Friday, November 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Business rivalry ‘led to assault’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 23 — Is business rivalry between two men responsible for assault on a local policeman, Mohammad Shahid ?Are his business rivals guilty of unsuccessfully arranging for his contract killing?

Even as the police claims otherwise, it is being alleged that the answers to the above mentioned questions are in the affirmative. Mohammad Shahid, a local businessman, was stabbed several times on his neck by two persons on the intervening night of October 30 and October 31. He is still recuperating from the multiple stab wounds.

It is learnt that Mohammad Shahid of Smarty Knitwears and Arshad and Jabar of Sonia Knitwears were business rivals for quite sometime. In fact, ever since Mohammad Shahid and Arshad and Jabar of Sonia Knitwears had parted ways almost five years ago and set up his own unit for manufacturing children’s garments, trouble had been brewing between the two as Shahid was cutting into the latter’s business.

It is alleged that even eight months ago there had been a fight between the two sides when the trio had gone to Mumbai for business. The provocation for this had been the pulling away of a few workers employed with Sonia Knitwears and Arshad and Jabar had allegedly threatened Mohammad Shahid with dire consequences.

It is also alleged that the two persons then hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Shahid by paying Rs. 2 lakh to a former employee. It is alleged that when the accused Ghulam Rasool along with Mohamad Illias went to Shahid on the intervening night of October 30 and 31, the victim had a lot of cash at his residence. It is learnt that the victim also offered the cash (around Rs 17 lakh) to the accused, but they caught hold of him and repeatedly stabbed him in the neck.

He was later admitted to the local Christian Medical College and Hospital and was released only two days ago. Meanwhile, the inquiry of the case was handed over to the DSP City, Mr. Sandeep Goel at the orders of the Senior Superintendent of Police. The police has already arrested one of the accused, Ghulam Rasool.

When contacted, Mr. Sandeep Goel said his investigations had shown that this was a case of attempted robbery. “ We have gathered no proof to prove otherwise. The two accused- Ghulam Rasool and Mohammad Illias were aware that the victim, Mohammad Shahid was in possession of a lot of cash, so they tried to commit robbery. However, the victim saw them and in their effort to get away with the cash and avoid being recognised, they stabbed him.”


Martyr cremated with honours
From Our Correspondent

KATANI KALAN (Ludhiana), Nov 23 — Heart-rending scenes were witnessed here today as women wailed and cried before the start of the funeral procession of Sepoy Prem Singh of 103 Engineer Regiment, who was killed by a Pakistani shell on a frontier post in the Naushehra sector on Tuesday evening.

As Army jawans and villagers lifted the bier, the air was filled with cries of “Sipahi Prem Singh, Amar Rahe, Amar Rahe” which continued till the funeral procession reached the village cremation ground, where the Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, and several Army officers were already present.

It was a big funeral procession with virtually whole of the village marching behind the bier. Those who could not join the procession watched it from their housetops and doors. People stood with folded hands and moist eyes along the route.

Wreathes were placed on the martyr’s body by Col. Manmohan Singh and Lt. Col. A.S. Salathia of 715 AD Brigade, Col. Jagjit Singh C.O.Engr. Corp, Major Rajan K. Tharu and company commander Captain Amit Sakhre, Col. H.S. Toor, officer-in-charge, ex-servicemen Cell, Ludhiana.

Among others who laid wreaths on Sepoy Prem Singh’s body were Mr Yash Pall Sharma, District Sainik Welfare Officer, Ludhiana, Mr Jasbir Singh Mangat, Senior Vice-president, Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, Panjab, and Mr Khush Bakhat Rai nephew of Lala Lajpat Rai, MP.

The funeral pyre was lit by Manjit, the 5 -year-old son of the martyr who leaves behind another infant son, about two months old.

The martyr’s wife, Amarjeet Kaur, who is educated upto 8th standard is likely to be given a job in the local Government High School for Boys which will be named after her husband as per the announcement made by the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner.

Prem Singh was born into a poor landless labourer’s family on November 13,1966. He joined the Army on October 18,1984. His father Mr Sardara Singh had expired some years ago. According to Mrs Gurnam Kaur, mother of the martyr, he had left the village on November 2 last after spending his leave with a promise to return for celebrating Lohri.

