L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC officer summoned for denying information
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
The Punjab State Information Commission (PSIC) has summoned the Commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation for not disclosing information sought by a local resident under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Following a complaint by the President of the Federation of Pollution and Park Management Committees, Mr S.S. Chana, regarding non-disclosure of information, the commission has asked the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, to appear before it on December 12.

Mr Chana, in a letter dated November 25, alleged that he had written a letter to the local civic body, asking for an important document, but he was not provided the same.

Mr Sharma is the first civil servant from the city to be summoned for non-disclosure of information under the Act.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune today, Mr Chana said he wrote to Mr Sharma on October 17, asking him to furnish a copy of the letter by the state government containing directions for maintenance of parks and green belts.

Mr Chana also sought information on why parks were not maintained as directed by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC).

“I was astonished to see an evasive reply, in which it was claimed that they had not received any letter from the state government regarding directions on maintenance of parks. The letter also claimed that the MC was maintaining the parks as per its resources,” said Mr Chana.

He added that he was disappointed to note that the richest civic body of the state was making a lame excuse about constraint in resources.

“This is tantamount to denial of information. It is a pity that the Commissioner has made a mockery of an important legislation. Corporation functionaries are guarded in their dealings with the public,” said Mr Chana.

Mr Chana further stated that he was shocked when he procured a copy of the document from a mediaperson, which he had got from the office records of the civic body.



Disabled girls to get scholarships
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
To lift the status of disabled girls in rural areas and make them self-reliant, the government has decided to provide the incentives in the form of scholarships to the handicapped girl students in the rural areas to cover the partial cost of uniforms and books etc. till the time they desire to continue their study.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said under this scheme, attendance scholarship of Rs 100 per month would be paid to the disabled girl students studying up to the Class X, Rs 200 per month for those studying in class XI, up to graduation/other courses and Rs 300 for students of post-graduation classes/courses.

In addition to this, Rs 1000 per annum would be paid for uniforms/books to these students. The state government is giving scholarships to all handicapped students and Rs 200 up to class VIII and Rs 300 from class IX onwards. The amount of scholarship proposed in this scheme will be given to the handicapped girls only and will be in addition to already being given.

He said that a one-time grant of Rs 100 lakh under this scheme had already been released for the whole state.

Referring to the criteria of eligibility, Mr Verma informed that the handicapped girl students should be domiciles of Punjab state, percentage of disability should not be less than 40 and the certificate should have been issued by the Chief Medical Officer, the income of partners/ guardian should be less than Rs 5000 per month, payment of grant will commence from the date of admission, the sanction would be subject to the satisfactory progress and attendance should not be less than 75 per cent.

However, failed students will not be given scholarship in the next year under this scheme, he added.

The Deputy Commissioner further informed that applications for grant should be submitted in triplicate in prescribed forms by the parent/guardian on behalf of the student to the principal of the school/college/institution.

The principal of the institution after verification of the particulars of the student shall forward the same to the district social security officer concerned who will scrutinise the cases and further recommend them to the Deputy Commissioner for sanction/approval.

Mr Verma informed that the government had nominated district social security officers as drawing and disbursing officers for this purpose.

He appealed to the parents of disabled students to submit applications for the scholarship to their wards along with the required documents with the principals of their respective schools so that the scholarship could be provided.



Councillor gets bail in rape case
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 14
A councillor of the ruling party, Palwinder Singh Taggar, who was summoned by a local court in a rape case has got reprieve from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was granted interim bail by Mr Justice Surya Kant.

Taking cognisance of his bail application, the high court has directed him to surrender before the trial court and furnish bail bonds. Complying with the directions, the accused furnished bail bonds in a local court. The high court has also ordered to issue notice of motion to the complainant for February 21, 2006.

Refuting the allegations levelled in the complaint, the accused had pleaded before the high court that he was falsely implicated in the case, just to blackmail him and defame him in the eyes of the general public.

Passing the summoning orders a few months back, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S. Dhaliwal, had directed the accused to face trial under Sections 376, 493 and 506 of IPC. He was ordered to be summoned for December 14, 2005. The orders were passed in a complaint filed by Mr Amarjit Kaur of Gali No. 13, Shimlapuri.

The complainant had submitted to the court that her husband had expired in 1997. She was having property dispute with her brother-in-law. Thereafter, she came in contact with the accused. The complainant had alleged that the accused developed illicit relations with her and promised to marry her and help her in the property dispute.

She was taken to Chandigarh, Delhi and Shimla several times in different hotels. But when the accused was elected councillor from ward no: 28 in 2002, he started ignoring her. She got pregnant in March 2002 but the accused got her pregnancy aborted from a doctor. The complainant had also alleged that the accused insisted on her having illicit relations with a sitting MLA, but she refused. 



