L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Pay up Rs 20-lakh rent, MC tells food & supplies department
DFSC says rent inflated, department owes only Rs 3 lakh
Shivani Bhakoo
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 25
The department of the District Food and Supplies Controller (DFSC) and the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation are at loggerheads over the issue of rent. While the MC has been asking the DFSC to clear its pending rent of about Rs 20 lakh to the former for using its building at the zone D office at Sarabha Nagar, the food and supplies department maintains that it had never signed an agreement with the MC that after three years, 20 per cent rent will be increased. The DFSC said the rent had to be increased after five years and not three years. Strangely, neither the DFSC nor the MC possess the copy of the agreement.

According to sources at the DFSC, the MC has been asking it to pay a rent of about Rs 20 lakh pending for over 40 months. “At present, the monthly instalment of the rent is about Rs 53,000. But when the DFS department had taken-over the building, the rent was about Rs 37,000. As per the MC’s records, the DFSC had to pay 20 per cent enhanced rent after three years. But our department believes that the rent had to be increased after five years. They do not have a copy of the original agreement,” said an employee working at the DFS department.

Another employee said on the condition of anonymity that the MC itself could not construct the building here as it was designated as a greenbelt. “The MC is a violator. It can take action against our department if it has proper documents. Since it does not have the copy of the agreement, nothing can be done,” he said.

Meanwhile, DFSC Rajnish Kumari said she was aware of the issue and had asked officials to get the documents of the rent deed. “The MC wants us to pay Rs 20 lakh, but as per our records, we need to pay only about Rs 3 lakh. There is a huge difference. We are collecting all receipts. I have yet to see the copy of the agreement. But we will certainly clarify the issue,” she said.


When it comes to MC, encroachment no bar
Zone D office on land meant for greenbelt
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 25
Though the Municipal Corporation (MC) has “encroached” on a greenbelt, it is charging rent from another public office situated in the area. The zone D office of the civic body in Sarabha Nagar is an encroachment on a space earmarked for a greenbelt. The MC collects rent from the DFSC’s office, which is located on the third floor of the building.

Residents have accused the MC of taking rent for an encroached piece of land, which is illegal.

“On the one hand, the MC is demolishing encroachments and on the other hand, it has itself encroached on the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) land. When I tried to get information regarding the issue, I was told that the file is missing. This shows that the MC wants to conceal the fact that its own office building stands on an encroached piece of land,” Kuldip Singh Khaira, an RTI activist, stated.

In its reply to Khaira, the MC said the concerned file had gone missing, after which MC Commissioner AK Sinha, on July 11, directed officials to conduct an inquiry into the matter and trace the file. He said after the inquiry was completed, an FIR should be registered against the erring officials.

Sinha said at present the MC was charging rent from the DFSC as its office was in the zone D building. “Though they are paying the rent, they have some outstanding arrears which they will have to pay to the MC,” said Sinha.

On the issue of the missing file, he said he would be able to comment only after the file was located or the inquiry report submitted. “Once the inquiry report is submitted to me, we will get an FIR registered against the person who was responsible for this lapse,” he claimed.

Inconsistent policy

The office of the Sub-Registrar (West) is functioning from the ground floor of the zone D office of the Municipal Corporation where it had planned to construct an ultra-modern Suvidha Centre. The Municipal Corporation is not charging any rent from the Sub-Registrar’s office.



CCTV cameras fail to roll
 Were put up at Bharat Nagar Chowk to keep tab on crime, traffic violations
Mohit Khanna
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 25
The initiative of installing close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at Bharat Nagar Chowk is defeating its very purpose. Instead of monitoring traffic on road, it seems that the cameras are keeping an eye on the aerial traffic as these are directed upwards.

The non-functioning cameras have raised concerns in the backdrop of the July 13 Mumbai serial blasts, in which the footage of CCTV cameras are playing a crucial role in zeroing in on the perpetrators of terror.

As many as eight high-range CCTV cameras were installed to keep a tab on the growing crime rate and increasing traffic violations at one of the busiest roundabouts of the city. A speed-dome camera had also been installed in the middle of the chowk to monitor the movement of commuters. The camera can read the number plate of a vehicle from a distance of 500m. The cameras covered all parts of the chowk for effective monitoring.

They were connected directly with the police control room (PCR) to check the visuals. These night-vision cameras were equipped with infrared mode, enabling the police to monitor traffic movement even in low visibility. The cameras can record footage up to 15 days.

Officials had said the cameras could help track criminals who managed to flee after committing an offence. The footage of the accused could be used as evidence in court.

But these expensive cameras have been gathering rust and lying defunct for the past several months. The department has not hired any technician to fix the snag yet.

This has again brought to the fore the callousness of the police department towards public money. It also reflects that the orders of officials are implemented only on paper. 

Helpline fails to ring

The much-hyped traffic helpline number 1073 is not working. Started by former Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh, the helpline was launched to tackle traffic problems in the city. Residents could call on the helpline and inform the traffic police about jams for the effective and prompt clearance of road.



