Tuesday, March 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Politics the spoilsport
Cloud of controversy over rural games
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Lehal (Ludhiana), March 11
Tension prevails in this village near Payal subdivision over the politicisation of the annual rural event as the two village groups owing allegiance to the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal are on loggerheads with each other over the organisation of the events. The very organisation of the games has come under cloud due to the controversy.

While the one group led by the village panchayat and owing allegiance to the Akalis had announced the dates of the popular rural sports event from March 22 to 25 and had pasted posters all over the village and the surrounding areas, the other group led by Congress supporters have now announced that the ‘real’ Lehal rural sports event would be held from March 15 to 18.

The posters of the first group state that Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, SAD, and former Technical Education Minister would inaugurate the meet, and Lala Lajpat Rai, Member of Parliament, would distribute the awards. The posters of the second group said Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotli, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, would inaugurate and Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab, would award the winners. The posters of both the groups have been pasted simultaneously and the village is divided into two groups.

The groups are learnt to have approached the Deputy Commissioner who has marked the case to the SDM, Payal. The process of finding a solution has, however, not started yet.

Village sources said the games were conducted peacefully for the last several years but after the change of government, persons opposed to present panchayat owing allegiance to the Akali government, had started making their own pressure group. Village sources said the situation in the village was quite alarming.

The sarpanch, Mr Harpal Singh, said they had been organising the games for the last several years and there was no opposition. He said the other group wanted to sabotage their games as they had invited Akali leaders for the inauguration. The sarpanch said the dates (March 15 to 18) announced by the other group were wrong as they clashed with the examination dates of the student.

However, sources in the other group said they were the rightful organisers as they had the backing of the government and would bring some development for the village. They said the Akali supporters had politicised the event by inviting Akali leaders.

It may be pertinent to mention here that Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab, had won the Assembly elections from the Payal seat under which the village falls. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha does not belong to this constituency.



Budget ‘ambiguous’ on tax deductions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
The proposed Central budget is ambiguous on many fronts, especially those regarding tax deductions under different sections. The government has left some loopholes in the Financial Bill, 2002, leading to different interpretations by different tax consultants.

This was stated by Mr Girish K. Ahuja, a leading tax consultant and fellow with the Institute of Charted Accountants of India (ICAI) here today. He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Union Budget and Banking Audit,’ organised by the Ludhiana Branch of Northern India Regional Council, ICAI. Leading charted accountants and CA students participated in the programme.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Mr Ahuja lamented that under the amended provisions, all non-monetary benefits like housing facility, telephones and computers provided by the employer were taxable if the annual salary was less than Rs 1 lakh. Under Section 24, the government would tax income from any company or party for abdicating the use of patents, trademarks and intellectual property rights. Interestingly, Mr Ahuja said under Section 35, tax exemptions gained from making donations to bodies or associations engaged in poverty alleviation, afforestation and conservation of natural resources could be withdrawn, if tax authorities found the body misusing funds.

Mr Ahuja wondered as to how could the assessees take guarantee for the proper utilisation of funds by an institution after making legitimate donations.

He pointed out that in the name of low inflation, the government had hit hard the middle class and selected industries. He maintained that though the cost of living had increased manifold for particular segments, but the government was not ready to increase the income tax exemption limit. Regarding the provision of funds for doubtful debts, Mr Ahuja said, ‘‘Under Section 36, the limit for these funds has been increased from 5 per cent to 10 per cent for NPA and other doubtful loans. Besides banks, other credit institutions can also now avail benefits under this section.’’

In the next session on Audit of branches of Public Sector Banks, Mr Amarjit Chopra, member, Central Council, ICAI, discussed the nuances of bank audit.

He exhorted the members to do a qualitative audit and explained at length the new circulars issued by RBI with regard to prudential norms for income recognition and classification of advances. He also explained as to how bank audit could be conducted effectively and qualitatively in the short time frame available.

Mr Nitesh Seth, a leading chartered accountant, explained at length the need to adopt new techniques for auditing, particularly in view of the mass computerisation being undertaken by banks. He cautioned members to be cautious of various fraud prone areas.

Among others, Mr Arvind Pal Singh, Secretary of the local chapter, Mr Rajnessh Goyal, Mr Kuldeep Kumar and Mr Hans Raj Kapoor, Chairman, local Chapter of the ICAI also participated in the seminar.



