Saturday, March 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC all set to recover taxes
Mounting arrears mount pressure
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 22
Notwithstanding the fact that the municipal elections were just at hand and the new Congress government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh appeared to be in no mood to take any major policy decision to antagonise the electorate, which has given a massive mandate in favour of the party in the Assembly polls, the civic administration has gone in overdrive mode to recover civic taxes and mounting arrears in the wake of approaching end of the current financial year.

Although the recovery of house tax, water and sewerage charges, additional excise duty, octroi on electricity, development charges, tehbazari fee, licence fee, advertisement tax and court challan during the year were up in comparison to the corresponding period last year, the total income of the MC at Rs 179.43 crore till March 21 as against Rs 171 crore last year, was way behind the budget target of Rs 254.82 crore, out of a total annual budget of Rs 262 crore.

Despite the fact that income from water supply and sewerage charges at Rs 16.07 crore as well as from house tax at Rs 28.49 crore had remained higher for quite some time now in comparison to the corresponding period last year, it was also true that the arrears of house tax and water rate were mounting, and the city residents were not coming forward voluntarily to liquidate the arrears. Frequent demands by councillors to waive domestic water supply and sewerage charges and the election promises made by several Congress functionaries during the campaigning for Assembly polls to this effect had also acted as a stumbling block in the way of recovery of these taxes.

Giving effect to a unanimous resolution adopted by the MC general house during last month, the civic body had already announced the facility of payment of water supply and house tax arrears without interest till March 31. The interest portion would be deferred till the state government took a policy decision and would be liable to be collected if the government refused to waive off the interest on arrears.

Making it clear that the civic administration meant business, the MC officials had recently issued final recovery notices for payment of house tax arrears to hundreds of industrial units in Focal Point and elsewhere as well as a large number of defaulting commercial establishments in the city, threatening them with recovery of due amount by way of auction of property.

Although it was not officially confirmed, it was learnt that instructions have been issued to all Zonal Commissioners to resort to disconnection of water supply and adopt other stern measures against defaulting city residents so as to improve the recovery of water and sewerage charges.



Go slow on paddy sowing: Aulakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The two-day Kisan Mela organised by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) concluded here today with the distribution of prizes to farmers and farm women in farm produce and home craft competitions. While addressing farmers after the prize distribution, Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, stressed that the farmers should take a pledge to say goodbye to the practice of early sowing of paddy.

Dr Aulakh said by transplanting paddy in the month of May, the farmers were depleting the precious ground water resources as the water loss was maximum during the hot and dry months of May and June. The farmers should, therefore, sow paddy nursery around May 10 and transplant 11 between June 10 to June 20. As the rainy season starts by the end of June, the water loss due to evaporation becomes minimal,” he added.

He also advised farmers not to delay the sowing of cotton beyond mid of May. The cotton sown late was more prone to attack of insects, pests and diseases. Dr Aulakh, therefore appealed to the state government to release sufficient canal water in the cotton belt from mid-April to mid May so that the cotton could be sown in time. Dr Aulakh also appealed to the Government of India to give approval for the release of Bt-cotton as this would help in reducing the use of insecticides thereby bringing down the cost of production, build-up of friendly insects and saving the environment from pollution. He expressed serious concern over the increased use of alcohol and other drugs among farmers and rural youth.” The religious and social organisations should come forward to get rid of this menace,” said Dr Aulakh.

A delegation from Uzbekistan under the leadership of their Deputy Agricultural Minister also participated in the Kisan Mela and evinced keen interest in the agro-industrial exhibition, field demonstrations and the cultural items presented during the prize distribution ceremony. The delegation was accompanied by Dr Jagir Singh Samra, Deputy-Director General, ICAR, New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director (Extension Education) PAU, advised farmers to adopt the subsidiary occupations like beekeeping, dairy farming, poultry farming etc. This would help them in getting continuous income, he said. He exhorted farmers to get guidance regarding these occupations and other agricultural problems from the magazines and books published by the university. He made a special mention of the crop calendar which can be used as a ready-reckoner for guidance to perform day-to-day operation.

