Wednesday, March 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Who will win the liquor war?
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
It is less of a business interest and more a question of prestige for the influential family of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister for Technical Education, in the Badal government that has led to a direct confrontation between his brother Mann Singh Garcha and the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon over the control of the lucrative liquor business of Ludhiana. Mr Kairon, the scion of former Congress Chief Minister Pratap Singh Kairon’s family, is the son-in-law of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Given the proximity of the Garchas to the Chief Minister, the family wields considerable clout in the government, more so in Ludhiana, the industrial and financial capital of Punjab. Liquor business fetches a handsome revenue in Ludhiana, given the per capita consumption, the affluence of people and also the huge population. Earlier the family had complete monopoly over the liquor business in Ludhiana. However, it was broken last year as the minister proved too difficult for the family to be tackled or subdued obviously for his close relationship with the Chief Minister.

Kairon’s differences with his brother-in-law, Mr Sukhbir Badal, the heir apparent to the Chief Minister, is no secret. The Garchas in their bid to outmanoeuvre the minister used the influence and aversion of the junior Badal towards him (Mr Kairon) for their own benefit. It is alleged that with Mr Sukhbir’s patronage, the Garchas also set up unauthorised liquor vends across the city thus hitting the legal trade. The police was accused of not taking any action under the influence of the Garcha family. Mr Kairon also said yesterday that the police did not come up to the department’s expectations. “We expected a better job and cooperation from the police which we did not get”, he remarked.

It is not the simple question of controlling the liquor business of Ludhiana for financial considerations alone. It is the prestige issue of the Garchas and the issue of their political survival. If the family is not able to get the control over the liquor business it might send wrong signals to different sections in the administration and the government. This may not only put their political survival at stake but it can definitely be a setback for the family, whose word is law.

Besides Mr Sukhbir Badal, the family has also on its side Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, the liquor baron and Congress MLA from Samrala, also known as Thekedar Chacha. His clout and influence extends beyond the Congress among other political parties, including the ruling Akali Dal and also the bureaucracy. He is also related to the Garchas, as the grand-daughter of his elder brother is married to Mr Garcha’s son.

On the other hand Mr Dhillon and Mr Kairon share a common political legacy, hence some common interests and friends. Given his family’s Congress background, as his grandfather was the Congress Chief Minister, Mr Kairon has good relationship with several Congress leaders and the liquor firms owing allegiance to the Congress. Both are aware of each others strength and weakness.

While the Garchas have been taking advantage of their relationship with Mr Dhillon, they have been accusing the minister of having a soft spot for the Congress.


Tension in Jama Masjid area
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Tension gripped the Jama Masjid and surrounding areas after some miscreants hurled empty bottles at the mosque at around midnight.

Eyewitnesses said, a white Maruti car stopped in front of the mosque and about half a dozen youth came down. The light was off at that time. The youth raised slogans against the Muslims. However, when some people came out of the mosque, the youth sped away in the car.

Despite instructions that adequate security should be provided to religious places, no police personnel was present near the mosque. Maulana Atiq-ur- Rehman the state president of the Indian Muslim Council has appealed the people to exercise restraint. He regretted that no police personnel was present around the mosque at the time of incident.

The Maulana alleged that the incident was part of the conspiracy to disturb peace and communal harmony in Punjab. He said, the designs of the divisive forces were defeated with a massive peace march taken out on March 23 by the IMC which was attended by the members of different communities.

Religious leaders belonging to different communities visited the Jama Masjid and expressed their solidarity with the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid and Amir-e-Ahrar Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Sani Ludhianvi.

Those who visited the Jama Masjid today included the District President of the Indian Youth Congress (Urban), Mr Parminder Mehta, the Vice- President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and the chief of the Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran, Prithipal Singh. Condemning the incident they demanded the arrest of the miscreants and asked the police to be more vigilant.

Meanwhile the Senior Superinten-dent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, has assured that security would be provided to all the religious places in the city. He said, all the miscreants who were involved in the incident would be brought to book.


DYC for action against Beermi
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 27
Upset over newspaper reports regarding a meeting between a senior Congress functionary, Mr Malkiat Singh Beermi, and the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, here on March 15, the District Youth Congress and some other party functionaries have demanded action against Mr Beermi.