Research, equipment dumped 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

The equipment of research laboratory, previously located in Jalandhar, stored in room no. 124 of the Department of Plant Breeding, PAU.
The equipment of research laboratory, previously located in Jalandhar, stored in room no. 124 of the Department of Plant Breeding, PAU. —IV

Ludhiana, March 11
While the State Agriculture Department as well as the scientists of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) are telling farmers to diversify the crops to face challenges of international market, the authorities at the PAU have failed to provide any space for the research material shifted from the Sugarcane Research Centre at Jalandhar last year, the land of which was acquired by the former government to be exploited commercially and to set up a medical college.

As the sugarcane crop is considered an important alternative for diversification, the research of the crop at the PAU is suffering due to want of proper space, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities who handed over the prime land to the government.

The financially-starved PAU is already struggling to pay the salaries of its staff and has failed to do anything substantial to relocate the research material worth crores of rupees, which is being stored at the Department of Plant Breeding in the Post Graduate courses building.

Around 50 to 60 employees and scientists who were transferred from Jalandhar are made to sit in the rooms spared by the various departments. A visit to the building and one of the laboratories revealed that costly machines were kept carelessly due to the want of space.

These scientists and employees are now pinning their hopes on the new government as they feel that the Akali government had acquired the PAU land without giving a serious thought and had given a part of the Central Seed Farm at Laddowal in return. They also feel that while the government did not consider the importance of sugarcane research centre at the time when diversification and research on sugarcane was the need of the hour, the Vice Chancellor also did not protest and bowed to the pressure and passed on the land to government.

The sprawling 165-acre sugarcane research farm at Jalandhar is being brought down to make room for a medical college and a commercial complex. The decision to transfer the farm for the purpose was taken by the authorities of the Punjab Government and the PAU. According to well-informed sources, 60 acres of the land was to be used for setting up a medial college, while the remaining 100-odd acres was to be commercially exploited to rake in necessary funds for raising the infrastructure of the medical institute.

In fact, the plan to dispossess the PAU of the sugarcane farm was mooted way back in 1994 when the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr A.S. Khehra, had entered into an agreement with the then Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, to give up the farm in lieu of a piece of land at Bhadson in Nabha tehsil of the state. However, a committee of five experts that Dr Khehra had constituted to study the suitability of the new site for sugarcane cultivation had disapproved of the Bhadson farm on the ground that its soil was not fit for research on sugarcane. Besides, the committee had also reported that wild animals infesting the nearby jungle would be detrimental to the research experiments.

Subsequently, the university was made to vacate 60 acres of the land. The Punjab Government had promised to give 3 farms at different places—Kartarpur, Dhogri and Lesirwal. In addition, the Punjab Government had promised to give financial grant of Rs 15 crore to the university in two installments of Rs 10 and Rs 5 crore to enable it to build laboratories, offices, residential, quarters for the staff, etc. on the Kartarpur farm.

The decision to deprive the university of the sugarcane farm had been condemned by its scientists. They say that this was the oldest and best research station of the PAU. It had modern infrastructure for agricultural research like tubewells, underground irrigation channels, laboratories and residential quarters for both the scientists and the field staff. The farm was centrally located in the state, making it convenient for the farmers to seek expert advice and guidance from the scientists.

In addition, the scientists say that the sugarcane research farm at Jalandhar had helped the farmers in Punjab. The farm had yielded at least 32 high yielding varieties of sugarcane over the years. Almost 10 of them, including CoJ-64, Co-11458, CoJ-84 are still very popular with the farmers of the state.



Crescendo enlivens teen spirit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
The enthusiasm of students and participants reached its peak on the second day of Crescendo-2002. The day began with Rangmanch (skit) in which six teams participated. This event was followed by Woogie Boogie (Western group dance) that had five participating teams.

Trends (fashion show) remained the most happening event of the day which saw seven teams contending for honours. The students in trendy outfits walked the ramp amidst lively music.

In the Fine Arts section, there were 5 teams each in ‘henna competition’ and Toon Tamasha (cartooning). A case Discussion Strategy Wars was held in which participating teams offered best possible solution to a problem. After the event, the judge explained the concept of strategy. Five teams participated in this event.

