Saturday, March 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Liquor-vend auction fetches 206 cr
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 15
Liquor shops in the district, put to auction for the next financial year at Lions Bhavan, here today, yielded a staggering Rs 206.70 crore as against Rs 193.05 crore for this year. The total collections would be higher by Rs 13.65 crore or 7.07 per cent over the previous year.

The auction process, conducted amid tight security, was completed within 45 minutes.

While senior government officials, including the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, who also holds the charge of the Financial Commissioner, Taxation, and the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr D.S. Kalha, have been camping in the city since yesterday. The auction was held in the presence of Mr S.C. Manchanda, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

Unlike last year, when the liquor cartels headed by family of the then Punjab Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, and a liquor baron from Uttar Pradesh, Mr Ponty Chadha, had entered into an open confrontation for each of the 15 groups of vends in the city and outside, the two groups appeared to have reached an understanding and there were no apparent attempts to outbid the other with a result that the finalised bids for each group of vends remained more or near the reserve price announced by officials of the Excise and Taxation Department at the start of each bid. Consequently, the groups of vends in the city and mandis were retained by the sitting group of contractors.

Among the group of vends in the city, the Rajpura road group of vends was auctioned for the highest sum of Rs 17.32 crore as against Rs 15.60 crore for the current year. It was followed by the Daba road, which went for Rs 17.70 crore (last year’s bid was Rs 16 crore); the Bagh Sufian group Rs 17.32 crore (Rs 15.10 crore last year); the Rahon road Rs 16.57 crore (Rs 14.72 crore last year); Lajpat Nagar Rs 16.12 crore (Rs 14.32 crore last year); the Ferozepore road Rs 14.55 crore (Rs 16.26 crore last year); the Samrala road Rs 12.92 crore (Rs 12.86 crore last year); and Sahnewal Rs 12.20 crore (Rs 10.42 crore last year).

The Jagraon group fetched the highest amount at Rs 20.61 crore as against Rs 20 crore in the current year. The other groups of suburban vends yielded — Khanna Rs 16.42 crore (Rs 15.77 crore last year); Doraha, Payal and Malaud Rs 12.25 crore (Rs 11.35 crore last year); Raikot Rs 11.40 crore (Rs 10.85 crore last year); Machhiwara Rs 8.13 crore (Rs 7.23 crore last year); Dehlon Rs 6.47 crore (Rs 6.46 crore last year); and Samrala Rs 6.32 crore (Rs 6.10 crore last year).

Mr Kalha later talking to mediapersons at Sutton House on the PAU campus said for the next financial year the government had fixed a target of excise revenue at Rs 1,400 crore as compared to Rs 1,340 crore for the current year. “Going by the achievement in the city today, we expect to achieve the target for the next year. The first auction of liquor vends always proved to be the trendsetter and the indications were good.”

The total number of vends of country liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in the state, he added, had gone up marginally by about 2 per cent. For 361 vends of the PML (country liquor) and 210 of the IMFL in the revenue district of Ludhiana, the total annual quota had been fixed at 74,39,980 proof litre or 1.98 crore bottles for country liquor and 52,91,100 proof litre or 94,08,175 bottles for the IMFL.



Pavement construction begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
The work on pavements at an estimated cost of Rs 6 lakh in New Shivaji Road under Ward No 58 was taken up with the formal land cutting ceremony being performed by Mrs Neelam Davar, wife of Mr Surinder Davar, Congress legislator from Ludhiana East, at a function in street no 3 of the locality here today.

Speaking on the occasion, the area councillor, Mrs Ravinder Kaur Chadha, said that with the completion of the work for pavement of streets, most of the development work of the area would be completed. The ongoing work for providing street lights, sodium lights and laying of sewerage system would also be expedited to provide better civic amenities to the people.

Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, president, Block Congress Committee (Block 5) focussed on the civic development works undertaken by the councillor.

He expressed confidence that with the new Congress government taking over, people could look forward to a clean and effective governance and acceleration in the pace of development works.

Among those present were Mr Dilbagh Singh, Mr Kashmira Singh, Executive Engineer, Mr Walaiti Ram Talwara, Ms Kamlesh Bhatia, Ms Sapna, Mr Surinder Kalra, Mr Sunil Sharma, Mr Deepak Sood, Mr Gursharan Singh Pappu, Mr Inderjit Sweety, Mr Parminder Chadha, Mr Ranjit Rana, Mr Somesh Gupta, Mr Inderjit Manga, Dr R.S. Behal, Mr Mohinder Singh Gakhar and Mr Arun Jaggi.



