PAU staff allege improper
PF account maintenance
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 The employees of Punjab Agricultural University are concerned over the improper maintenance of their provident fund accounts.
It is alleged that subscriptions deducted from the salaries of a large number of employees are not being credited to their individual accounts regularly. Moreover the contributions received from the staff are not being invested regularly to earn interest which the university is obliged to pay them on their PF savings.
It has also come to light that the university has allegedly made deposits of several crores with commercial firms such as Punwire, which are in financial straits. It is not known how the university is going to make up these losses, although the Comptroller, Mr S.K. Bhatia, believes that the Punjab Government will give the university liberal grants to bail it out of the financial crisis. However, the Punjab Government is itself in financial crisis.
As if all this were not enough, now comes the startling revelation from some staff members that the PF accounts of the teachers and employees are maintained perfunctorily. A number of staff members have pointed out mistakes showing credits, withdrawals and outstanding balance at the end of the financial year. For instance, an accounts officer in the Directorate of Extension Education, Mr J.S. Sandhu, gave a statement which showed that the balance in its PF account till September 99, was Rs 5,83,347. However, on scrutiny, he found that the entries contain several errors. Now he has been given a revised statement showing a balance of Rs. 7,45,723. Similar errors have been noticed in the accounts of many other employees as well.
In the account of a Professor of Statistics who disclosed on condition of anonymity, a difference of Rs 7 lakh was noticed . Likewise, in the case of Dr A.C. Vig, Professor of Soils, a difference of nearly Rs 11 lakh was found.
When this correspondent met Mr Bhatia, he said that the discrepancies were promptly corrected when these were brought to his notice.
Dr R.K. Batra, former President, PAUTA, alleged that several teachers have brought to his notice discrepancies in the statement of their accounts which were later reported to comptrollers Office for rectification. He also said the half-yearly statements are not being sent to all the teachers regularly. For instance, he revealed that he had not got any statement of his PF account till September 1999, whereas Mr Bhatia maintains that all teachers have been issued statements of account up to March, 2000.
Instances have also come to light where the advance drawn by an employee from his PF account was debited from the account of another employee. Dr Bant Singh Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, was shocked to learn that of Rs 57,000 was debited to his account, although he had never applied or received such an advance. It took him several rounds of the Comptrollers Office to get the error corrected. Later it came to light that the advance was drawn by Dr B.S. Basera of the same department.
Dr H.S. Badhesha, Professor in the Department of Soils, had also a similar experience. An amount of Rs 25,000 was debited to his PF account, although he had never applied for it.
Errors with regard to the correct credit of the amount deducted from the salaries have also come to light. For instance, Dr S.P.S. Brar, Additional Director of Extension Education, contributed Rs 60,000 approximately during the year 1996-97. However, the statement of accounts issued to him show that only a deduction of Rs 18,800 was made from his salary.
Inquiries have revealed that the intakes have yet not been corrected from Comptrollers Office despite a reminder. However, Mr Bhatia informed on the telephone later that the mistake has been corrected in the ledger,though it has not been credited in the computer.
A senior official working in the fund branch of the Comptrollers Office disclosed on the condition of anonymity that there was complete mess in the maintenance of the PF accounts of the subscribers. He said that the vouchers of many employees, particularly for the financial year 1995-96, were not traceable as a result of which the subscriptions deducted from their salaries had been neither credited to their PF accounts not ledgerised. He made a startling revelation that the PF accounts had not been reconciled since 1971. The university had little idea of the exact amount it was earning as interest on the PF deposits and the amount it is paying to the staff.
The official disclosed
that ledgerisation of vouchers has been computerised from
1971 to 1980, but the ledgers have not been updated nor
have the accounts been audited. He also disclosed that in
many cases, the computerised record did not tally with
the ledger records. He said it needs several months of
effort and labour to update and computerise the entire
records of the PF accounts.
Pin-pricking mystery solved
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 The faction ridden Ramlila committee could well be responsible for the panic over the pin pricking gang scare that has gripped residents of the city over the last couple of days.
It is alleged that a minority faction of the Ramlila committee that was ousted out of power during the elections held in July this year, is trying to sabotage the festivities. This faction is sore at not only losing power, but also at being sidelined while selecting contractors for the celebrations in the Daresi Ground. The Ramlila committee, which is flush with funds, is divided into two factions the majority led by the newly elected team of Mr Prem Prashar, the Chairman and the other led by Mr Sanjeev Bhandari enjoying the overt and covert support of Mr Raman Gumber of the Citizens Council.