Motorcyclist challaned for not possessing route permit! 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
If you are travelling from home to the office on a motorcycle then immediately take a route permit for your routine journey, otherwise you will be challaned by the traffic police for not complying with the rules. Sounds confusing, well yes! the bizarre ways of traffic police has left a youth confused and harassed.

A copy of the challan which was issued to a motorcyclist.
A copy of the challan which was issued to a motorcyclist. 

Twenty- year- old Ilamjot Singh, a student GGN School, was challaned recently near Circuit House Road for not carrying a route permit for his motorcycle.

Ilamjot quietly accepted the receipt thinking that it might be a traffic offence. The youth was caught in a catch -22 situation when he went to submit the penalty at Suvidha Centre today. He was told that the section was applicable only to buses and his motorcycle did not fall in the category.

"Little did I know that it was the beginning of an ordeal. First, I was asked to show the route plan. I asked the person at the coupon counter that I did not know the department where the route plan for motorcycles were being made. The person then checked my challan receipt and spotted the anomaly. He told me that I was erroneously challaned by the police," said Ilamjot.

The challan, copy of which is with The Tribune, states that Ilamjot had committed offence number 16 and was found without or with expired route permit on June 29.He lamented that he was paying the price for having all the documents.

"Without wasting time I showed all the requisite documents to the traffic police Jaswinder Singh near Circuit House Road. But the policeman kept my registration certificate (RC) and told me that I had been challaned. I am shocked that I was challaned for no offence," said Ilamjot.

He was told to visit the police lines to rectify the traffic violation. "After shuttling from one office to another for nearly an hour at the police lines I was told to come tomorrow as the officer concerned was not available. Tomorrow I will have to spend another day being harassed for no offence," said Ilamjot Singh.

Despite repeated attempts, additional deputy commissioner (ADCP) Sajjan Singh Cheema was not available for comments.



Ex-armyman ‘dedicates’ wall of restaurant to fighter pilot Sekhon
 Provoked by admn’s relocation of 1971 war PVC awardee’s statue
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
With the district administration relocating the statue of Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war hero - reportedly for the third time during the past 11 years, it took a retired Army officer to “restore the honour” of the city's first winner of the country’s highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra (PVC). Brig (retd) SS Gill (Retd) has “dedicated” a section of one of the walls of his restaurant to the late Indian Air Force pilot and Air Marshal (retd) Manjit Singh Sekhon, who also won a Vir Chakra for his gallantry in the 1971 war, calling it the "Pride of Ludhiana".
Brig SS Gill (retd) posing with photographs of Flt Lt Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon at his restaurant.
Brig SS Gill (retd) posing with photographs of Flt Lt Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon at his restaurant. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

"Only a handful of locals know about (Nirmaljit) Sekhon’s great contribution (to India’s victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war). I was peeved at the disregard shown to brave soldier who laid down his life for the country. I then decided to do my bit and dedicated a section of a wall at my restaurant to him so that younger visitors could draw inspiration from their city’s own war hero”, said Gill.

His effort clicked and Sekhon’s picture and his fighter jet is attracting one and all. "I was surprised when little children were seen asking about one of the city’s bravest sons. Even most of their parents don’t know much about Sekhon and often ask me about his contribution to the 1971 war," he added.

Gill’s son, Sukhkaran, who is the restaurant’s manager, fully supports his father’s views. "It seems the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ has been consigned to obscurity - no one now bothers about farmers or soldiers. Earlier every truck used to have this slogan at the rear end but even that is missing now. I’m planning to put the stories of the heroics of these iconic figures in my restaurants, so that visitors could take inspiration from it."

Meanwhile, the administration’s decision to again move Sekhon's statue to make way for a multilevel public parking lot has left many army men fuming. Ex-servicemen Welfare Society president Col RS Sohi, senior vice president Col Harbaksh Singh, general secretary Maj Sher Singh Aulakh and treasurer Capt Gurdeep have voiced their disappointment over the method in which the 1971 war hero’s statue was moved to a place near the deputy commissioner's office in the city.

“I believe most bureaucrats are insensitive enough and don’t understand the sentiments of soldiers. They should have followed a procedure before shifting the statue. If at all the statue had to be relocated it should have been done with grace and reinstalled with the due guard of honour," said Sohi.

First IAF officer to be awarded PVC

The first Indian Air Force officer to be awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the country's highest gallantry award, Fg Off Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon had set an example of sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, flying skills and determination in the face of certain death in the line of duty that set new heights in the air force’s tradition. He was a pilot in a Gnat detachment based in Srinagar in Kashmir for defence against Pakistani air attacks.

On December 14, 1971 the Srinagar airfield was attacked by Pakistan Air Force Sabre fighters. Sekhon was on duty and about half a dozen six enemy aircraft began bombing the airfield. Despite the danger involved in attempting to take off during the attack, he engaged a pair of Sabre aircraft. In the fight that ensued he hit one fighter and set another on fire. However, with the other Sabre aircraft coming in, Sekhon was outnumbered four to one. He tried to hold on but his Gnat aircraft crashed. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously.



