relaxation of condition of experience and for approval of appointment of Dr Sharma, the UGC had told the university in clear terms that Dr Sharma was not eligible for the post of director since there was no provision in the UGC guidelines for relaxation in qualifications.

Ironically, Dr Sharma was appointed as the director by the then vice-chancellor S.S. Boparai allegedly, despite the well-known fact that not only he failed to fulfil the laid-down condition of having 15 years of experience, but was also not invited to participate by the short-listing committee of the university in the interview.

Despite, the committee’s no for inviting a person armed with lesser experience, Boparai allegedly directed the committee to call Dr Sharma on the vague-looking grounds that he had an excellent reputation in the Malwa region.

It was perhaps for the first time in the history of universities of India that to accommodate a person, the Punjabi University authorities had gone to the extent of ignoring two Olympians - Dr Tarlok Singh Sandhu and Rupa Saini, one Arjuna Awardee, one international sportsperson, one captain of Indian hockey in Olympics and two national level gold-medallists, who, had also applied for the same post.

What was even more ironical was that the university authorities, which had written a letter to the UGC seeking relaxation in respect of appointment of Dr Sharma, “conveniently” did not receive the UGC letter.

If this was not enough, the Punjabi University’s Audit Department, it was learnt, has not cleared the appointment of Dr Sharma till date, but despite objections, he was continuing as director (sports) of the university, allegedly due to his proximity with top university officials.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jaspal Singh was not available despite repeated efforts made to reach him.

“I have provided the UGC copy to the VC office pertaining to appointment of Dr Sharma, but still the university has failed to move ahead and take action against him,” said an eminent sportsperson, who has been running from pillar to post to “get justice” for the sanity of the sports world and who wished not to be quoted.


HC raises doubts about inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
In a quick turn of events in the rape case against the director of Frontier Bicycles, Narinder Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has raised serious doubts about the inquiry conducted by the then SSP Fatehgarh Sahib, Silabh Kishore.

Seeking an explanation, the High Court has issued notices to M.K. Tiwari, the then IG, Zonal, Patiala, now posted as MD, Punjab Housing Corporation, Chandigarh, and Silabh Kishore, the then SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, now posted as Commandant, 36 Battalion , Punjab Armed Police, Bahadurgarh, for November 17 to explain as to how and under what circumstances had they conducted the inquiry.

The court observed: “The incident is of the Union Territory, Chandigarh, whereas without any jurisdiction the state of Punjab has conducted an inquiry and given a report. It is not understood whether they have got the jurisdiction to interfere in the matter that pertains to the UT.”

The inquiry report had shown frequent exchange of calls between the ‘victim’, her friend (a key eyewitness), a DSP (posted at Ropar when the incident took place) and a businessman (a friend of Narinder Singh’s relative).

According to the inquiry, the four were in constant touch with each other before and after the alleged rape took place.


Acid Attack on Woman
SHO removed; accused’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 18
In the acid attack case on a Dalit rape victim, the SHO concerned has been removed from the police station (rural) while a local court has extended the police remand of all three accused for another day.

A senior official of the police department informed The Tribune that SHO Jasbir Singh had been removed from his post and sent to the police lines with immediate effect. Additional SHO of the Mehna police station Jaswant Singh had been asked to take over as the SHO of the police station (rural) of the town.

DIG R.P. Mittal, while talking to The Tribune, said it was the prerogative of the SSP to remove/transfer the SHO. The SSP has, so far, distanced himself from mediapersons on the issue.

Meanwhile, additional public prosecutor of the district Lakhvir Singh told The Tribune that all three accused in the case were produced before the court of Kuljit Pal Singh this afternoon. The court has extended their police remand for another day.

The victim is undergoing treatment in the district hospital at present at her own cost. Neither the state government nor the district administration has extended any financial help to her for treatment on humanitarian grounds. 


2 women, child nabbed with fake visas
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 18
Two women, along with a child, managed to cross over to Pakistan by the Samjhauta Express where they were caught by the Pakistan immigration authorities for possessing fake visas.

According to information, they were repatriated to India on Thursday evening by the Pakistani immigration authorities. The two women, Hazara Begum, daughter Heena and grandson Basheera, residents of Delhi, had managed to give a slip to the Indian immigration authorities at the Attari international railway station. Hazara said they were going to meet relatives in Lahore. 


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