Friday, February 16, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Excise Dept, contractors on collision course
Dealers refuse to deposit licence fee
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 — The Excise Department and liquor contractors appear to be heading for a long drawn confrontation with some of the contractors allegedly adamant on not depositing the licence fee. According to excise officials, the licence fee has to be deposited by the end of December. However, there are some contractors who still have outstanding licence fee pending against them. One of the arrested contractors reportedly approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking justice against the harassment.

Only yesterday the excise officials detained one contractor, Mr Roop Lal Bansal. While his partner and son, Mr Rakesh Bansal, has been alleging that the Excise Department was selectively targeting them, the officials claimed that they had issued arrest warrants against all the five partners in the group which had been allotted the contract for 23 liquor vends in the Chet Singh Nagar area.

There are five contractors in the group. Besides Mr Roop Lal, they include Mr Rakesh Kumar Bansal, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, Mr Sardool Singh Chawla and Mr Amardeep Singh Saluja. The total outstanding amount pending against the group is said to be Rs 1.76 crore. The Excise Department sources disclosed that while everyone is jointly responsible for the payment, the department can make the total recovery from any one of the contractors in the group. They said the arrest warrants have been issued against all the five and only one of them could be detained so far.

One official told The Tribune that the department tried for the entire day to convince Mr Roop Lal, who was heading the group, to deposit some amount, but he was allegedly reluctant and adamant not to pay any amount. The official pointed out the department never likes to harass the contractors since they are major revenue earners. But some of the contractors were allegedly trying to exploit the loopholes in the licence system and were either delaying or refusing the payment of the licence fee.

While the contractors are supposed to deposit the entire licence fee by the end of December, there are several contractors who are yet to make full payments. The Excise Department cannot cancel the licence midway. The recoveries can only be effected after the end of the financial year. Taking advantage of the situation, some liquor contractors deliberately delay the payment. Under the Land Revenue Recovery Act they can be arrested once and detained for a maximum period of 40 days. In case they still do not make the payment, then the department can initiate action to attach their property, which is a long and cumbersome process. The department usually resorts to pressure to effect recovery.

The department officials claimed that the arrest warrants had been issued against all the five contractors. However, only one of them had been arrested, while others were reported to be absconding. The officials also expressed their helplessness. The contractors under the patronage from different political quarters seem to have made it a principle not to deposit the licence fee till end of the year. On the other had the department has to show the mandatory deposits.

On the other hand, Rakesh Bansal, one of the contractors, and Mr Roop Lal’s son, alleged that warrants may have been issued against all but they were pressurising on Mr Roop Lal to deposit the licence fee. He claimed that all the five were present when Roop Lal was arrested. “If they wanted they could have arrested them also, including myself”, Mr Bansal pointed out. He alleged that some senior officials of the department had demanded money from them and when they refused they started harassment. He named two officials of the department, who he alleged had demanded money from him.

Mr Roop Lal today sought the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court submitting that he was being singled out and selectively being targeted by the Excise Department as he had refused to concede their demands. He claimed that all the charges levelled against him were baseless. Most of the excise officials reportedly rushed to Chandigarh to prepare the defence against the petition.


Inadequate facilities at exam centres
By Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 — Inadequate infrastructure at examination centres of the Punjab School Education Board is likely to hit the smooth conduct of examination scheduled to begin next month. Most of the centres here will face problems of accommodation as the number of students appearing for the examination is high as compared to the number of centres.

Most of the affiliated, aided and government schools which form the centre for board examinations do not have enough accommodation and furniture. The students of non-board classes who will appear for their examination at the same time will also be affected. Due to insufficient space, most of the students will be cluttered together, increasing chances of copying during the examination.

As per instructions of the board, the maximum number of candidates at a particular centre is fixed at 250, but like previous years, the number of appearing students is expected to exceed the limit in most schools. Sources in the District Education Department reveal that the proposed list of examination centres sent to the board includes the names of 322 centres for students of Classes X and XII and 329 centres for Class VIII students. Most of the centres are common for the three classes.

In contrast, the number of students appearing in the examination is high. The employees at the local board office have disclosed that the number of Class X students is more than 12,000. For Class XII examination, the number of students is nearly 8,000 and for Class VIII examination, the number of students exceeds 10,000.

Unlike previous years, the examination of Classes X and XII will begin the same day and most of the examination dates for Classes X and XII will coincide. While the Class X examination will be held in the morning session, the Class XII examination of will be held in the evening session. The students of non-board classes will be deprived of facilities like classrooms and furniture.

Mr Ravinder Dhand, in charge, Arya Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, says since most of the examinations of Class X and XII students have been scheduled for consecutive days, preparing the date sheet of the students of non-board classes is a problem. Many school principals say they do not get timely information from the board regarding the total number of students appearing in their schools. The information reaches their centre only two to four days prior to the date of commencement of the examination, causing confusion and chaos.