The Deputy Commissioner announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh and a special grant of Rs 5 lakh or a plot in addition to a job for a member of the martyr’s family.



Sales tax evasion unabated
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — Sales tax and octroi duty evasion amounting to annual revenue loss of lakhs of rupees or even more to the public exchequer is going on unabated outside the railway station.

The Taxation Department, the octroi collection wing of the Municipal Corporation and the officials of the Railways claim having carried raids to check the menace besides imposing huge fines on people nabbed during the act, yet the practice goes on uncontrolled causing loss of possible revenue collection to the three departments concerned.

A visit to the Ludhiana-Delhi rail tracks near the Vishvakarma Chowk any time in the day shows the simple but dangerous modus operandi of people indulging in the practice.

Any train coming from Ambala invariably slows down or stops just outside the city’s railway station. A number of persons either jump from the train with packets and boxes full of industrial and consumer goods or throw the packets.

Immediately, along with these persons a few others descend on the scene, lift the thrown packets and run away. The packets they pick up thus contain goods liable to be sold or used after paying taxes to the Taxation Department, octroi to the Municipal Corporation and freight charges to the Railways. All this is conveniently avoided.

With the blatant violation of the norms, one cannot rule out the connivance of the employees of the departments concerned in nabbing the smuggling. According to sources, the regular practice raises a few pertinent questions. First, why is it that the trains either slow down or halt invariably at the outer area of the station to allow the persons in indulging in the practice? Second, if the trains have some compulsion to do so then what are the sleuths of the Taxation Department or the raiding staff of the Municipal Corporation or for that matter the officials of the Railways doing to curb the menace?

Declining to talk much on the issue Mr T.R. Rana, Station Superintendent, only said the department took action against staff causing unnecessary halt of the train outside the station. Sources, however conceded that only regular check on the employees can stop this practice. They said due to down loading of the cargo outside the station, the Railways lost charges on excess weight of baggage being carried by the passengers.

They also revealed that it was very difficult to check the practice as the halting of the train could be checked but no action could be taken if the train was entering the station at slow speed.

Mr Tarlok Singh, in charge, octroi wing of the MC, conceded that the practice was rampant and they were suffering losses. He said a special raiding team had been given a Gypsy to catch the culprits but it was not possible to keep a round-the-clock vigil on the menace.

While no official of the state Excise and Taxation Department was available for comments, sources said the department had also initiated actions against the practice but due to unknown reasons, not much success had been achieved in this regard.

Incidentally, apart from the loss of revenue a number of accidents occur at the place of illegal downloading of the goods. People living near the tracks revealed that a number of persons who came to lift the goods or jumped off the train had been injured in the process. A few deaths had also been reported.

Ludhiana Tribune was also a witness to one such minor accident today morning. A Ludhiana-bound train coming from Delhi at about 8.30 a.m. slowed down at the problem area. About 5 persons threw down packets of some consumer goods. However from other side another express train came which crushed few boxes containing shampoo bottles and other products underneath it. The culprits had a narrow escape.


Pirated cassettes seized: 1 held
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — The police has succeeded in nabbing a man manufacturing and selling duplicate audio cassettes and compact discs and selling them all over Punjab.

Jagjit Singh was arrested by a police party led by SHO Randhir Singh of the police station division No. 2, when he had come to the market near the Kalgidhar Gurudwara here this morning in order to sell off his cassettes there.

The police has booked him under sections 53-A, 63 and 68 of the Copyright Act and under Section 420 of the IPC. Aroud 50 CDs (30 empty and 20 filled), more than a 100 cassettes, two 12 piece cassette recorders and a computer were seized from him.

It is learnt that the police had information of the nefarious activities being carried on by the accused, Jagjit Singh for more than 20 days and was regularly laying a trap for him, but to no avail. The police said the accused had been selling cassettes and CDs after duplicating these and selling them in almost all local markets here and in other cities like Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune after his arrest, Jagjit Singh said he had been in this business for almost one year and found that this was very profitable. He said he was saving around Rs 15 to Rs 20 on a CD and Rs 5 to 10 on a cassette. “The original cassettes are quite expensive and also do not offer as much variety of songs as the recorded ones. So these are quite popular and I was thriving on this,” he confessed.



