Thursday, February 22, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC falls way behind in meeting budget projections
By Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — With less than two months left for the end of the current financial year, the Municipal Corporation top brass finds itself in a piquant situation over its failure to meet the projected income from various sources shown in the budget. While senior MC officers privately admit that the budget estimates were ‘unrealistic’ and ‘over ambitious’, no one was prepared to go on record on the matter.

The civic body in the industrial capital of the state had shown a staggering income of Rs 255 crore in the annual budget for the year 2000-2001, the highest among all local bodies in Punjab, with a little more than half (Rs 125.75 crore) to come from octroi. On this front, the performance has been relatively better, with total collections to the extent of Rs 90.52 (86 per cent) till the end of January 2001.Enquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that most of the other sources of income of the MC have not yielded any where near the targeted funds, with the result that a panicky situation prevailed in most of the departments and senior officials were trying to find ways and means for a damage-control exercise.

The MC has fared poorly as far as meeting the targets of income from other major sources like house tax and water rate are concerned with collections in the range of Rs 16.61 crore (50%) and Rs 10.87 crore (43%) till January 31 as against budget estimates of Rs 40 crore and Rs 30 crore, respectively. The only head of income, where performance has exceeded the budget estimate, is development, which has so far netted Rs 7.04 crore (103%) as against an estimated income of Rs 8 crore, with two months still to go.

The composition fee yielded Rs 4.14 crore (62%), falling behind from the estimated income of Rs 8 crore during the period. As far as income from the sale of municipal properties and collection of licence fee is concerned, the figures are pathetic to say the least.

The MC could raise a meagre Rs 1.57 crore (19%) from sale of properties against target of Rs 10 crore, whereas the licence fee yielded just Rs 60 Lakh (18%) against budget projections of Rs 4 crore till end of January 2001.Similarly, income from additional excise duty was Rs 3.65 crore (29%), electricity duty Rs 6.37 crore (63%), tehbazari Rs 34 lakh (41%), advertisement tax Rs 8 lakh (20%), slaughter house fee Rs 10 lakh (81%) and collection of rent on MC property Rs 24 lakh (72%).

The MC officials attribute the failure to meet the budget targets to several reasons, which do not sound genuine. The fact remains that the MC administration got carried away and went ahead with budget projections, which it very well knew, were difficult, if not impossible to achieve.

Other factors, which came in the way of meeting the budget estimates, according to knowledgeable sources, were rampant corruption in almost all departments of MC, collision of civic employees with those flouting various civic rules, misappropriation of funds in several departments and poor enforcement.

Moreover, the MC administration had high hopes of significant improvement in octroi collections during the current financial year if its move for privatisation of octroi collection had materialised. Despite veiled pressure from the state government and bureaucrats, the MC general house put its foot down against the proposal and the aspirations to cover up poor performance on other fronts through a hike in octroi income were dashed to the ground.

Sources in the MC further pointed out that the scheme for the disposal of MC properties in the city also failed to take off due to unrealistic price structure evolved by the authorities, which failed to attract the tenants to go in for ownership of the properties occupied by them.


Shivaratri celebrated
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — Thousands of devotees celebrated Shivaratri with religious fervour. Various Shiva temples in the city were decorated with balloons and other decorative items. Shobha yatras were carried out in the city in which devotees recited hymns and sang Shiva bhajans.

The Ekta Sangh Society carried out shobha yatra and the society workers worshipped idols of lord Shiva and Parvati in the Janakpuri area. Several devotees were on Shivaratri fast while others enjoyed the bhang prasada.

The devotees had also arranged chhabil and prasada for the people. Large processions were taken out in the city and colourful tableaux with small children dressed like Shiva and Parvati were prepared on the occasion.

The Keralites residing in the city celebrated Shivaratri by taking out a colourful shobha yatra which started from Sree Ayappa Temple at around 1.30 p.m. The procession covering Jamalpur, Sherpur and reached the Shiv Mandir late evening. The Shiv pujan was held at the Ayappan temple.


DMCH employees call off strike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — Employees of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital called off their six-day strike here today. The stalemate between the management and union leaders ended after the intervention of the administration yesterday. The meeting began in the evening yesterday and an MoU was signed by both parties later in the night.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Kler, ADC, Mr M.S. Brar, SDM (West), Mr Balraj Kumar, Vice-President of the DMCH managing society, Mr Prem Nath Gupta, its secretary, Dr S.C. Ahuja, Principal of the DMCH, Dr Sandeep Puri, its Medical Superintendent, Mr Chander Mohan Kalia, President of the DMCH Employees Union, and other union leaders.

