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7 quintals of coins seized
Tribune News Service

A gang was involved in moulding a huge quantity of coins to extract silver, lead and gilt from these and selling the separated metals at three-time profit

Ludhiana, April 29
This could well explain the shortage of coins in the region. The police has taken lid off what could be a nationwide chain of gangsters, who were moulding huge quantity of coins to extract silver, lead and gilt from the coins and sell the separated elements on three-time profit.

The police today announced that it had succeeded in busting the gang with the arrest of a man, who was transporting a whopping 7 quintals of coins in 28 gunny bags to a contact in Delhi, who separated the elements.

The gang earned quick profit but were crippling the Indian currency. Coins of all denominations were found in the bags.

The police said the gang gained huge profit. For instance, If Rs 500 worth coins were moulded, the elements taken out were sold for Rs 1500. providing a profit of Rs 1,000.

He said about 25-year-old Jatinder Kumar of Bahadurgarh, Haryana, was nabbed with the gunny bags full of coins in Scorpio car he was driving near Do Moria Bridge last afternoon.

On persistent questioning on the huge quantity of coins he was carrying, the accused revealed the modus operandi of the gang. He revealed he had taken the booty from an autorickshaw driver in the city.

He disclosed his job was to hand over the coins to a man named Rajesh Kumar in Sirsa. He insisted he only knew Rajesh in the long chain and could recognise the autorickshaw driver, who had given him the booty.

The police claimed Jatinder earned Rs 6,000 per trip. He has claimed to the police that this was his second round only.

Police officials said they were skeptical of his claims and it seems he himself collected the coins from various places and handed over to the contact in Delhi.

The police is trying to ascertain his previous criminal record, if any. He has been booked under Sections 420, 247, 249 of the IPC for cheating and tampering with the Indian currency.



Man jailed for not paying alimony
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 29
A court today sent Raghbir Singh of Gill village to jail for one month as he failed to pay maintenance to his wife and three minor children.

The orders were passed in an execution application filed by Jasbir Kaur alias Mamta of Chanderlok colony, Basti Jodhewal, Ludhiana, against her husband. In her application, she had requested the court to ask her husband for paying the maintenance awarded to her by the court in 2006.

She had claimed that even after the passing of court orders in her favour, her husband failed to pay the maintenance amount to her and minor children, who were living with her. She had stated that she was finding it hard to meet both ends.

Earlier, the woman had filed a petition seeking maintenance in March, 2003. She had submitted that her husband had deserted her from the house along with her three children without any reason. Though he was working in the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and getting Rs 12,000 per month as salary but failed to maintain the family.

The husband had not appeared before the court during the case proceedings. He was proceeded ex parte and the court had directed him to pay Rs 2,000 each to Charanjit Kaur (daughter), Sukhman, Monu (sons) and wife.

The husband appeared before the court during the execution proceedings. He moved an application requesting the court to set aside the ex parte order passed against him.

Thereafter, the court had passed a conditional order, regarding staying the execution proceedings subject to the deposit of one fourth amount of maintenance. But the husband failed to comply with the orders.

Even today the judge asked him if he wanted to make any payment. The husband stated that he could not make the payment. He submitted that he had left the job and was working as labourer only.



Make e-payment of taxes optional: PBTA
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 29
The Punjab Tax Bar Association (PTBA) has made a fervent plea for making e-payment of direct taxes as optional for better compliance in the wake of problems being faced by assessees all over the country.

In a statement here today, PTBA chairman Ashok Juneja and general secretary B.R. Kaushal said the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had made e-payment of direct taxes, including interest and penalties, mandatory from April, 2008, for all corporate tax payers and those assessees whose books of account were liable to be audited under Section 44 AB of the Income Tax Act.

They stressed that the provision for e-payment be left to the discretion of the tax payers till such period that the assessees were educated and apprised with all complications of e-payment.

"The CBDT and the finance ministry ought to hold seminars, meetings and other interactive educational programmes for this purpose and sufficient time should be given to tax payers to prepare themselves for compliance with e-payment of direct taxes," they said.