Overdose of ‘pleasure drug’ kills youth
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 14
A youth of Lasoi village has died of overdose of a drug which ‘enhances’ sexual pleasure.

While the incident has sent shock waves in the area, the Sangrur police has registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC.

The youth had confided in his friends about taking the drug, but had reportedly taken it more than the prescribed limit.

The death has brought, to the fore the laxity on the part of the authorities to check the unauthorised sale of such drugs and their abuse.

The police is waiting for the report of a chemical examination of the viscera for further action. The district health authorities have confirmed the harmful affects of the drugs, maintaining that action against the chemist who sold the drug will be taken after discussing the matter with the higher authorities.

The youth of Lasoi village, near here, had died at the Civil Hospital in Malerkotla after he was shifted from his house in a serious condition.

“He complained of uneasiness immediately after he entered his bedroom on the night of his wedding, but we took it lightly. His condition worsened after some time and we shifted him to hospital,” relatives of the deceased told the doctors attending on him.

Hardly had the doctors started investigating that he collapsed. Apprehending foul play, members of the family reported the matter to the Malerkotla police, which took the body into custody.

A case under Section 174 of the CrPC was registered and a post-mortem examination was conducted. A final decision would be taken after the receipt of the chemical examination report of the viscera, that had been sent to the state laboratory at Patiala, police sources said.

Residents of the area suspected that the death was caused due to an overdose of some aphrodisiac, easily available in the market. They urged the authorities to regulate the sale of these drugs and direct drug store owners to sell these only on the prescription of a physician.

Dr K.C. Goel, DHO, when contacted, confirmed the harmful affects of sildenafil citrate, found in most masculinity arousal tablets. He maintained that the drug could only be sold on the prescription of a urologist, a psychiatrist, an endocrinologist, a dermatologist or a venereologist.

“Though action against erring drug store owners can be taken by drug control authorities, we will take up the matter with the higher authorities in our department and act accordingly,” said the DHO.

A perusal of the literature enclosed with such tablets shows that these are supposed to be used only in case of certain disorders and dysfunctions. As the physiological action of the drug involves enhancement of action of nitric oxide, released during the interaction, it can increase blood pressure to a level that may prove fatal, opine doctors.



Timely surgery helps save vision of 3 persons
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 14
Three persons with noticeable outward protrusion of the eye, a hazy vision, inability to see all around, slight to severe degree of pain in the eye, fiery red swelling of the surrounding tissues were operated upon with the help of minimally invasive surgical (MIS) modality at the DMCH here.

Dr Munjal, an ENT surgeon, said the common feature in all of them was a preceding history of common cold, which was lingering for a long duration and for which they had taken treatment irregularly. Unfortunately, the infection had flared up into a full-blown picture of sinusitis. The formation of pus under pressure in nose and sinuses, and its consequent spread and collection in the eye sockets had affected the eyesight and the movement of the eye balls.

"Untreated, the infection could have taken away the vision of the patients with probable spread inside the brain with fatal consequences."

Dr Munjal said the condition was treated by endoscopically visualising and opening the closed pockets of pus, through the nose. Meticulous dissection was carried out first in the nose plus the sinuses, and was extended into the eye socket. The party wall between the nose and sinuses, and the eye socket was precisely removed taking care not to damage the markedly swollen tissues of the eyeball since the chances of further spread of infection was likely, with the loss of vision, if not tackled with caution.

"The pus was thereby drained inside the nose, releasing pressure on the contents of the eye sockets. The bone over the eyeball and the nerves of vision was lifted off, obtaining in medical terms a 'decompression of the orbit and the optic nerve', in its entire extent."

Dr Munjal opined that the endoscopic intra-nasal orbital-optic nerve decompression was the most recent approach, with precise resection, minimal bleeding, minus stitches, minus disfiguring facial scars, miniscule nasal packs, was a day care procedure with reduced postoperative visits and less to nil chances of recurrence. 



Compliance with service tax provisions urged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 14
Mr V.K. Garg, Commissioner of Central Excise, has urged trade and industry as well as tax professionals to ensure scrupulous compliance with service tax provisions, in their own interest, as also in the interest of the nation.

Addressing a seminar on service tax organised by the Ludhiana branch of the Northern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India here last evening, he said paying due taxes was a national duty and as tax advisers to members of business and industry, chartered accountants could play a vital role in this direction.

Guest speakers at the seminar — Mr Ashok Kumar Batra from Delhi and Mr Balbir Singh — elaborated on service tax provisions, methodology of payment of tax and filing of service tax returns, along with penal provisions for failure on the part of assessees. The queries raised by the participants were handled by the speakers.