The DYC senior vice-president, Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, has written a letter to the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to order an inquiry into the whole episode to set the controversy at rest and take suitable action against the erring Congress functionary.

Certain newspapers had carried reports a few days ago that the meeting could give rise to politically significant developments and without mentioning Mr Beermi’s name it was implied that the Congress leader was all set to join the BSP.

Mr Beermi was elected as a legislator on the Congress ticket in 1992 from the Ludhiana rural constituency and had also served as the Minister for Civil Aviation in the Cabinet of Beant Singh.

Till recently, he was also a treasurer of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and commands quite a few pockets of influence in the constituency, which in the present Vidhan Sabha is represented by Mr Hira Singh Gabria of the Shiromani Akali Dal, owing allegiance to a former SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Meanwhile, the vice-president of the state unit of the BSP, Dr D.P. Khosla, has flayed the DYC and the Congress activists for blowing the issue out of proportion. He said Mr Beermi had simply met Mr Kanshi Ram to felicitate him on his 67th birthday. The demand to take disciplinary action against somebody was ridiculous.

To drive home his assertion, Dr Khosla said even Ms Sonia Gandhi had gone to the residence of Ms Mayawati, vice-president of the BSP, in New Delhi on January 15 to offer greetings on her birthday. “Is Ms Sonia Gandhi also liable for disciplinary action for anti-party activity”, he asked.

While Mr Beermi was out of station and not available for comments, his close supporters charged those demanding action against him as trying to settle personal score at the cost of unity and integrity of the party. “The meeting between Mr Beermi and Mr Kanshi Ram was purely coincidental and absolutely without any political ramifications.

It was just an exchange of pleasantries and Mr Beermi conveying his greetings to the BSP chief on his birthday.”


City goes tipsy!
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, March 27
Time; 10 am. Place: Bhadaur House Market: An inebriated man in dirty clothes opens a pint of country liquor and guzzles it down within no time. Soon, he is spread outside a closed shop, oblivious of the gaze of passersby, some of whom are puzzled. The others just give a smile without even halting their stride for a second.

Time 5 pm. Place: Autorickshaw stand near Laxmi Cinema. A welldressed man, probably in his late 40s, is rather angularly slouched against the side of a parked three-wheeler.

His head, resting on the chest, drools from time to time. About five autorickshaw drivers stand around the man, rather impressed by his drunkenness. One of the drivers buys a little bread and a dirty stray dog follows him. The man breaks a little crumb and places it on the dangling arm of the slouched man. The dog hesitates at first, but finding the man unresponsive, climbs onto him and picks up the bread crumb. The driver also gets encouraged. He tears the bread into crumbs and feeds these to the dog, making fun of the man all the time. Everyone present has a laugh every time the dog hops on to the man to pick the bread crumb.

A crowd gathers there in the meantime. Someone says that liquor has become cheaper after fresh auctions of vends in the city.

A few day before the opening of the new liquor vends, there is no dearth of such scenes in the city. Thousands of poor men, including labourers, rickshawpullers, beggars and some even persons of the middle class remain drunk as long as they can. It is only a week or so in the whole year when those fond of liquor have a party-time. It is immaterial if they spend the night in the company of stray dogs or their kin at home.

A bottle of country liquor, earlier priced at Rs 80, was selling at Rs 35 yesterday, with a promise of further fall in its price in the next couple of days.

Last year, five bottles of country liquor could be had at Rs 100 only. With three more days left before the new vends open, the worshippers of Bacchus are certain of having a great tipsy time till March 31.

However, after March 31, a bottle of country liquor is likely to be available at Rs 100 against the current price of Rs 80.


MBA students suffer as teachers squabble
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
The fate of some students of the Department of Business Management, Punjab Agricultural University, hangs in balance as the varsity is yet to decide over reallocating a major adviser to them. The MBA students who were allocated Dr S.K. Singla as their adviser are hoping that at least during the second semester they will be allocated an adviser.

