Tuesday, March 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Building bylaws violation continues with impunity
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 4
Laxity on the part of municipal corporation authorities regarding the enforcement of building bylaws has encouraged city residents flout building norms and bylaws.

Ironically, in most of the cases, where residential, commercial or industrial buildings are being constructed either without approved building plans or making other violations like excess covered area and house-line overstepping are being committed, the functionaries of the Building Branch of the MC are involved in one way or the other.

In yet another instance of the MC employees being instrumental in construction of building in an unlawful manner, a shop has been constructed in a part of a house in the Model Town locality in the city. The residents of the area, in a representation submitted to the MC authorities, have claimed that the entire locality was residential and commercial use of a part of a residential house would disturb peace, besides being unlawful. The residents further alleged that no building plan for the shop had been got approved since the owners claimed to be ‘highly connected.’

When contacted for comments, the MC Joint Commissioner, Mr Prem Chand, who is also the Zonal Commissioner of Zone D said he had received a copy of the complaint. He said no town planning scheme existed for Model Town area. As such it was not possible to clearly demarcate the residential or commercial areas in the locality. “However, it is imperative to get a building plan approved for any addition or alteration in an existing building and a detailed report has been sought from the building staff in this respect.”

There has been several instances in the recent past when those proceeded against for violation of building bylaws or in some cases when demolitions were effected, the defaulters had levelled charges that officials of the Building Branch had been paid bribes for looking the other way. In at least two such cases, the MC administration has initiated disciplinary action against the erring employees and in another case, involving construction of shops by an NRI, three employees, including one Assistant Town Planner and a Building Inspector have been booked by the police under Prevention of Corruption Act.

However, the half hearted action taken by the civic administration both against its own employees and those flouting building norms have hardly served as a deterrent. While the building activity in the mega city continues at a hectic pace, the MC income from building fee and composition fee has been showing a downward trend for quite some time now. Although the senior MC officials refuse to confirm it, Ludhiana Tribune has reliably learnt that in the face dwindling revenue, the annual targeted income from building application fee and composition fee have been scaled down.



Family planning programme left impotent
City may double in 25 years
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, March 4
Even as the government promises to deal with population explosion on priority, its actions suggest otherwise. The Centre’s stopping of the grant for the Post Partum Programme has adversely affected population-control measures in the past one year.

Three premier medical institutions here have stopped family welfare camps due to financial constraints. Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Christian Medical College and Hospital and Dr B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital had been receiving the grant for the Family Planning Programme for the past many years, but, after its discontinuation, the DMCH had to shut down this programme two years ago.

Dr T.S. Cheema, Medical Superintendent of Dr B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital, said, if the population-control programme was closed, the city’s population would double in the next 25 years.

Col T.S. Kanwar, Chief Administrator and Coordinator of the DMCH, said: “We were not able to continue with the programme, as we were not getting any government aid and the staff was not getting salaries.”

Dr Cheema said the Post Partum Programme was gasping for breath with no grant coming this year. He said, though the hospital had submitted a Rs 16.68 lakh budget estimate for the current financial year, no grant had been released. “The hospital has been compelled to stop payment of salaries to the staff working for the programme and it may also be forced to close down the programme,” said Dr Cheema.

He said: “It is an old project, continuing for, perhaps, more than 25 years. We motivate the public and target couples are ruralities and slum persons. Family welfare camps are organised, where tubectomy and vasectomy are performed. We have to perform over 600 operations (the target) to get the government grant. Incentives like wall-clocks, utensils and shawls etc also have to be given to the target couples.”

Dr Lakhwinder Kaur, who is working on this project in Kapoor Memorial Hospital, said she had not received her salary from November 2001 onwards. “It has been five months now since I have not been paid even a penny. I cannot go on like this for a long time,” she said.

Another official of the hospital said a representation had been given to the Director Health Services (Family Welfare) on February 25 for the release of the grant for the year 2001-2002, but nothing had come out of it.