To judge the knowledge of students in IT there was quiz in which 6 teams participated.

Results of various events:

Sargam: PCTE Badhowal-1, Government College for Boys, Ludhiana-2, IMS, Ludhiana-3; Rangoli: PCTE, Badhowal-1, GNIMT, Ludhiana-2, IMS Ludhiana-3; Case presentation: GNIMT, Ludhiana-1, PCTE, Badhowal-2 and IMS Ludhiana-3; Mudra: PCTE, Badhowal-1, IMS, Ludhiana-2, KIMT, Ludhiana-3; Dumb Charads: PCTE, Badhowal-1, IMS, Ludhiana-2, DIMT, Doraha-3; Bouquet: PCTE, Badhowal-1, GNIMT, Ludhiana-2, DIMT, Doraha-3; System Analysis and Design: PCTE, Badhowal-1, GNIMT, Ludhiana-2, GTBNIMT, Dakha-3; Sell It: IMS, Ludhiana-1, GTBNIMT, Dakha-2, Government College for Boys, Ludhiana-3; Strategy War: GNIMT, Ludhiana-1, PCTE, Badhowal-2, Government College for Boys, Ludhiana-3; Xpression: Government College for Boys, Ludhiana-1, DIMT, Doraha-2, GNIMT, Ludhiana-3; Western Group Song: PCTE, Badhowal-1, GCB, Ludhiana-2, GNIMT, Ludhiana-3; Chitrakala (Sketching), GNIMT, Ludhiana-1, KCW, Ludhiana-2, KIMT, Ludhiana 3; Skit (Rangmanch): PCTE, Badhowal-1, IMS, Ludhiana-2 DIMT, Doraha-3; Choreography: GNIMT, Ludhiana-1, PCTE, Badhowal-2, IMS, Ludhiana-3.



Congress victory unfortunate: MCPI
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
The Punjab State Committee of the MCPI (Marxist Communist Party of India) meeting, which was held here today, described the Congress victory in Punjab as unfortunate.

The meeting, which was presided over by Mr Krishan Kumar Kaushal and attended, among others by Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, observed that Akalis of all hues were responsible for the victory of Congress due to the 'negative role' played by them. The meeting further observed that Congress would not be able to deliver goods and fulfill promises made to people in view of the serious economic crisis threatening the Punjab economy and the in-built socio-political contradictions of the corrupt system.

The MCPI state committee also expressed grav concern over the incidents of communal violence in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajsthan and Haryana and demanded an immediate ban on the Sangh Parivar and its frontal organisations. It strongly condemned the role of the Gujarat and Central governments led by the BJP for the violent incidents that rocked the nation. The committee urged Narender Modi, Chief Minister, Gujarat and L.K. Advani, Home Minister, to submit their resignations on moral grounds and asked the Central government to take stern action against rioters of all colours.

According to Mr Kuldip Singh, State Secretary of MCPI, who released the resolution to the press, the state committee further castigated the Central Government for inviting religious fundamentalists to resolve the Ayodhya dispute instead of dealing with it administratively and judicially. The state committee was of the view that the Ram Mandir issue had been raised at this time for diverting the attention of the nation from other socio-economic and political problems. Instead of progressing towards the 21st century, communalists and revivalists of all types were bent upon dragging the nation into the quagmire of hatred. The communist party urged the Central government to build a 'National Monument' at the disputed site after taking all parties into confidence and appealed to people not to be misled by communalists and religious fundamentalists and maintain peace and communal harmony at all costs.



Club elections: graduation clause hangs fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
With the transfer of the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr S.K. Sandhu, also the president of the Satluj Club here, the issue of abrogation of the graduation clause for contesting elections to various posts in Satluj Club has been delayed further. And with elections scheduled to be held later this month, some senior members who are keen on contesting elections but are not graduates, are feeling concerned over the delay, which could lead to denial of yet another chance for contesting the elections this year.

The new president of the club and DC, Mr Aunrag Aggarwal, is reported to have held some meetings on the issue with the incumbent secretary, Mr A.S. Chawla, and other office-bearers. Mr Aggarwal is expected to take a final decision on the issue in the next week. On the other hand the non- graduate members of the club, who include some former office-bearers, are keenly awaiting his decision.