It is alleged that the minority group could be behind the scare to ensure the failure of the Dasehra celebrations. It may be noted that Dasehra festivities at the Daresi ground are the biggest draw in the city. However, this year because of the pin-pricking scare, few people visited the mela, resulting in losses to the contractors.
It is alleged that after the new team took over this year, the minority faction earlier resorted to defaming the team by making allegations of financial bungling. Later the 31 member committee chosen for selecting a contractor for the mela in the Badi Daresi and the Chotti Daresi, decided to do away with Vijay Walia, the contractor for the past few years. This committee in stead, chose Shyam Sunder Fauji and Vipan Kumar for the contract of Badi Daresi and Rajan Arora a nephew of Raman Gumber for the contract of Chotti Daresi. The latter, however, reportedly sublet his contract to one Bhola. This too became a bone of contention between the two parties.
When contacted, members of the Ramlila committee, while lukewarm response maintaining that there was every possibility of the pin pricking controversy being a reason for the refusal to fix the blame on anyone. Say Mr Prashar, and Mr Kewal Krishan Marwaha, vice-chairman, We have been meeting the police officers and requesting them to find out the truth.
The police on its part, while maintaining that there was no conclusive evidence to support that a few people had been victims of pin-pricking, are also reluctant to pull up the other faction believed to be behind the rumours. A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity informed that they were not pulling up the rival faction for fear of inciting tension during the festive days. The DSP City Mr Sandeep Goel, when contacted said that there was no such gang operating in the city and it was only the rumour-mongers at work.
Everyday, one or two victims of pin-pricking crop up in the city and find their way, interestingly only to the hospital run by the Ramlila committee Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital.
But none of the victims have so far been found to have any local effect of being pricked and in spite of the police and the hospital authorities pleas asking them to report to the Civil Hospital and getting their toxicology tests conducted none of them have obliged so far.
Medical experts claim that in case of a person being pricked by a needle, there has to be some mark on the part where he has been pricked. Even in case of an intravenous injection, the affect on the person should be visible within half an hour, the time needed for the entire blood to circulate in the body. However, in most of the reported cases, the victims complained of dizziness only 12-15 hours after they claimed to have been pricked.
It may also be noted
that in none of the six reported cases for motive for
pin-pricking been established. No theft was reported or
any other damage done to the victims. Dr Justin Das, of
the Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital, who has so far been
treating all the victims, too, said that he was not sure
if the victims had been pricked. In some cases
there were certain marks, but it is not certain if these
were pinpricking marks, he said.
SI arrested in hotel
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 In an unsavoury incident, a Sub-Inspector of police posted at CIA Staff here, was reportedly caught with a woman in a compromising position by the police in a city hotel late last night. He has been booked under Section 109 of the Cr PC.
SI Tehal Singh was caught by the SP Headquarters Utpal Joshi during a raid at Hotel Shanti Plaza near Subhani building here around 10.30 p.m. Mr Joshi said that he had got information about the policeman being in the hotel with a woman, and had thus conducted a raid and arrested the couple. He also said that necessary paperwork was being done in order to expedite the matter of the cop's suspension.
It is learnt that the accused SI is a friend of a local businessman and a Youth Congress leader, whose offices are also located in Alfa Towers. The leader is alleged to be running a 'den' and regularly bringing certain police men to the hotel by arranging women for them.
Even last night, the accused cop was seen standing with the YC leader outside the said hotel from 10 p.m. onwards a fact corroborated by several people who were attending a marriage ceremony across the street. The two were standing outside for almost half an hour till the time the woman arrived. After this, the three went up to the hotel and later the YC leader went away.
In the meantime, the hotel was raided by the police and the couple was whisked away to an undisclosed destination. SP Utpal Joshi informed that the woman was the wife of a police constable and had been separated from her husband. She was staying with her parental family in Nawanshahr and had reportedly been called here by the accused cop.
Oberoi writes to SSP against
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 The Home Secretary of the Chandigarh Administration, Mr R.S. Gujral's father-in-law, Mr S.S. Oberoi, has written to the Ludhiana Senior Superintendent of Police, requesting him for registering a case of criminal trespassing and theft against Mr Gujral and his friend, Mr Kuljit Singh Sehgal.
The registered letter, which was sent to the SSP on Friday last and a copy of which was released to the Press here today, urges the local police to book the UT Home Secretary and Mr Sehgal for trespassing into his house with the police and stealing several things from there.