MC fails to keep record of defaulters
 Fine worth crores yet to be collected as part of challans by building branch
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
On one side the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) claims that it is cash strapped, while on the other hand, it does not have any record of defaulters, who have not deposited the entire amount of challans that have been made by the building branch of the MC. This way, crores of rupees of fine is yet to be collected by the MC from city residents.

This issue has been raised by audit department officials, who have mentioned in their audit report that during the checking of G8 receipt books, it was found that some of MC officials are collecting fine in partial payments.

“As per the Municipal Account Code 1930 and Corporation Act, 1976, there is no provision of taking partial payments. Though these partial payments are taken, the MC officials fail to make any efforts to recover outstanding amounts. It is also seen that even if a small payment is made, the MC officials give receipt of the same and fail to recover the outstanding amount. This way, not only the MC suffers financial loss but even person paying fine takes it for granted that even if he doesn't make the remaining payment, no action would be taken against him,” reads the audit report.

The audit department officials suggested that in view of the financial loss, if any person makes partial payment to the building branch officials of the MC, the receipt should have full mention of total fine, “so that on the basis of these receipts, the MC can maintain a record of the outstanding amount easily,” read the report.

After procuring this report through the RTI Act, a city resident, Rohit Sabharwal approached the MC demanding details of list, details and information of those defaulters who have not deposited the entire amount of challans (fine) that have been made by the building branch of the MC.

“Besides I also asked about the list, details and information of amount of each defaulter and that what action has been taken by the MC to recover the outstanding amount from the defaulters,” stated Rohit Sabharwal, president of NGO Council of RTI Activists.

“But sadly, the MC officials in the presence of MC Commissioner AK Sinha claimed today that they don’t have any such record with them. Sinha took up this matter seriously and asked the building branch officials to prepare this information and supply it within two months,” claimed Sabharwal.

MC Commissioner Sinha said the MC would compile this information and deliver it to Rohit Sabharwal in two months time. “All outstanding amount would be recovered,” claimed Sinha.



DCP posted to Jalandhar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Yurinder Singh has finally been transferred to Jalandhar. Ashish Chaudhry has been posted as the DCP in his place. Both will join their new place of posting on July 28.



Norwegian family comes calling
 Disturbed at massacre, explosion back home 
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 25
A bomb explosion and shooting incident in Norway has left a Norwegian family visiting the city worried. The family of four, in the city since July 16, is concerned about the well-being of their folks back home after they came to know about the horrific incident which left nearly 100 persons dead.

Dr Ole Boe said when they first learnt about the incident, they were visiting Shimla along with their host. “We were in Shimla when I received an SMS from a friend back home about the unfortunate incident. We switched on the television set and saw that many people had died. The place where the explosion took place is 7 km from my house,” he said.

His wife Marianne, a graphic designer, and daughters Elina (10) and Amalia (7) are staying with Dr Narpinder Singh, a neurologist, at Ghaloti village.

“My mother and mother-in-law were worried when we planned to visit India following bomb blasts in Mumbai and a train accident. But I am loving my stay here,” said Marianne.

Dr Boe said when he first came to know about the incident, he thought it to be the handiwork of Islamic fundamentalists.

“But I was relieved that a Christian was behind it else things would have gone really bad,” he said.

They took part in the Teej celebrations organised at a club on the Pakhowal road last evening.



Fogging, a mere eyewash
 Callous attitude of councillors causes delay;
leaves residents fuming
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, July 25
Earlier there was a delay on the part of municipal council to issue fogging machines to councillors and now it is callousness of the councillors and workers who have been entrusted with the work of fogging, which has left residents fuming, especially of ward number 75 of the municipal council of Ludhiana, that still goes by its earlier village name i.e. Jugiana.

According to residents, “Condition of the village is critical and is in dire need of fogging. One of the fogging machines arrived recently, but proved to be nothing but eyewash. Fogging was done only in
half of the village, while residents of other parts of the village kept waiting, only to know later that workers had already left an hour ago.

Former MP Rajinder Kaur Bulara, a resident of the village, rued, “As the villagers were annoyed at this act of the workers, I immediately rang up the area councillor to send the machine again, but to no avail. Do such people deserve to be councillors when they are least concerned about the health and sanitation of their wards? Villagers may be passing through one of the terrific phases but they are least bothered. Why is this drama of fogging done at all when it is never followed seriously?”

An epidemic breakdown is sure to engulf the village in the near future, as the only village pond has outlived its capacity to absorb wastewater for which garbage water and filth remains jammed in small nalas, which get over brimmed in no time and streets turn into pools of filthy garbage water. Even a small shower is enough to provide an easy passage of this waste into the houses of villagers.

“The village pond provides a congenial atmosphere for flies and mosquitoes to breed at a rapid speed. While on one hand, the living condition is deplorable, on the other hand, not even a single fogging machine has arrived since the arrival of summers in spite of repeated remainders. And if at all it did, look at the result!” a villager contended.

“The sorry state of affairs is revealed from the fact that huge heaps of garbage waste remains collected around the pond but no cleanliness drive has ever been launched in this forsaken village. Thanks to the callous attitude of the area councillor who has turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the extent that an epidemic outbreak is not far to seek,” the villagers complain.