Dr G.S. Nanda, (Director Research), PAU advised farmers to sow only those varieties of crops that had been recommended by the university. He also cautioned farmers against the purchase of spurious cotton seed from unscrupulous elements which they were selling under the name of Bt-cotton.



British police recruiting more Asians
From Tribune Reporters

Phillaur (Ludhiana), March 22
With an aim to reduce the incidents of domestic violence, child abuse and forced marriages among the Asian communities living in England and to form a coordination between the British and the Punjab police to nab persons committing crime in England and hiding in Punjab or vice-versa, a delegation of about 50 police officers of the British police attended a conference at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, here today.

The British delegation has been visiting different parts of the region to understand the culture of different communities so that they can have a better understanding of the problems of members of these communities. The members of the British delegation said the police wanted to understand the cultural issues so that they can provide solutions.

A good news for Indians is that the British police was encouraging recruitment of persons belonging to Asian communities in the force in order to have a better handling of the affairs of the minority communities in the country.

Disclosing the entire objective of the series of the meetings between British and Punjab police officers, Dr. G S Aujla ADGP-cum-Director, Punjab Police Academy, said at the inauguration ceremony of the today’s conference that 16 police systems from various countries have come together to involve in interacting on issues having police bearing in different countries. He said the development of cooperation would go a long way in conducting joint operations to minimise incidents of crime involving citizens of both the countries.

Mr Michael Hedges, leader of the British delegation and chief constable of South Yorkshire police, said the problem of forced marriage, child abuse and domestic violence among the Asian communities was on the rise in England and the police wanted to solve it with the help of understanding the culture of the communities.

The conference agreed to create contact between the UK and the Indian Police Service for future cooperation and development, provide a forum for professional discussion in areas of mutual interest, explore developments in community policing and policing techniques and identify areas of possible future exchange in training and equipment.

Some members of the delegation including a couple, Mr Bobby Dev and his wife Surinder Dev, and training officer Harvinder Singh Rai, who were of Indian origin, were the star attractions of the show with police officers and mediapersons. Sharing their experiences, they told Ludhiana Tribune that they decided to join the police force to act as a representation for the people of their community who they thought were not properly understood.

Mr Harvinder Singh Rai, nicknamed Harvi by his colleagues, belongs to Malri village near Nakodar said the British forces were recruiting more persons from Asian communities as they could handle better the problems of these communities.

Ms Surinder Dev said in England members of Asian communities were still living in male dominated system in which the children were forced into marriages of the choice of their parents. She revealed that there was some generation gap between the communities which were causing the problems. 



Sukhdev memorial remains a distant dream
Kamal Kishore Shankar

The birth place of Sukhdev Thapar is still occupied by tenants; here a memorial will be set up.
The birth place of Sukhdev Thapar is still occupied by tenants; here a memorial will be set up.— Photo Rajesh Bhambi

Ludhiana, March 22
“Shaheedon ki chitaon par har bars lagange mele, watan par mitne walon ka yahi baki nishan hoga” This old saying seems to be untrue as after 72 years of martyrdom and 54 years of Independence yet there is no memorial of Sukhdev who was hanged to death along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru on this day in 1931.

Not many people may be aware that today is the 72nd death anniversary of three great martyrs — Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, and Sukhdev was born and brought up in Ludhiana and his ancestral house still stands here at Nau Ghara in Chaura Bazar as dilapidated structure.

Sukhev was born in the Chaura Bazar area called Nau Ghara (nine houses). About three years back, the Thapars had set up a trust named Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust (SSTMT) to look after the historical place and to create awareness among people about the great martyr.

The Thapars and the district administration had decided to set a memorial at his birth place.