Eight months have passed since they joined the university and, according to the university rules, an adviser is to be provided to them after 2 months. The students continue to suffer due to a tug-of-war between Dr. Singla and other teachers of the Business Management Department.

In fact these five students who joined the department on July 25, 2000 are “victims” of the controversy surrounding the change of the designation of Professor of Statistics to Professor of Business Management. They have already completed their first semester and contrary to the standing instructions of academic rules of PAU, the students must be allocated an adviser within two months of their joining, However, even after the start of their second semester they are without any adviser.

Moreover, in what may be called another controversial move, it has been learnt that the acting head of the Department of MBA has written to the Dean, PGS, Dr K.S. Sekhon, to allocate Dr Singla as adviser to the students of Dr O.P. Sahni, who has retired as head of the department on superannuation on February 28 last.

The Dean, PGS, Dr Sekhon, said that the varsity had not taken any decision as yet on both the issues. He said that nothing has been finalised as yet and the authorities would decided on all the things in toto after some time.

The issue is hanging fire since November, 1999, when Dr Singla was transferred to Department of Business Management after the department had felt shortage of staff after the retirement of a senior professor. The move was, however, opposed by the faculty members of Department of Business Administration, arguing that Dr Singla did not hold a degree in business management and was only a diploma holder. So he could not teach postgraduate students as per the varsity rules.

It was recommended by the then HOD, Dr Sahni, that Dr Singla would guide five students of MBA. The academic committee of the department had objected to this recommendation, taking the plea of the above said rules. The matter was then sent to the Dean, PGS, which is still hanging fire.

To add to their resentment the then HOD, Dr Sahni, had moved a case to the Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, to change the designation of Dr Singla from Professor of Statistics to Professor of Business management. He had proposed to change his designation vide his note dated 17.11.2000. The case was further sent to the Vice-Chancellor for approval but he decided to take it to the academic council of the varsity.

The Academic Council of the varsity did not approve of the change of designation in its meeting held on January 18. According to the sources, as per the rules of the university only he could guide the students of postgraduation who himself held a postgraduate degree or was a member of PG faculty.

The then HOD, Dr Sahni, had written to the Dean that Dr Singla was transferred to this department only after the need for a professor with qualifications in quantitative subjects had arisen. He had said that Dr Singla had a long experience of teaching not only quantitative methods but also different courses in management. He had also worked as Associate Professor in the department for a considerable time. The HOD had also written that Dr Singla was selected by Indira Gandhi National Open University as reader of management in management school.

Other reasons which Dr Sahni took up as his qualifications for the change of designation were that Dr Singla had guided many students of MBA before and he was teaching those subjects to MBA students, which required the knowledge of economics and statistics.


Minor raped, murdered
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 27
A minor girl was found murdered in her house at 10 a.m. yesterday.

According to sources, Sabhai Ram, a migrant labourer from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, worked in a factory here. A widower, he was staying with his 14-year-old daughter Rajkumari. He went to work at 7 a.m. yesterday and when his daughter did not turn up at the factory till 10 a.m. with his breakfast, he went home, where he found her dead. She had been wounded in the neck and stomach.

The victim’s father suspected the involvement of Sanjay and Rajesh, workers in another local factory, in the murder. Rajkumari allegedly had an affair with Sanjay, as indicated by his letters. The victim’s father was sure that the duo came to factory at 9 a.m. after committing the murder and when it became public at around 1 p.m., they slipped off.

A case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against the duo. The victim was raped before she was murdered, according to a preliminary police investigation and the postmortem report.


Transport companies penalised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
The Enforcement Wing of the Octroi Department in the Municipal Corporation intercepted a truck owned by Golden Transport Company for carrying plastic granules worth Rs 1.22 lakh in excess than the declared value on which octroi had been paid. An amount of Rs 51,450 was recovered from the transport company as octroi and penalty.

According to Mr Tarlok Singh, Octroi Superintendent, another transporter paid Rs 26,460 as octroi and composition fee for bringing 50 bags of plastic granules, worth Rs 63,000 without payment of octroi.

The MC Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, has issued a stern warning to the members of trade and industry as well as the transporters.