The managing body and the administration had supported the decision to transfer Mr Chander Mohan Kalia from the new hospital to the old. Union leaders had accepted the decision. However, as a special case, Mr Kalia will now be transferred back to the new hospital three months from the date of joining.

According to the agreement, there will now be a standing committee for settling disputes. Any demand of employees, managing body or the administration, will now be referred to the committee. This committee will include one representative of the managing body, two of the DMCH administration and three of the employees union. The committee will settle issues regarding promotions, medical allowance and confirmation of services.

The parties agreed that promotions would now be on seniority basis as per rule 24 of the Service Rules. The seniority list of the employees will be put up on the DMCH notice board within 20 days.

The management also agreed that the admission charges for employees as indoor patients would now be Rs 50 instead of Rs 200. Sweepers will be entitled to the same number of gazetted holidays as other employees. There will be no deduction from the salary of the employees for the period of the strike. However, patients in the DMCH criticised the management and the union leaders for the delay in the reaching a compromise and causing inconvenience to them.


Murder mystery solved
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — The police here got a major breakthrough in a murder mystery case as it arrested Bhupinder Singh, owner of a famous chicken corner for allegedly murdering his 18-year-old domestic servant Saurab.

A case has been registered against the accused under Sections 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, told mediapersons in a hurriedly convened press conference that Saurab had been working in Bhupinder Singh’s house for the past eight years, and one day Bhupinder Singh’s son told him that Saurab had been watching his mother while bathing, whereupon in a fit of anger the accused killed the servant.

After killing Saurab, the accused put the body in a bag, wrapped it with a bed sheet and dumped it near Daad village on Pakhowal Road. In order to destroy evidence, the accused put the weapon back in his bank locker “in back date” with the help of a bank employee.

The police found the body on January 15, after remaining clueless for a month The police, before disposing of the body, photographed it. The photograph of the victim was showed on city cable network with an appeal to the people to help the police identify it. Based on a tip-off the police arrested Bhupinder Singh.

The police identified the victim while inquiring at a chicken corner in Model Town. Some servants working in the shop told the police that the victim had been working in Bhupinder Singh’s house as a domestic servant.

Police inaction alleged in Sirhind funds scam
From Surinder Bhardwaj

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 21 — The police has taken no action in a case of cheating and embezzlement that has been registered at Sirhind police station on the complaint of Mr H.S. Gill, Executive Engineer (PWD) of the Rural Works Department at Sirhind.

Mr Gill had accused his predecessor, Kultar Singh Kultar, some staff members and a contractor of embezzling more that Rs 1 crore of the department. The police inaction is allegedly due to political connections of Kultar. The state government had also issued a direction to the police in this regard.

This has generated a controversy regarding the release of funds for construction and repair of roads in the district. All development activities of the local Rural Works Department have virtually come to a halt because of this scam. An inquiry into the scam has already been completed and a case has also been registered. Mr Gill said funds for development works were not being released after this scam.

The embezzled amount is yet to be recovered. He said Mr T.C. Bali, Superintending Engineer, had submitted his inquiry report in this regard to the Chief Engineer and he had forwarded it to the Secretary Public Works. The Secretary asked him get the case registered.

Mr Gill had detected this scam in July past year. He had written to the Deputy Commissioner and the other higher officials that Kultar Singh, who had been transferred to Ferozepore, had not handed over office records to him. These records included cash books and cheque books.

Mr Gill alleged that Kultar Singh had committed irregularities in connivance with his staff members. He alleged that Kultar had embezzled Rs 93.49 lakh that the Punjab Mandi Board had given to the PWD for development works in Sirhind.

The complaint said a closing balance of Rs 94.98 lakh has been shown in the main cash book as on August 28, while the deposit in the bank was Rs 1.48 lakh only. Rs 64 lakh had been drawn from banks, in violation of rules.

Most of the cheques had been issued to “self”. The other cheques had been issued to SJ Construction Company. Enteries of these cheques did not exist in the cash book. The amount deposited by the Municipal Councils had also not been shown in the cash book. Payments had been made to various agencies without receiving proper documents. Huge amounts had been transferred to various subdivisions and not shown in the cash book.