One of representative of the Thapar community of Ludhiana, who claims kinship to Sukhdev as he also belonged to a Thapar family, Mr Vinod Thapar, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said a woman staying in Sukhdev’s house was paid Rs 50,000 for shifting from here, but after her death few months back, we had to face many problems. Mr Vinod Thapar, president of the Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust (SSTMT), further said it was very difficult to shift the daughter and son of the poor woman who left nothing for her children.

Mr Thapar further said, “The former Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, Mr S.K. Sandhu, had also reiterated the commitment of the government to set up a memorial at the ancestral house of Sukhdev on May 15, 2000, (the birth anniversary of Sukhdev). The birthday function of the great martyr was also attended by cine star-turned-politician Raj Babbar who was also financially helped SSTMT.” “The trust is celebrating the martyrdom day of Sukhdev tomorrow and he along with other member of the trust will talk about the issue with the newly appointed Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal,” he added.

The general secretary of the trust, Mr Ashok Thapar, said after the house would be vacated, we would renovate it and keep here some belongings of Sukhdev Thapar. Besides, we would make available the literature of freedom struggle of India and especially the freedom fighters of Punjab, so that the visitors and especially the new generation, could know about the tough time faced by the countrymen. He further said that a delegation of the trust members would also meet the Education Minister, Mr Khushaal Behl, for setting up a Sukhdev Thapar Chair in the state universities.



IG asked to be peacemaker
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The state government has asked the Inspector General of the Jalandhar Range, Mr S.K. Sharma, to resolve the “differences” between the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police in Ludhiana. “I have asked Mr Sharma to sort out the matter,” the Director General of the Punjab police, Mr M.S. Bhullar, told reporters at Punjab Police Training Academy at Phillaur today.

In reply to a question, Mr Bhullar said there were indeed some differences between the Ludhiana DC, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, and the SSP, Mr Harpreet Sidhu, on the issue of some transfers, but these were not serious.

The DGP also said there was no battle for hegemony between the IAS and the IPS officers in Punjab. “The differences are only in Ludhiana,” he said.

When asked whether the confrontation between the civil administration and the police could spread statewide like it had happened a few years ago, the DGP said he had, so far, not heard of a similar confrontation at any other place in the state.

Meanwhile, sources in the police said, normally, it is the SSP who reshuffles police officials and, then, seeks the approval of the District Magistrate which comes without fail. “However, there has been some communication gap this time,” they said.

The DC, Mr Aggarwal, however, said here today that there was no difference of opinion between the DC and the SSP.



Cong to score massive victory in civic poll: Bawa
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
“The Congress will continue its victory march in the forthcoming civic elections in the city and the opposition parties, including the SAD-BJP combine, would be routed.” This was claimed by Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president, District Congress Committee (Urban), while addressing a meeting of sitting councillors and unsuccessful party candidates in the previous municipal elections, convened at Congress Bhavan here yesterday.

While making it clear that the party would field nominees with a clean track record and proven integrity in the next civic elections, Mr Bawa said those who had directly or otherwise opposed the party candidates in the recent assembly poll would not be nominated. He said the party leadership had already initiated the exercise for screening the candidates for the poll and urged the party activists to gear up for a hectic campaigning.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, group leader of Congress councillors in the Municipal Corporation, observed that the party councillors had been striving for undertaking development works in their respective wards during their tenure of almost five years and the electorate were bound to repose their confidence among the party candidates.

Veteran party functionary Harnam Singh Machhiwara said that despite blatant misuse of power and deliberate omission of the names of thousands of voters from the electoral rolls by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government, the electorate had overwhelmingly supported the Congress in the assembly elections. The Congress had been able to inflict a crushing blow to the ruling combine. Mr Pawan Diwan, chairman, Urban Development Cell of the Indian Youth Congress, said that the Youth Congress functionaries would work hard to consolidate the party win and strengthen the hands of the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Prominent among others present at the meeting were Mr Om Parkash Angrish, Mr Sat Pal Puri, Mr Gurmel Singh Mela, Mr Kanwardeep Singh Pappi, Mr Hem Raj Aggarwal, Mr Balkar Singh, Mr Hans Raj Jassa, Mr Kirpal Singh, Mrs Ravinder Kaur Chadha, Mr Surinder Chhinda, Mrs Indu Parashar, Mr Suresh Soni, Mrs Asha Garg and Mr Sham Sunder Malhotra (all councillors), Mr Prem Mittal, (former Deputy Mayor), Mr Pritpal Singh Ghayal, Mrs Shashi Sood, Mrs Sheila Masih, Mrs Usha Malhotra, president, District Mahila Congress, and Mrs Veena Sobti.



