L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Indira Gandhi remembered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Tributes were paid to Indira Gandhi on Rashtriya Sankalp Divas at a special function organised at the Mini-Secretariat here today. Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the function and administered the oath of national integration, tolerance and non-violence to the participants.

Mr Verma said on this day the great leader had sacrificed her life in the fight against terrorism.

The Deputy Commissioner said our Constitution had given equal rights and opportunities to every citizen, irrespective of caste, creed and colour. “We should strive hard to strengthen the brotherhood and amity among different sections of society so as to resolve all kind of conflicts in a non-violent and peaceful manner.”

He remarked that Punjab had suffered human and financial loss at the hands of terrorism.

Mr Verma described Indira Gandhi as a far sighted and brave leader under whose leadership the country had made big achievements on the international level. He said that the real tribute to the great leader would be to follow in her footsteps.

Later, he flagged off a Rashtriya Sankalp Rally taken out by students of city schools. The participants marched through Bhai Bala Chowk, Pakhowal Road, Model Gram, Kochhar Market and ESI Road before concluding it at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar.

Among others, Mr Ajay Sood, Assistant Commissioner (General), and Mr M.S. Jaggi, SDM, were present at the function.

Functionaries of the Terrorist Victims Association, Punjab, remembered her at a function held at Rajguru Nagar here.

Youth Congress activists, including Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, Mr Inderjit Makkar, Mr Gurpreet Arora, Mr Rakesh Kumar, Mr Pankaj Bhatt, Mr Sabhajit Pandey, Mr Avtar Bhachu, Mr Ganandeep Singh, Mr Charanjit Singh Channy, Mr Narottam Singh and Ms Harbhajan Kaur, offered floral tributes at a function organised at Chhawni Mohalla here.

A prayer meeting was held by Congress functionaries at New Vishnu Puri in this regard. Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary, PPCC, and Mr Kewal Arora also paid tributes.



Probe panel visits engineering college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
A five-member inquiry committee probing the causes that led to a strike and subsequent suspension of Principal R.P. Singh and Prof J.N. Jha of the SGPC-run Guru Nanak Engineering College visited the college here today. The members held parleys with student representatives and also heard the version of Prof Jha.

The committee is headed by SGPC senior vice-president Gurpal Singh Gora and comprises four other executive members.

The acting Principal, Ms Harkirat Kaur Grewal, had barred the entry of the press from the college. It was resented by students and mediapersons.

When contacted on his mobile phone, Mr Gora’s PA attended the call and came to the main gate of the college. However, he expressed helplessness in taking the mediapersons inside and also advised against printing any story in that connection.

Later on, Mr Gora answered the phone call, but feigned ignorance about the Principal’s order. He mildly admonished the Principal for issuing the gag order. According to sources, the order was issued by the Principal on the insistence of Mr Gora before he met a delegation of students.

Ms Kiranjot Kaur, a member of the committee, justified the order and said the Principal was within her rights in doing so. However, Mr Joginder Singh Panjrath, another member, questioned the need of barring the entry of the media.

Sources said the committee members heard the version of the students. Prof Jha also appeared before the committee and gave his account of the episode. Mr R.P. Singh could not appear before the committee. The members would again visit the college on November 3 to listen to his side of the story.

It many be recalled that the students had gone on strike on September 14 after one of the students alleged that Prof Jha had manhandled him following which his turban fell down. This led to protest by students.

Incidentally, this is the third committee that has been constituted to inquire into the matter. The first committee was headed by SGPC member Gurmail Singh Sangowal, while the second one was led by SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh.



Ludhianvis rush for gold as prices soar
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 31
The steep hike in the price of gold has not dampened the spirits of Ludhianvis. Jewellers are doing a roaring business.

During a visit to the showroom of a leading jeweller, this reporter found a big rush of customers.

The gold (22 carat) is Rs 6170 per 10 gm against Rs 5710 last year. Even last year, the prices were described as high. The jewellers say that the rise in prices is 8 to 9 per cent since last year.

According to Mr Ashim Nagpal of Tanishq, the gold has risen because of steep hike in crude oil prices ($ 56 a barrel). Following rise in the crude oil, securities are being strengthened by purchasing gold. It has also appreciated dollar.

The impact of the rise in the gold prices has not discouraged local buyers as the marriage season is on.

Mr Nagpal said he did not envisage any fall in the demand for gold. The exchange of old with new is also taking place.

According to another local jeweller the demand is better this year.

Demand for diamond jewellery is also increasing. The prices of diamonds have also risen by 10 per cent, according to Mr Jain. Both Mr Jain and Mr Nagpal agree that growth of diamonds is more compared with the gold jewellery demand.