Four dead in mishap near Mullanpur
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — Four persons, including two women, were killed and another was injured in a road accident near Mullanpur, 20 km from here, early this morning.

According to information available the accident occurred when a Maruti Esteem car (No. PB-10 Q-0342) had a head on collision with a truck (No. HR 29-C-538) coming from the opposite direction.

The car was going towards Moga as it collided with the truck in the wee hours of the morning. The victims were returning after attending a marriage party.

Those killed in the accident were identified as Avinash Rani, Kapil Arora, Sunny and Shanti Devi. While the first three died on the spot, Shanti Devi died in a local hospital. The fifth person travelling in the car Neelam is admitted in the hospital where she is struggling for her life.


‘Rollback in LPG price is an eyewash’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — The recent announcement of the rollback of the cooking gas and kerosene oil prices , aimed at appeasing the public apart from one constituent of the NDA does not seem to have gone too well with the masses.

A number of people airing their views to Ludhiana Tribune termed the roll back as an action arising more due to political compulsions rather than the needs or sufferings of the public.

According to Shubra Kwatra, a student of M.A. 1st year economics in a city college, the decision is a rule joke. While the government had hiked the price by over Rs 40, has reduced it by Rs 10 only. She said that the amount may not matter much if taken alone, but when one considers the increasing price of all the essential commodities, which have gone up slowly and slowly in this fashion, the collective increase in expense proves too much .

Avtar Singh, an employee with the Consumer Forum, also shared the similar opinion. He said the rollback in prices is of no use as not much difference has been made in the kerosene prices. Further, the government had not touched the petrol price which was the urgent demand of the masses.

Rana Surat Singh , an advocate, also terms the exercise as a political gimmick. He opined that we cannot perceive the rollback decision as the one taken in public interest as it has been clearly done to appease a political ally.

Mr D.S. Chawla, an industrialist, and Mr Nahar Singh , a farmer, were peeved that the rollback announcement did not related to the price of diesel and petrol. Mr Chawla said that due to the diesel and petrol prices the cost of transportation had gone considerably high causing huge expenses to them. Mr Nahar Singh said that the diesel practice had considerably affected the business of farming. He feared that if the government continues to hike the price then the agro-based economy of the country will break down.

Dr K.S. Bhalla said the rollback had been much lower than expected. He said the government should have at least reduced the prices by 50 per cent of the hiked figure. He called upon the government to instead concentrate on more generation of resources or curbing the menace of corruption in order to meet the budgetary deficit and not by increasing the prices of the essential commodities.


Paddy procurement 1.10 cr tonnes
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — Paddy procurement in Punjab has almost touched the 1.10 crore metric tonne mark and except for a few problems in the initial stages, the procurement process was smooth. This was stated by the Punjab Food and Supplies Minister Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, while talking to mediapersons at Circuit House here today.

Giving details of the paddy purchased by different agencies, Mr Mittal said out of a total procurement of 1,09,79,832 tonnes of paddy, the state agencies had purchased 58,31,767 tonnes, the Food Corporation of India 27,79,556 tonnes and the millers 23,68,519 tonnes.

The minister claimed that a relief package of Rs 350 crore announced by the Union Government for the paddy growers of Punjab was a historic decision. The extent of compensation to be paid to farmers, who had to resort to distress sale of paddy, was being worked out and the disbursement would be made during next fortnight.

Mr Mittal chided the Congress for what he described as ‘shedding crocodile tears’ for the farmers. “The successive Congress Governments, both in Punjab and at the Centre, been exploiting the farmers, with scant regard for their genuine grievances. It is only under the regime of SAD-BJP government in Punjab and the NDA government, headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee at the Centre, that the government had come to the rescue of the farmers by way of timely announcement of a comprehensive package to save paddy growers from ruination.”