Sources said Mr Gill was under tremendous political pressure not to take up the case with the Deputy Commissioner and higher officials. The case was registered only when one of the accused approached the court to seek an anticipatory bail and the court sought reply from the police.

Meanwhile, the Railway Road branch of Punjab National Bank at Sirhind has also initiated action against the contractor whose name also figures in the FIR for defrauding the bank. Sources alleged that Kultar Singh had given a cheque for more than Rs 18 lakh to the contractor who worked for some bank of Ferozepore, after he had been transferred there.The contractor got the cheque discounted in the ODD from the bank and the cheque issued from Ferozepore had not been cleared.

When contacted, Mr H.S. Saran, SSP, said the department had only sent one letter to the police, seeking the registration of and FIR, following which, a case had been registered. He said the police had also sought all records for verification and till these were not received, no action could be taken.


In service of people and animals
By Asha Ahuja

Feb 21 — “I was inspired by my husband, Dr Kuldeep Chander, a pathologist, who left a lucrative job to do social service. Since my children had also grown up, I thought, I had lived for myself and now I should spend the rest of my life looking after the handicapped and others. So my most satisfactory phase of life started a few years ago, when I started working for Viklang Punarwas and also started caring for maimed animals in the PFA hospital, run by the Society for People for Animals,” says the simple, and unassuming, Mrs Nilam Gupta, an M.Sc in botany.

Her mission in life is to equip handicapped people with limbs and enable them to find a livelihood to lead a life of dignity and financial independence. She spends her morning hours in this institute, taking care of the Punarwas Yojna started by BVP at Rishi Nagar. She is totally devoted to the upliftment of the physically challenged. Her efforts have borne fruit. When the institute started, the inmates were employed at the centre for making paper bags and for tailoring, but later on they developed a beautiful nursery. Mrs Gupta worked dedicately to get it ready within two months. The maalis here have done a good job and now their plants enable then to earn money.

Says Nilam, “Our centre has been declared as a Model Centre and I have been requested by Rahi ji, Secretary of Rehabilitation for Handicapped, to help other centres in starting to function. In our centre, we have begun major rehabilitation work by providing artificial limbs, free of cost, to polio victims. It gives me immense satisfaction when I see girls moving around independently with their artificial limbs and working as computer operators and typists in our institute. We have employed 28 handicapped people in the institute and we urge the society to give a fair deal to the handicapped.”

“The centre is getting finances from Maharashtra and we are using the money for people of Himachal Pradesh, as there are many handicapped people there. We provide wheel chairs to handicapped girls and free education is given to deserving poor girls. On our wedding anniversaries and birthdays, we love to gift limbs to handicapped people. My family is very supportive as sometimes, I reach home late,” Nilam adds.

After she finishes her stint at Viklang Centre, she moves to PFA hospital and devotes two hours in the hospital, looking after the needs of the sick and injured animals in the hospital. Her job is to organise funds for both these institutes as they run mainly on donations. So she, along with other executive members, goes to various gurdwaras, temples and kitty parties and seek donations. Of course, they have to spend from their pockets also, but that too gives them a lot of satisfaction.

Nilam says, “I do not know how I get the strength to work for 10-12 hours in these two institutes and then cook and clean the house. My family has never chided me for my absence from home and have been extremely cooperative. I thank God that I have been given a chance to work for the benefit of both the suffering humanity and mute animals.”


A painful betrayal in marriage

PREETI is charming, perky, well versed with social etiquettes, wears designers clothes and earns a good salary. One obviously concludes that she would find a good match. The only thing worrying her parents is getting her Mr Right.

Suddenly the horizons widen for her. Shankar, a suave, young man comes into picture. They get engaged. The engagement period is marked by romantic candle-night dinners in five star hotels, gifts of jewellery, bouquets of exotic flowers, whispering of sweet nothings in the middle of night, lasting till wee hours of the morning. Preeti saw the world with rose-tinted eyes. The engagement period was the most happening period of her life with endless rounds of shopping for clothes, jewellery and sundry things, like even chosing photo frames for bedroom to bed linen.

Parents of both parties spent lavishly for the wedding, which took place in a five star hotel.