Jagraon police busts gang of robbers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Jagraon police today claimed to have busted a gang of robbers, which was involved in several robbery and snatching incidents in Jagraon town and surrounding areas for the past couple of months.

SSP Balkar Singh Sandhu said in a press release that two members of the gang had been arrested, while two others had absconded. The two arrested accused, identified as Chamkaur Singh and Malkit Singh, have confessed of looting two liquor vends, besides snatching cash and vehicles from several persons.

The police has recovered some cash, two .12-bore guns and some vehicles from their possession. Two other accused, Duni Chand and Gurdeep Singh were yet to be arrested.

Among the prominent cases solved by the police with the two arrests were looting at gunpoint of a man, Daljit Singh, near Tollewal village last week, looting of a liquor vend in Jagraon on January 17 and another at Dholan village. The gangsters had also allegedly looted a youth, Puneet Jain, in Ajit Nagar, Jagraon.



Jodhan alleges political vendetta
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The registration of a case against the son of a former MLA, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, has kicked up a controversy, with Mr Jodhan saying here today that his son has been victimised in a game of political vendetta by the Congress.

He said the Jagraon police had been showing a bias against him to appease the new political bosses in the state. He said the police had levelled flimsy charges against his son, as the medical report concerned showed only minor injuries to the “attacked person”.

He said the police had promptly registered a case against his son, but taken no action on his complaint against the man alleged to have been attacked. He said there had only been a little arugument between the two men and the allegations of serious injuries and red chillies being thrown into the eyes of a person were baseless. He said the medical report showed that the injured had complained of irritation in the eyes, but there had been no mention of a medical examination in this regard.

The Jagraon police, however, said there had been no interference by any politician in the registration of the case and the police action was according to the law. Sources said the police had acted on a complaint.

Mr Jodhan said the alleged victim of the attack had accused his son and him of taking money from some persons to contest elections and “he should just shut up”.


366 students get degrees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
Nearly 366 students of the Government College for Women were awarded graduate and postgraduate degrees at its annual convocation held here today.

Those awarded degrees included students from BA, BSc, B.Com, PG diploma in home science and MA in fine arts, Punjabi and music. Prizes were given to 54 students who stood first and second in their respective classes. Ten students received role of honour for academics, five for cultural and social activities and four for achievements in sports. Twelve students received role of honour for handball, seven for basketball, nine for hockey and one for judo.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, was the chief guest. Ms Inderjeet Gill Vashisht, principal, highlighted the achievements of the students in academics, sports and co-curricular activities.



Anurag Aggarwal takes over as DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Mr Anurag Aggarwal, a 1990 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service, took over as the new Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana relieving Mr S.K. Sandhu, who served here for about two years.

Mr Aggarwal was earlier posted as Special Secretary, Punjab Health and Family Welfare, and was also the Managing Director of the Punjab Health System Corporation. He belongs to Bareily in Uttar Pradesh and his father, Mr R.C. Gupta, is also a retired IAS officer. He has also served as MD, Punsup.

Talking to reporters after assuming charge, Mr Aggarwal said he would continue with the healthy traditions set up by his predecessor.



Shabana Azmi to deliver Sat Paul Mittal oration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
To commemorate the memory of late Sat Paul Mittal, the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital will organise the fifth Sat Paul Mittal oration in collaboration with the Nehru Sidhant Kendra on March 6 in Dumra Auditorium. The noted film actress and Member of Parliament, Shabana Azmi will deliver the oration on “Empowerment of Women”.

She has also been quite active in working relentlessly for the cause for the uplift of the weaker sections of society.



Surviving tension, yet putting up a brave face
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Notwithstanding the deft and prompt handling of the situation by the administration on March 1 when VHP had called for bandh, persistent apprehensions seem to be prevailing among over 1 lakh Muslims of Ludhiana. Particularly with violence continuing in Gujarat and some other parts of the country and the reports of deaths pouring in regularly for the past few days, Muslims here seem to have a reason to feel concerned.

The Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianavi, and his brother and the Punjab president of the Indian Muslim Council, Maulana Atiq-u-Rehman, have been trying to put up a brave face and not letting any fear crop in among their community.

The attendance in the masjid has been relatively low for the past few days. It was quite low on Friday. Most of the Muslims in the city are hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and are working as labourers in different industrial units. And most of the trained artisans employed by various hosiery units are also Muslims.

The Maulana’s family has been reassuring the Muslims here about the secular traditions of Punjab. In fact the Jama Masjid located in Field Ganj has its own history.

It was from here that call for the freedom was given by Maulana Habib-u-Rehman, grandfather of the present Shahi Imam. He was a close associate of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. It was the unfailing belief in communal brotherhood that had held him back in India when most of the members of his community migrated to Pakistan.

At the time of Partition, the mosque had been converted into a gurdwara and was reverted back to the mosque in late fifties by Mr Pratap Singh Kairon at the instance of Pandit Nehru. Senior Rehman’s son Maulana Khalil-u-Rehman had given shelter to Subash Chander Bose in 1939 and accompanied him to Peshawar.

And the strong belief in the secular character of the people of Punjab has always reassured the Muslims of being safe and secure here. And this faith has been standing the Muslims here in good stead and they feel quite safe and secure here.

“Our faith in communal brotherhood is too strong to make us fear or apprehend anything”, remarked Maulana Atiq-u-Rehman. 



DCC chief, others condemn violence in Gujarat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
The District Congress Committee (Urban), while expressing deep concern over acts of communal violence in Gujarat and elsewhere, has observed that the nation needed to be rid of communal and fundamental parties in order to achieve all round development.

Addressing a felicitation function in Guru Amar Das Nagar (Ward 42) in the city, the DCC president Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, charged the Centre and the BJP government in Gujarat with fomenting communal tension for its ulterior political motives. “On the other hand, the Congress is a truly secular party, which treats people of all religions and castes equally without any discrimination.”

The function was organised by Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, Mr Sikander Singh Billoo, Mr Jasvir Singh and Mr Ashok Kumar. Prominent among others present were Mr Harjinder Singh Grewal, chairman, Labour and Employment Cell, Ludhiana (Rural), Mr Gurbhej Singh Chabra, member, PPCC, Mr Surinder Singh Kooner, Mr Karnail Singh Latala, Mr Rajinder Singh Rana, Mr Sat Pal Sharma, Mr Mewa Singh Grewal and Mr Ram Rattan Singh Grewal.

Meanwhile, the district unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the CPI (ML) Liberation have, in separate statements, condemned the communal violence in Gujarat and the failure of the government to come to terms with miscreants and anti-social elements.

Mr Raj Kumar, district president of the Labour Cell of the NCP, cautioned the people against the evil designs of communal and fundamental elements who were trying to create communal tension in order to break the country. The state secretary of the CPI (ML) Liberation, Mr Rajwinder Singh Rana, urged the Union Government to dismiss the Gujarat Government for its failure to contain communal riots. It further called for a ban on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other such communal bodies.



IHRO decries Gujarat riots
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has termed the events in Gujarat as not merely intolerance but barbarity. Stating that it was a repeat of the 1984 when thousands of Sikhs were massacred in Delhi and elsewhere in India in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi, chairperson of IHRO D.S. Gill and its secretary-general Mohinder Singh Grewal alleged that in Gujarat, no less than the country’s Defence Minister himself is a witness to the shameful conduct of the BJP government, which allowed the carnage of the innocent Muslims for two full days.

RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan blames the torching of the train, which carried kar sevaks back from Ayodhya on the ISI of Pakistan. If so, the IHRO activists said, why allow the cold-blooded murders of Muslims, including women and children?