Replying to a question, he said that the milling of paddy had commenced and further that except for storage space, he did not foresee any major problem in the milling of paddy. The issue of making available adequate storage space for rice had been taken up at the appropriate level with the Union Government and necessary steps for shifting of the foodgrain stocks elsewhere were being taken.

Mr Mittal condemned the killing of Sikh truck drivers in Jammu and Kashmir. Attributing the dastardly crime to certain agencies, which did not want the restoration of normalcy in the disturbed state, he said the one month ceasefire offer made by the Prime Minister to the militant groups, was an attempt in ‘real earnest’ to create a conducive atmosphere in which meaningful and productive talks could be held to bring back normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked on continuation of Bibi Jagir Kaur as president of the SGPC, even after she was booked by the CBI for her alleged involvement in the mysterious death of her daughter Harpreet Kaur, Mr Mittal refused to be drawn into the controversy, with the remarks that law would take its own course. He further maintained that even the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had not interfered in the legal proceedings initiated against the SGPC president. 


YC concerned over law and order
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — Expressing its serious concern over deteriorating law and order situation in the city and stoppage of water supply by the Municipal Corporation during the day, the District Youth Congress (DYC) has decided to submit a detailed memorandum to the district administration on November 27, before launching a mass agitation.

Addressing a meeting of party workers and block-level office-bearers in Congress Bhavan here last evening, the DYC president, Mr Parminder Mehta, observed that worsening law and order situation, coupled with total inaction on the part of the police, had led to such a situation that the criminal and police nexus was holding the entire city population to ransom. Quoting specific instances, he said, many police officials were in league with known criminals and mafia gangs, and more often than not, those who dared to lodge complaints with the police, were harassed and threatened.

Mr Mehta apprehended that the alarming rise in the number of heinous crimes like robberies, dacoities, murders, kidnappings and rapes could once again lead to a situation which prevailed in the state during the black days of militancy.

Criticising the civic body move to discontinue the water supply in the city in the afternoon, the DYC president said that there was widespread resentment against the decision. More so because the water supply in the morning was both inadequate and erratic. He charged the councillors, belonging to ruling alliance, with adopting double standards on the issue. While the BJP and the SAD (B) councillors had supported the proposal in the general house meeting and the MC administration was also making similar claims, the BJP had now taken a volte face and were trying to misguide the people by asserting that the MC had implemented the decision without approval from the general house.

Mr Mehta further said that the party would also draw the attention of district administration towards other problems like proper maintenance of statues and memorials of martyrs, continued putting up of hoardings and sign boards on highways in violation of the high court directions and non-stoppage of local buses in the bus stops, specially constructed for this purpose.

Senior YC leaders including Mr Amarjit Tikka and Mr Ishwarjot Cheema, who also attended the meeting, demanded a CBI inquiry into the killing of Congress leader Harmesh Mukhija at Dharamkot. The YC general secretary, Mr Pankaj Sood, suggested that the party should agitate against alleged harassment of traders and industrialists by Sales Tax and Income Tax Department.

Among others, Mr Jasbir Johny, Mr Harish Suneja, Mr Varun Mehta, Mr Amarjit Matharoo, Mr Ravinder Syan, Mr Rajinder Nihala, Mr Surjit Kaushal, Mr Inderjit Parmar, Mr Arun Bedi and Mr Raj Kashyap also addressed the meeting.


Bus stand a picture of neglect
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — The main bus stand in the city is in a filthy state. In 1995, the construction cell of the transport department was abolished. Since then, there has been no renovation, no maintenance and no construction at the bus stand.

Officials of the Punjab Roadways say, “We are the culprits in the eyes of the general public, but we are victims ourselves”. For the past five or six years, there has not been a single agency to work out on the deteriorating condition of the bus stand.

In the bus stand, all vehicles mess up with each other. There has been hardly any arrangement for the parking of vehicles. Beggars irritate the general public and the passengers. People ease out themselves, anywhere. A number of animals can be seen roaming here and there.

There has been no maintenance of the public toilets. In one toilet, there has been no water in the taps, whereas in the other, there is continuous leakage of water from the taps. If there is a little rain, the water becomes stagnant. The waiting rooms present a smelly and unpleasant look. One can hardly find any sweeper around. At the same time, people spit here and there.