WHILE the great American President Abraham Lincoln described democracy as the government of the people, by the people, for the people, the Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh believes otherwise. He has coined a new definition that probably suits best to the Indian and more so to the Punjab conditions, given the number of employees the state has employed and is feeding them regularly. Recently, Mr Singh was in the town to address a seminar organised by the Ludhiana Management Association. During the course of his long speech he described the present government as “government of the employees, by the employees and for the employees”. He had his reasons to make such a brilliant remark which may not be taken well by various trade unions. Maximum revenue of the state is spent on salaries and pension. Even in big research institutions like Punjab Agricultural University, more money is spent on salaries than on research work. Mr Singh also referred to an industrialist who was perturbed at 8 per cent of his total turnover being spent on establishment. Comparing it with that of the Punjab government which is about 60 per cent, Mr Singh called for strict financial discipline like that of the private companies. Best of luck.


Ludhiana has achieved outstanding success in the field of industry and trade. And rightly it is called the industrial capital of Punjab with huge industrial network spread across the city. This is a hard earned affluence. The megacity also enjoys the pride of having produced a legend like Sahir Ludhianvi, who immortalised the name of the city. To celebrate his birth anniversary, the Nehru Sidhant Kendra Trust and the Adeeb International organised Jashn-e-Sahir in memory of the great poet. The poets of eminence like Bashir Badr, Mauj Rampuri and Iftikhar Imam created a magic spell on the audience, which included industrial tycoons like Om Prakash Munjal and Mahesh Munjal, film star Raj Babbar his wife Nadira Babbar and several others. It was interesting to see Mr Munjal, who had come from a brain storming session on hard business, appreciating Urdu poetry. Not an hour before he gave a long lecture on what the government should do and not do and within an hour he was involved soul-deep in poetry. It was more than that. His brother O.P. Munjal, who himself writes poetry, also read some of his poems much to the cheer and delight of the audience. The brother duo stayed all through the mushaira and did not leave till the last poet made his presentation. However, there was an ironic end note. Mrs and Mr Raj Babbar left midway just after they received the Sahir Award, which was presented to them on the occasion.

Broken glasses

With unbound affluence that has come to Ludhianvis, the club culture also seems to be catching up fast with them. While Satluj Club and Ludhiana Club are quite old, new clubs have also come up in the city. Lodhi Club, it seems, is nowadays in the limelight. Located on the outskirts of the city far from the maddening crowds, the club has already about 1800 members registered with it. In fact it claims to be the second best after Satluj Club and is run almost on a similar pattern. However, the club has a long way to go before it can lay claim to excellence. Most of the members have been complaining about the food preparations in the club and other services. Recently, the guest of a senior member was served the ice cream in a broken glass tumbler. When he brought it to the notice of the people who served it, they tried to argue with the member, much to his embarrassment in front of his guests.

Ice candies

With the summer announcing its arrival, rather too early, people have started taking to ‘cold relief’. Baraf da gola (ice candy) is the most commonly consumed item in summers, not only by children but adults and elders as well. It has already flooded the market with rehris dotting the city, serving fresh ice candies at a relatively low price as compared to the ice cream. Birju Golewala has been selling ice candies for the last over four decades on the cemetry road. He has inherited the trade from his father. Everyday he sells hundreds of candies to people of all ages. He does not claim anything special about his candies, but insists only on the hygiene and cleanliness. People from different parts of the city flock his rehri to taste his candy every day. (See picture)

Chor pe more

It is a typical example of chor pe more. In an interesting case a person proved to be too smart to offer bribe to some officials of a hospital in the shape of counterfeit currency. He reportedly wanted some favour from the officials and he was asked to pay some specific amount by the middleman. The amount was supposed to be quite substantial. In order to ensure that he is able to pay full amount he enacted a smart trick. He somehow arranged fake currency notes and handed it over to unsuspecting officials who accepted it kindly. In the course of the entire drama the middleman reportedly informed the police who raided the premises where the deal was struck. The police reached instantly and caught hold of all the officials and the person who had offered the fake currency notes. While the officials have reportedly been exonerated, the person is behind bars not for offering bribe but for offering fake currency notes in bribe!