Education of consumer rights must: residents
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
As city residents celebrated World Consumer Rights Day today, it is a common perception that a large number of consumers in third world countries are unaware of their rights. Most of them agreed that after globalisation, the quality of services and products had improved due to competition in the market, but government agencies and public sector undertakings are still providing poor services and inferior products.

A senior citizen, Dr S.P. Aggarwal, says: “In our country consumers do not want to waste their time by getting involved in any legal procedure. Most of the time the ‘exploited’ customers find it better to forget it rather teaching a lesson to the defaulters.”

He adds: “While purchasing any product the consumer should insist for a cash memo, buy standard and tested products only and get all information regarding maximum retail price, date of manufacturing and expiry of the product.”

An entrepreneur, Mr Rajneesh Bedi, says: “By publishing an advertisement on World Consumer Rights Day in a few national dailies will not serve any purpose. I think the government as well as non-government organisations should run proper awareness campaigns to educate the consumers at the grass-roots level.”

Mr Bedi says: “Residents of metropolitan cities are only aware about their rights. There is no doubt that some multinational companies are providing excellent after sale services for maintaining their goodwill in the market, but the quality of services and goods provided by government agencies and a large number of small businessmen are not satisfactory.”

A working women, Nitika, says: “There is no quality control in eateries and branded clothes.”

The District Attorney, Mr B.S. Brar, says: “Public servants are not providing good services because the responsibility is not fixed in such organisations.

The quality of service would improve only when individuals would be penalised for their conduct.” A professional, Mr Rakesh Raina, says: “Government agencies and PSUs employees always make a simple problem of the consumer more complicated by telling them different rules and regulations. The idea behind this practice is to earn money through unfair means only.”



Kidnapped woman returns
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Amidst high drama, a Model Town-based industrialist’s wife was allegedly kidnapped by some unidentified persons, who had even sent a ransom note demanding Rs 9 lakh, but to the surprise of the police, the woman returned home today evening saying that she managed to give them a slip.

The woman, Rachna Mittal, went missing yesterday morning and her husband Ashok Mittal, a local industrialist, received a ransom note from the alleged kidnappers demanding Rs 9 lakh.

The man complained to the police late last night and interestingly accused a nephew of his wife, Sumit, of having kidnapped her. He had stated that his wife had gone to the market but never returned.

The police had raided the residence of the accused and recovered a copy of the ransom note from his house. The accused, however, was not in the house.

The case took a U-turn today evening when the woman reached home on her own. While the family members were tight-lipped, DSP R.S. Parmar confirmed the woman’s return but said the police did not believe her version and was investigating from a fresh angle.

He said the woman claimed to have been kidnapped by some unidentified persons and initially taken to a place near Jalandhar but later kept at different places thereafter. He said the woman’s claim that she was taken to a cinema hall today from where she ran away did not seem realistic.

According to the woman’s version, she was standing outside her house when some unidentified persons, around four in number, came in a car and forcibly took her away. She told the police that her face was covered and she couldn’t see where she was being taken. The woman later realised that she was at a place near Jalandhar. The kidnappers treated her well and kept moving her to different locations.

Today morning, she was taken to a bus stand and told to board a bus for Ludhiana. The alleged kidnappers followed her in a car. According to her, one of the kidnappers later joined her in the bus. On reaching Ludhiana, she was taken to some undisclosed location and later to Manju Cinema Hall. She said the kidnappers feared police action against them. The woman ultimately claimed to have run away from the cinema hall and reached home.

According to family sources, the woman was in a state of shock and could not talk to anyone. The police said the interesting part of the story was that the woman claimed that her nephew, one of the suspected abductors, was never there with her. The police has, however, recovered a copy of the ransom note from the residence of the accused. DSP Parmar told Ludhiana Tribune that there was lot more than what seemed to appear.



Three hurt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Three persons were injured in a clash between some ‘tongawalas’ and supporters of an industrialist over the dispute of a plot near Jagraon this evening. Later on, ‘tongawalas’ blocked traffic at the GT Road.



‘Give peace a chance’
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
The peaceful performance of bhumi pujan and shilanyas outside the disputed and acquired land near the Ram Janambhoomi at Ayodhya has been widely hailed.

They feel that it has saved the country from yet another crisis. They also seem to be appreciative of the Union government for implementing the orders of the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the performance of Shila Pujan and Bhumi Pujan outside the acquired land, the Punjab unit president of the Indian Muslim Council, Maulana Atiq-u-Rehman, said, “it is good that everything has been done peacefully and the court orders have been strictly followed”.

