Saturday, April 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ex-DC (Customs) booked under Excise Act
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Mr Amresh Jain (IRS), former Deputy Commissioner (Customs, Dhandari Dry port Ludhiana), who was caught by CBI sleuths in February on graft charges, has been booked in yet another case by the local police. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him at the Sarabha Nagar police station on an application of the CBI stating that they had found 14 bottles of wine and liquor from the accused’s residence in Agar Nagar during a recent raid.

The former DC has been booked under Section 61/1/14, Excise Act, by the Sarabha Nagar police for violating the excise rules regarding the specific number of bottles a person can keep in his house. The Central Bureau of Investigation has noted some of the brands were of foreign liquor and were quite costly and not easily available in the country.

Sarabha Nagar police sources said an application no. 2438-3-8(A) 2002 by the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Special Division, Chandigarh, was received by the district police authorities recommending the registration of a case against the accused under the Excise Act. The CBI application mentions that the accused was already arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act lodged against him on February 21 this year.

Police sources says the registration of case means that the accused might be remanded to police custody here also. Sources said ASI Ravinderpal Singh posted at Sarabha Nagar police station has been entrusted further investigation in the case. According to the police, some of the brands found in his house were French brandy, Raynal, Chivas Regal, Beanolats and Baouvet Wine.

Mr Jain along with Customs Inspector Arun Singla were arrested by the CBI in simultaneous raids conducted in their offices and residences at Ludhiana and Chandigarh respectively. The day-long raids were conducted in relation with an alleged multi-crore scam in which the two officials were said to the main accused.

They have been charged with amassing properties worth crores of rupees by allegedly foreign reimbursed payments of customs duty. The officials were thus allegedly receiving rewards from the importers, who were saving money on taxes. Several other irregularities were also allegedly detected.

While the previous cases were registered at Chandigarh, this is the first case registered here in the city.



Tension continues in Sabzi Mandi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
The standoff between traders of New Sabzi Mandi in Salem Tabri here and a parking-lot contractor continued here today, in spite of efforts of politicians, councillors and senior officials of the Municipal Corporation to resolve the disputes.

Tension built up early today after the traders downed their shutters and staged a dharna at the market gate in protest against the allotment of a part of a greenbelt to the contractor. When some local politicians like Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) came there to support to the contractor, it seemed that the situation would turn ugly, but the MC officials and the police averted any untoward incident.

Later, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, and the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, came there and discussed the matter with office-bearers of the Ludhiana Sabzi Mandi Arhtiya Association to resolve the dispute. The area councillor, Mr Madan Lal Bagga, who is also the chairman of the association, was also there.

In the afternoon, the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, convened a meeting of members of the association, representative of the parking-lot contractor and the area councillors, Mr Bagga and Ms Neelam Pathak, to discuss the matter.

While the arhtiyas said the allotment of the green space for making a parking lot was not acceptable to them, the MC officials said it was necessary to save the traffic in the area from becoming chaotic.

Though no solution acceptable to all parties could be found, the MC officials said the civic body had decided to tell the contractor to keep his attendants strictly within the area of the parking lot. The traffic police has also been told to ensure that vehicles are parked only at the designated place. The MC has also resolved to put an end to encroachment on parks, service lanes and main roads.



Why cinema is a no show here
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 5
There is no business like show business, but ask cinema-hall owners, all of whom have similar problems. The high tax on the business has broken their back. Arora and Kailash here have already closed down as the owners could no longer bear the losses. At one time, Arora used to draw huge crowds of migrant labourers working in factories. Kailash, near District Courts and in a densely populated residential colony, also used to draw huge crowds.

Mr Abnash Singh of Lakshmi Cinema says that his woes began with terrorism in the state. Due to fear psychosis, people stayed indoors and watched movies on the VCRs. Those who didn’t have the VCRs, hired these. Till date, there is no late show in any cinema hall of the state. One show less means loss of revenue.

Mr Vikas Raikhy of Raikhy, Mr Ranjit Singh of Aarti and Mr Bhupinder Khatra of Malhar say that it is the heavy entertainment tax which is killing the business. The tax for each cinema-hall owner amounts to thousands of rupees every week, irrespective of whether the business is good or not. Cinema-hall owners had made several requests to the Badal Government to get the tax reduced and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the then Chief Minister, had even promised to reduce it by 50 per cent, but before it could be done, elections were announced and they were back to square one.

Another challenge that they face is the screening of pirated movies by private channels. Mr Vikas Raikhy says, “Today, ‘Aankhen’ has been released and the producer has obtained a stay order against a local channel, stopping it for a few weeks from screening the movie on cable TV. Pirated CDs of the movie are easily available still.