Mr Nagpal says that Diamond Trading Corporation of the USA is flooding Indian market with designer diamonds to boost sales. “Diamonds are a tradeable commodity with proper certification. More people are showing interest in making investment in diamonds, he adds.

The price range of diamonds starts from Rs 18,000 to 20,000 per carat and moved up to in lakhs. Solitaire diamonds have higher value.

Mr Jain says fancy jewellery is attracting a lot of buyers. Exchange of old diamonds with new ones is also picking up.

Mr Nagpal and Mr Jain maintain that gold prices may shoot up further.



PHRC seeks report on samadh issue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Taking cognisance of a complaint involving the controversy of Baba Bhai Darbari Samadh, situated at Ottalan village in Samrala , the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has sought report from the SSP, Khanna. The commission has directed the SSP to produce its report on or before November 29.

The orders were issued by a member of the Commission, Mr N.K. Arora, following a complaint by Satvinder Singh, president of the Dera Baba Bhai Upasak Shardhaloo Sevadar Committee, Ottalan.

“The only point that emerges for consideration of the commission is that the SSP, police district Khanna, has not yet registered a case against the alleged accused although a specific request to that effect was made by a large number of residents of village”, the order says.

“In terms of the provisions of Section 17 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the commission shall seek a report from the SSP, Khanna, through the ADGP, before the next date of hearing”, observed the commission.

It was claimed in the complaint that Baba Bhai was a saint, pious soul and follower of Udasi sect, who devoted his life to propagating the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib. People of the village had great respect for him. Due to his dedicated services, the villagers constructed a samadh and had been coming there for worship and other religious purposes.

Baba Bhai Darbari was the owner of land measuring 40 kanal 17 marlas and the same was entered in the “jamabandi”. But after the death of Mohatim Jeon Das, his sons, in connivance with some revenue officials, got the mutation sanctioned in their favour and they also allegedly fabricated some documents and got the mutation sanctioned in their favour by way of succession, says the complaint.

However, they had no right to get the property transferred in their name. The matter did not end here, the duo, Bhupinder Das and Darshan Das, also took loan by mortgaging the land of the ‘samadh’ to the State Bank of India and Punjab and Sind Bank. They took loan to the tune of Rs 10 lakh, but never spent even a penny for the development of the dera or the ‘samadh’. They misappropriated the amount for their personal benefits, added the complainant.



Dal Khalsa march against migrants today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
The Dal Khalsa has got a formal permission from the government to hold a march on Punjab Day tomorrow against the influx of migrants into Punjab. The march will start from Master Tara Singh College and conclude at the Mini Secretariat here.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh, general secretary of the Dal Khalsa, gave this information to The Tribune over the telephone from Amritsar. He said banners and placards would convey to the migrants that they were not welcome in Punjab.

The Dal Khalsa would distribute literature about the consequences of migrants settling down in the state.

The Dal Khalsa wants the government to monitor the entry of the migrant labourers into the state. It has been demanding a legislation which would ensure that the demographic profile of the state was not disturbed.

Supporting the issue, Mr Chiranjit Singh Channi, a leader of the Khalsa Panchayat, said the issue was of urgent importance.



Man goes missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Mystery shrouds the whereabouts of a middle-aged man, Maghar Singh, who went missing from Palam Vihar here yesterday afternoon, a week after his son had allegedly eloped with a girl of the same colony. While his family alleged that the man was in illegal custody of the Sadar police, the latter denied it.

Maghar Singh was said to be searching for his son Navjot Singh and the girl. However, when the couple was not traced, the girl’s family allegedly complained to the police. It accused the boy of misleading and kidnapping the girl.

Swaran Kaur, mother of Navjot, in a communication to the Ludhiana Tribune and complaints to the senior officers, has alleged that the Sadar police was illegally detaining her husband for the past 24 hours. She said the police was pressurising the family with regard to the disappearance of their son and wanted him to surrender.

Swaran Kaur claimed that she had no knowledge about the whereabouts of her son and the girl.

Meanwhile, the SHO, Sadar police station, Mr R.S. Brar, denied the illegal detention of Maghar Singh. He said he had information about the missing duo and no formal complaint had been made. He said the police had not intervened in the matter and all allegations were wrong.



Seven girls married off
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 31
Seven girls were married off by the Ram Natak Club, Doraha, today.
Mr Sudarshan Sharma and Mr Bobby Tiwari, patron and president of the club, respectively, stated that 71 marriages have been solemnised by the club so far. The brides are given help in cash and kind on the occasion.