The PTBA functionaries further said to avoid fraudulent transactions and cheating, the guidelines should be issued to the assessees and bankers in this regard. For compliance with e-payment system, the tax payers were required to have a net banking account with any of the 27 designated banks.

The association rued that the National Security Depository Limited here was not accepting quarterly statements of TDS/TCS where the permanent account number (PAN) of the deductees had not been mentioned which was unfair and called for corrective measures.

"In case of non-filing of such statements, penalty provisions should be waived because certain small type of deductees are not income tax assessees and have no PAN details," it said.



Advance summer break: Parents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
The scorching heat and dry spell with mercury hovering around 41 degrees Celsius, has brought misery to the city residents. As if hot and dry spell is not enough, unannounced power cuts have further aggravated the situation. The parents have started requesting the school authorities either to curtail the working hours or to announce summer vacation so that their wards were not exposed to extreme weather.

The maximum temperature remained at 40.6 degrees Celsius, which is three degrees above normal while the minimum was 19.5 degrees. Dr G.S.Bains, head of the agro-meteorology department of Punjab Agricultural University, has suggested that crop produce, being sensitive, should be regularly irrigated during evenings. "Sugarcane, maize and other horticulture produce need to be taken care of well in the extreme hot weather", suggested Dr Bains.

Regular power cuts have added to the woes of the residents. The cuts, till recently, were restricted during day time but in the past two-three days, they have become a routine at late hours, too. The residents at many areas had to suffer without electricity for two hours at 10 pm last night.

Meanwhile, reacting over the demand of parents of closing the schools, a teacher at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, here said it was not possible to close school for the summer break a month in advance. "We cannot provide holidays for three months. There is no problem for juniors but for senior students, the syllabus has to be covered within stipulated time as they have to take their unit tests in May. The problem remains there every year. The authorities can just reduce the timings of schools", she added.

But the parents have been pressuring the authorities for early summer break. Nomita, a parent, said her daughter complained of regular headaches in recent days. "I had taken her to doctor who has advised not to expose her in direct sun.

When schools are on, we cannot prevent our wards from going out in scorching heat", she said.

Even the doctors in the city have advised the residents not to be exposed to direct sunlight, unless the situation was unavoidable. Apart from this, they stress to have plenty of liquids, wear loose cotton clothes which can properly cover the body, not to have ice-candies, cut-fruit sold on rehris, etc during the summers.



5 booked for youth’s murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
Over five months after a youth died after falling in a well under mysterious circumstances, the Dakha police has booked five youths of Pamal village for allegedly murdering him.

The murder FIR was lodged last night on the direction of the SSP R K Jaiswal after Shanti Devi, mother of the youth, insisted her son Amarjit had been killed.

After an inquiry conducted by SP Sajjan Singh Cheema, the police booked youths, Manpreet Singh, Harjinder Singh, Jung Bahadur, Ravinder Singh and Amolak.

SHO Dakha Balbir Singh said the woman alleged all youths, including her son, were gambling in the fields when some dispute took palce. The accused threw him into the well.

She said her son was rescued by labourers after several hours but he could not be saved.

The woman had lodged a complaint at which an inquiry was ordered.

None of the accused has been arrested so far.



Panic after gun goes off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
A gunshot fired accidentally by a guard of Kotak Mohindra bank in Ferzoe Gandhi market created panic in the busy business place.

SHO Shawinder Singh said bank guard Darshan Singh Bhattian fired accidentally from his .12 bore rifle at about 5:30 pm. Luckily, the rifle was pointing towards the sky and no one was hurt.

He said though commotion took place in the market, there was no need for a police action.



Slow speed of procurement
Yards glutted in grain markets
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 29
While a large number of farmers are yet to harvest their wheat crop, the slow speed of procurement and lifting have glutted the yards in the various grain markets and purchase centres with unsold heaps of wheat and weighed bags.

Labour problem was cited to be the main reason behind the trend.

Investigations revealed that besides the local grain market, the sub-yards at Jagera Road, Latala, Kanganwal, Sihar, Ghaloti, Kilaraipur, Payal, Malaudh and Kup were packed to their capacities. The situation was so bad at certain places that the farmers had to take back their produce to their villages.