Tribute to martyrs

Like every year, on the 23rd of March, a handful of followers of different political parties had gathered near Jagraon bridge to pay tributes to martyrs Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, by garlanding their statues, who were hanged on March 23, 1931 by the British government for opposing their oppressive rule in the country. Interestingly, only a few political leaders and their followers were there. The general public was almost missing except few rickshaw-pullers who had gathered out of curiosity. The political leaders and their followers were competing with each other to pose before the cameras as photographers, journalists and cameramen of different newspapers and local TV channels had reached there to ‘cover the event of the day.’ People were cursing these politicians for blocking the traffic as a good number of vehicles had been parked on the busy road. A rickshaw puller was heard saying,‘‘ These politicians should not be allowed to garland martyrs as they have not only failed to implement the dreams of great national heroes but also they have been exposed by Tehelka”.

Terms of endearment

These days the terms of endearment like ‘dear, darling, love, sweetheart, honey, raja , rani and many others such like terms, which the people in due course of conversation used, seem to have disappeared from the vocabulary of most of the people. The people generally use slang and do not even use the accepted words of greetings. The stress and strain is making people use expletives at the drop of the hat. People are often heard using language most foul that makes one’s ears burn, but the worst thing is that everyone seems to have accepted the language without any protest. The terms of endearment used for children and between spouses have been smothered by paucity of time with both the partners working in many cases. This results in shouting and definitely no words of love can fall from angry lips. Only the young cuddly kids or pets are fortunate to hear ‘kootchie-kootchie’ words from the kids as well as grown-ups. Life has become very mundane and pressures are mounting so much that everyone is caught in the rat race. Love and loving words sadly seem to have gone out of life.

Hot Woman

Where would you find this Hot Woman? Ever since, she has come to the town, many men of the city have seen her though not met her. Hot Woman is the name of the film running at Deepak cinema for a last few days. The title is very suggestive and very derogatory for the women folk. Earlier, too, the cinema was showing an equally vulgar titled film Pyasi Sham. Needless to say these kind of movies target young, inquisitive young boys who even miss colleges and schools to view such movies. The migrant labourers also see these movies and pick up ideas of kidnapping and raping from such movies. The posters displayed are obscene and hurt the sensibilities of women and decent citizens. What is the district administration doing? Why are such movies allowed to be screened? Deepak cinema is located on a very busy and congested road, and provocative posters do distract drivers, and can lead to accidents, too.

No win situation

The results are out but the students get a very brief respite from studies to enjoy themselves. Those who have not got a clear pass and have been promoted have the ‘sword of Democles’ hanging on their heads, and so they are nagged by their parents to study. Those students who are brilliant have already started studying from tutors in order to do exceedingly well in the board and later competitive exams. The parents of average students are also chasing their children to cover the syllabus during the brief break so that they are able to cope up with the pressure of the studies of the new class. In short, the students of today, are a harassed lot. The syllabi is too vast, too irrelevant to life, too many pressures, too many tuitions. The pleasures of childhood and teenagers have gone! Are the educationists going to give them some reprieve and allow them to live carefree and happy lives, full of fun and joy? But it appears to be a distant dream as the competition is getting tougher day by day.




Halt before the last journey
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 27
“My daughter-in-law used to beat me up every day. My husband walked out of my life with another woman. My widowed daughter suggested that I spend the rest of my life in Shri Vivekanand Swarag Bridh Ashram, Model Town Extension. I came here and found peace,” says Ms Gurbir Kaur, a 75-year-old inmate. She has given instructions that her son should be turned away from the gate.

Mr Ram Parkash Bharti, president of Shri Vivekanand Swarag Ashram Trust, that runs the ashram, says they are also running an eye hospital and a cremation ground. The ashram started in 1991 with five rooms and four inmates. At present, it has 35 rooms and 60 inmates, including a 109-year-old man. Most of them have been turned out by their children. Most of the women feel that daughters are better than sons as the daughters visit them in the ashram.

Mr Prem Singh, who has three sons and owns a house in Model Town, intends making a will and leaving his property to the ashram. Mr Sohan Singh, who is 100 years old, has no child from three marriages. His nephew has taken away his property, forcing him to stay in the ashram. Some women have come from Kanpur and Agra to reside in the ashram.