Mr Abnash Singh says, “At places like Sahnewal and Dhandari, a person shows latest movies on projector. The ticket-price is nominal, so, crowds are huge. Pirated CDs have crippled the business and various TV channels show about 40 movies a day.”

Mr Ranjit Singh of Aarti Cinema says that the Municipal Corporation charges tax for every show, besides a seat tax and an advertisement tax. Mr Vikas says that cinema-hall owners have been demanding industry status for the business as they pay huge electricity bills and income tax. If the industry status is given, they will have to pay house tax and electricity charges at industry rates and get more benefits.

Three years ago, they were allowed to put up publicity hoardings at strategic sites, but they continue to pay the fees for it, although the hoardings have been removed since long.

Dr Rajinder Hora of Chand Cinema and president of the Punjab Cinema Association, is upset that the house tax, that was between Rs 17,000 and Rs 18,000 previously, has now been increased five times. “How can we afford to pay such high tax when already our business is not good,” he says.

Mr Vikas Raikhy says that there has to be a huge amount of water in cinema halls for toilet and fire fighting facilities. However, the MC imposes disposal tax on it. Dr Hora says, “The MC gives us nothing in return. There are no streetlights in front of cinema halls and the sanitation is poor.”



Trust dissolved; Rakhi Gupta new head
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Ms Rakhi Gupta Bhandari, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), has been appointed the Administrator of the local Improvement Trust. She succeeds Mr M.M. Vyas, who has been removed from the headship of the trust, following the dissolution of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust. Ms Bhandari took over here today.

The orders of dissolution were received at the department late yesterday. Ms Rakhi will be the Administrator till the state government appoints a regular chairperson.

The posts of the Improvement Trusts have been mired in a controversy ever since the Congress government took over. Previous chairmen of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, including Mr Madan Mohan Vyas, had been appointed by the previous government.

New governments usually appoint their own men to plum posts. However, the chairman, who had not even completed half the term, had refused to step down to make way for a new person.

The refusal had put the government in a fix.

Capt. Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, had also said that the trust heads would resign on their own, as had been the practice.

However, as this did not seem to be happening, the government began finding out ways to remove them.

The working of the Improvement Trust had come to a virtual stand-still as new appointments were in the offing. The removed heads have, now, moved court against the orders.



PSEB employees protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
In response to a call given by the PSEB Struggle Committee, the employees of Sunder Nagar Division of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today burnt an effigy of the PSEB management and called upon all their colleagues to intensify the agitation for acceptance of their pending demands.

Addressing a well attended rally of employees, the trade union activists, including Mr Walaiti Khan, Mr Ghanayia Lal, Mr Jagir Singh, Mr Kasturi Lal, Mr Joginder Singh and Mr Gopal Singh lashed the board management, which they said, had been persistently going back from commitments and promises made about the outstanding demands of the employees.

The activists further announced that as a part of intensification of the agitation, PSEB employees will stage a massive dharna at Patiala on April 9 and would also participate in a nation-wide strike of electricity board employees on April 16.

The pending demands of the employees included time scale of 9, 16, 23 years for all categories of employees, grant of increment to first 12 groups and hike of Rs 9100-10350 for all employees.



Public urinals not built
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
A “Site for urinal” signboard near Fountain Chowk here shows where a public lavatory was to be built by the Municipal Corporation (MC) about a year ago. However, there is no sign of the urinal and there are six such sites.

The land earmarked for urinals is being used for private purposes. Now some enterprising entrepreneurs are using the land for keeping power generators and other articles. Some entrepreneurs are doing brisk business by selling vegetables, fruits, household things and eatables.

When this correspondent contacted the MC Superintending Engineer, concerned, he was astonished to know about the signboard. He said, “a large number of engineers, including myself, have been recently transferred to Ludhiana and very few officials know the exact detail of the project.” However, after inquiring about the matter from one of his subordinates who has been serving in Ludhiana for a long time, it was revealed that a project of six urinals had been passed at a sangat darshan programme in April, 2001. Some residents had approached the government for the construction of urinals in some busy over-crowded areas which include Fountain Chowk and some main markets. But the urinals could not be constructed, despite earmarking the sites, because the Rs 9 lakh grant from the state government was reverted. The non-availability of funds was the main reason for not constructing the urinals.

The SE said the urinals could be constructed by the MC from its own funds, but after that episode, nobody approached for that. He said public utilities are constructed on the basis of need and demand of the public. About the encroachment on the sites of urinals, the SE commented: “Now that the matter had been brought to our notice, we would intimate the MC Teh Bazari department for necessary action.”