Ms Sadhna Sharma, Principal of Sanatan Dharam Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, says despite sending written notices and making personal requests to the board officials at SAS Nagar, no initiative to improve the situation has been taken. Several teachers say the number of examination centres has not been increased for the past few years as the board is demanding high charges for the purpose. They add that if the practice of taking charges is abolished, several new centres will come up, relieving them of the increasing rush year after year.


Bread-making firm penalised
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 — The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the M/s Kitty Food Products, Ludhiana to stop the sale promotion scheme (Scratch kijiye inaam lijiye) of the bread produced by it under the brand name ‘Real Bake’. The forum further directed the opposite party to pay Rs 5,000 along with costs for indulging in unfair trade practices to Mr Jagpal Singh Dara.

According to the complaint filed by Mr Dara, a resident of Model Town, the company launched a sale promotion scheme alluring the consumers, including the complainant to purchase the bread (Real Bake). The packing of the bread was carrying a slogan ‘ Scratch Kijiye Inaam Lijiye’.

The complainant stated before the forum that the slogan explicitly and implicity guaranteed that on scratching the coupon the consumer would get the prizes mentioned in the posters and handbills. The prizes included first two prizes of Rs 1,00,000 each, three 2nd prizes of Bajaj Chetak scooter etc. The complainant maintained that with this assurance that if he would buy the bread he would get a gift, he was tempted to purchase the bread.

The complainant bought the bread several times but to his dismay, after scratching several coupons, he found the word ‘Try your luck again’ The complainant alleged that this breach of promise, guarantee and assurance was not less than defrauding and cheating the customers. He further alleged that it was also an unfair trade practice.

The opposite party pleaded that it is clearly mentioned in the handbills and the coupons that the only winners were to be given prizes. The respondent said the slogan guaranteed the prizes mentioned in the handbill. The respondent further stated that it was clearly mentioned on the coupons that the breads were available without coupon and without scheme and no extra amount was charged from the complainant for participation in the scheme.

The forum observed that the words ‘Scratch Kijiye Inaam Lijiya' clearly implied that on scratching the coupon the consumer was to get a prize and this shows that there was implied guarantee on the part of the opposite party. The forum held that the advertisement was quite misleading and amounted to unfair trade practice. The forum has directed the firm to stop the disputed sale promotion scheme. 


Perform or face action: DC
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 — The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, today directed the Central Revenue officers to personally look into the complaints, brought for redressal in the weekly “sangat darshan” programme, by visiting the site and involving the complainant. He made it clear that the inquiry reports submitted by the revenue officials below the rank of CRO’s would not be accepted and further warned that strict action would be taken against erring officials.

Presiding over the ‘sangat darshan’ at Mini Secretariat here, Mr Sandhu made these remarks after Mrs Joginder Kaur of Jandiali village complained that her complaint, marked for inquiry to a tehsildar, was in fact dealt with by a Patwari, who had not visited the spot, nor was she informed and called to participate in the inquiry. He directed the District Revenue Officer to conduct the inquiry and submit his report by next week about the alleged illegal possession of the plot of Mrs Joginder Kaur, a widow, by her brother-in-law.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the officers to desist from the usual practice of deputing their juniors to conduct the inquiry and prepare reports on the basis of their findings, without cross checking and proper verification.

Taking cognizance of the report submitted by the Executive Engineer, Pollution Control Board, that an industrial unit in residential area of Vishnu Puri was found to be violating the rules on pollution control and that recommendations had been made to higher authorities for strict action against the defaulting unit, Mr Sandhu asked the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Kler, to initiate action under Section 133 against the polluting unit.

The Deputy Commissioner issued directions to SDM, Samrala, to conduct an inquiry and verify the record of ownership of land about a pending complaint of Mr Baljinder Singh of Rohlon village about encroachment on the land falling under the village pond by the Sarpanch. The DDPO had earlier found the complaint to be correct in a preliminary inquiry.

Mr Sandhu asked the officers concerned to accord priority to the submission of their inquiry reports on complaints lodged in the ‘sangat darshan’ so that the aggrieved persons could get justice at the earliest. He also asked the people not to bring such matter in the programme, which were pending in courts to avoid wastage of time. The people were also asked to lodge complaints regarding land disputes with the subdivision and district-level committees for speedy disposal.

As many as 43 complaints related to various departments, were taken up in the session today, out of which 27 were settled on the spot.

Mr S. R. Kler, ADC, Mr S.S. Sandhu, SP (Operations), Mrs Anita Darshi, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) and all SDM’s were present at the sangat darshan.


INTUC to launch statewide stir
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 —The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has decided to launch an agitation to focus on the pending demands of the workers in the first phase, demonstrations will be held at district headquarters, all over the state.