Mr Bhinder Singh Canada contributed Rs 51,000 in this regard. Mr Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, former Transport Minister, Punjab, blessed the newly weds and appreciated the efforts made by the club.

Mr Bant Singh Daburjee , Mr Surinder Pal Sood, Mr Arun Bector, Mr Om Parkash Bhanot, Mr Jawahar Lal Kapila, Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassa, Mr Gurnam Singh Councillor and Mr Jaswant Singh were among those present on the occasion.



Child crushed under crane
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
A two-and-a-half-year-old boy was today crushed under a crane in Focal Point today causing tension in the area. Agitated at the tragic death of the child, angry residents beat up the driver and damaged the vehicle.

The residents later handed over the accused Kanwal Singh to the police. The deceased was identified as Vicky, son of migrant labourer Santosh Kumar. The child had run on the road outside the house and was crushed under the vehicle.



Great War veteran Col Dhillon to attend heroes’ meet
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Hundreds of men and women from across the globe will come together in London early next month to pay tributes to the five million men and women from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the armed forces during the first and second world wars. The second anniversary of the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill in London will see many retired Indian soldiers in their ceremonial best in the company of Her Majesty, the Queen of England, who inaugurated the memorial two years ago.

Among the war veterans would be Ludhiana’s Lt. Col Chanan Singh Dhillon, president, Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh. He participated in Second World War and was taken prisoner of war, only to become the Chief Man of Confidence for the Indian PoWs. Now on the permanent list of invitees, Lt. Col Dhillon is all set to be part of the second anniversary celebrations that start at the memorial near Hyde Park, London.

The Memorial Gates Trust now is planning an education project, designed to provide a sense of identity and connection to the descendants of the British soldiers.

The memorial has four stone piers in Portland Stone each topped by a bronze urn, with the names India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Africa, Caribbean and Kingdom of Nepal engraved on the sides.

Lt. Col Dhillon saw action in Mesopotamia, Middle East, North Africa and Italy during Second World War and was taken as a prisoner of war in Germany for two years. India contributed more than 2.5 million officers to the British war effort and was instrumental for the victory of the Allied forces. Out of the 1.5 million Indian soldiers who fought with the British during the First World War, 47,000 died fighting, says the colonel, who also served the INA of Netaji Subhash Chander Bose. “We won 13,000 decorations and 12 Victoria Crosses”, he recalls with pride.

It was persuasion of Indian officers which made the then British Prime Minister John Major to decide on raising the memorial. They have been demanding that “the UK must contribute to bring the pension of colonial troops on a par with the British veterans. The PoWs under Germany and Japan must be compensated and the veterans’ destitute families should be granted ex gratia. Veterans in the UK should be considered members of the British legion and facilities provided to them. World War veterans desirous of visiting the UK should be exempted from visa fee”.

Lt. Col Dhillon told The Tribune that the British Government had already agreed to bring out a drossier on veterans of the war and include it in the UK school curriculum. He said during his visit to the UK next week, he would also take up other issues, including to compensation to British troops taken prisoners by the Japanese. He is slated to appear at the UK television and radio show to highlight the achievements of the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers in the British forces.



LIC awaits proper office site
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Policy holders and employees of the Life Insurance Corporation of India, Jagraon, are still waiting a proper location for the office in the city. The current location of the office is located on a link road on the city outskirts.

Some of the policy holders and agents told Ludhiana Tribune here today that the LIC authorities had been pleading time and again in this regard. They pointed out that with the area remaining isolated even the employees feel unsafe. In 2000 some armed persons had attacked a cashier and took away over Rs 2.5 lakhs.

Policy holders stated that there was no proper transport available to reach the office and they had to depend on the autos or rickshaws, who overcharge them.

A senior official of the company added that the issue was already under consideration and the company was in search of a proper location. He further said public notices had been issued seeking bids in this regard.


Officials of Life Insurance Corporation of India honour Vijay Gupta
Officials of Life Insurance Corporation of India honour Vijay Gupta.

LIC agent honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Mr Vijay Gupta, an LIC agent, was honoured, for showing outstanding results in the first half of this financial year.
He procured overall business of Rs 1.50 crore till September, 2004, says a press note. He was also presented a citation for his performance by the Senior Divisional Manager, Mr D.K. Bhagat, the Branch Manager, Mr H.S. Gupta and the Development Officer, Mr Satish Salgotra, at a function.



Two held on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 31
Manmeet Singh and Sukhwinder Singh, friends of Sukhdev Singh (25) of Bhamipur Kalan, who was found murdered near a small canal embankment at Lamme village yesterday, have been arrested on murder charge. Both are residents of the same village. The police has also recovered a country-made pistol which is alleged to be that of the victim and was reportedly used in the crime.