Earlier, Mr Sandhu had almost finalised the decision to repeal the graduation clause for contesting the elections to the club. In fact, on the next day of the issuance of the order he was supposed to preside over a meeting on the issue. The graduation clause, which was understandably introduced with ulterior motives, debars those members from contesting elections to any post in the club who do not hold a university degree.

The arbitrary nature of the clause has led to resentment among some senior members of the club, who are leading businessmen of the city but do not possess a degree and have served in various capacities in the club before the clause was introduced during the time of Mr Arun Goyal. In fact, the introduction of the clause is being attributed to personal likes and dislikes of some influential members to debar their rivals from contesting elections.

A senior member of the club, who does not hold a degree but pays lakhs of rupees as income tax, pointed out there were several members like him who were being denied the privilege of contesting the club elections.



United stand the Punjabi writers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Punjabi Lekhak Sabha staged a novel method of protest, a Punjabi Language Convention, organised at the Punjabi Bhavan last evening. The meeting was attended by eminent Punjabi critics, novelists, and writers from four districts of Ludhiana, Moga, Patiala, and Fatehgarh Sahib. The literary personalities talked about promotion of Punjabi in the state. They wanted Punjabi to be the chief medium of instruction in schools, so that children developed respect for their mother tongue. Moreover, they demanded, Punjabi should be used more frequently for office work. The writers plan to go on a hunger strike in Chandigarh on March 23.

The writers resolved to launch a sustained stir to attract the attention of the government towards the step-motherly treatment being given to Punjabi. The former Sabha and Punjabi Sahit Akademi, President, Prof Pritam Singh, criticised the previous SAD-BJP government for introducing English at the elementary level in schools. Prof Pritam Singh said, could cause alienation of the modern generation from Punjabi culture .

Dr Surjit Patar, Dr S.N. Sewak, Dr Surjit Brar, Kartar Singh Kalra, Prem Singh Bajaj, Gurjar Pandher, Janmeja Johal, M.S. Cheema and Prithipal Singh Soi were also present on the occasion.



Shobha yatra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
A shobha yatra in connection with Shivaratri was taken out at Haibowal here last evening by the Haibowal Mahotsav Committee.

A function was held before the start of the yatra. Among the dignitaries present there were Mr R.L. Kalsia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, and Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, President, All-India Anti-Terrorist Front.

The yatra started from the Mata Chintpurni temple was led by a tableau carrying a big idol of Lord Shiva. It was followed by decked up elephants and horses. Devotees raised slogans of ‘Jai Bholenath’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’. ‘Gatka’, ‘bhangra’ and dancing parties also constituted the yatra.

The yatra passed through Trilok Road, Bank Colony, Link Road, Pavittar Nagar, Humbran Road, Rajpura Road, Haibowal Khurd, Mahavir Chowk and was over at Sabzi Mandi Chowk.

The yatra route had welcome gates at several places and several organisations had put up ‘parsad’ stalls.

Meanwhile, a shobha yatra will be taken out tomorrow in the Urban Estate area of Focal Point, according to a spokesman of the organising committee.

The spokesman said the yatra would start from the Ayappa temple and pass through various colonies before culminating at the temple in the evening. A ‘bhandara’ would also be organised.



Dharam sammelan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
A Dharam sammelan began at Ved mandir, Daresi Grounds, here yesterday with Swami Nigam Bodh giving the opening discourse.

In his discourse, Swami Nigam Bodh dwelt on the aim of human life and concluded that life's purpose should be the realisation of God. He said that one's karma determined one's proximity to God. He also extolled the virtues of hard work without which great achievements were impossible. Hard work of any nature that was done with determination never went unrewarded, he said.

The swami, further dwelling on the subject of love, said that it should be like the love between Ram and Lakshman, Heer and Ranjha and like that of Dhanna Jat.

Sant Ram Parkash, in his discourse, said that meditation should be done only when the mind was at peace. He underlined the necessity to control the wanderings of the mind in order to concentrate on meditation.



Bank robbery bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 11
A robbery attempt at the Allahabad Bank, on Ludhiana-Chandigarh road near Vardhman Mills late last night was foiled by the Electronic Security System installed there. The robbers managed to enter the fortified premises of the bank but when they touched the safe, the alarms went off, forcing them to run away.