In a meeting of the state working committee, held under the presidentship of Mr Balwant Rai Kapoor, it called upon the state government to increase the minimum wages from Rs 1,950 to at least Rs 5,000. Giving details of the meeting, Mr Shiv Gupta, General Secretary, said the meeting demanded an end to the policy of privatisation in various government departments to check exploitation of labour. The INTUC working committee lamented the indifferent attitude of the government towards ad hoc employees and demanded that all those who had completed 240 days’ service, should be regularised. It urged the government to regualrise contractual safai workers, withdraw ban on new recruitment and abolish the system of direct recruitment by Chief Minister and other ministers.

Other demands raised at the meeting included the abolition of child labour in the factories, scrupulous implementation of Factories Act, Bonus Act, ESI Act, Provident Fund Act, Gratuity Act and other labour laws.

Earlier, while addressing the meeting the Chief Guest, Mr Raminder Singh Bularia, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, assured full support to the cause of working classes and added that the Congress would take up the matter with the state government for acceptance of pending demands. He observed that rampant corruption at all levels, coupled with rising prices and exploitation of the workers, had demoralised the working class.

The meeting resolved to extend full support to the Congress candidate in Majitha byelection, Mr Shivinder Singh Kathunangal, and it was decided that the INTUC functionaries would go to the constituency to canvass for him.


DMC staff observe strike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 — The Dayanand Medical College Employees Union went on a strike today in protest against the transfer of the union’s president, Mr Chandramohan Kalia, from the DMC to the old DMC.

Members of the union alleged that the management was trying to disintegrate the unity of the employee by transferring the president. They also demanded that the promotion of the employees should be based on seniority list. However, the management has been claiming to promote employees on merit basis. But they alleged that under the guise of merit the management was adopting a pick and choose policy.

Denying the charges, the Principal of the DMC, Mr S.C. Ahuja, alleged that the union leaders had vested interest in the strike and were only trying to serve selfish motives. Denying that the president was demoted, he said, he was only transferred and given additional responsibility.


Jeweller booked on fraud charge
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 — A case under Sections 420, 427 and 506, IPC, was registered yesterday at the division number 5 police station against a city jeweller, Jaidev Dhanda, on the complaint of Mr Arun Kumar of Gurdev Nagar. The complainant alleged that he gave Rs 2.5 lakh to the jeweller for the purchase of ornaments for his brother’s marriage on December 31. The accused not only refused to pay the money back but also threatened him.

The case was registered on the orders of the SSP after seeking the District Attorney’s opinion. However, the jeweller has not been arrested so far.

Dowry case: A harassment case under Sections 498-A and 506, IPC, was registered at the Jodhewal police post on Wednesday on the complaint of Ms Sarabjit Kaur against her husband and others. She complained that since her marriage in 1982 she was being harassed and tortured for not bringing enough dowry. No arrest has been made so far.

One arrested: The local police arrested Harvinder Singh, alias Bhatia, a resident of Jawala Nagar, Delhi, on Wednesday from the local railway station for possessing a knife.


Bid to loot bank: Burglars tried to loot UCO bank’s branch situated at Dana Mandi, Sanghol, near here. According to information, the burglars after breaking the wall failed to open the strongroom. The Manager of the bank, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, lodged an FIR at the Khamano police station.


Case registered: A fraud case has been registered against an accountant of a shopkeeper. In an FIR registered at the Sahnewal police station on Thursday on the complaint of Mr Gurdip Singh, Bhupinder Singh, accountant in his shop, took out a cheque with the counterfoil from the cheque book of Mr Ranjit Singh, a brother of Mr Gurdip Singh, and withdrew Rs 1.50 lakh from the bank after forged signature. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B, IPC, has been registered.

Ornaments stolen: Gold jewellery worth Rs 50,000 belonging to the wife of Mr Surjit Singh, Deputy Secretary, Home, was stolen from a marriage palace here. A case has been registered.


Yarn exhibition at Wool Club
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 15 — In order to acquaint members of knitwear and shawls industry of Ludhiana and Amritsar with new yarn trends and qualities for the coming season, the Wool Club (India) in collaboration with International Wool Secretariat organised a three-day exhibition. The exhibition was inaugurated here today by Mr Sandeep Jain, Executive Director, Oswal Woollen Mills.

Mr Harjit Singh, Chairman, Wool Club, said that the club was affiliated with ‘Wool Mark’ and Wool Blend Mark Knitwear Manufacturers of Ludhiana and neighboring areas. “The club has always been in the forefront to serve the local industry by way of providing technical marketing and quality assurance support with the help of IWS, New Delhi”, added Mr Harjit Singh.

The four leading spinners — Oswal Woollen Mills, Pee Jay (International), Jay Shree Textiles, Kolkota and Woolworth, Raipur — will be presenting their complete range of newly developed yarns for the coming season in the exhibition.

About 200 companies have been invited by the Wool Club to visit the exhibition, which has been organised for their benefits. Representatives and officials of the four spinners will be available for personal discussions and business inquiries during the exhibition.

One of the manufacturers present at the exhibition said that the Wool Club had provided the manufacturers the right platform and the facilities to exhibit their products to the manufacturers of knitwear and shawls in this part of the country.


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