The Muslim leader has urged the Hindus and Muslims to exercise restrains.

He pointed out, the entire nation has heaved a sigh of relief as everything went off peacefully in Ayodhya.

He hailed the handling of the situation by the local administration as well as the Central government. Mr Rehman said that the issue can either be resolved by mutual dialogue or both the parties should abide by the court decision.

The crisis has blown over, “at least for the time being”, says Dr Gursharan Singh, the district president of the Indian Medical Association, the country needs to come out of such narrow and parochial issues.

He pointed out, “it is regretful, when the world is moving ahead, we have to work for maintaining the law and order situation only”.

Mr Chandershekhar Prashar, an employee, was of the opinion that the issue should be resolved immediately. “Otherwise it will go on like this”, he said, while pointing out that the train massacre in Godhra followed by communal riots in Gujarat are all because this issue has not been resolved so far.

He suggested that both the communities should give come out of their conservative mindset and give peace a chance.

Ms Shalini Gambhir, a young housewife, was also of a similar opinion. She pointed out, “when the European countries were uniting and had evolved a common currency, we were still being divided on narrow communal considerations”.



Improvement Trust meeting
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 15
A meeting to pass the budget of local Improvement Trust was held at the trust building under the chairmanship of Mr Pardeep Sabharwal, SDM-cum-Chairman of Improvement Trust, Khanna, here today.

An amount of Rs 315 lakh has been passed for the budget session of 2002 and 2003. A sum of Rs 130 lakh has been passed to carry out the development works in various schemes of trust in Khanna town. An amount of Rs 33 lakh has been passed for establishment, Rs 70 lakh for land purchase and Rs 18 lakh as compensation have been passed. A sum of Rs 5 lakh for contingency Rs 3 lakh for advertisement, Rs 2 lakh for Audit Department. Rs 5 lakh for loan to employees, Rs 10 lakh for machinery, Rs 2 lakh for repayments of advances, Rs 3 lakh for legal expenses and Rs 4 lakh for interest have been passed in the meeting.



Councillor in native village
Our Correspondent

Khamano, March 15
Bibi Avtar Kaur Aujla a councillor is Canada on Punjab visit. She was honoured yesterday at her native village Majri, tehsil Khamano, by Congress MP Shamsher Singh Dullo and Bibi Harbans Kaur Dullo, MLA, Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo the village had achieved a lot since Pt. Nehru visited it. He praised Bibi Aujla. He expressed his concern over communal violence and gender discrimination in the country.

Bibi Harbans Kaur Dullo appealed to women to follow the path of success tread by Bibi Aujla.



Club welcomes new head
Our Correspondent

Famous qawwali singer Assan Bharti Ghungroowale performs at the Sutlej Club in Ludhiana on Thursday; and (right) members of the club welcome Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner.
Famous qawwali singer Assan Bharti Ghungroowale performs at the Sutlej Club in Ludhiana on Thursday; and (right) members of the club welcome Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner.— Photos Rajesh Bhambi

Ludhiana, March 15
Members of the Sutlej Club held a farewell function for its outgoing president, Mr S.K. Sandhu, here last night. The members appreciated the efforts initiated by him for the upliftment of the club during his tenure.

Mr A.S. Chawla, general secretary of the club, spoke on the occasion. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, who is the new president of the club, was given a warm welcome by members. Famous qawwali singer Assan Bharti Ghungroowale and his troupe enthralled the audience.



Jail inspection
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
Mr Justice R.L. Anand of the Punjab and Haryana High court will visit Ludhiana on March 18 for a week-long inspection of the courts and jail in the district. According to sources, he will also listen to suggestions and complaints at public meetings for improvement of working of the judicial system. 



12 quintals of poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
In a major breakthrough against drug peddlers, a joint action by the Shimla Puri police, CIA and some teams from other police stations helped nab six smugglers, three of them brothers, from Gill Canal last night and seized over 12 quintals of poppy husk from their possession. The poppy husk is priced at Rs 6.2 lakh in the market.

Those arrested have been identified as Jaspal Singh alias Gora, Malkit Singh, Jaswinder Singh alias Gogi, and three brothers Surjit Ram alias Jeeta, Jaswant Ram alias Kala and Santokh Singh alias Bittu. The police said the seventh accused, Joga Singh, managed to escape. The police has also impounded two vehicles in which the smugglers were travelling.

The police claimed the arrests of the alleged smugglers and the confiscation of huge quantity of poppy husk as a major success in the drive against narcotic smugglers as the gang members were part of an international racket smuggling narcotics in the state. The target customers were in villages and only a small quantity was sold in the city. The police said those arrested were quite young and all were under 30 years of age.