Baldev Singh Latala, senior vice-president, the Punjab Kisan Sabha, alleged that the authorities had failed to provide adequate facilities at a majority of the grain markets of the area.

Due to varied problems including labour shortage and factionalism among office-bearers of various truck operator unions, the bags were not being lifted from the yards. The farmers were forced to dump their produce on roads.

Sources at the local market committee revealed that 6,400 MT wheat out of 1,2930 MT procured was still lying in the grain market.

Hakam Singh of Ghungrana is among those who had taken back their produce to their houses as adequate space was not available in the local yard.

Sikander Singh Dhillon said he had to wait for at least five days to get his produce weighed. “But even after procurement, the authorities did not bother to arrange lifting of bags, which remained lying in the open for many days,” said Dhillon.

Dhillon apprehends that the situation will worsen during the following days as a large number of farmers were yet to harvest their crops.



Punjab may lose its natural resources: Langah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
It is a matter of concern that the agrarian state of Punjab may lose its natural resources while fulfilling the food grain requirement of the Centre. If such a situation arises, the future generations will not forgive us. These views were expressed by agriculture minister, Punjab, Sucha Singh Langah, while addressing a brainstorming session on "Education in agriculture and allied subjects in the state" at the Committee Room of PAU here today.

The minister said keeping aside the political divisions, collective efforts should be made to save the agriculture and economy of Punjab. He said the farmers in Punjab had not been paid their dues for long and some had to commit suicide. "But the policy makers are least bothered,” he said, adding that there was a need for farm educators and scientists, who would go to villages to get the real feel and feedback. "There has to be a proper interaction between scientists and farmers", said Langah.

He further added that Punjab Agricultural University, through its scientists, had warned about water depletion in the state about 22 years back but people started giving it a thought when the situation had already become alarming. "We are stressing that farmers sow paddy after June 15 but after taking stock of the situation, the government is planning to extend the date to July 1", said Langah.

He also asked scientists for minimal use of insecticides and pesticides. Stressing on organic farming, he said the aim should be to grow quality produce rather than focusing on quantity alone. The minister said though two processing units (public sector) had been established in the state but they did not give good returns to the horticulturists.

Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, chairman, State Farmer Commission, said the problem of water depletion had become serious and collaborative efforts were needed to come out of it. Dr M.S.Kang, VC, PAU stressed that university was doing everything possible to bring awareness to the masses through its magazines and literature.



Make fight against foeticide a ‘mass movement’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 29
Teachers, students, preachers and community leaders should take upon themselves the task of educating the masses against the social evil of female foeticide so as to correct the prevailing skewed sex ratio, which, if allowed to continue, could wreak havoc on the social fibre.

These views were expressed by speakers from different walks of life in a seminar on female foeticide, organised in Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar here today by the health department under the supervision of Rupinder Kaur, child development project officer.

Satish Sachdeva, district mass media and information officer, Rupinderpal Singh, Prof Darshan Singh, Rajinder Singh, Satwinder Kaur, Jaswinder Kaur, Harjit Kaur and Nisha Chopra rendered poems and lectures to emphasise the need to give the girl child the right to be born and dwelt upon the heights that the girls had achieved in various educational and vocational fields.

Former councillor Sohan Singh Goga and Hardial Singh Nagra, president, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara, exhorted the people to make the fight against foeticide a mass movement so that the social evil could be eradicated.



Boiler blast case
Labourers stage dharna; demand probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
In response to a call given by the Naujwan Bharat Sabha, labourers from the city held a dharna in front of the deputy commissioner’s office here today. The sabha is demanding a high-level inquiry into the infamous boiler blast case at Vir Garments on Tajpur Road, recently.

The sabha also demanded cancellation of "false cases" registered against leaders of the sabha. Addressing the dharna, Ajaypal, a party spokesperson, strongly condemned “the undemocratic repression unleashed by the police-industrialist nexus against labourers and leaders of the sabha".

