Thursday, May 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


10 KVM teachers ‘expelled’ in seven months
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, April 30
In an apparent bid to remove surplus staff, as many as 10 teachers of Kundan Vidya Mandir (KVM) have been expelled in the past seven months.
Majority of these teachers were from the nursery and primary sections of the school and were appointed in March last year. The expelled teachers said they were not given any prior notice regarding their expulsion and were told to immediately submit no dues certificate. They said had they been informed about their expulsion at least 15 days in advance, they would have prepared themselves mentally and applied elsewhere. The move has created panic among the existing school teachers.

Those expelled include two computer teachers, one biology teacher (senior section), one primary teacher taking English and social studies classes and three primary teachers from the Civil Lines branch. From the city branch, one computer teacher and one primary teacher have been dismissed. Besides, the services of headmistress of the city branch of the school were also terminated last month following a complaint against her. She was charged with helping her sons, studying in the same school, to use unfair means during their terminal examination. However, many have said it was a trap to force her to resign.

The expelled teachers alleged that their Principal, Ms Neena Khanna, did not even meet them despite their repeated attempts. They said they were informed through their headmistress that they were appointed as “adjustment” teachers in the school and since their need was no longer felt they were being told to quit. The teachers said even though they had several opportunities ahead of them after the job, their dismissal had affected their morale.

The computer teacher whose services were terminated said she had joined the school just two months ago after returning from a maternity leave. She said had she known of her fate, she wouldn’t have joined back leaving her 40-day-old daughter at home. She said she was not an “adjustment” teacher and was appointed against a proper vacancy. She was expecting a permanent status in one month’s time. She said she had joined the school after leaving a college job where she was taking computer classes for postgraduate students.

Ms Neena Khanna, however, said she did not expel any new staff members. She, however, declined to comment on the expulsion of the city branch headmistress.

Ms Khanna said she was in fact planning to appoint fresh staff since as many as four members of her staff were on the verge of retirement. These included Mr Padam Raj, a Punjabi teacher, who was given a farewell party today; Mr R.K. Gupta, a biology teacher; and Mr Kanda, a mathematics teacher, who retires in a month’s time. She also said Ms Jaspal Pannu, an English teacher, had resigned since she wanted to be with her son who is settled in New Zealand. Ms Rashmi Kaushal, a counsellor, had also resigned since her husband, who was earlier working as an NCC officer here, had been posted at Allahabad, she said. 



Cong leaders divided over support to officers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
There seems to be total polarisation within the District Congress Committee (DCC) with one section of the party supporting the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Harpreet Sidhu, and the other section supporting the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Agarwal.

Only a few days ago, several leaders, including the DCC presidents (of urban and rural units), Mr K.K. Bawa and Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill and two MLAs Mr Surinder Dawer and Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha and Mr Pawan Dewan and Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka demanded the transfer of the Deputy Commissioner. They reportedly put their demand before the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, also. They met the Chief Minister in Chandigarh yesterday.

Against this the same bunch of leaders issued a joint statement yesterday supporting the SSP, Mr Sidhu. These leaders refuted the allegations levelled against Mr Sidhu by a senior BJP leader and former Punjab Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain. These leaders maintained that Mr Sidhu had a clean record in police administration and he had initiated several measures in the city which had helped in better policing in the city.

On the other hand the Deputy Commissioner is reportedly being supported by senior party leader and the Minister for Higher Education, Mr Harnam Dass Johar. Against the combined onslaught of several Congress leaders, Mr Agarwal seems to be enjoying the patronage of Mr Johar only. Mr Johar may have his own reasons to support Mr Agarwal. He may not be having any special preference for Mr Agarwal, but he definitely has a personal score to settle with the DCC president, Mr Bawa and the Congress MLA Mr Dawer.

While the political rivalry between Mr Dawer and Mr Johar is not new, Mr Bawa openly opposed Mr Johar’s elevation as minister during the last reshuffle. Mr Bawa had protested to the Congress high command against Mr Johar’s nomination as a minister and had also levelled some serious charges against him. Obviously Mr Johar could not side with these leaders in their campaign against the Deputy Commissioner.