It is alleged that a little before midnight on September 18, the Station House Officer of Division No. 5 police station, Inspector Santokh Singh, took him to the police station and kept him under illegal detention. He has alleged that the next day, the police first took him to Hotel Batra on the Ferozepore road where Mr Gujral and Mr Sehgal had been putting up. The police then took him to his house with both the above mentioned men keeping in tow.
Mr Oberoi has also alleged that while the police accompanying them stood aside as a mute spectator, the UT Home Secretary and his friend ransacked his house. They are alleged to have stolen three pages of a fax order of staple shawls sent by his elder daughter, Harpreet, and including the order meant for Mr Gujral, Rs 55,000, the complainant's as well as the Home Secretary's bride, Manpreet Oberoi's financial statement, her saving accounts passbook, share certificates and computer statements of sale and purchase of shares.
He has also accused his
son-in-law, Mr Gujral, of stealing certain photographs of
Manpreet as well as their wedding photographs and three
diaries. He claims that the entire sequence was witnessed
by one Prabhjit Singh who had per chance come to the
house of the applicant to meet him.
Live web casting
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 Alas! My son will not be able to attend my daughters marriage. He is stuck up with an important assignment of his company at Toronto. He will be able to view the function at least a fortnight later through the video tape.
But do not worry, now there is a solution to your problem. Your son will be able to attend the marriage on the Internet virtually. Not only he but other relatives and friends who might not be able to turn up on the occasion can see its online transmission.
This will be made possible through live web casting services offered by the local Justpunjab Web Technologies Limited from next month. The company will provide coverage with at least four video cameras, do some mixing and give a live transmission on their site. All you have to do is tell them about the total number of viewers and inform them in advance about the web casting.
Not only marriages, but other religious and cultural functions, fashion shows and seminars can be transmitted online on demand. Says Mr Satinder Singh, director of the company, I have talked about this venture to a couple of marriage palace owners, corporate house owners and members of socio-religious organisations and got a good response.
He further informed, Experiments and testing had already been done, but the estimates of charges which would be levied were still not final. The charges will, however, vary with the number of viewers.
The company will host the event on its website justpunjab.com. But the company is also planning to give a personal domain name to all those who pay some extra amount for it. Say if the brides name is Shikha, the website on which her marriage will be telecast can be named as Shikhas marriage.com. The events can also be recorded on CDs and sent through e-mails as attachments for all those people who could not view it live, Mr Satinder further said.
Another new service which the company is introducing is that of video-conferencing. This service will enable corporate houses to make their deals online as live demonstrations will be made possible on the Net. For this, we will install the required hardware, including digital camera and also software for the company. Training will be given and the required services will also be offered from time to time. For this, we will take some installation and annual charges which have not been finalised yet.
With the launch of this
information technology enabled service, business houses
can hope to finalise their deals more quickly. It will
not only save their time but also the money spent on
travelling as well as hotel charges.
Massive tax evasion by yarn
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 Ludhiana is famous for its hosiery and bicycle-manufacturing industries and notorious for its trickster businessmen who use manipulations to increase their profit. The local industry is be passing through a recession and facing threats from national and international players. However, these persons can still outsmart the big players who claim to have more finance, better technology and superior managerial skills.
Yarn manufacturing is a major industry in the city. According to the Central Excise Department statistics, about 330 yarn-making units of two divisions paid about Rs 40 crore as the excise duty in the year 1999-2000. By September 30, Rs 11.85 had been collected as the excise duty from these units, including dying units. Besides a 4.4 per cent sales tax on all varieties of yarn, there was a 16 per cent duty on acrylic yarn, 8 per cent on cotton yarn and 8 per cent on woollen yarn. A 15 per cent surcharge was also imposed on yarn.
A number of acrylic-yarn manufacturers, on the condition of anonymity, said they were forced to evade taxes in face of stiff competition from big units and more duty on acrylic fibre than cotton or woollen yarn. They said clothes made from acrylic fibre were worn mostly by the poor and cotton and woollen clothes were for the rich.
They said the policies of the government had made yarn even costlier. Moreover, big Indian companies were misusing the provisions of the treaty between India and Nepal, under which, goods made in Nepal were imported without paying any import duty. By setting up their units in Nepal, these companies were now selling the yarn at cheaper rates than local units. Indian manufacturers were being forced to pay high excise duty, sales tax and monthly charges to various departments. Companies that had units in Nepal did not have to pay these charges.