According to a press note released by Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, the investigation has revealed that Sukhdev was residing with his sister Balwinder Kaur and her husband Shamsher Singh at Gandhi Dham, Gujarat, and where they owned a truck. Sukhwinder was employed as the truck driver. Sukhwinder had some grudge against Sukhdev and he along with Manmeet killed Sukhdev.



Cyclist killed in mishap
Tribune Reporters

Khanna, October 31
A cyclist was killed in a road accident near Bija village, 11 km from here, today.
The victim, Balwinder Singh, a resident of Kot Panaich village, was going on his cycle, when he was hit by a car (PB10 AB-9112). He was rushed to the Civil Hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

In another incident, Manbir Singh, a resident of Ghungrali village, was injured when his scooter was hit by a car near Bhatian village. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital. He was discharged after treatment.

Jagraon Car recovered, three held

An Esteem car along with some goods which had been stolen was recovered from Raju Mistri, Chhinder Pal Singh and Babu of Kothe Khazooran during patrolling near Adda Raikot, Jagraon. They have been arrested. A case has been registered under Section 411, IPC.



Small units seeks service tax exemption
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India has sought exemption from service tax on job works as had been done in the case of agriculture, printing, textile processing and education sectors.

A delegation of the federation, led by its president, Mr Joginder Kumar, met Mr K.M. Chandra Shekhar, Secretary (Revenue), and Mr Parthasarthy Shome, Adviser to the Union Finance Minister, to apprise them of the adverse impact of levying of service tax on job works undertaken by small units in the engineering industry.

Mr Kumar said provisions of the service tax were discriminatory under which exemption was granted to the work conducted in-house or under one roof, whereas the same process, if conducted in a different premises, attracted service tax.

The delegation comprising prominent members of local industry impressed upon officers of the Union Government that the tiny and small sectors had immensely contributed by process specialisation in reducing the cost of production and to make industry cost effective. These had also helped in massive employment generation, thereby making a significant contribution in the national economy.

Mr Joginder Kumar emphasised that processes like electroplating and heat treatment were essentially components of manufacturing and did not amount to production of goods. These jobs were parts of chain of processes involved in the manufacture of finished goods and, therefore, the provision of ‘production of goods’ in the Service Tax Act should be withdrawn.

While Union Government officials agreed with the assertion that small and tiny units would be put to great hardship due to certain ambiguities in the levy of service tax, the functionaries of the federation also later met the Chief Commissioner of Central Excise at Chandigarh, Mr S.S. Bedi, and the Commissioner, Central Excise, Mr V.K. Garg, here to put forth their viewpoint.



Traders oppose octroi, VAT
Our Correspondent

Amloh, October 31
Instead of providing relief to traders, the present Congress government in the state has withdrawn some favourable measures taken by the previous Akali government, asserted Mr Nirmal Dass Malhotra, state vice-president of Beopar Mandal at a function organised by traders at Kohinoor Palace, Bhadson village, yesterday.

Traders have been resenting octroi collection through private contractors. They have opposed it many a time through deputations. Moreover, the statement of the minister concerned that no deputation of traders had met him was misleading, he added.

Speaking on value added tax (VAT), which is being imposed on shopkeepers with effect from April 1, 2005, he maintained that it should be opposed by all.

Mr Malhotra said the schedule of tax collection differs from state to state. In Haryana it was 10 per cent, while in Punjab it would be 12.5 per cent, besides the existing taxes which adds up to 45 per cent.

The matter was taken up by traders at a meeting constituted by the Central Government, but it failed to bring any change in the existing proposal, he added.

Mr Krishan Kumar, president, Bhadson Beopar Mandal, assured all help to the Beopar Mandal.

Mr Sohan Thappar, secretary of the mandal, thanked the guests while Mr Randhir Singh was the stage secretary. 



Biz Clips

Oswal store:
AO’s — the retail brand from Oswal Group of Companies, today launched its first exclusive store in the Mall Road market. Besides an exhaustive range of casual wear, the AO’s local store would premiere, the premium ‘black label’ line of designer wear.

Mr Adish Oswal, Managing Director, AM Kryon International Private Limited, observed that AO’s a brand born in this city and the company was proud to bring the brand’s largest store to its hometown.

New herbicide: Country’s foremost manufacturers of agro-chemicals Sulphur Mills Ltd launched a new wheat herbicide — Arrow. Prominent among those present at the function were Mr Sukatu Doshi, Director, Mr P. Cheema, Sales Manager and Mr Ranvir Singh, zonal manager.


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