What she had to undergo for the next few days stunned her, shocked her and turned her life upside down. From a bubbly and effervescent girl, she wilted. Her relationship with Shankar has turned sour. He was not with her even for a day as he was a homosexual, a well-known gay in international circles. The girl thought it was better to be dead. She tried to keep her tragedy to herself. For his incompetency, he became cruel towards her. He shouted at her, berated her and insulted her. When his mother interfered, she too, had to bear the brunt of his harsh tongue.

Finally Preeti, unable to bear any more humiliation, went sobbing to her parents’ house. The parents, especially, the father, a heart patient, thought he would die. What did not he do to make the in-laws happy? Her brother had brought exclusive things from the USA. The whispers that were making the rounds about his shady character, which were not paid heed till now, haunted the parents. But Shankar had betrayed them. He had showed his true colours. He stood exposed as a pervert.

Now Preeti wants a divorce. She is demoralised. He stands exposed as a gay and impotent. Marriages which are not consummate generally lead to divorce. An ugly episode — another girl’s life ruined, the parents shattered — the father already has had a bypass surgery. He roams with the most forlorn expression. The whole family avoids company.

Anisha was another girl who opted to get married to a boy who was originally proposed for her sister. The sister refused so Anisha, thinking the boy to be good, opted for marriage. Within two days, she discovered that her husband was impotent. Out of shame and humiliation, she never disclosed the secret. Finally the boy’s parents came to know of the problem and he was sent to doctors for treatment. He was not cured. It resulted in divorce, shattering the family, its reputation, and the girl was a psychological wreck.

According to a survey, a large number of men suffer from impotency. Some of them can get cured. But why don’t the men take steps before marriage to get cured? If they turn gay then why do they get a girl into trouble? One out of 10 men suffer from impotency, which is termed as ‘erectile dysfunction’. Many men know about this condition but do not seek medical aid to cure themselves. They find it difficult to talk to their partners. This is unfortunate as ED may be result of undiagnosed conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or may be due to some drugs. The good news is that some of the men can be cured and lead normal married lives. The traumatic experience of unconsumated marriages leaves girls maimed for life. — AA


Political system needs to be cleansed’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — The District Youth Congress (DYC) president, Mr Parminder Mehta, today lamented the increasing role of money power in politics and observed that politicians, particularly the younger generation, had to pursue the path of dedication and sacrifice to strengthen democracy.

Addressing a party workers meeting at the residence of Mr R.S. Bagga, general secretary of District Congress Committee in Basti Jodhewal here, he said in a democratic system, every citizen had the right to vote but the election process had become so expensive that even political parties select their candidates on the basis of their financial capacity. In the process, genuine and dedicated party workers were neglected by the respective party leadership and bypassed by those having more resources at their disposal.

Emphasising the need to cleanse the political system, Mr Mehta said electoral reforms should be introduced to minimise the role of money power and to keep criminal elements away from the electoral process. He was of the opinion that major political parties should also take a lead in creating awareness among the masses to elect deserving candidates and at the same time ridding their own parties from persons having criminal records.

The DYC, he added, will launch a drive to educate the public and mobilise public opinion in favour of electoral reforms. The party would also take effective measures to expose the nexus of politicians and criminals.

Mr Mehta was presented ‘Yuva Chetna Award’ at this occasion.

Prominent among those present in the meeting were Mr Balbir Singh, Mr B.S. Thakur, Mr Deepak Verma, Mr Rajesh Thakur, Mr Pankaj Sood and Mr Harvinder Singh Bal.


Donations for quake victims
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — The Arhtias Association, Khanna, has presented cheques for Rs 2,92,700 to the Deputy Commissioner here for the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund. On behalf of the association, Mr Sadhu Ram Nanda, President, Mr Harbans Singh Rosha, Senior Vice-President, Mr Bharpur Chand Bector, and General Secretary, Mr Vinod Ghai, handed over the cheques. Mr Parveen Vij, District Food and Supplies Controller, and Mr Hardeep Singh, Inspector, Food and Supplies Department, Khanna, were also present on the occasion.

Students of Radha Vatika Senior Secondary School collected Rs 21,948 from their pocket money. They presented it to the principal of the school who forwarded the demand draft to The Tribune.


Defence Ministry to review hosiery purchases
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — The Ministry of Defence has appointed a high powered committee to review its decision to procure textile and hosiery goods from ordnance factories which has resulted in loss of crores of rupees to the ministry. Earlier, these goods were reserved for the small scale hosiery units. Most of these units are concentrated in Ludhiana. The government’s decision has resulted in massive unemployment in the local units.