Meanwhile, the residents are complaining about breeding of mosquitoes due to which they are contracting malaria. Dharmpal, who runs a flour mill at Jugiana village, said, “What to talk of night even during the day we have to cover our bodies lest we should invite trouble for ourselves, as already many of the villagers are suffering from malaria and other water-borne diseases due to want of proper sanitation in the village.”



reporter’s diary
Ludhianvis cry for basic amenities

While Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal goes on making pompous presentations on mega infrastructure development projects, including “pipe dream” of metro rail for the industrial capital of the state, Ludhianvis keep crying for the basic amenities like reasonably good roads, regulated traffic on roads, clean drinking water and proper drainage of rainwater. The pathetic condition of most of the roads and streets in the city need to be checked and re-carpeted a soon as possible. A little bit of rain and the entire city is converted into a water body with people having to wade through knee-deep water. To add to the misery of the city residents, rainwater flows into sewer lines, which get choked and overflow due to their poor maintenance. The aftermath of the rain comes as another nightmare, as the top surface of roads is damaged due to waterlogging, the crude patchwork gives way and it is once again the bumpy ride through the slush and mud for the people. Is anybody listening?

Teej celebrations at peak

Women of the city look for an opportunity to celebrate! The festival of teej (saawan) is being celebrated in colourful manner at ladies’ clubs and kitty parties these days. A henna artist at Ghumar Mandi said women and girls were too keen to apply henna on their hands during this month. “It is considered to be a good omen to apply henna during saawan, especially for married women. And we are getting good business,” said the artist. A homemaker said, “I wait for the month when kheer, malpuras are prepared. It is not that we cannot make such delicacies on other days but during saawan everyone relishes and enjoys having sweets.”

‘Heartless’ citizens

In the fast pace of life, it seems that city residents have become heartless when it comes to differently abled persons. I witnessed one such scene at the local railway station when the Howrah-Jammu-Tawi-Howrah train approached and commuters were seeing fighting among themselves to grab a seat. Every person seemed to be in a great hurry and even the bogey, which was meant for differently abled persons, was suddenly full to its capacity. And this was despite the fact that “For Disabled” was written in bold letters. A stall vender standing nearby said this was not on that particular day that people acted in such a manner. “It happens everyday and sometimes the differently abled persons keep on waiting for their seat, but it seems no one bothers to help them,” said the vender.

All girls’ party!

Recently, a colleague of mine got a call from a parent, whose 6-year-old daughter studies with the colleague’s daughter at a school here. The mother was inviting the colleague’s daughter on her child’s birthday party. She said, “Do send your child please, it is a pool party. And the pool is small, meant for small kids”, but the colleague politely declined but before she (colleague) could give the reason, the mother again said, “Don't worry, I will take care of your daughter. I have not invited boys, it is all girls’ party.” The colleague had to clarify, “No, that’s okay. It’s not that I will not send my child because boys will be there, actually we are going out of station.”

Little recreation

I was surprised to look at little kids and people sitting, enjoying and cars parked around a fountain near the Guru Nanak Stadium. With a few places of recreation, the city kids were happy to be in the middle of the road as vehicles were zooming fast. Some objects of art need to be placed across the city for a feeling of civility. The city really needs some aesthetically pleasing respites from the unorganised chaos.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Puneet Pal Singh Gill and Gurvinder Singh



Path, havan mark beginning of new academic sessions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
The new session at the city colleges began seeking blessings of the Almighty. Recitation of path, chanting of mantras, prayers, Gurbani kirtan and havan ceremonies marked the beginning of new session.

The inaugural session began with the path of Sukhmani Sahib at Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, while havan ceremonies solemnised new sessions at SDP College for Women and Kamla Lohtia SD College. The morning saw recitation of Gurbani kirtan at Ramgarhia College.

Toppers were congratulated and honoured with prizes at Guru Nanak Girls College. At Kamla Lohtia College, a cheque of Rs 21,000 was given to Amarpal Singh, a second year student of BA for getting 28th rank in a swimming competition in a tournament in China.

Two smart classrooms were inaugurated at Kamla Lohtia College.

Students were informed about industry-institute interface, placement cell, smart classrooms teaching, regular extension lectures, national and international conferences, special computer lab for MCom and MA students, etc.

An orientation session was organised at SDP College in addition to screening of a documentary on NCC.



Training camp for cadets
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
Col GPS Sahni, Group Commander 3 Girls Battalion, today met cadets getting training at the 3 Girls Battalion camp at SCD Government College here today.

The 10-day camp, which started on July 19, will be concluded on July 28. The camp is being held under the guidance of Commanding Officer Mt Col Subhash Sehgal.

Col Sahni took keen interest in the activities being performed by the cadets. He praised the cadets for putting in their best to make the camp successful. The cadets were asked about their experiences during the training camp. Col Sahni congratulated Subhash Sehgal and Pritam Chand for taking pains in organising the camp.



Counselling draws huge response on Day I
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
The first day of counselling of the PTU Distance Education Programme (PTU-DEP) for the session 2011-12 was conducted yesterday wherein 3,119 students participated in the counselling session.