Hearing the alarms, residents in the neighbourhood called the police. Teams from various police stations rushed to the scene. Some sniffer dogs were also pressed into service. One of the dogs 'traced' a man to an empty plot. Later questioning, however, proved the man was innocent and had only hidden in the bushes at the sight of the dogs. The man was released today.

The police said it had got fingerprints from the scene of the crime and hoped to identify the culprits.

Gang causes scare: A chain snatching gang is causing a scare in the Sarabha Nagar colony. A number of such incidents have taken place in the recent past causing a sense of insecurity among the residents.

In the latest incident, a gold chain of a woman was snatched in the broad daylight in Block-I of the colony today afternoon. The two persons who committed the crime managed to flee the scene even as the woman raised an alarm. The woman, who does not want to be quoted, said she had not lodged a complained with the police as she was not optimistic about the recovery. She was coming from the market when a man stalking her snatched her chain. The man ran towards his accomplice waiting on the road.

The woman raised an alarm but the thieves managed to flee on a scooter.

2 cops injured: The Jodhan police, while on patrolling on Jodhan—Taipi Road signalled two scooterists to stop who attacked the police party with sharp-edged weapons and injured two cops. The police arrested Kehar Singh and Baljit Singh of Kainwala village and seized from their possession 15 kg of poppy husk. The police also impounded their scooter (PB 38A-6842). A case has been registered against them under Sections 353/186, IPC and 15/61/85, NDPS Act at Police Station Sudhar

One arrested: The police has arrested Harbhajan Singh, alias Billu, of Jagdi village in a case which was registered against him under Sections 363/366, IPS, as he had allegedly abducted Karamjit Kaur, a minor daughter of Karnail Singh of Kamalpura village. The accused used to reside in Karnail Singh’s neighbourhood for the past four to five months as a tenant in the house of Chotu Singh

One booked: The Raikot police arrested Manjinder Singh of Rajgarh village from his village as he was playing deck at a very high volume and has registered a case against him under Sections 3 and 4 of the noise pollution Act.



Gifts for BSNL subscribers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Mr V.S. Srivastava, General Manager Telecom, while talking to mediapersons here today, said that all subscribers under Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Dholewal and Jugiana exchanges and some subscribers of Barewal, Dugri, Transport Nagar and Bharat Nagar will be provided with the free answering machine facility. A total of 42,000 subscribers would benefit from this facility to be extended by the end of March this year. ‘‘We have taken the services of Dial Net company and the subscribers will not pay anything for this facility’’.

Over 50 Intelligent Network PCOs would be opened by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at various public places in the city, including petrol stations, shops, railway station and bus stand for the subscribers having India Telephone Cards. The subscribers could avail this facility from any of these places, said Mr Srivastava.

Mr Srivastava further added that there were 1,62,096 BSNL subscribers in the city, including areas such as Madhopuri, Lakshmipuri, New Shiv Puri, Surinder Nagar and Acchru Gali, which were earlier non-feasible and were recently made feasible.

He said that much awaited mobile service of BSNL would become functional by the end of 2003. Over 10,000 mobile sets would be provided to the city subscribers, 3000 in Jagraon, 3000 in Mullanpur, 1000 in Raikot, 1000 in Sahnewal and 2500 in Khanna. The work regarding this facility had already been started at the SAS Nagar centre and 25 towers would be put up in the city at various sites.

Mr Srivastava said that the last date of receiving the applications for the Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) facility for subscribers of Rishi Balmiki Nagar, Bharat Nagar, Focal Point, Transport Nagar, Rahon Road, and Mata Rani exchange had been extended to March 20. ‘‘Now there is no need for an affidavit, the applicant can write an application on a plain paper’’, added Mr Srivastava.

Over 10,000 subscribers can get the WLL facility. He maintained that 3000 lines had already been installed out of which 1054 connections had become operational. The WLL facility would be given to 3000 subscribers in Transport Nagar, 2000 in Mata Rani exchange, 2000 in Bharat Nagar, 1000 in Focal Point and 2000 in Khanna.

Mr Srivastava said that out of total 11 Internet dhabas, eight had become operational. The dhabas at Machchiwara, Dehlon and Pakhowal would soon become operational. A new exchange with 4000 lines would be opened for subscribers of Gill village by mid-March, said Mr Srivastava.


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