“While the posture of the India’s Home Minister L K Advani about the Gujarat government’s inaction to contain the violence is all too glaring, even the Prime Minister does not emerge as helpless and innocent.

The least, they said, the ruling NDA should do is to dismiss the Gujarat government, hold an impartial inquiry and punish the guilty before the entire evidence gets destroyed in the same way as was done in the case of 1984 criminals.

The IHRO, however, welcomes the step taken by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which issued a notice to the Government of Gujarat and to the Director General of Police asking them to submit a report within three days on the incidents and the measures taken to contain them.



‘MC employees acting as mafia dons’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 4
A Congress councillor from ward 66 here, Mr Sat Pal Puri, has alleged that all departments of the Municipal Corporation have become dens of corruption with certain ''well-connected'' employees acting as ''dons''. He further alleged that activists of the MC Employees Union had come out in the open to shield their colleagues, facing action on charges of corruption.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Puri, who had been instrumental in exposing three MC employees in the building branch, who were later booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act by the police for allegedly taking bribe from an NRI for unlawful construction of shops, claimed that the booty collected by ''corrupt'' employees was shared at various levels.

He took a strong notice of press statements issued by some of the MC Employees Union activists, which he termed as veiled threats to him for exposing corrupt civic employees. ''I will not be cowed down by such threats and will continue to fight against the misdeeds of the MC employees and officials,'' he maintained.

Mr Puri said that in his fight for a clean civic administration, he too had paid a heavy price. He alleged that he had been discriminated against in allotment of funds for development works in his ward. Not only this, files pertaining to sanctioned estimates for different works in his area, were reported as lost as a result of which the development works were hanging fire.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Youth Congress activists, held in Kila Mohalla, criticised the area councillor, Mr Sunil Mehra of the BJP, for what they described as utter neglect of the ward. Speakers at the meeting deplored the pathetic insanitary conditions, prevailing in the locality, alleging that the councillor as well as the MC administration remained unresponsive.

The YC activists observed that heaps of garbage, lying in front of the houses and shops, remained uncleared, posing grave health hazard to the residents. They said repeated pleas made to the MC officials concerned and the councillor, had fallen on deaf ears. The YC, they added, would be forced to launch an agitation against the MC administration if immediate corrective steps were not taken.



SAD feud hots up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Major changes are in the offing in the Shiromani Akali Dal in the city after a humiliating defeat of SAD-BJP candidates in the assembly elections. In all probability, the party is likely to take action against a senior leader for his open revolt and opposition to the official candidates.

Well placed sources in the SAD revealed that some local leaders including acting district president of the party Avtar Singh Makkar have recommended the expulsion of party vice-president, Amarjit Singh Bhatia for his “anti-party activities” during the elections. In fact Mr Makkar is on record having demanded expulsion of Mr Bhatia and has been blaming him (Mr Bhatia) for his defeat from Ludhiana West.

Mr Makkar’s demand has found an echo from the local leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In fact both Mr Makkar and the local BJP leadership have been asserting that Mr Bhatia played spoilsport for all the three alliance candidates in the city, all of whom lost to Congress candidates by massive margins . Although Mr Bhatia’s opposition to Mr Makkar was pronounced, he is believed to have also actively opposed Mr Satpal Gosain and Mr Pran Nath Bhatia in Ludhiana East and Ludhiana North seats.

BJP sources pointed out that it was for the first time that the traditional Akali voters voted for the Congress candidates. “It was a total U-turn taken by the voters at the behest of the Akali leaders”, the sources disclosed. Mr Bhatia and Mr Prithipal Singh Pali, president of the Gurdwara Dukhniwaran, who is related to Mr Bhatia, had reportedly held several meetings with their supporters, where they had declared their opposition to Mr Gosain.

Mr Gosain had at his own level tried several times to motivate Mr Bhatia for his support, but in vain.