Lok Janshakti Party unit reorganised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
The state president of the Lok Janshakti Party, Mr Amar Singh Mehmi, has reorganised the state and district units of the party with the appointment of a secretary general, two vice-presidents, seven general secretaries, six secretaries, nine district presidents and three party spokespersons.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Kartar Singh Patna, one of three party spokespersons disclosed that the party president and Union Minister for Coal and Mines, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan had dissolved the state and district units of the party in a meeting held in Delhi on March 3 and Mr Mehmi was authorised to recast the organisation both at the state and district levels, with due representation to all sections and loyal workers of the party.

He said a meeting of the new office-bearers of the party would be convened at Jalandhar on April 7 to discuss the organisational matters and to nominate the remaining office-bearers of the state and district units. The meeting would also deliberate upon the forthcoming civic elections in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala.

The following are the new state level office-bearers of the party : president — Mr Amar Singh Mehmi (Jalandhar); secretary-general — Mr Avtar Singh Bagga (Jalandhar); vice-presidents — Mr Barjesh Batra (Patiala); and Mr Avtar Singh Sandhu (Amritsar); general secretaries — Mr Kartar Singh Patna (Ludhiana), Mr Varinder Bharti (Patiala), Mr Harbhajan Singh Attapur (Fatehgarh Sahib), Mr Om Parkash Balmiki (Sangrur), Mr Jagjit Singh Saggu (Patiala), Mr Jagdish Anand (Ludhiana), Mr Nirmal Singh Rajeana (Moga); secretaries — Mr Kuldip Singh Jalla (Fatehgarh Sahib), Mr Naseeb Chand (Nawanshahr), Mr Tarveni Chauhan (Batala), Ms Baldev Kaur (Moga), Ms Usha Rani (Tarn Taran), and Mr K.S. Budhiraja (Ludhiana); district presidents — Mr Bakshi Ram (Jalandhar), Mr Narinder Singh Saini (Hoshiarpur), Mr Anil Chopra (Ludhiana-Urban), Mr Darshan Singh (Ludhiana-rural), Mr Mohinder Singh (Amrtisar-rural), Mr Daljit Handa (Patiala), Mr Maghar Singh (Ropar), Mr Amar Singh Masitare (Sangrur) and Mr Kaur Singh (Mansa).



Baba Bedi assails Badal for supporting POTO
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, convener, Panthic Morcha, today criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, for issuing the whip to the party MPs to vote for POTO. In a statement here Baba Bedi said that the Akali Dal had always opposed the black laws which violated the human rights and it was for the first time that Mr Badal had extended support to such a law and brought disgrace to the Akali Dal.

Baba Bedi said that the Shiromani Akali Dal and other Panthic organisations had strongly opposed the laws like TADA and were instrumental in dismantling the same. But Mr Badal had forgotten the same.

Baba Bedi maintained that even the National Human Rights Commission had described POTO more cruel than TADA.

Baba Bedi feared that as tada was used against the Sikhs, similarly POTO would be used against the Muslims and all the 66 persons arrested in Gujarat under POTO belonged to the Muslim community. Baba Bedi also assailed the statement of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, who had supported POTO.

Baba Bedi said that Mr Badal had made the Akali Dal a wing of the RSS by supporting POTO. He called upon all the Panthic organisations to oppose the POTO black law.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, former president, SGPC, and senior vice- president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, also opposed POTO and said that the same would be used against the minorities.