Sukhwinder, a representative of Bigul Mazdoor Dusta, said the incident revealed the lapses on part of the industrialists in ensuring work area security for the workers. Kanwaljit Khanna, president of the Inqlabi Kendra, said "rule of might continued unabated and labourers were being ignored by the industrialists in connivance with the state labour department. Many units were running unregistered and hazardous units continued operations unabated without any official checks.”

Others who spoke on the occasion included Harjinder and Vijay Narayan from the Molders and Steel Workers Union and Hardev Singh Sunet from the AIICTU.




Traffic management

The population of the city is rising daily at a rapid rate. It is also adding to the traffic problem on the roads and traffic management, in spite of best efforts, is worse affected.

In order to control the traffic, the local administration has still a lot to do. First of all, we must remove all turnarounds as vehicles coming from the opposite or reverse direction can cause an accident any time.

Traffic signals should be installed at every crossroad. At different crossroads in the city, crossing a stop line or the red signal is a routine matter. The violators must be punished.

We must ban the entry of autorickshaws to the city as these cause the worst traffic problems in the city. Signboards showing prescribed speed limit should be installed at every area. And last but not the least, all roads must be re-carpeted and made wide without any encroachments.

Ravi Chander Garg

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



Four booked for duping villager
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 29
The Khanna police has booked four person on charges of duping a villager of Rs 9 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad.

In a complaint filed with the police, Jagdev Singh, son of Bachan Singh and a resident of Bhegowal village, alleged that four persons, including Darshan Singh of Khatra, Malkiat Ram, Kartar Singh of Jalandhar and Harjinder Singh of Salempur village in Jalandhar, had promised to help him migrate to the US. The complainant stated that in June 2007, the accused took the said amount from him, claiming that the money was to be spent on preparing documents for the visa. He said the accused had also promised to help him get a job in the foreign land.

The complainant said though the four persons had promised that he would be sent abroad in a couple of days but even after months of receiving the money, the travel agent did nothing to help him settle abroad. He said when he started calling up the four persons to know about the status of his case, they stropped taking his calls and even changed their mobile numbers. Following this he got suspicious and filed a complaint with the police.

After receiving the complaint, the police initiated a preliminary investigation and recorded the statements of a number of persons. Following this the police registered a case under Sections 420 and 120 b against the four persons. The police stated that the matter was being further investigated to find out whether the accused had duped other persons also.



Pensioners’ issue internal matter of PAU: Govt
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
The state government has, once again, made it clear that the issue of pensioners of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is the latter's internal matter and the government will not provide financial aid for the purpose. The only way to resolve the issue is through generation of resources by the PAU itself.

Financial commissioner (Development), Government of Punjab, R.S.Sandhu, told The Tribune yesterday that if PAU was blaming the state government for the drying of pensionary fund, it was its own privilege where the government could not do anything.

Sandhu further added that when the PAU pension scheme was started in 1991, the government had asked to implement it only if PAU had its own resources. The grant of Rs 100 crore, provided by the government to university in recent times, was purely for farm activities and research purposes. "We have nothing to do with pension fund," stressed Sandhu.

It may be mentioned that pension of approximately 2,700 odd scientists, technical personnel and farm educators was stopped for about five months due to "drying of pensionary fund". When pensioners raised a hue and cry, observed hunger strikes and threatened to self-immolate, the state government gave Rs 20 crore from the development quota to the PAU, which was used for disbursing pension for three months (November, December and January) in addition to arrears from July 1, 2007, to January 2008.

Since February 2008, the retirees have been without pension again. They have even threatened to move court.

Reacting to the state government's attitude, I.K.Garg, president of the PAU Pensioners' Confederation, said the pension scheme, started way back in 1991, was approved by the board of management of PAU.

Garg further added that the members of the board (representatives of state government) could object to it only if they had any doubts. The university was comfortable till the rate of interest in banks was 15-16 per cent, which had come down to just 8 per cent in recent times. Secondly, the number of retirees had increased to 2,700 from just 300 in 1991. And the recruitment process had stopped too, he said, adding that the government should consider all these facts also.