However, extra smart local entrepreneurs have developed some ingenious techniques to beat this disparity. A manufacturer of yarn in Modi Nagar explained his modus operandi to survive. We prepare about 300 kg yarn every day. The bills are made for Rs 120 per kg if the rate is Rs 150 per kg in the market. About 30 per cent of the raw material is actually waste material, which is not shown in the accounts books. This waste, the import of which is banned, is supplied to us at cheap prices by dealers. The importers show low purchase prices in account books to save import duty. Sometimes, they show less weight as well. The balance is paid through hawala channels. To run my business smoothly, I have to pay Rs 2,000 per month to the Excise Inspector, Rs 5,000 per year to sales tax officials and about Rs 5,000 to employees of the Electricity Department, he said.
Official sources said there were about 500 yarn-making units in the city and most of these, especially small and medium ones, survived by adopting this practice. Representatives of garment manufacturers say that owners of big mills like Sportking, Vardhman and the Nahar Group do not indulge in these practices.
Mr Bhushan Abbi, a garment manufacturer and President of the Modi Nagar United Factories Association, said, Due to old business relations and strength of yarn manufacturers, we are always billed for a lower price than the actual cost. Once the yarn reaches the garment-making units, there is no way to find out the amount of yarn that has been produced without paying duties. The proximity of yarn manufacturers to garment-making units makes it easy for both.
Officials of the Central Excise Department, said, We do not have any magic wand to detect tax evasion. The government is trying to end the inspector raj and we are asked to depend solely on the accounts submitted by industrialists. How can we take action against culprits without any complaint against them.
The observers of the trade, however, do not agree with the officials. Mr Jagmohan Sharma, President of the Pradesh Vyapar Mandal of Punjab, criticised the manufacturer-trader-official nexus. He said, This is an open scandal involving crores of rupees. Monthly charges are fixed. We have to pay at least Rs 1,000 at the time of filing monthly returns with the Excise Department. We can provide proofs of corruption in a number of cases, provided the government orders a probe. The government should order the CBI to find out the assets of some officials of the Central Excise Department who have made huge properties from kickbacks in the trade.
IT was literally jungle mein mangal in the wilderness of Punjab when thousands of people from Ludhiana, Chandigarh and villages surrounding Lalru gathered at a jagrata organised by Mr Jawahar Lal Oswal, Chairman of the Ludhiana-based Nahar group of companies, last week.The occasion was the launch of the groups integrated fabric manufacturing complex.
Spread over an area of 550 acres, the complex has been set up at a cost of Rs 110 crore and employs about 7000 people. A housing colony for about 4000 workmen has also been set up. The complex, has nearly six units manufacturing cotton yarn, fabric, cloth and dress material. Mr Kamal Oswal and Mr Daman Oswal, Managing Directors of the group, point out that You feed cotton in one end and get a fully stitched pair of trousers on the other.
Among those who attended the religious ceremony were Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister of Punjab, who incidentally, also represents the area in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The jagrata (see photograph at the top of the page) was conducted by well-known singer, Narinder Chanchal.
Mr K.G.Dewan, a retired Punjab Police Service officer and an avid reader of Ludhiana Tribune, has complimented the Punjab DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, for introducing the conventional beat system in Jalandhar Cantonment on an experimental basis.
He says that the beat system is bound to be result-oriented if the contingent provided for it is kept absolutely insulated from VIP duties. In this connection he has made a series of suggestions as follows:
(i) A beautifully printed beat book on a prescribed proforma should be drafted by an experienced officer. A sketch of each beat along with the relevant information regarding important installations, houses of ill-fame, police helpers, etc, should also be provided.
(ii) Police personnel should be given the task of registering domestic servants, migrant labourers and rickshaw pullers. This can be done through door-to-door checking. A beat-specific record of all this may be brought to the notice of the supervisory officer on fixed intervals.
(iii) Only efficient and dedicated policemen should be posted in the beats. In no case should the beat-posting be considered a punitive posting.
(iv) Beat constables/Head Constables and ASIs should not be transferred from one beat to another until they complete a minimum tenure of one year.
(v) Either the gazetted officer of the cantonment area or the Cantonment Inspector should hold meetings with prominent and respected citizens of the place. This is to ensure that the public becomes aware of the beat system and a mutual trust between the public and the police personnel is created.
(vi) The timings of patrolling should be fixed seasonwise. Defaulters should not be spared and persons showing initiative and courage in catching criminals should be immediately rewarded and given a place of posting of their choice.
(vii)The feasibility of providing at least one fire arm to each beat may be considered. All constables must have a spear (bhala )and a torch.
(viii) Night patrolling should be done with maximum element of alertness and surprise.
(ix) Public coming back from cinema shows, railway stations, bus stands etc should not be harassed unnecessarily.