According to the FIR, the police received an information that some smugglers were smuggling poppy husk in a Tempo-traveller (PB-01-2166) and a Tata Sumo (HR-26E-4854). A police party led by Sub-Inspector Warryam Singh and ASI Harbans Singh reached intercepted the two vehicles. After searching the vehicles, the police found 31 sacks, each containing 40 kg of poppy husk. The accused tried to escape but were apprehended.



Wife alleges attempt on life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 323,307,406 and 498-A of the IPC on a statement of Ms Manjit Kaur, a resident of Bharat Nagar Chowk area, against her husband, Dr Charan Pal. The complainant had alleged that her husband arrived home in an inebriated condition on Wednesday and started beating her with the intention of killing her. He hit her on the head before she managed to escape, she added.

Cases registered: The Kotwali police has registered a case of alleged beating on a statement by Mr Ravi Kumar, a resident of Deepak Cinema road, against Pardeep Kumar and Trilochan Singh, both residents of Chhawani Mohalla, and four other unknown persons. The complainant had alleged that the accused forced their way into his house on Wednesday and attacked him. One of the accused, Pardeep Kumar, hit him in the head with a bottle. The accused fled after beating him, he added. No arrest has been made so far.

The Focal Point police has registered a case under Sections 341,323,506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Krishan Mohan, a resident of Makkar Colony, Dhandari Kalan, against Vashishat Tiwari and Kalia. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on Wednesday, beaten him up and threatened him due to some old enmity.

The division number two police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Ravi Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Prem Nagar, against Keshav Dev, Mintu and Gopal. Mr Kumar had alleged in his complaint that the accused intercepted his son on Wednesday, beat him up and also threatened him before fleeing. No arrest has been made so far.

Booked: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 427 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Malkit Kaur, a resident of Bulara village, against Dr Dalbir Singh, Jagtar Singh, Balwinder Singh and Surjit Singh. Ms Kaur had alleged in her application that the accused, who took forcible possession of her house on Wednesday, threatened to kill her and damaged her property. No arrest has been made so far.

Bus driver booked: The division number six police has booked a driver of Sutlej Transport Company under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on a statement of Mr Raj Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Peeru Banda, Salem Tabri. The complainant had stated that an area resident, Bhola, was run over by the driver a couple of days ago. The injured later succumbed to his injuries in the Civil Hospital on Wednesday.

Two hurt in brawl: In a brawl that occurred between two neighbours over an issue of disposal of dirty water in Janta Nagar on Wednesday night, a man and his mother were injured. According to Mr Malkiat Singh, who has been admitted to the hospital, along with his mother, Ms Balbir Kaur, when he stopped his neighbour from throwing his dirty household water in front of his house, the neighbour allegedly attacked him and his mother with brick-bats as a result of which his mother was seriously injured in the head. The police has registered a case but no arrest has been made so far.

Housewife dies of burns: Ms Geeta (26), a housewife living in Lohara, allegedly died of burns here on Thursday. The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC and sent the body for a post-mortem. According to Mr Triveni Kumar, the husband of the deceased, he was away to work at a cycle factory when his wife died in his absence. The cause or reason behind the fire could not be ascertained.

One killed:
Amarjit Singh and Ranjit Singh who were riding a scooter (PB 10 AB 8666) were hit by a Gypsy (PB10T3888) near Ghuman Chowk which was being driven by Harpreet Singh, alias Happy of Sudhar. As a result Amarjit Singh died on the spot while Ranjit Singh was seriously injured. The police has registered a case under Sections 304A/279/337/427, IPC, at Police Station Sudhar on the basis of a statement of Nirmal Singh of Hissowal village, an eye witness. The police also impounded the vehicle.

One killed in earth caving: Nek Singh 60 of Talwandi Rai village, was killed when the earth caved while digging a well for installing a tube well in the field of Bhag Singh of Chajjawal. His son Ruldu Singh had a narrow escape who was also working along with his father.



Holi gift from Weekender
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
Weekender introduced a ‘Bhang Khao, rang Lagao’ contest at its outlet near Bharat Nagar Chowk yesterday. The contest will remain open till March 27. One who purchases Weekender apparels worth Rs 495 can win a white T-shirt. The best five Holi colours splashed on T-shirts received before March 31, 2002, will entitle their owners to a gift voucher worth Rs 1000 each. One can also participate in the contest by buying a white T-shirt for Rs 95 from the Weekender. Customers who return the Holi T-shirts will receive a voucher worth Rs 50 each.


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