Madhouse on roads in old city
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 4
Traffic in old city is chaotic and maddening, where it is easy to reach a destination on foot than by car or any other vehicle.

Rajeev Sharma, one of the many who travel from Civil Lines to Chaura Bazaar everyday, is upset at long delays that traffic jams cause. He says: “The moment we reach Domoria Bridge, we can see serpentine queues of vehicles, with each brushing with the other to get ahead first. The honking of horns and abusing galore irritate everyone every morning and one gets tired even before reaching the workplace. Sometimes, I leave my car in a jam and walk to my workplace, where my driver reaches an-hour-and-a-half later, every time. This happens because there are not enough traffic policemen there.”

Sona, who works in a Bhadaur Market office, has to cross Damoria Bridge to reach her workplace, but, due to regular traffic jams, she gets a hiding from her boss almost everyday for coming to the office late. The chaos is perhaps because lanes have not been marked here. The traffic here comprises a variety of vehicles and there is no traffic policeman to regulate it. There are nervous drivers that can’t hold on for long on the busy road, which causes a lot of mild accidents and brawls everyday.

“It takes a long time to cross the distance between Domoria Bridge and Sabzi Mandi. If one goes towards the station, one encounters a heavy traffic again as an overbridge is being built there. Toxic fumes from three-wheelers are increasing the incidence of respiratory diseases,” says Dr Shashi Bhatnagar, who has also seen it all.

Some students say: “We do not live outside the city and our school is in the suburbs, so, the daily commuting of a few kilometres not only wastes a lot of our time, but also exposes us to toxic fumes from three-wheelers on the crowded roads. When we reach home, we have a headache and we are losing stamina steadily. This leaves us with no strength for exercise. The Municipal Corporation should do something to end traffic jams.”

“Road rage is leading to fights, even murders. In Ludhiana, a lot of new vehicles are brought on road everyday, but the roads have not increased in comparison. We are tired of wasting fuel and time on city roads,” say angry commuters.



Shivaratri shobha yatra to be a low-key affair
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, march 4
The Shivaratri Mahotsav Committee held a meeting here yesterday at the Haridev Temple to review the preparations for the shobha yatra to be taken out on March11 in the wake of killings in Gujarat, and decided that in order to pay homage to the killed people the lighting during the shobha yatra would be a low-key affair. The money saved thus would be sent for the relief of the violence-hit people in Gujarat.

It was also decided that the DGP, Mr M.S. Bhullar, would be invited to be the chief guest on the occasion.

Mr Sunil Mehra, who chaired the meeting, told Ludhiana Tribune that a two-minute silence was observed to pay homage to the massacred people. It was also decided to hold the next meeting on March 10.

Among others who attended the meeting were the committee chairman, Mr Prem Gupta, Mr Arun Jain Babla, Mr Ashwani Kharbanda, Pandit Purshottam, Pandit Bhim Sain, Mr Ashwini Bedi, Jathedar Manmohan Singh, Mahant Narayan Dass Puri, Mr Ashwini Sharma, Mr Ajay Lekhi, Mr Sanjiv Gupta, Mr Kanwal Arora, Mr Dileep Bharti, Mr Sunil Maria, Mr Neeraj Jain, Mr Ashok Jain, Mr Tarsem Jain, Mr Charanjit Bhargove, Mr Vijay Gandhi, Mr Rajan Gupta, Mr Om Parkash and Mr Rattan Lal.



2 arrested for kidnapping ‘tantrik’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
The Division No 3 police has claimed to have arrested two persons who had allegedly kidnapped a ‘tantrik’ from the local Baba Thaan Singh chowk at gun-point a couple of days ago and had snatched Rs 27,000 from him.

In his complaint to the police, Anish Malik, who was kidnapped by the accused had alleged that another ‘tantrik’ Moin Pasha, who was based at Muzzaffar Nagar, had kidnapped him with the help of his two Chandigarh-based friends, Vinod Kumar and Manish Kumar, and taken him to Sirhind in his car where the accused snatched Rs 27,000 from him and fled away.