Master bookmaker is no more
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Demise of Dr Hazara Singh, Ex-Director, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University, Patiala, has dealt a blow to the literary world of Punjab. He expired on March 28.

Around 1,800 books were printed during his tenure. Concordance of the Sikh Granth, Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, dictionaries and reference books were his creations.

At a very young age, he joined Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana, helping them in printing. He then shifted to Punjabi University, Patiala. Later, he headed the Department of Punjabi Language Development. In 1965, the university appointed him the Head of Publication Bureau. In 1971, he won the first prize in printing and layout from the Central Information Ministry.

Apart from Punjabi University, he was also approached by other institutions to help them in their publications. Panjab University, Chandigarh, the Institute of Sikh Studies, Mohali, the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Banga, benefitted from his expertise. Learning and reading was his passion. He did his PhD in ‘printing and technology’ after doing his Masters in Punjabi and Hindi.

He remained a magic personality behind the prestige of Punjabi University in the field of literature and printing throughout his tenure. Once K.S. Narang, Ex-VC, Punjabi University, told the peerless bookmaker, “I have not been able to do for you half as much as you did for the University.”

His expertise in printing and publication were of immense value in shaping the thoughts of literary world in the form of books for which he will always be remembered.

Prof J.S. Puar Ex-VC, Punjabi University, Patiala, will deliver funeral oration at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana, at 2.30 pm on April 6.


Baisakhi special on Alpha TV
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Punjab — the land of valour — is also known for its gaiety and festivities. The festivals are closely linked with the seasons and crop circles in this granary of India. One such festival, which is very important for all the Punjabis, is Baisakhi — the Punjabi new year. This festival also holds importance because it signifies the end of gruelling labour and the start of harvesting of the wheat crop. It is also the birth date of the Khalsa. On this day Guru Gobind Singh started a new religion by administering Amrit to the “Punj Piaras” at Anandpur Sahib.

Apha TV Punjabi, the premier Punjabi channel from the Zee Network is making special arrangements to celebrate this festival with a spectacular event, “Ik Sham Pyar De Naam’” at Guru Nanak Bhavan, Ludhiana, on April 6 at 7 p.m.

The programme is going to be inaugurated and graced by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Amarinder Singh, and the CEO of Zee Network, Mr Sandeep Goyal.

The romantic spirits of the Punjabis will be given a fresh and a tingling spirit when the love lores of Punjab will be performed in a musical form. This will be done by Punjabi singers like Sardool Sikander, Debi Makhsoodpuri, Manpreet Akhtar, Barkat Sidhu, Gursewak Mann, Rajender Kaur and bhangra by award winning Nachde Punjab group. The will regale the people of Punjab by their classic performances.

The programme will be telecast on Alpha TV Punjabi on April 12 at 7.30 p.m. with a curtain raiser on April 11.



Holy man condemns VHP, Bajrang Dal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Mahamandleshwar Swami Virendranand Giri, who is the vice-president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Shakti Sena, issued a press release here today condemning the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal for inciting trouble in Gujarat and elsewhere in the country by their inflammatory speeches and statements.

The holy man said that the residents of Ayodhya wanted a peaceful solution to the temple issue.



Driver injured in attack
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
A 35-year-old truck driver was attacked by some persons with sharp-edged weapons and injured him seriously when he was waiting for his turn at a PCO near his residence in Shimla Puri here last night.

According to information, Mr. Sher Singh had gone to the PCO to make a phone call after taking his dinner. While he was waiting his turn, he was beckoned by a man to come outside the PCO. When Mr Sher Singh did so, he was attacked with swords by many persons. After the attack they fled from the spot. The injured was rushed to the Civil Hospital where he was given about 50 stitches on various body parts. Some of the assailants are reported to be belonging to Khamano, according to the relatives of the victim who could not explain the possible motive behind the attack. The Shimla Puri police has registered a case.

Injured: Mr Ram Singh, (25), a resident of Basti Jodhewal area, who accompanied a factory worker Abdul Pervez, to the factory owners to demand the latter’s pending wages, was allegedly injured by the henchmen of the factory owner in Shimla Colony on the Kakowal Road, last night.

According to information, when Ram Singh and Abdul pervez demanded the latter’s wages, a dispute arose between them and the factory owner at which the duo was allegedly attacked with swords. While Ram Singh was injured in the attack, Abdul Pervez managed to flee and inform the police control room. The police arrested one of the attackers while the rest of them managed to flee.