There are some neutral leaders also, like the Ludhiana MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, and the Minister of State for Jails and Urban Development, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, who have not taken any stand for or against any particular officer. The two leaders appear to be watching the developments from a distance only. Otherwise Mr Galib is counted in the group that supports the SSP, while Mr Birmi’s stand remains ambiguous.



Land dispute gets murkier
Group accuses other of harvesting crop forcibly
Tribune News Service

Jaspal Bangar (Ludhiana), April 30
The controversy surrounding the possession of 120 kanals of agricultural land in Jaspal Bangar village has once again come to the fore, with a group of villagers fighting for the possession of land accusing the opposite party of harvesting the crop forcibly.

A group of villagers led by Sher Jung Singh had been claiming that the land was given to their ancestors by Guru Tegh Bahadur and the other group led by Dilbagh Rai was unnecessarily staking its claim on the land.

The villagers claimed that the other group had forcibly harvested the wheat crop sown by them on around 12 acres of land. They alleged that the group, armed with weapons, had descended on the village on tractor-trailers two days ago and harvested the land forcibly. They said the villagers could not do anything except watch silently.

They alleged that they had met senior officials of the district police on the issue but they had shown their inability to do anything as the matter was under probe. Ms Jagpal Kaur, a relative of Sher Jung Singh, said they had contacted senior police officials on the day the crop was being harvested but to no avail. Within hours, the group harvested the crop and vanished.

The Station House Officer, Shimla Puri, Mr Lakhbir Singh, when contacted, said he had not received any such complaint from the villagers. Dilbagh Rai and his group members were not available for comments.

The villagers said the inquiry into the issue was on but the right on the crop was theirs as they had sown the crop. They were however worried and were trying to save the rest of their crop.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, had visited the village three months ago, inspected the land and listened to both the groups. The statements of both the groups were recorded on the spot. But no headway in the case was made.

The controversy over the “mahant” land had broken out in December, 2002 when a group allegedly tried to plough it in the presence of 18 persons. The opposite group had complained to the police on which the Shimla Puri police had registered a case against the 18 persons and a car was seized.

At that time, the SSP had said that he could give details only after the report of inquiry was out. He had, however, maintained that the land could not be given on lease, as it was a “mahant” land.

Both the groups belong to the same family (the accused and the complainant are distant cousins). The land given to the family ancestors by the ninth Guru was a declared a Waqf property. The Guru had left some memoirs with the villagers, which are now in the possession of the family of Sher Jung Singh.



30 health employees found absent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
About 30 employees of the state Health Department posted in Ludhiana and Ropar districts were found absent from duty in Vigilance Bureau raids conducted at 36 Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Civil Hospitals and dispensaries here yesterday.

The most glaring irregularity was found at the Primary Health Centre, Jhajj, in Noorpur Bedi block, where the centre was found locked. The Vigilance Bureau does not have exact figure of the staff strength at this centre. Those found absent, included eight gazetted officers and 14 non-gazetted officers besides an unknown number of employees at the Primary Health Centre, Jhajj.

The state of health services in rural areas stands exposed once again after the raids. In March last year, the Vigilance Bureau had conducted similar raids to check absenteeism among health employees. After a year, there seems no major change in the state of affairs.

Those found absent will face suspension and departmental action. Officials of the Vigilance Bureau have sent a list of ‘offenders’ to the DGP (Vigilance) and the state government for further action.

Mr Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, said in a press note here today that the bureau had received complaints about non-availability of doctors and para-medical staff in rural areas due to which there was a widespread resentment among villagers.

He said the bureau had released the list of absentees after checking the leave applications of employees. Some employees had marked in ‘field trip’ in advance, while others had marked leave in the registers, but had not submitted any application. Some employees who were present in the offices had allegedly helped their colleagues by marking their leave.