The counselling was conducted at different locations in Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur and other parts of the state.

According to a press note, Dipinder Singh Sekhon, president, All-India PTU-DEP Associates, said, “The distance education programme of PTU is proving to be a great asset to society. This programme is making the technical education reach to all remote and unattended pockets of society like Kargil and Imphal. It provides an affordable technical education available to economically weaker sections of society and at the same time is trying to provide the best of the quality.”

He also added, “The university has tied-up with various international universities to provide international progression to the distance education. Also, the university has opened its learning centres in SAARC countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.”

Harinder Pal Singh Kanda, CEO Quest Group of Institutions, stated that Punjab Technical University’s Distance Education Programme (PTU-DEP) started 10 years ago with the objective to impart affordable, skill based and remunerative technical education to masses of the country. “Today, the university has more than 2,000 learning centres and 1.5 lakh students spread across the country are being offered technical education in the field of information technology, management and commerce,” he said.



Mock radio show on environment at Green Land school
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, July 25
RJ’s Maria and Ayesha were sharing information about saving environment, planting saplings, global warming and all environment related issues on Radio Mirchi’s “Radio dhamaal”.

During breaks, a couple of girls voiced advertisements. And then, Radio Mirchi jingle was sang - not played. The audience were listening intently.

The radio show was flawless except that it was not being broadcast. The mock radio show had all elements to make it seem real. The mock radio show and talk show capturing the essence of learning about all environmental issues were consummation of weeklong Vanamahotasava celebrations at Green Land Public School.

The weeklong fest saw kids participating in sapling plantation drive, photography, poster making, jute making, power point presentations, art and craft activities, recycling, reusing materials to gain hand-on knowledge about various environmental issues, including saving water, trees, menace of polythene bags, waste management, etc.

According to the principal, more than 800 saplings were planted during the fest. “It is important to make children aware about environmental issues. The future generations are staring into the dark if we don’t educate the children today,” added the principal.

The talk show brought up important issues on environment. If the depletion of ozone layer goes on at this pace, single cell organisms will be the first to die. That will affect marine life, impacting food chain and in turn jeopardising the existence of all beings. Global warming, water pollution, water table and synthetic fertilisers are all global challenges a child needs to know.

“Children need to be educated about these issues, so that they can educate their parents and society. All schools need such campaigns,” said the principal.

“The fest provided an insight into the environmental challenges. We gained knowledge about what we can do at the individual level about saving environment,” said Vimmy Soin from Class XI.

The children took the pledge to celebrate their birthdays by planting saplings.



15 SCO owners get demolition notices
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 25
The owners of 15 shop-cum-offices (SCOs) situated in the Feroze Gandhi market are up in arms against the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) for having been served demolition notices for violating building bylaws and constructing extra floors.

The shopkeepers claimed that all the floors had been constructed after taking the requisite permission from the state government and that the MC was harassing them.

On May 13, the MC had issued notices to 15 SCO owners under Section 269(1) of the PMC Act. The MC had asked them to file replies within a week.

Assistant Town Planner (ATP) Kamaljit Kaur said while nine SCO owners had filed their replies, six of them failed to do so. “All 15 of them have constructed extra floors which are not permitted by the government. We have issued notices to them and have asked them to demolish the extra floors themselves else the MC will do so,” she said.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha had earlier stated that they had given 10 days’ time to SCO owners to file their replies and if they failed, the MC would assume that they did not have the necessary clearance or documents to support their claims.

The ATP said as per a survey conducted by the MC, 10 SCOs had an extra floor while two extra stories had been built in five of them.

The construction of additional floors in buildings had led to a shortage of parking space in the Feroze Gandhi market. That was why demolishing the extra floors was the only option. “If the owners have documents to substantiate that the floors were not built illegally, they should submit them within 10 days,” Kamaljit Kaur said.

KS Monga, general secretary of the traders and property owners’ association, claimed that the notices were “vindictive, mala fide and arbitrary”. “When the notices were being issued by the MC, its representative was accompanied by some persons from the Car Bazaar against whom the SCO owners were fighting a legal case. If the MC does not stop harassing us, we will have no option but to move court,” he said.



right to information act
Display board giving wrong details of officers
 Who have either retired or are posted at some other place right now
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
It seems that the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) is least concerned about the Right to Information Act. The display board giving details about the Act, which is installed outside the Zone A office, is a violation of Section 4 (1)b XVI of the Right to Information Act 2005, that mentions details about those officers, who have either retired or are posted at some other place right now.

A board mentioning details about the RTI Act, which is installed outside Zone A office of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, shows outdated information on the Act
A board mentioning details about the RTI Act, which is installed outside Zone A office of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, shows outdated information on the Act. photo: inderjeet verma

As per Section 4 (1)b XVI of the Right to Information Act 2005, names, designations and other particulars of Public Information Officers (PIO) should be mentioned in all government offices, failing which the concerned official can even by fined by the Information Commission.