Ms Anjali Sood, a volunteer, has chosen to stay on. Ms Krishna Kumari, who has been thrown out by her daughter-in-law, is satisfied staying here. Ms Rajrani agrees that whoever comes here is because of misfortune. Mr Jagjit Singh, who is 82 years old, states that what gives them satisfaction is the fact they when they die they will be cremated according to their religious tenets. Dr R.S. Maan visits the ashram with his daughter and other volunteers to treat the ill.


Bank fraud case follow-up slow
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Much to the dismay of hundreds of people who lost huge amount of money in the sensational fraud at Ludhiana Central Cooperative Bank in December 1999, the bank has been very ‘slow’ and ‘selective’ in its follow-up. The exposure of the fraud had revealed that certain employees of the bank were transferring depositors’ money into a parallel bank.

The lid over the follow-up action has been lifted following the recent reported arrest of an alleged swindler, Rajinder Pal Singh, by the Economic Offences Wing on charges of using fake certificates to get the job of a clerk in the bank. The arrested man was one of the employees accused of fraud, but due to his alleged proximity to a local minister, action against him was allegedly delayed.

Enquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune and documents related to the fraud suggested that many heads should have rolled following the exposure of the fraud and the fake certificate issue. According to sources, senior bank officials knew for long the truth about his certificates, but at the behest of another employee, reportedly close to a minister, action was delayed. Senior officials in Chandigarh manage to put him behind bars.

The said employee was suspended last year but reinstated, within 48 hours. His suspension letter (No. 24240-96) dated December 8, 1999, clearly mentioned that he was using political relations for personal ends.

While about 13 employees of the bank had duped the public of about a crore, the bank has got an FIR registered of a fraud of just more than Rs 5 lakh. An official calculation of the fraud had mentioned the total embezzlement by the employees. The calculated statement, duly signed by the higher officials concerned, elaborated on the money embezzled by each employee, yet selective action was taken.

Contradicting the findings of its own inquiry, the bank claimed that the actual fraud was of Rs 35 lakh. The bank did not get cases of fraud of this amount registered and limited itself to the amount of about Rs 5 lakh.

According to sources, the bank had not recovered a single paisa from the accused employees. It was alleged that the depositors whose money had been embezzled did not exactly know about the fraud. The department did confirmation of the accounts of a few depositors only.

The department suspended one employee, Ganga Singh, who along with Kashmira Singh, had complained of the fraud and the case of fake certificates. Kashmira Singh was also facing an inquiry against himself after making the complaint.

Mr N.K. Sharma, branch manager of the bank, said the delay was justified due to procedural wrangling in such a case.


3.35 cr for welfare of Ludhiana
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
Funds amounting to Rs 3.35 crore were cleared for different development and welfare programmes of the government in the district at the meeting of the District Development and Planning Board here today, taking the amount of funds released during the current financial year by the board to Rs 17.40 crore.

Presiding over the meeting of the District Grievances Removal Committee, the Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said the state government was according top priority to speedy redressal of public grievances. He directed the officers to devote more time to listening to problems of the public.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, said ongoing development projects would be executed fast.


IT staff demand promotions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Promotions of the Income Tax officials and the cadre restructuring proposals were being blocked by the minister of state for revenue. Leaders of the local units of the Income Tax Gazetted Federation and Income Tax Employees Federation said while addressing a demonstration held here today.

The members said that income tax officers had been promoted as Assistant Commissioners on the ad hoc basis in 1998 and it took the department two years to hold the DPC meeting for their regularisation.

The speakers also alleged that the IRS officers were promoting their own interests at the cost of Group B, C and D employees.


BSNL notice to BKU leader
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 27
Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union, has been issued a notice by the junior accounts officer, Telephones Revenue Accounts, Khanna, to pay his telephone bill dated 1.12.96 for Rs 536 or present its receipts before March 31.

According to Mr Rajenwal, the bill was paid in time and he has never been a defaulter. He expressed surprise as to how the department expected a subscriber to produce a five-year-old receipt.