Body found: The body of an unidentified youth was found in the field near Mallipur village by some passersby who informed the police yesterday which took the body into custody and sent it for an autopsy.

Girl sustains burns: Fifteen-year-old Mamta, daughter of a vegetable seller , Mr. Dev Raj, sustained serious burns when she caught accidental fire while cooking in her home in Giaspura falling under the Focal Point police station yesterday. The girl was trying to clean the burner of a kerosene- stove with the help of a pin when the burning oil fell on her clothes. The girl has been admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Eve-teaser held: Prahlad alias Fauji, a youth belonging to Jammu, was caught by a PCR motor cycle team after a brief chase as he was trying to flee after teasing a resident of Chhawni mohalla who was going along with another girl here yesterday.

Attacked: The Division No 6 police has registered a case under Sections 307 and 324 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jagjit Singh, a resident of Cheema Colony, against Jaswant Singh of the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the accused stabbed him on Wednesday with a knife with the intention of killing him over a business dispute.

Fraud alleged: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case of fraud on the statement of Ms Manjit Kaur, a resident of Partap chowk, under Sections 420, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against Ravinder Kaur and Manjit Kaur. The complainant had alleged that the accused took Rs 5.5 lakh from her and promised to sell a plot to her which later turned out to be disputed property. When she asked the accused to return her money, the accused refused to do so, she added.

Commuters beaten: A group of auto-drivers beat up some commuters near the Jalandhar bypass here yesterday as a result of which two of the commuters were injured.

According to the information, an auto-rickshaw carrying some commuters turned over near the bypass and Brahspati, a fifteen-year-old boy travelling by it, was injured . When the other commuters asked the driver to take the boy to a hospital, he called up some of his colleagues and they started beating the commuters. A migrant from Bihar, Joginder Pandey, got a fracture in the shoulder. The police has registered a case but no arrest has been made so far.

Cases of beating: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case of beating and intimidation on the statement of Sonu, a resident of Guru Angad Dev Nagar, against Surinder, Dari, Nimma, Harbans Singh and Shunty. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on Wednesday, beat him up and also threatened him.

The Salem Tabri police has registered a case on the statement of Mr Laxmi Chand, a resident of New Shiv Puri, against Mulakh Raj, his sons Jaspal and Santokh Singh, daughter Reeta Rani and wife Asha Rani, all residents of Salem Tabri. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on May 2 and beat him up. Later, the accused arrived at his shop and damaged some karyana items also.

The Model Town police, on a statement by Mr Amar Nath, a resident of Partap chowk, has registered a case under Sections 341, 506, 323 and 34 of the IPC against Anil Sood, Ashok Kumar and two other unknown accused. The complainant had stated that the accused intercepted him and beat him up as a result of which he sustained injuries on Wednesday.

Injured in mishap:
An unidentified person has been booked for allegedly killing Bhag Singh, a resident of Jaipura village on the G.T. Road at Sahnewal, while he was about to cross the road. The Sahnewal police took the body into custody and booked the vehicle owner who was said to be driving with red light atop.

One beaten, hospitalised: A case under Sections 323, 324, 427 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against Babbi and Subhash, both sons of Jugal Kishore and residents of Ludhiana, for allegedly beating Prem Chand of Nawa Mohalla, Ludhiana. The complainant, Prem Chand, was reportedly injured by these two over some personal enmity. The man was admitted to a local hospital.

Stolen: A resident of Rauni village, Paramjit Singh, has complained to the police that some persons have burgled his shop at Sahnewal chowk and stole goods worth Rs 30,000 from the shop. A case has been registered against the miscreants under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC.

Poppy husk seized: The police has claimed to have seized 10 kg of poppy husk, and booked Ujagar Singh of Tibba Majri village under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS act.

Dowry-seekers booked: A case under Sections 303, 406, 498-A, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against the husband Inderpal Singh, father-in-law Shamsher Singh, mother-in-law Kamlesh Kumari and sister-in-law Anju for allegedly harassing Mandeep Kaur, daughter of Krishna of Dashmesh Colony, Doraha.

Mandeep Kaur was married to Inderpal Singh in 2000. After her marriage, she was reportedly threatened and tortured by her in-laws for bringing more dowry. It was on the non-fulfillment of their demands that she was beaten to the extent that blood came out of her body and she had to be rushed to a hospital. She also said that her in-laws first tried to suffocate her to death.

Body found: The body of an unidentified man was found in fields of Gurmail Singh of Malipur village, last night. The face and neck of the man was badly tarnished and the rest of the body, that was unharmed, indicated that the man might be working at some brick-kiln nearby. 


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