After this matter was brought to the notice of MC Commissioner AK Sinha today, he immediately took it up and asked the officials to get it corrected soon.

Interestingly, in the display board, Vinod Sharda has been shown as the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Zone A and B, while the reality is that Sharda had retired on March 31. BK Gupta has been shown the PIO of Zone C and D, while at present, he is PIO of only Zone D. Furthermore, Mahinder Pal Gupta has been shown as first appellant authority, which is also wrong, as MC Commissioner AK Sinha is the first appellant authority of the civic body.

Rohit Sabharwal, president, Council of RTI Activists, stated that the wrong display board had been installed outside the Zone A office near Mata Rani Chowk.

"The MC Commissioner himself visits the office every Monday and sometimes even on other days, but its sad that he never noticed this big mistake. He was totally shocked when I brought this matter to his notice and he immediately ordered that the board should be corrected," stated Sabharwal.

In a similar case, in 2009, the then District Transport Officer Chander Gaind was fined Rs 5,000 by the State Information Commissioner as no such board was installed outside his office. "Not installing a display board or installing a board with wrong information is one and the same thing. The MC should get it corrected soon else I will complain to the State Information Commission," claimed Rohit Sabharwal.

MC Commissioner Sinha said that he had issued orders to get the display board rectified.

Present PIOs and first appellant authority in Ludhiana MC

  • First Appellant Authority: MC Commissioner A K Sinha.
  • PIO Zone A: Kuldip Singh.
  • PIO Zone B: M S Jaggi.
  • PIO Zone C: Mahinder Pal Gupta.
  • PIO Zone D: B K Gupta.



4 years on, no headway in suspected murder case
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 25
Four years after the mysterious death of 26-year-old Lakhvinder Singh, a farmer of Lohatbaddi village, the police is still groping in the dark.

Though the police had on the suspicion of the victim’s family booked a woman of the same village along with her accomplices for killing Lakhvinder Singh, no one has been arrested to date. Whether Lakhvinder was killed or had committed suicide remains a mystery.

Disappointed at the “inaction” in the case, Rulda Singh, deceased’s brother, has demanded that the case should be transferred to the CIA wing of the district police.

Officials at the Sadar police station said the case had been transferred to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Amargarh, Narinder Singh Ruby.

The DSP said he had joined the circle recently and action would be taken against the guilty after verifying the allegations levelled by the deceased’s family.

Lakhvinder’s body was recovered from the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind Canal near Jalwana village on July 10, 2007. He had disappeared a few days prior to his body was found.

His family had told the police that he had left the house to give food to labourers working in the fields on the night of July 7. When he did not return till morning, they started searching for him. They found his clothes, shoes and mobile phone near the canal near Kalyan village.

Initially, the police treated the case as a suicide. Later, it booked Davinder Kaur for murder on the complaint of Rulda Singh and Jaswinder Kaur, wife of the deceased. They alleged that Davinder Kaur and her family had killed Lakhvinder on the suspicion of his illicit relations with Davinder Kaur’s daughter. Jaswinder Kaur later retracted from her statement.

Poisoning and drowning were declared to be the causes of his death according to the chemical examination report of the viscera.

The victim’s family had to seek the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in getting the case registered as the suspected place of “murder” and the recovery of the body fell under the jurisdiction of different police districts.

At one stage, the investigating team had presented a cancellation report in a court at Malerkotla, but it was rejected after Rulda Singh protested.



Admn identifies 14 vulnerable sites in flood situation 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 25
The Ludhiana Drainage Division here has handed over a list of 14 most vulnerable sites along River Sutlej, which have been put on high alert in case of floods by the district administration.

About 50 villages, which are adjoining these vulnerable sites, are more prone to be affected by floods. Though it is not a panic-like situation anywhere in the district, but the district administration has asked the officials from different departments to be fully prepared for flood-like situation between August 10-September 30 or face the music.

During the second review meeting on flood-control measures held at Bacchat Bhawan here today, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said that during this time (August 10-September 30) there was need to pay much attention as the water level in Bhakra Dam was near alarming situation. "Keeping in mind the flood-like situation last year, this time-period needs much attention", said Tewari.

He further added, "The villages, including Sidhwan Bet, Macchiwara, Koomkalan, Mattewara, Madhepur, Rampur etc were on alert. We have asked the police to increase their patrolling in these sensitive areas. Besides, officials from departments, including food supplies, animal husbandry, health, powercom, transport have been asked to provide all the details on disaster management".

These vulnerable sites will be visited by a team of officials headed by the Deputy Commissioner on July 27. 

Vulnerable sites

Shergarh Complex, Dhullewal Complex, Issapur Complex, Ghumana Complex, Mattewara Complex, Jamalpur Complex, Kassabad Complex, Seed Farm- I, Seed Farm- II, Khaira Bet Complex, Mannewal Complex, Rampur Complex, Huzra Complex and Madhepur Complex.



from schools
Teej celebrated

Students of Star Kids Zone Playway School take part in Teej celebrations in Ludhiana on Monday.
Students of Star Kids Zone Playway School take part in Teej celebrations in Ludhiana on Monday. A Tribune photograph

LUDHIANA: Star Kids Zone Playway School, Sekhewal road, celebrated Teej festival amidst festivity here on Monday. Schoolchildren danced on Punjabi songs, performed giddha and took swings. Vaibhavi and Aryan Sharma of Pre-Nursery, Manraj and Japnaam Singh of Nursery won the award of Miss Teej and Mr Punjabi, respectively.