From Schools
Fun time for kindergarten section
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 29
For the development of fine motor skills, fun activities were organised for the students of the kindergarten section at BCM School, Dugri, here today.

Activities like thumb painting, tearing and pasting, vegetable painting and leaf painting were conducted for toddlers to broaden their horizon. The children showed great interest in these activities.

"We aim at developing and strengthening finger muscles so that when tender hands hold the pencils, they should feel empowered to step into the world of writing," stated the principal of the school, Dr Vandna Shahi.

According to the co-ordinator, Preeti Behl, the school focuses on developing skills, which could be natural and spontaneous, rather than trying to hasten children before time.

Splash Pool: It is summer time and children love to stay in the pool, splashing water at one another. That is what the KG section of Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, just did. They spent the morning splashing water at one another in the pool, which was inaugurated by principal S C Saxena and in charge, KG section, Ranjana Dhanda. The joy on the faces of children was a sight to be seen.

Rangoli Contest: Rangoli competition for the students of Classes XI and XII was held at Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, here today. As many as 65 to 70 students participated in the event and the theme was Nature. The students were asked to use maximum five shades. The material used for colouring was dry colours, sawdust, pulses, flowers, etc. The results were as follows: Ist Jasmine Kaur XII-A, 2nd Ashwinderjit Kaur XII-A, 3rd Karanpal Singh XI-A and 4th Gurjot Singh XII-B.

Competition: An inter-house English paper-reading competition for students of Classes IV to VI was held at Baba Isher Singh (N) Senior Secondary Public School here today. The students of Sahibzada Ajit Singh House, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh House, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh House and Sahibzada Fateh Singh House took part in it. The theme of the competition was the importance of moral and ethical values in our life.

The principal of the school, Sarabjit Kaur Khattra, appreciated the efforts of the students and encouraged them to take part in such competitions to become more confident.



Kavita weaves a spell with Odissi dance
Tribune News Service

Kavita Dwibedi performs Odissi dance during a programme organised by Jaggo at Lions Bhawan
Kavita Dwibedi performs Odissi dance during a programme organised by Jaggo at Lions Bhawan on Tuesday. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, April 29
Though dance has come to her as inheritance, Kavita Dwibedi is carving a niche in the field of Odissi dance and is considered to be one of the finest exponents of Odissi dance in the country.

Daughter of Odissi maestro Guru Harekrishana Behera, this master of sociology from Delhi University was in the city to perform in a function organised by Jaggo and Spic Macay at Lions Bhawan here today.

She not only mesmerised the spectators with her fine dance performance but also discussed with them the finer points of Odissi dance. The gathering of over 400 students came from various schools of the city. The girls tried matching their gestures with the Odissi dancer, but the boys didn’t much succeed at the attempt.

The sweltering heat could not deter Kavita as she continued to dance for well over an hour with only a breather here and there.

Kavita is known for her vision and versatility. She introduced new choreographies based on traditional Chhanda music of Orissa like the much- lauded Ritu-Rang (season of love) and Proshitapika (Naayika longing for her beloved Naayak).

A well-travelled dancer, Kavita has also performed in the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) tour to the UK, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, Ireland and Norway. Her professional career spans over 10 years. She is a winner of several awards and medals and a founder- director of the Odissi Akademi, Delhi.

Nilam Kapoor, member of Jaggo, a social organisation, said the performance was organised to instill a passion for classical dance amongst children.



CME focuses on critical care
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 29
The Ludhiana Nursing Homes and Hospitals Association (LNHHA) and SPS Apollo Hospital jointly organised a CME on critical care, anaesthesia, thrombo-embolism, intensive care and advance cardiac life support here last evening. A talk on various preventive measures to avoid a situation where a patient might go to court under the Consumer Protection Act or mob violence at a medical facility, was also delivered on this occasion.

Dr G.L. Avasthi, director of medical services at Apollo, and Dr Satish Nauria, president, LNHHA, inaugurated the CME by lighting a lamp. Around 300 doctors from leading nursing homes and hospitals from the city and periphery attended this CME.



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