These suggestions, says Mr Dewan, have been tried with success by him when he was in charge of city police at Amritsar and Ludhiana.
Gar Qabul Uftad Zahey izz-o-Sharaf
The suave and attractive Lisa Ray had the rich and famous gasping for more during her two public appearances while in the megacity recently.
The Canada-born part-Indian part-Polish supermodel, who was recently chosen as the Face of the Millennium and rates as one of the 10 most beautiful women in India, was visibly excited about her first trip to Ludhiana. She is the brand ambassadress of Rado watches and was here during the opening of the first exclusive outlet of Rado here.
Only a select gathering of around 100 people got to see Ray at the inauguration ceremony.
Talking to TNS, she said that she had begun her career with the fashion magazine Glad Rags and shot to fame after her Bombay Dyeing ad campaign.
Since then, there has been no looking back. Presently, she is doing two prestigious campaigns for Lakme and Sprite.
Lisas other skills include computer graphics and her natural flair for design. In fact, Lisas apartment in Mumbai, which she has designed herself, is regarded as one of the most beautiful homes.
Talking about her forthcoming film Kasoor with Aftab, she says, It is a thriller-cum-love story and is due for release in December. At this stage, I would not like to talk much about the movie . I would rather have the audience talk about it after the movie is released.
We agree and wish Lisa all the best.
A ladies guru shall never starve, goes an old Punjabi saying. And if any proof is needed, look at the life history of Mr Uttam Singh, who began as a small time businessman in garments and suiting for male clientele years ago only to discover that profit lies in dealing in womens garments.
My father used to have a small shop in the interior of the city before we shifted to Chaura Bazar, he recalls. I used to deal with all leading brands, including Raymonds, Digjam etc. It did not take long for me to realise that the volumes and profit lie in garments. So I shifted to womens suitings and have not regretted the decision.
Mr Uttam Singh now runs one of citys leading stores dealing in womens apparel, Nilibar, with branches in Chaura Bazar and Mall Road. He points out that the demand for mens suitings and garments is rather limited because a man can easily make do with just two pairs of pants and shirts for a whole year.
A woman, on the other hand, will require a whole wardrobe full of clothes because she must change at least thrice in a day. And this is where our volume and profit comes from, quips Mr Uttam Singh with a smile.
Industrialists harassed by
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 The Punjab State Electricity Department Manage-ment and Engineers Association might be busy in organising seminars and workshops to mobilise consumers support to improve the functioning of the board and to support their struggle against the threat of privatisation of the board, but the cases of consumer harassment by board employees continue to come into light.
Mr L.S. Gill, a retired Assistant Director from the Telecommuni-cation Department, who is running a small-scale industrial unit manufacturing electric wires and cables, on Dugri Road has complained that for the past 10 days the Electricity Department has been harassing him and about 10 neighbouring industrialists.
He alleged that between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., power supply was cut for about four tofive hours without any previous announcement. Whenever he had complained to the authorities, the same answer was repeated, the maintenance work is going on. He wanted to know how long this work will go on.
Talwandi jubilant over victory
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Senior Vice-President, Shiromani Akali Dal and Chairman of the partys Disciplinary Action Committee, today termed the victory of the party candidate, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, in Sunam as the victory of the people of Punjab against the repressive policies of the Congress and the crafty designs of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.
Congratulating and thanking the voters of Sunam for electing Mr Dhindsa by a huge margin of 16,000 votes, Mr Talwandi said here in a press statement that the victory was due to the pro-people policies of the ruling combine in the state. He said various development and social-welfare schemes launched by the government had been given due recognition by the people of the state.
Referring to the anti-panthic role played by Mr Tohra by extending his support to Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Talwandi said Mr Tohra should finally take sanyas from politics. He said at the time of Nawanshahr byelection too, Mr Tohra was talking of taking sanyas in case of his candidates defeat. Now after the defeat of Mr Chandumajra in Sunam, in spite of strong canvassing in his favour by Mr Tohra and other central leaders, it was an appropriate time for Mr Tohra to announce retirement from active politics, he added.
Jatha to visit shrines in Pak
LUDHIANA, Oct 3 The Guru Gobind Singh Sewak Jatha, Ludhiana, plans to send a jatha of devotees on a pilgrimage of all gurdwaras situated in Pakistan in November in connection with the Parkash Utsav of Guru Nanak Dev.
In a press release here
today, the jatha convener, Mr Kartar Singh Garib, said
that those desirous of undertaking the pilgrimage should
reach the Jatha office in Kailash Chowk, Civil Lines,
along with their passports.
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