The police has arrested Vinod Kumar and Manish Kumar, but the main accused, Moin Pasha, is still eluding the police.

Fraud alleged: The Division No 7 police has registered a case of alleged fraud under Sections 406 and 323 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Inder Singh, a resident of Khanpur Bet village, against Rajinder Singh, alias Raju. According to the complainant, he had paid Rs 35,000 to the accused for getting his brother-in-law , Mr Davinder Singh, sent to some foreign country. Since the accused had failed to keep his promise, he approached the accused to get his money back who refused to do so and started misbehaving with him.

One booked: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Pritpal Singh, a resident of New Janta Nagar, against Ranjit Kaur, a resident of Daba village. The complainant has alleged that he had bought a plot from the accused for Rs 66,000. He paid her Rs 50,000 with mutual understanding that a sale deed would be prepared soon. Mr Singh alleged that the woman later refused to either pay back the money or get a sale deed executed in his name.

3 held for disturbing peace: The Division No 2 police arrested Tejinder Singh, a resident of Shimla Puri, Harpreet Singh, a resident of Issa Nagri, and Palwinder Singh, a resident of Chet Singh Nagar, on the charge of disturbing general peace and obstructing traffic by quarrelling at a public place near Laxmi Cinema on Saturday. The accused have been booked under Section 160 of the IPC.

Youth injured: Mr Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Nalli mohalla on the Deepak cinema road, was allegedly attacked with sharp-edged weapons by some of his neighbours on Saturday night. The injured boy has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The police has registered a case, but no arrest has been made so far.

Car stolen: The Division No 6 police has registered a case of car theft against unidentified persons under Section 379 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Gagan Kumar, a resident of Shivaji Nagar, who stated that his Tata Qualis, which was parked outside his house, had been stolen.

Shop burgled:  The Kotwali police has registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Raj Kumar, a resident of Rajinder Nagar, against some unidentified burglars under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC. According to the complainant, the burglars made their way into his book shop in Chaura Bazar on Saturday night by damaging the roof and decamped with a bag containing Rs 14,900.

Employees booked: The Division No 6 police has registered a case of alleged theft under Section 381 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kanwar Kant Kansal, owner of Kansal Industrial Corporation, Industrial Area-B, against Pandit and Raj, both residents of Sultanpur, UP. The accused were his employees and used to live on the factory premises. But one day when the complainant opened the factory, he found that 10 bags which were full of cycle parts were missing from the factory premises.

Accident victim dies: Manjit Singh (55), a resident of Sarthala village, who had been admitted to the DMC Hospital after falling from his scooter, breathed his last here on Sunday.

One injured in attack: Balwant Singh of Daburjee village has lodged a complaint with the Punjab police against Amar Singh, Golo and Jara Singh for attacking him and thus making him unconscious. The complainant was admitted to the local hospital and a case under Sections 452, 323, 324 and 341, IPC, has been registered against the accused.

Pillion rider dead: A pillion rider died when a car hit the scooter on the Rara Sahib road. The driver of the scooter, Bahadur Singh, has complained that while he and Jang Singh were going from Rara Sahib on their scooter (Pb-26-0727), a car (DL4-A-0888) coming from Ahmedgarh side hit them as result of which Jang Singh was badly injured. He was admitted to the CMC Hospital, Ludhiana, where he died, while a case was registered at Payal police station under Sections 304-A of the IPC against the car driver who fled.

Assault: A case under Sections 323, 452, 324, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC has been registered against Amanpreet Singh, Kala Singh, Gandhi, Jogi, Pimpa and 8-10 others unidentified persons on the complaint of Jonhy Badlana of Balmiki Mohalla, Doraha, as the latter complained that these people came on motor cycles and scooters and injured Sanjiv Kumar and Johny with sharpedged weapons who were later admitted to the civil dispensary at Doraha.