Mr Talwandi said that Hindutava organisations like Vishav Hindu Parishad, and Bajrang Dal were not under any discipline. These organisations were not even following the directions of the courts. He said that POTO should be withdrawn forthwith.

Mr Talwandi said that some Sikh youths were languishing in jails on the charges of TADA and he had no doubt that POTO would also be misused.



All democratic parties should oppose POTO: MCPI
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has hailed the rejection of POTO in the Rajya Sabha and has exhorted all democratic forces to oppose the draconian and undemocratic Bill in a decisive and determined manner.

Opposing the POTO in its new form, the MCPI general secretary, Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, and the state secretary, Mr Kuldip Singh, said in a joint statement that a few amendments here and there could not make the otherwise “black” Bill acceptable.

“As the experience of the past over 50 years shows that many other similar acts like MISA, the DIR and the NSA were thoroughly misused against minorities, trade unions and democratic movement, POTO gives wide and ample powers to the police to scuttle human rights and civil liberties.”

The MCPI activists said it was most unfortunate that the NDA government at the Centre headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, was contemplating a joint session of Parliament to get approval of this fascist Bill.

They urged the President of India Dr K.R. Narayanan, to use his good offices against adoption of such a draconian piece of legislation. Mr Lyallpuri and Mr Kuldip Singh further asked the allies of the NDA in general and the Shiromani Akali Dal in particular to strongly oppose POTO in its new form since being a minority themselves they had been victims of such black and undemocratic laws in the past.



Residents form consumer body
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
Local residents formed a new body’ National Forum for, Consumer Rights, for making consumers aware and vigilant about their rights here on Wednesday.

According to a press note issued by the president of the forum, Mr Surjit Singh, it was decided to set up this forum in a meeting of a group of city residents at Malhotra Mehal, Dugri, on Tuesday.

Dr Ajay Shahi, general secretary of the forum, said, “The forum would provide free legal service to consumers who made complaints in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. Besides, the forum would work for creating awareness among consumers. Awareness campaigns would be launched in different schools, villages and women organisations.”

Mr Surjit Singh, a retired Additional District and Sessions Judge, said they would set up agencies in different parts of city where complaints would be collected. The elected office-bearers of the forum are: president — Mr Surjit Singh; general secretary — Dr Ajay Shahi; treasurer — B.S. Sohal; PRO — A.S. Dhaba; patron — J.S. Arora; adviser — Sarabjit Singh; organising secretary — Dr Sanjeev Uppal; vice-presidents — Inderjit Singh Navyug, Prof J.K. Bhandari, Mr J.N. Ghulani; secretaries — Dr Bharti Uppal, Mr Jagmohan Singh, Prof S.M. Sharma, Mr Rajeev Singla, Mr G.S. Panchhi; joint secretaries — Dr T.P. Singh, Mr Kamal Kumar, Mr Nirmal Singh, Prof Sookasham Ahluwalia; and auditor —Mr Vishal Ahluwalia.



Dalit woman still untraced
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 22
The Payal police has not been able to trace a missing Dalit woman for the past one month. The woman’s relatives had alleged that her employer’s family was responsible for her disappearance, but the police had denied the charge.

According to a complaint lodged by the woman’s father, Dayal Singh, with the Deputy Superintendent of Police at Payal, the woman, Baljit Kaur, was a domestic servant in the house of a man named Jeeta Singh of Payal. On February 19, she went to her employer’s house, but did not return.

Dayal Singh said he suspected Jeeta’s family, particularly his son Deepi, to be the culprit. He said his family had approached the Congress MP from Ropar, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, and the Transport Minister, Mr Tejparkash Singh, for help.

When contacted, the SHO of the Payal police station, Mr Gulzar Singh, said an investigation was on, but Jeeta Singh and his son Deepi were not responsible for the woman’s disappearance. He said investigations had shown that Baljit Kaur had disappeared after she had left the house of Jeeta Singh.


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