Mr Sandhu said four DSPs and an Inspector of the Vigilance Bureau conducted the raids. They were Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Diljinder Singh, Mr Sarwan Ram and Mr Tarsem Singh all DSPs and Mr Sukhdeep Singh, Inspector.

The following doctors were found absent in Jagraon block : Dr Bhupinder Singh (Mullanpur), Buta Singh, Medical Officer (Sudhar), Major Singh (Dispenser, Ayurvedic Dispensary, Suljapur), Dr R.K. Karkara (Medical Officer, Jagraon), Narinder Kumar (Dispenser)

At Primary Health Centre (PHC), Noorwal, Dr Manisha (Medical Officer), Dr Om Parkash (PHC, Boothgarh), Baljit Kaur and Kanta Rani.

In Khanna, Dr H.C. Payal, William (Payal), Wail Ram, Nirmal Singh (class IV employee at PHC Bija), Sardara Singh (PHC, Doraha), Dr Meenakshi Sachdeva, Dr Surinder Kaur, Dr Amrik Singh (PHC, Noorpur Bedi).

At the PHC, Nehon, Mannu Kumari (sewadaar) and Mukhtiar Singh (class IV employee at Kiratpur Sahib).

At the PHC, Gajjpur, Dr Sandeep Singh Gill, Ms Saroj Bala, Charanjit Lal and Darshan Kaur (class IV employees).

The list of these absentees has been sent to the Health Department for necessary action.



Names of 26,500 docs missing from PMC roll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 30
Out of total 34,000 doctors in Punjab, 26,500 are either supposed to be dead or have migrated outside Punjab in the eyes of the Punjab Medical Council (PMC). This was observed in an electoral roll prepared for the council’s election by its registrar. The roll contains the name of 7,500 doctors. While strongly condemning the irregularities the roll prepared for the election to be held in May. The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has urged the Chief Minister to halt undemocratic election process of the council.

In a press note issued here, Dr Hardeep Singh, state president and Dr Vijay Kumar, state finance secretary, said out of 34,000 medical professionals registered with the council, 24,500 members had been deprived of their right to vote and contest. The gazette notification No. R.O./ PMC/ 2003/ 338/8-14 dated March 6, 2003, issued for this election had not been published in the columns of the leading newspapers of Punjab. This circular was not sent to the major organisations of the medical fraternity but was circulated in the district headquarters of the Health Department. This notification was incomplete as it was not showing information of the conditions laid by candidates and the number of vacancies to be filled.

Dr Surinder Singla state general secretary and Dr Balwinder Kumar, district Ludhiana general secretary, PCMS Association, were among 10 candidates contesting the election for three vacancies. The PCMS Association had demanded right to vote and contest for all 36,000 doctors registered with this autonomous body.

The association has urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh to immediately halt the undemocratic election process till all registered members in Punjab were given right of vote and contest. The democracy in the PMC should be restored by declaring election for all vacancies, while totally scrapping the council nominated by the previous Akali-BJP government.



BJP leaders to meet Advani, seek CBI probe
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
The CD expose, highlighting corruption among police personnel in the city has taken a new turn with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) deciding to approach the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K Advani, seeking a CBI probe into the incident. Under the leadership of the former Punjab Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain, a party meeting has been summoned for later tonight. Mr Gosain has entered into a direct confrontation with the district police chief by accusing him of turning a blind eye to corrupt practices in the city.

Mr Gosain told the Ludhiana Tribune that nothing short of a CBI inquiry would bring out the truth about the CD scandal. He said “no subordinate can dare to be corrupt till he is patronised by his superiors”. He said a thorough inquiry must be conducted to expose all those involved in land deals and bribes that have taken place in the city for the past one year. This he added was only possible through a CBI probe.

A team of local leaders is expected to chalk out a line of action later tonight and then proceed to the Capital to take up the issue with Mr Advani. The BJP has been maintaining a stand that the money taken in bribes is shared among all top echelons of the police force.