Parents’ Day

Bal Bharati Public School celebrated Parents’ Day with enthusiasm. Cultural extravaganza was presented by students of pre-primary and primary wing. Students of Mont-I mesmerised audience with their dance performance reflecting immense praise and gratitude towards parents. The melodious song comparing parents with God sung by kids of primary section left audience spellbound. A play, composed by Punjabi teacher Amardip Kaur and enacted by children of Classes III to V, picturised children who ill-treat their parents. The play sent a message that children should be indebted to their parents for facilities they enjoy in life provided by the parents. Efforts of students were complimented by principal Punam Dogra. — TNS



Experts to dwell on course objectives
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
SCD Government College, Ludhiana, will organise a two-day induction programme for business innovations programme (MCom business innovations) of the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, on July 26-27.

In these two days, experts will apprise students regarding course objectives, methodology of teaching, teaching schedule, workshops’ objectives, etc. This induction programme will include ice breaking sessions and feedback sessions to plan out teaching schedule.

In the second day of the induction programme, eminent psychologist, Dr VV Upmanyu from the department of psychology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, will interact with the students to prepare a behavioural report of the students to know their attitude, sensitisation, ability to cope up difficult situations and their behaviour in group and in isolation.

This exercise will help course organisers to know weaknesses and strength of the students. Students will also be apprised of the stress management techniques to manage stress at work place. 



Taxation bar members threaten to go on strike
 Row with Deputy Excise Commissioner
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 25
The ongoing spat between Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (appeals) BS Bal and a section of members of the taxation bar (sales tax) took another turn as the District Taxation Bar Association (sales tax) (DTBA) threatened to resort to an indefinite strike if the state government and top officials of the excise and taxation department failed to intervene.

In an emergency meeting convened here today, the DTBA urged Excise and Taxation Commissioner A Venu Prasad as well as the Punjab Chief Minister to get examined all decided and pending cases of appeals and other matters disposed of by the said official while alleging that Bal had completely bypassed or ignored the favourable judgments and provisions of law submitted by the appellants, their counsels or members of the bar while arguing and pleading the appeals.

The DTBA further unanimously resolved that a resolution adopted by certain officials of the excise and taxation department against a senior taxation advocate and a former president of DTBA, Bal Krishan Gupta, being uncalled for, be revoked unconditionally since he had pleaded the common cause of the bar as to maintain the dignity of the bar and get the law enforced in letter and spirit.

According to Arun Kanwal and Saket Garg, president and secretary, respectively, of the association, the matter will also be taken up with the chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana so that the indirect attack against members of the taxation bar could be appropriately dealt with. In a veiled threat, the DTBA said it would move the vigilance department to call for probe into assets and wealth disproportionate to known sources of income of certain taxation officials.



ludhiana scan
Anti-dengue rally

The Rotary Club, Ludhiana Greater, and BVM Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar, organised an anti-dengue rally in which nearly 1,500 children, teachers and members of the club participated. They formed one-kilometer long human chain on the Hambran road stretching from BVM School to Kundan Vidya Mandir. The rally was flagged off by Rotary district governor Sanjiv Sethi, assistant governor IS Grewal and councillor Bharat Bhushan Ashu. Club president, Dr Sanjeev Uppal lauded the role of schoolchildren to participate in such events and educate masses about the preventive aspects of dengue. Club secretary, Dr Harpal Singh told the students to visit at least five houses in their locality and educate them to clean their coolers and avoid stagnation of water in the house and surrounding areas.

Pending demands discussed

The Medical Laboratory Technicians’ Association, Punjab, met under the presidentship of Sikander Singh to discuss pending demands of regular and contractual laboratory technicians working with the health department. The meeting called upon the government to concede their demands which include regularisation of contractual employees on priority basis, enhancement of grade pay of different grade employees, free residential accommodation, risk allowance, filling up all vacant posts in blood banks and creation of the post of district laboratory officer.

BSNL offer

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has introduced an attractive promotional offer to its prepaid mobile customers for overseas calls at one paise per second to the USA and Canada. According to general manager telecom circle, the consumers can avail the facility on Rs 56 special tariff voucher, which will enable them make calls to the USA and Canada for 18,000 seconds within a period of 30 days. This offer will be valid for a limited period.

Agitation deferred

The Hindu-Sikh Jagriti Sena has deferred its proposed agitation to press for adequate preventive measures against dengue and other seasonal diseases after an assurance given by Punjab health and family welfare minister Sat Pal Gosain and the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation. The outfit had threatened to resort to hunger strike against callous attitude of officials of the health department and the civic body towards outbreak of diseases.