One of the roadways officials says there has been lack of funds in recent years and no policy decision has been taken by the government regarding the maintenance and renovation of the bus stand. The matter of maintenance and renovation was given to the Punjab Urban Development Agency (PUDA). This decision was taken about 15 days back.

When a Superintendent Engineer of PUDA was asked to comment on the issue, he expressed his ignorance. He said, “Till date, we have not got any information from our officials. The higher officials must know about the details. If this decision has been taken, we will get the information from Chandigarh within a day or two”.


Haibowal renamed Shankaracharya Nagar
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — Haibowal Kalan was formally renamed as Shankaracharya Nagar today, at a function held near the chowk of Haibowal. The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain, was the chief guest. The Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, laid the foundation stone of the entrance gate of the newly christianed Shankaracharya Nagar. Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Madhavashram was also present to give his blessings to the newly named Shankaracharya Nagar.

The occasion was a spectacular display of tradition. The students of the Shankaracharya Gurukul sat cross-legged on the floor in the traditional Indian style. Guru Shankaracharya was welcomed with flower petals that were showered liberally on him. At the same time, soul-stirring chants urged people to abide by the path of dharma. Flanked by saffron clad, sandal smeared sadhus, the Shankaracharya took his seat under a golden red canopy on the stage.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal congratulated the residents of Haibowal. He said that in the renaming process , the efforts of the Shankaracharya Seva Samiti, Mr Gosain, and the officials of the Municipal Corporation were laudatory. However, he regretted that barring the Senior Deputy Mayor, no other official of Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana was present on the occasion. He also said that no compromise would be made on the Sanskrit issue. He added that it was a misconception to associate Sanskrit with the followers of a particular religion.

Mr Gosain while expressing his pleasure at the renaming of Haibowal reaffirmed his commitment to the people of Ludhiana. He further said that he would endeavour to do his best for promoting the Sanskrit language.

The Senior Deputy Mayor of Ludhiana, Mr Jagdish Prasad Lumba, while highlighting the contributions of Adi Shankaracharya, said that the latter had unified the whole country spiritually. The head of the Veda Mandir, Swami Nigambodh Maharaj, eulogised Adi Shankaracharya as one of the greatest philosophers of the modern times. He also laid stress on promoting Sanskrit language among the new generation. Another speaker, Swami Jatinder Vyas remarked that religion was a way of life and mere rituals could never take its place. He also said that all religions enjoined following a code of conduct whose essence was to be a good human being.

Mr Rajiv Katna, the councillor of ward number three said that he hoped that renaming would make a positive impact on the life of the residents of the Shankaracharya Nagar. He hoped that the name Shankaracharya Nagar would auger a new beginning for the residents.

The organisers announced that a statue of Adi Shankaracharya would be installed near the crossing of the Shankaracharya Nagar. Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, with the blessings of Guru Shankaracharya, laid the foundation stone of the Shankaracharya Nagar entrance gate. The laying of the foundation stone was carried on to the accompaniment of Sanskrit verses and holy chants.


Tax payers honoured
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — The Income Tax Department is being shortly reorganised. By the end of this financial year the department will have one Income Tax Commissioner after every one lakh of assesses.

Stating this while talking to mediapersons, after participating in a honouring ceremony of three highest tax payers of the city here today, Mrs Surinder Pal Kaur, Chief Commissioner, Income Tax North, informed that this measure had been taken to provide better services to the assesses. 


Three arrested for fraud
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 23 — The Economics Offences Wing of the Ludhiana police has succeeded in solving a case of cheating, impersonation, fraud and criminal conspiracy by arresting three of the prime accused in the case.

According to an official press release, the police party led by DSP Satish Malhotra and ASI Sucha Singh has arrested Kartar Singh, Gurdial Singh and Sarabjit Singh. The three are accused of fiddling with the documents by making fake registries of a piece of land several times over and selling it to other people even as the land had been acquired by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust.

It is alleged that the accused had thus committed bungling of several lakhs of rupees .

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