The BJP leader said the anti-corruption drive of the current Congress regime was a hoax, since the government simply chose to look the other way when it came to checking malpractices prevalent in the system. He even accused Capt Amarinder Singh of shielding some corrupt officers. Mr Gosain said he was not against any individual, but wanted a thorough CBI probe to segregate the honest from those who make false pretensions about honesty.

The BJP leader observed that police officials were being patronised by the ruling party. He further pointed out that only today, several Congress leaders, including DCC President, Mr K.K.Bawa, city legislator Mr Surinder Dawar, and others had issued a joint statement claiming that the district police chief was an honest officer. He wondered as to how these leaders could give him a clean chit, amidst serious allegations of shielding those involved in the CD expose.

Mr Gosain suggested that if the Chief Minister was really serious about his anti-corruption drive, he should himself order a CBI probe. But at the same time he must ensure that all those involved in the acts of corruption directly or indirectly were not in a position to hinder a fair probe.



Ensure regular water supply for cotton: CM
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 30
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has directed the Chief Engineer (Canal) to ensure uninterrupted water supply to complete cotton sowing in the cotton belt of the state. These directions were given by the Chief Minister at a high-level meeting of government officials and experts of the Punjab Agricultural University at Chandigarh yesterday. The meeting was convened by the Chief Minister on the suggestion of the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, for ensuring timely sowing of cotton and making arrangements for supply of seeds of hybrid cotton varieties.

Dr Aulakh said the university had recommended sowing of cotton in the month of April. Since the supply of water was not available timely, it was decided that the sowing should be completed by May 15 and that there would be no shortage of water during this period. He said the university had conducted trials on Bt cotton varieties and these had been found to be susceptible to leaf curl virus as a result of which the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee had not approved the release of two varieties. Further trials would be conducted on these varieties for one more year. Dr Aulakh also supplied the action plan for pest management that would be implemented by the State Agriculture Department.

The Chief Minister asked Markfed and Punseed to ensure proper supply of pesticides and certified seeds of cotton varieties.

Two cotton hybrid varieties, namely Ankur 651 and white gold, would be sown besides the PAU recommended variety LHII 144. The farmers have also been advised to sow LD 694 and LD 327 desi cotton varieties.

The meeting was also attended by the Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Those attending the meeting were informed that there was a target to bring 6.4 lakh hectares under cotton cultivation. Last year, cotton was sown in 4.5 lakh hectares and the production was to the tune of 10.87 lakh bales. This year, the Agriculture Department was contemplating to have 19 lakh bales of cotton.

Under an intensive cotton development programme, financial assistance of 75 per cent by the Government of India and 25 per cent by the state government was available as subsidy on seed and spraying equipment. This year a sum of Rs 6 crore would be spent under this scheme. Punjab Agricultural University has recommended sowing of hybrid varieties in an area of 2.4 lakh hectare (requiring 9,000 quintal seeds), American Cotton in 3 lakh hectare (requiring 30,000 quintal seeds) and desi cotton in 60,000 hectare requiring (4500 quintal seeds).

The university has further recommended spraying of insecticides for checking pests from mid-July to mid-August and for pink bollworm from the last week of July to mid-September.



100-foot road, green belts gobbled up
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 30
Inhabitants of Urban Estate Phase I and its surrounding localities like HE Housing Colony and HM Housing Colony, besides factory owners and industrial workers in Focal Point Phase V, are sore over rampant encroachment on both sides of the 100-foot road and parts of green belts due to inaction on part of the civic body and the district administration.

According to Mr Basant Singh, president of the Urban Estate Residents Association, the road that was this area’s link to the Metro Road, Sherpur, Moti Nagar and the GT Road bypass has been partially encroached upon by ‘jhuggi’ dwellers and others. Some stretches of the road have been totally blocked and closed to traffic. The unauthorised occupants have raised permanent structures on the road and the green belts.

The affected persons and factory owners have made many attempts to make the authorities move for clearing the encroachments, without any visible result, so far. Mr D.C. Sharma, who lives in the area, said the issue had been raised in the District Committee for Removal of Grievances in June 2002 and the Municipal Corporation had, then, been directed to remove the illegal occupants.