‘‘As the bills are paid through post offices it becomes the duty of the postal officials to inform the authorities concerned about the receipt of bills in time. Why the subscribers should suffer for the inefficiency and negligence of the departments concerned,’’ he said.

He further added that the position of the Samrala exchange was going from bad to worse and the Telecommunication Minister should take note of it, he added.


PFA demands inquiry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
The People for Animals, Ludhiana, has urged the Senior Superintendent of Police, the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation to get a case registered under Sections 428 and 429 of the IPC against those responsible for the death of nearly 50 pigs in the municipal piggery on the Tajpur Road.

The pigs have reportedly died because of starvation. Stray pigs trapped by corporation officials from residential colonies of the town are kept in the piggery.

In similar appeals to the district authorities today, the PFA general secretary said that the pigs were being deprived of water and food and as such the animals were dying of starvation. Depriving the animals of food and water was an offence under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The PFA further urged that the piggery records should be sealed immediately pending an inquiry. The PFA also demanded that all the surviving pigs should be subjected to thorough medical examination and provided with necessary treatment, besides food and water.


33,440 animals vaccinated
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 27
Vaccination work for prevention of foot-and-mouth disease in animals is in progress under the directions of Dr H.S.Gill, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Ludhiana. According to Dr Surjit Singh, Senior Veterinary Officer, Jagraon, 33,440 animals have been vaccinated against foot-and-mouth disease in the Jagraon subdivision. About 600 cows have been vaccinated at the gaoshala Jagraon.’

According to Dr Paramjeet Singh, Veterinary Officer, Jagraon, foot-and-mouth vaccine is being incalculated on subsidy by the Animal Husbandry Department, Punjab, and available in all veterinary hospitals and dispensaries.


Ten injured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
Ten persons were injured in a clash between two families at Mushtaq Ganj Colony here this morning.

The clash took place when a child urinated in front of Mr Swarn Singh’s house. When he objected to it tempers rose and soon developed into the clash. Even swords and lathis were reportedly used. 


Fake currency
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
The CIA police has seized five fake currency notes from Surjit Singh, a resident of Hambra , and Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Gulchaman Gali. A case has been registered.


Lensmen caught protesting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Most of the photographers’ shops in the state remained closed today under the call of various national unions of photographers and the Punjab Photographers Association to protest against the Central Government’s decision to impose 5 per cent service tax on photography and related services.

While criticising the imposition of the tax, Mr K.K. Mehta, president of the Punjab Photographers Association, said,‘‘ We are protesting the imposition of service tax not only because it will escalate the prices of photography services, but also because most of the photographers in the country are semi-literate, self-employed, and have limited income. They would not be able to pay the tax.’’

A delegation of the Ludhiana Videographers’ Association and photographers also presented a memorandum to Mr S.S. Kaler, ADC, and to Mr Jangir Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Central Excise, as a part of the countrywide protest against the government’s decision to impose service tax. A bandh was observed by the association.

Mr Ashok Gogna, president of the Ludhiana Videographers Association, in a memorandum, said, ‘‘Thousands of photographers in the country will become jobless if the government decided to implement the proposed tax. The government should review its decision.’’

The memorandum mentioned that on the one hand the government was decreasing tax rates on photography material, but at the same time service tax had been imposed. It would be very difficult for the photographers working in small towns and villages to get themselves registered with the Central Excise Department and to keep accounts in proper order. Most of them were not even income tax assessees and it would be difficult for them to engage accountants and lawyers and appease the excise officials at the same time.

Mr Rajesh Bhambi, president of the Ludhiana Photojournalists’ Association, also condemned the government’s decision and asked to exempt the photography services from the service tax.

SAMRALA: Photographers of Samrala and Machhiwara here today observed one-day strike on the call given by the All India Photographers Association to protest against the imposition of five per cent Service Tax on the photographers.

The photographers under the leadership of Mr Gurmeet Singh Bedi, senior vice-president of the Photographers Association, submitted a memorandum to the local SDM, Mr Sandeep Hans, demanding the withdrawal of service tax. They also threatened to start an agitation against the order.

Jagraon: Photographers of this area held a rally against the imposition of service tax today. They also presented a memorandum to the Sub Divisional Magistrate in this regard.

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