Car taken away: The police has registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Manohar Singh of Agwar Ladhai under Section 379 of the IPC.

According to the complainant, after attending a marriage in Minian village, he was returning home in his Tata Sumo (DL-9CA-3490). Near Shivpuri, Jagwar Dala, two persons signalled him to stop and requested him to take them to Adda Raikot. He gave them a lift and started towards Adda Raikot. After covering about 50 yards, he fell unconscious and on the following morning found himself lying near the embankment of the Sutlej river. He suspected both those persons had taken away his car.

2 booked for murder: On the statement of Surjit Singh of Lamme village, the Sidhwan Bet police has booked Balwinder Singh, alias Billu, of Swaddi Kalan village, and an unidentified person under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC.

The complainant has alleged that the said persons had murdered Sukhdarshan Singh of his village with swords. According to him, Balwinder Singh, one of the accused, had illicit relations with the wife of the deceased who used to stop the accused from visiting his house.



Hotel association hails rationalisation
of expenditure tax
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab has hailed the decision of the Union Finance Minister to rationalise the expenditure tax imposed on hotels. At a state-level meeting held here today, the association welcomed the decision to reduce custom duty on imported liquor from 210 per cent to 182 per cent, which would directly benefit the hotel industry.

After the meeting, Mr N.S. Nanda, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that the industry was grateful to the Finance Minister for giving some relaxations and concessions, especially for exemption from levy of service tax in all functions for one more year. He appreciated the announcement that expenditure tax would be now levied on room charges only. In another concession, all hotels will get 25 per cent income tax exemption of foreign exchange. The TDS will now be deducted at 10 per cent rate instead of 5 per cent, which will also benefit hotel and travel agents and tour operators.

The association, however, lamented that increase in LPG and kerosene rates would badly affect them. The members also expressed their unhappiness over the increase in income tax surcharge from 2 to 5 per cent.

Mr Nanda told that the association had also decided to hold its annual meet at Ludhiana in April. A Goa food and cultural festival would be organised on this occasion. Giving details of the festival, Mr Nanda informed that it would be a three day festival and artists, cooks and special type of Goa fish will be sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Goa. An exhibition of kitchen equipment, house-keeping, bakery and other relevant articles related to hotel industry will also be organised. He said that a delegation would soon meet Capt Amrinder Singh to urge him to preside over the meet and solve the industry’s problems.

Among others, Mr Som Katia and Mr Satish Arora from Bhatinda, Mr Anil Kaushal from Ropar, Mr Joginder Singh from Patiala, Mr Sukhdev Wadhera from Pathankot, Mr Jasbir Singh from Amritsar, Mr Surinder Singh , Mr Suresh Kapoor, Mr Jagdish Anand, Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Mukesh Nayar and Amarvir Singh from Ludhiana also participated in the meeting.



Bank unions protest against Budget 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Members of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation held a demonstration here today to protest against the anti-worker provisions of the Budget. The speakers condemned the increase in tax burden on the salaried class.

Addressing the members, Mr Sudesh Kumar, chairman, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, said, “The budget is totally against the poor, the salaried employees, the farmers and the middle class. It has increased misery for them, on the other hand, it has proved a bonanza for multinational companies, as their tax burden has been reduced from 48 to 40 per cent. The NRIs send remittance in dollars.”

Mr Naresh Gaur, district secretary of the federation, said no steps had been announced in the Budget for recovery of outstanding loans which were more than Rs 70, 000 crore.

Mr Ashok Awashty, district president of the federation, said, “Although the government has announced recapitalisation assistance to Indian Bank, it wants to freeze the payment of wages and arrears to the employees.” He said the Budget proposals would result in fiscal deficit of about Rs 1,40,000 crore. The increase in the prices of LPG and kerosene would put an extra burden on the common man. He said even the proposed disinvestment of Rs 12,000 crore would not serve any purpose.


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