With parts of the 100-foot road being closed to traffic, the city’s traffic is diverted to narrow streets and service lanes of residential colonies, which exposes persons living there to road accidents.

The councillor of Ward No. 17, Ms Ravinder Kaur, had also taken up the matter with the MC officials earlier this year. The civic administration did move into action that time and a few ‘jhuggis’ and other structures were pulled down, but the campaign was abandoned midway for reasons unknown. The offenders reappeared in more strength.

In a joint memorandum submitted to the MC and the district administration by various associations of the area, the authorities concerned have been asked to take steps to clear the 100-foot road and the green belts of all encroachments.



No takers for state awardees’ creations
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 30
Dilshad Ahmed an artisan from Saharanpur, has brought exquisitely carved furniture to the city. He has come here with beautifully carved wooden screens, stools, beds, sofas, dining tables and other articles. The furniture is displayed at the North India Trade and Cultural Fair going on at the grounds of the Government College for Women. The fair started on April 25 and will be on till May 4.

He says,” We have come here with a lot of expectations. All prices of furniture that you see here are evidence of hard work that goes into their designing and carving. We are illiterate, but making of furniture has been in our family for generations. I was given a state award in 1997. So far the sale here is not encouraging. People come, have a look at the furniture and go. Now that the fair is about to end, we hope the sales will pick up.”

Raisuddin from Khurja was awarded for his matchless painting on ‘blue pottery’ in 1995. He says, “I can draw any number of designs from my imagination. My designs are appreciated so much that I am invited at all cultural fairs all over India. Generally we have good sales, but in Ludhiana, we are waiting for sales to pick up.”

Shobha Ram Prajapati was awarded a state award for his mastery in making pots and other objects from clay. His son, Dharam, says they get red clay from Faridabad and mix it with clay of Panipat, where their family has become very famous. This deft fingers then mould this clay into pots of amazing shapes. Those travelling on the National Highway No1 make it a point to visit their studio, he adds.

Bhadur Bhai is from Kishengarh, which is known for colourful paintings on furniture. He says, “Earlier, such painting were found in royal palaces and their cost ran into lakhs. To make these available to art lovers, we have introduced a new style which is quite affordable.”

The fair offers a lot of beautiful items made by award winning artists. Their sheer beauty beckons people to possess these for they are worth possessing.



Not clean or green at all

LUDHIANA is by no means ever near ‘clean and green’ as the bill boards announce it. It is perhaps the most polluted, over-polluted and a mismanaged city of Punjab by its Municipal Corporation. Recently, I was in the city for over 2 months. The inner part of the city, particularly field Ganj 5, has overflowing, stinking drains and choked sewers, with occasional dead rats. The side lanes are even more filthy than the mainstreet, where some residents discharge faeces into the drains.

The encroachment by shopkeepers and traders is so bad that it is hard to walk through the main street. On top of it, there are shops selling spices and grind chillies in the open on the street which goes in the eyes of passerbyes and is a health hazard, Ludhiana MC is doing nothing at all to alleviate any of these problems. No commissioner or chairman of MC has even bothered to go and see the situation how the tax payers have to cope with the filth of this part of the inner city.

The inner city, particularly Field Ganj 5, needs to be cleaned regularly twice a day. The encroachment should be removed by repeated fines. Some of these streets should be made as only pedestrian zones and others should have only one way traffic.


Why additional benefits for ministers?

Punjab is under heavy debt of Rs 37,000 crore at present. It has taken a jump of Rs 1000 crore during the tenure of the current Congress Government. Since the Congress came into power, the figures of debt are continuously increasing. Under such circumstances, inspite of reducing the burden of debt, the state government is increasing its expenses and making the situation more worse. It is blaming the previous government for developing such situations but the Congress is also not less responsible.

On the one side, it is crying that the state exchequer is empty, and due to lack of funds, no development work has been done in the state till now. During one year of its tenure it has wasted money in investigating the ‘corrupt practices’ prevailing in state by adopting a high-handed a attitude towards political rivals. It is a tradition that whenever the new government comes, it blames the financial policies of the previous government.