Mr Sandeep Puri, Joint Commissioner of Central Excise, during his interaction with the CAs and members of the business community, explained in detail the services covered by the Service Tax Act and provisions relating to non-payment of tax.

He said the revenue collection from the service tax in the area was encouraging as more and more service providers were coming forward with voluntary tax payment.

Mr Subhash Jain, chairman of the local branch, expressed gratitude to senior officers of the Central Excise Department and the guest speakers. At least 350 CAs and tax consultants from the city and other towns attended the seminar.



Passing Thru

Sanjeev Bhikhchandani
Sanjeev Bhikhchandani, founder and CEO, Info Edge India

How do you rate the success of job portals in the country?

The number of people hunting for jobs through portals is proportionate to the number of Internet users, which means with the growing usage of Internet, job portals would gain popularity. At naukri.com, for instance, we have 5 million registered users and are receiving 10,000 new resumes on a daily basis. Currently it is job seekers and head hunters from big cities that form over 80 per cent of the total number of users. The number of users from rural areas and small towns are expected to rise significantally in the coming years.

How are the matrimonial portal and the real estate portal by your company performing?

We started those portals as we saw tremendous business opportunity in them. Whereas the marriage portal is already a success, the portal for real estate has been recently launched. In the absence of a common platform for buyers and sellers of property in large geographical areas, this portal is also expected to get a good response.

Entrepreneurs are sceptical about the success of dotcoms after their failure.

The success of any business, including dotcoms, depends on a solid business strategy. A good idea backed with sound planning and proper implementation is needed for any venture’s success, so there is no need to be sceptical.

— Shveta Pathak



Rs 36 lakh okayed for three soil testing labs
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
Stress on higher production to ensure nation’s food security has led to Punjab soil showing signs of fatigue. Diminishing soil fertility and increasing soil sickness is a major cause of concern at the PAU.

Even the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, conveyed his concerns over deteriorating soil health to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, during his visit to Gehri Butter last week.

To help the PAU create awareness among farmers about the need to get soil tested, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sanctioned Rs 36 lakh to set up three soil testing laboratories in the current year. The Director of Extension Education, Dr S.S. Gill, said today the three laboratories would come up at Gurdaspur, Bathinda and Ropar Krishi Vigyan kendras. These would be in addition to the existing seven PAU soil testing laboratories for which the Indian Council of Agricultural Research gave Rs 82 lakh last year.

Dr Gill said all district extension specialists had been asked to ensure soil test reports were delivered on time to farmers and they were told about the importance of nutrients in soil.

Since the Krishi Vigyan kendras are playing an important role in the dissemination of information to farmers farm related and home related issues, the PAU would set up its 16th Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Nurmahal, Jalandhar. For this, Dr Gill said the Punjab Government had transferred 25 acres to the PAU. The land was earlier with the state’s Directorate of Horticulture.

The PAU has also decided to establish its 17th kendra at Mansa district for which negotiations are on with panchayats and the district authorities for the acquisition of land. With the establishment of the kendra at Mansa, a chain of 17 kendras will cover Punjab.

The Prime Minister in his last Independence Day address had announced the establishment of the Krishi Vigyan kendras in 592 districts across the country by the end of 10th Five Year Plan.

The fully centrally funded scheme includes posting of seven scientists representing different disciplines and requisite supporting staff and information at each kendra.

To give impetus to nutritious and balanced diet, the PAU has added a new feature to its chain of kendras. This is setting up of three-kanal organic nutrition kitchen gardens at each kendra to supplement cereal-based food of farming families with the inclusion of pulses, fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.

Meanwhile, progressive farmers of Kapurthala, who attended the scientific advisory committee meeting at Kapurthala on Tuesday, had urged Dr Gill that the PAU should focus on handling of paddy straw rather than burning it and work on less water consuming crops and vegetables to check the falling water table in the state.

Several farmers were keen to know about the agricultural produce export process. They were informed about the PAU-based Post-harvest Technology Centre and how it would help them in their export venture.

The meeting presided over by Dr Gill was attended by officers of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperatives and other district officers concerned from allied sectors.



Akali Dal (A) youth wing plans protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
The youth wing of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) will stage a demonstration outside Nabha Jail on January 6 against the continued detention of various Sikh youth under TADA.

The youth wing president, Mr Barinder Singh Mann, said here today that the youth were languishing in the jails despite the fact that they had already served the punishment period.

Mr Mann maintained that his party would take up the case of all detenues and stage protest demonstrations. He pointed out that TADA had already been repealed and all the Sikh youth under detention had completed their jails terms and there was no need to keep them behind the bars.