Mr George Fernandez, Minister for Defence, disclosed this decision to a delegate of Northern India Hosiery and Textile Manufacturers Association, Ludhiana led by its president Mr Vinod Jain.

Mr Jain also apprised the minister about the unemployment of about 1.5 lakh workers, that has resulted a as result of the ministry’s decision. He said ordnance factories were supplying substandard items at higher costs.

They were, supplying these goods at three to five times the prices quoted by the industry. The minister was also apprised at the fact that items reserved by the government of India, through a notification for the small scale industry, are being manufactured in ordnance factories and that too by outside sub-contractors, having no quality control. Mr George Fernandez promised to review the decision and assured a quick action in this regard.

The delegation also handed over a cheque of Rs 2,27,100 for Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for the Gujarat earthquake. Ms Jaya Jaitley, president, Samta Party, was also present on the occasion.


No arrests made in firing case
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Feb 21—The police has not arrested any person in connection with the alleged firing of gun shots at Kanjari village on February 17 by some armed men. According to the report lodged with the police here Ms Jasbir Kaur, had alleged that Gurmeet Singh, Amolak Singh, Gurpreet Singh alongwith 20 to 25 persons armed with fire arms, swords etc allegedly began to demolish the boundary wall of her home, when the women present in the house raised an alarm, they allegedly gave them a beating, dragged them and opened fire, damaging the electric meter and telephone set.

Mr Bhulla Singh SHO, Amloh, visited the site and registered a case under Sections 452, 336, 424, 506, 148 and 149 the IPC and Sections 25, 25 and 54/59 under the Arms Act. The cause of dispute is said to have occurred when Harbinder Singh, husband of Ms Jasbir Kaur, raised a wall in his vacant plot which blocked the passage of Baldev Singh, who is said to have objected to this construction.


Son of insurance co. officer caught
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — Sunil Kumar, whose father is a Development Officer in the Oriental Insurance Company, was caught red-handed while taking a bribe of Rs 3,000 from Kulbir Singh, a resident of Rajgiri village, Anandpur Sahib. This was disclosed in a press note issued here yesterday by the Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana.

Police officials revealed that Kulbir Singh had insured his cow for Rs 18,000 with the Oriental Insurance Company. Meanwhile, the cow died during the insurance period and the company issued a cheque for Rs 18,000 to Kulbir Singh. The complainant alleged that Sunil Kumar took the cheque himself and demanded Rs 5,000 as bribe in return. After negotiation, Sunil Kumar agreed at Rs 3,000 and was caught red handed by the police in the presence of Mr Satish Kumar, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Ropar and Mr Pawan Kumar, Junior Assistant, Excise and Taxation Department. A case has been registered and investigations are on.


‘Punjab dairy industry needs diversification’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 21 — “The Punjab dairy industry will not be able to survive in the coming days if it does not diversify and modernise by adopting cutting-edge technology . The upgradation should be according to Indian conditions. It should not blindly follow Western models of production and distribution”, said Dr Syed S.H. Rizvi, Professor, Food Process Engineering, Cornell University, the U.S.A..

While talking to the TNS, Prof Rizvi said,‘‘ The dairy industry in Punjab might be doing better in comparison to the milk processing units of other states such as UP and Bihar. But it would be very difficult to compete with cheap imported milk items once the imports are opened. ’’

Prof Rizvi was visiting the Verka Milk Plant today. Mr Rizvi is a product of National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), now a deemed university in Karnal.

Appreciating the milk processing industry’s role in the development of the state economy, he emphasised on the development of new product chains, such as butter with a traditional ghee taste, mozerella cheese, and pizzas.

Regarding the present status, he pointed out that the milk plants should concentrate on the hygiene and nutritious value of products. The improvement in the quality of products was the need of the hour.

When asked what was wrong with the dairy industry in Punjab, Mr Rizvi said, ‘‘Our cooperative units have a lot of potential provided they are liberated from the bureaucratic and administrative hassles. AMUL has done good work, but unfortunately it cannot be replicated everywhere.’’

About the potential of the dairy industry in the country, Prof Rizvi said our share in the processed milk trade in the world was not even one per cent. At the same time, there was a potential of 20-25 per cent growth of processed milk products in the domestic market. The cooperative milk plants should try to explore the domestic market by developing Indianised products such as khoya powder and milk breads, milk soft drinks and other products.

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