When the state is already passing through a financial crisis, what was the need to announce special facilities and monetary benefits for ministers and MLAs?


Retain green parks, please

It is learnt that the PAU authorities are contemplating to use the university land along the Ferozepur road for commercial purposes in collaboration with the Ludhiana Municipal Park LMC. Such a step would further compound the chaotic conditions prevailing in this commercial hub of the state. Needless to add that thousands of Ludhianvis are seen on this that patch of greenery in the mornings and evenings to breath in fresh air.

By replacing the green belt along the Ferozepore Road with concrete jungle, the tree line in the city would further decline. Instead, the entire stretch along the road between gate no. 2 of PAU and Aggar Nagar should be planted with high trees to compensate for the loss of greenery.

A look at the road lying between the power colony and K-block, Sarabha Nagar, would further reveal the havoc played by residents, who are constructing palatial buildings, by dumping building material and malba along the road with complete disregard to the growth of saplings.


Wage war against female foeticide

This has reference to The Tribune report “Sex determination test at doorstep", which is both timely and thought provoking. Perpetrators of the crime are inventing ways to mint money without having consideration for the ramifications of the malice of female foeticide on society — particularly exploitation of women.

In fact ,the practice of female foeticide is prevalent due to the feudal and patriarchal mindset of our society which has led to a threatening decline of female-male ratio, particularly in Punjab and Haryana. No amount of legislation against sex determination clinics can help unless law-makers do not stop shielding law-breaker. When the disease is so chronic and life threatened, the diagnostic, treatment and hard surgery is the only option. Strategy to tackle the problem has to be multipronged, and waging a war to curb the practice of female foeticide is the only solution as we are already too late in tackling the problem. I suggest the following measures:

(A) There should be daily reporting by ultrasound clinics in respect of nature of tests made by them along with reports generated to the health administration, which is expected not to connive with them.

(B) A strong public opinion has to be built through mass media, and NGOs.

(C) Every marriage should be got registered with a pledge by the couple not to resort to female foeticide. It would be rather pertinent if such a pledge is made at the time of the marriage ceremony also when the bride and groom sit before ‘holy fire’ or ‘sacred book’ in the presence of relatives.

(D) Monitoring of the progress should be done at the highest level and accountability fixed for poor progress to improve the scenario.

(E) An exemplary punishment to the perpetrator of this crime, be it doctors or the couple itself, can stem the rot rather quickly.




Rickshaw-puller hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 30
A rickshaw pullar was seriously injured when a bus hit him from behind at the local bus stand today.
According to an information , the rickshaw pullar was going to the bus stand when a driver while reversing the bus hit the rickshaw. The rickshaw pullar was rushed to the local Civil Hospital.

In another incident, a Muslim youth was injured when a Tata Sumo hit him at the GT Road near the Gurdwara Kalgidhar yesterday.

The victim is said to be an addict. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital.



Two liquor smugglers held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
The relatively cheap liquor from Chandigarh continues to flow into Ludhiana. However, the excise officials seem to be trying their best to prevent smuggling of liquor into the city.

Only today, in a joint raid conducted by a team of excise and officials, police headed by Mr G.S. Bahia ETO, Ludhiana, in Balala, village near Samrala, 12 bottles of Red Knight and 14 pet bottles of Commander whiskey, meant for sale in Chandigarh only, were seized. Two liquor smugglers were also arrested in the operation. However, the main accused Joga Singh managed to escape well in advance of the raid.

Giving details, Mr Bahia said a joint team of excise and police official raided the farm house of Joga Singh, an alleged liquor smuggler of the area, and two of his fellow smugglers namely Jagtar Singh and Ravinder Singh were nabbed while selling liquor smuggled in from Chandigarh. Mr Bhaia said a case under Section 61/1/4 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914 had been registered.