He said the party would also take an active part in the next Assembly elections. He said, the party would build up a campaign against various social evils and the supply of liquor and other intoxicants by some mainstream parties during the elections.

The youth leader also announced that the party would expand its base among the students. He disclosed that units would be constituted in all universities in Punjab, besides 25 colleges which have already been identified across the state. The party had also drawn up a comprehensive programme for the youth and for curbing the increasing unemployment in the state.

He criticised the Congress, BJP and Akalis for not giving any preference to the problems of the youth which had led to large-scale unemployment.



Suvidha camp tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 14
Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, has informed that the Lok Suvidha camp for redressal of grievances of residents of 40 villages falling under Malerkotla kanungoi would be held at Bhudan village on December 16.

The camp scheduled to be held under the supervision of Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, would be presided over by Ms Razia Sultana, MLA and Parliamentary Secretary. Besides, pending cases regarding revenue and police matters, miscellaneous services and concerning civil, the police and the Electricity Board would be disposed of on the spot, claimed Dr Indu.



Community cops help prevent crime
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 14
The SSP of Khanna, Mr Naunihal Singh, expressed satisfaction over the working of the community police officer here today. The SSP said the community-policing project was launched three months ago to check crimes in the night hours. He said that community police officers had done a good job during this period.

In a press note issued here today, he said the CPOs succeeded in checking more than 12 cases of theft in Khanna city. On the night of December 3, CPO Amrik Singh seized a stolen scooter with some other articles. CPO Bhagwant Singh and Ranjit Singh deposited a registration card of a car and some other documents at City police station, which they found during their duty.

CPO Papu Kumar had deposited a stolen scooter. CPO Karmjit Singh and Ravinder traced a stolen scooter. The SSP said that the CPOs had succeeded in checking many theft cases in the past few days. Mr Gurdeep Singh Gossal, in charge of the community police project, said in the press note that SSP would honour these CPOs with certificates and cash reward.



Dal to launch voter awareness campaign
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
The Shiromani Khalsa Dal has decided to launch a voter awareness campaign across the state. Addressing a press conference here today, the Khalsa Dal leader, Mr Daljeet Singh Bittu, pointed out that most of the voters in the state were not aware about the issues concerning the state.

Mr Bittu also announced the constitution of the central executive committee of the party. He said the dal was the main representative of the Sikhs.

He disclosed that a political conference of the dal would be held on December 24 and 25 at Fatehgarh Sahib. It would be attended among others by various Sikh leaders and intellectuals, including the Damdami Taksal chief, Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Khalra Mission Committee chairperson Paramjit Kaur Khalra and Mr Harvinder Singh Norway.



Cyclist dies in accident
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 14
Manpreet Singh Mangli of Johlan was killed in the Bhaini Barings area when the bicycle he was riding was hit by a truck (PTK 0885), being driven by Balbir Singh of Sandol in Sangrur.

The Raikot police registered a case under Sections 304-A and 279 of the IPC on the basis of the statement of Bhag Singh of Johlan.

Two held for trespass

Sikandar Singh of Kothe Rahlan, along with Jaspal Singh, Hardip Singh and Talwinder Singh of Kamalpura, allegedly trespassed on the fields of Kharak Singh of Rajena village and spoiled the crop with a tractor.

The police registered a case under Sections 447, 427 and 34 of the IPC and arrested Sikander Singh and Jaspal Singh.

Two booked for theft

Darshan Singh and Sadiq of Mullanpur Mandi have been charged with stealing copper wires belonging to Surjit Kumar of the old grain market at Mullanpur.

The Dakha police registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC.



MCPI cautions against WTO regime
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
The Marxist Communist Party of India has opposed the policies of the World Trade Organisation and the “globalisation of the imperialist character being imposed by imperialist developed countries, especially the USA” on the developing and under-developed countries like India.

In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana under the leadership of Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the MCPI, and Mr Lakhwinder Singh Boani, district secretary, and addressed to the Prime Minister of India, the MCPI said, “These anti-people and anti-national policies are leading to the pauperisation of Indian masses and enriching a few people that too Indian monopolists and foreign multinational companies.”

It observed, “While the imperialist and developed countries protect their economies by raising high walls of tariffs and other hard conditions, on the other they compel the developing countries to liberalise and open their economies for free trade, causing immense damage to the agriculture and industrial production of developing nations.”

The MCPI memo urged the Government of India not to bow under the pressure of imperialist countries like the USA and others, rather protect the interests of the Indian people in the ministerial conference of WTO being held at Hong Kong from December 13 to 18.


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