Novel released

The Unesco Club of Punjab and Preet Sahit Sadan jointly organised a book release function for a Punjabi novel written by Dharam Pal Sahil. Releasing the novel, noted writer Mitter Sain Meet talked about the importance of novels in Punjabi literature. Club president, Dr GS Mann described the novel as a brilliant creation, which will make its own place among readers. Punjabi writer and critic, Dr Sukhwinder Kaur Minhas presented a paper on the novel.

School cinema

In an effort to instill essential values like compassion, national integration, life skills and citizenship in students, DCM Presidency School has introduced school cinema. This film-based learning module includes essential lessons like environmental awareness and personal issues like hygiene and understanding one’s body. According to principal Amita Mittal, the endeavour is to reaffirm morals, values and life lesson. Need of the hour is to communicate with the children in the manner they like. Films for the students have been developed by professional filmmakers with the inputs on child psychology and development by renowned institutions like NIMHANS, Christ University (Bangalore) with support of NGO’s like Janaagraaha, IRTE, etc.

Orientation programme

A three-day orientation programme for the new batch of students at the Sportking Institute of Fashion Technology (SIFT) began here on Monday. Sukhvir Singh Dhillon, state director MSME (Punjab, Chandigarh) was the chief guest. A presentation to apprise the new batch of the infrastructure and facilities provided in the institute was held. SS Dhillon motivated the students and said, “Achievers are those who take initiatives.”

Students win laurels

Students of CS International School brought laurels to the institution by winning medals in the India Open International Table Soccer Championship 2011 held at Golden Bell Public School, Mohali, from July 22 to 24. Five students of the school, Amandeep Singh and Jaskirat, won gold medals, Jagmamraj and Tejpal won silver medals and Ailya won a bronze medal. Principal Gagandeep Katoch appreciated the efforts of prize winners during the morning assembly on Monday.

Tribune Reporters



Conman nabbed, wife on the run
 Were on a duping spree
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 25
With the arrest of Kulwant Singh, the city police has busted gang of con couple, who were on a duping spree and usurped loans worth lakhs of rupees from UCO Bank. While the husband has fallen in the police net the wife Balwinder Kaur is still on the run.

Giving detail about the arrest, the SHO, Kotwali, Amandeep Singh, said the accused took home a loan of Rs 7.50 lakh from the UCO Bank branch located in Chaura Bazar. Kulwant had reportedly surrendered a registry of his plot located in Laxmi Nagar to take the loan.

After sometime he stopped paying the installments and further sold the plot on forged documents.

Amandeep said earlier the Salem Tabri police had also booked Kulwant for usurping the bank loan.

Interestingly, in that case too, Kulwant committed a fraud with the branch of UCO Bank.

SHO said Kulwant had committed fraud with several other banks as well. "We have received complaints form other banks too and we are currently investigating the case," said Amandeep.

The accused was produced before the court and further remanded in police custody.



2 nabbed in Fauji market shootout case

Ludhiana, July 25
The police has nabbed two persons in connection with the July 22 shootout incident that took place in the Fauji market at Gurunanakpura.

The SHO of Division No. 4, Brij Mohan, said the accused, who had been identified as Harpreet, alias Happy, and Rohit, were nabbed following a tip-off. The duo are allegedly accomplices of Amanpreet and Mandeep Singh’s group and were present at the time of the shootout.

While Amanpreet, who was shot in the shoulder, is recuperating in a hospital, Mandeep gave the police the slip during a raid at his house on July 23. The police has launched a massive manhunt to nab him.

The accused were produced before the court today and remanded in police custody. — TNS



ASI gets 2-year jail for corruption
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 25
The Court of Additional Sessions Judge Paramjit Singh has convicted Harbans Lal, an Assistant Sub-Inspector of the Punjab Police, in a corruption case. He has been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years.

Delivering the verdict, the court held that the prosecution had proved that the accused was guilty. The court declined his leniency plea. He was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5,000.

A case under Sections 7 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against the accused by the Vigilance Bureau in Patiala.

The case was registered following the complaint of Ram Singh, owner of a steel mill. He said following a quarrel between Ramesh Kumar and Gurmail Singh, the police had registered a criminal case in 2001. ASI Harbans Lal was the investigating officer and wanted to falsely implicate him in the case. The ASI demanded Rs 3,000 from him for letting him go. Later, the deal was struck for Rs 2,000. Vigilance officials laid a trap and caught the ASI accepting the bribe.



inter-zonal football
Ludhiana I girls triumph
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 25
Ludhiana I recorded victories in the girls under-14 as well as under-17 categories on the opening day of the Ludhiana District Inter-Zonal Football Tournament for girls being organised by the Punjab Education Department at Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar branch, here, today.

In the under-14 category, Ludhiana I survived some anxious moments against Ludhiana II before wrapping up the issue 2-1 while Raikot blanked Sahnewal 3-0.

In other matches (u-14), Jagraon got the better of Khanna 2-1 and Kila Raipur pipped Samrala 3-2 to advance into the next round.

In the girl's under-17 group, Ludhiana I beat Sahnewal 2-0; Kila Raipur toyed with Samarala 6-0 and Khanna defeated Jagraon 2-0.



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