Sarpanch booked for grabbing land
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
More than five years after the Sarpanch of Miani village in the Bet area was charged with having encroached upon a piece of “shamlat” land, the local police has finally registered a case of land grabbing against him.

The case was registered against Sarpanch Rajinder Singh Miani, who is also the president of the Sarpanches Union, Koom Kalan, under Section 447, IPC, here today. He was booked on a complaint of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Mr Ranjit Singh.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Mr Sumer Singh Gurjar, had conducted an inquiry into the case after receiving a complaint from a villager, who had alleged that the accused had encroached upon 1.5 acres of “shamlat” land to use it as an approach road to his house.

According to officials in the BDPO’s office, Koom Kalan, Rajinder Singh Miani was asked by the department to put forward his side of the story but he failed to tender any reply. All attempts to contact Rajinder Singh proved futile.



Bus hijacked, 4 booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
In a unique case, the district police has booked four persons for allegedly hijacking a bus on the Ludhiana-Jagraon road here on April 28.
An FIR was registered at Sarabha Nagar police station here yesterday on the complaint of Mr Manjit Singh , Managing Director Sewak Bus and Transport Company Ltd.

He alleged that their bus (No. Pb-29A-9648) was coming to Ludhiana from Moga. Four persons, Randhir Singh, Kulbir Singh, Jagdeep Singh and Tej Parkash, who were travelling in a car stopped the bus and hijacked it after ordering the passengers to get down from the Bus. The bus was untraceable, police sources said. An investigation is on in the case.



CII responsible for levying Cenvat: FTSII
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 30
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India (FTSII) has blamed vested interests in the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) for the levy of Cenvat on knitted fabrics, readymade garments and power looms in the unorganised sector. This was confirmed by the Union Minister for Textiles, Mr Kanshi Ram Rana, during his visit to the city recently.

The FTSII president, Mr Joginder Kumar, in a statement here today said it was again the CII which had put forth the proposal to bring parts and accessories of bicycles and cycle-rickshaws under the excise net in October 2001. This levy was, however, withdrawn in the Union Budget for the current year.

Referring to the visit of Dr Vijay L. Kelkar, head of the task force for direct and indirect taxes, to the city at the invitation of CII (Northern region) during November last year, Mr Kumar maintained that the detailed proposals relating to indirect taxes were discussed between CII functionaries and Dr Kelkar at the corporate office of Hero Group of Industries. “Later in a meeting of Dr Kelkar with representatives of industry, the Chairman of Vardhman Group, Mr S.P. Oswal, admitted that the issue of indirect taxes had already been discussed at Hero Nagar.”

The federation chief observed that the tiny and SSI sector was playing a pivotal role in the national economy with the total production estimated at around Rs 25,000 crore. However, the imposition of central excise duty on small and tiny sector would not only retard the growth and development of this sector but would also push the existing units towards extinction and render lakhs of persons jobless.

Mr Kumar further remarked that in putting the burden of Central Excise on unorganised sector, the Union Government had, in a way, betrayed the small and tiny units contrary to the assurance given by the former Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, that the proposal would be kept in abeyance till March 2005. Moreover, the withdrawal of Rs 100-lakh exemption being enjoyed by the small and tiny sector in knitted fabrics and power looms would inflict a severe blow to the recession-hit units. He urged the government to initiate steps for the withdrawal of Cenvat on knitted fabrics, hosiery and textile sector as also to restore the exemption limit of Rs 1 crore for tiny and small scale units to save the industry from ruination.

Meanwhile, the Ludhiana Textile Club has asked the Union Government to immediately withdraw the Excise Duty imposed on power loom sector. Addressing a meeting of the club, its secretary, Mr Iqbal Singh Khurana, lamented that the units had been closed for the past one month while the government had failed to respond to the demand of the industry.

He added that the handloom industry was seasonal in nature and quite often the sector had to face demand recession. “A majority of the units are in small and tiny sector and hence not in a position to maintain complicated records to meet the demands of Central Excise rules.” The government would do well to withdraw the excise duty from SSI sector in hosiery and textiles.


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