Monday, September 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Using black films on vehicles with impunity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
Does a scooter or a tractor need a black film? Sounds absurd as they don’t simply have any window panes. But going by the permission given to several vehicles in the state to use black films, this seems to be quite a possibility.

Several instances of misuse of the permission clause have come to light where for reasons of “security”, persons have not only obtained permission to darken vehicle glasses but have also put up fake registration numbers, thus exposing big chinks in the system where permits seem to be given without any proper verification.

These disclosures have come from none other than the state’s own Vigilance Department, which has found several cases of fake registration numbers and permits for dark glasses to people who don’t have any threat perception besides the listed vehicles. Some vehicles had numbers from a series, which was yet to be started.

Recently, the Vigilance Department had written to its officials all over the state through letter no. 400/R/CD/VB to verify the antecedents of certain people, who had managed to obtain permission for dark glasses despite the scrutiny. The revelations have been startling.

According to investigation report sent by the Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau to Chief Director-cum-Additional Director General of Police, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, vide letter No. 2895, investigation had found gross violations in the issuing of black films. The report lists some exceptional cases.

Inquiries regarding a car no. PB 51A-0744 (Matiz) were made by the Ludhiana Vigilance from the office of the SDM-cum-Registering Authority, Sardulgarh, as the registration code 51 has been allotted to sub-division, Sardulgarh, district Mansa. It has been found that registration number PB-51A-0744 has been allotted to a tractor jointly owned by Mr Daljit Singh and Mr Shamsher Singh of Ghuman Kalan village. The said tractor was registered on October 31, 1994. The report says that the registration series PB-51A has not as yet started.

Another car no. PB-10-AC-9400 Maruti 800 cc (red colour) was registered at Ludhiana in the name of property dealer, Raj Kumar of Chander Nagar, Ludhiana. The report mentions that Mr Raj Kumar is a close associate of some Shiv Kumar Sharma and the permission for having black film on the window panes of his car has been obtained by Raj Kumar through Shiv Kumar Sharma, a resident of Durga Puri, Haibowal, Ludhiana. There is no security threat to the man and there is hardly any justification on security grounds for granting him permission to use black films on his car.

The vigilance report mentions that Raj Kumar feigned ignorance about the process adopted by Mr Sharma for getting him the requisite permission sticker for the use of black films on his car. Meanwhile, Shiv Kumar Sharma was not available as he had gone abroad.

Car no. PB 26B-4001 (Zen) was also listed for inquiry. Though the vehicle bearing the given registration number has been reported to be a Zen car, inquiries made from the office of SDM, Khanna, revealed that the given registration number has been allotted to an LML Vespa scooter owned by an advocate.

Vigilance sources revealed that there were some other cars whose owners were yet to be traced. They said inquiries of several other numbers were being made and would be revealed in due course of time. Sources indicated that only senior officials would decide on whether to conduct inquiries from the Police Department on how these vehicles got black films.

Interestingly, a vigilance official here was shocked when asked about the report. He questioned how it reached this newspaper. He requested not to be quoted but said more startling revelations could come up in future.

The issue of using black films on cars has remained a contentious issue ever since.

The Supreme Court banned their use. It had clearly specified that people with real threat perception or some select categories of the VIPs were entitled for this facility.

However, there have been reports of gross violation of the orders as political leaders and influential persons succeeded in getting the permission.

The Vigilance report may become the first authentic document exposing the scandal.



IT Dept to get tough with banks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
The Income Tax Department has decided to get tough with those authorised bank branches which were harassing assessees by showing reluctance to accept challans on the plea that the challans should be deposited with branches nearest to their given addresses.

According to the Taxation Bar Association, banks cannot refuse to accept a challan on the plea that the assessee has not attached a proof of having applied for a permanent account number (PAN) or tax deduction account number. According to association, a copy of PAN/TAN application or a statement in writing that he has applied for the same, is enough for accepting challans.

In a joint statement Mr Ashok Juneja, president and Mr B.R. Kaushal, general secretary of the association, said a meeting of office-bearers and Executive members of Bar was held with Mr B.S. Sandhu, Commissioner of Income Tax, Mr Anil Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, Mr Inderjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, and Mr O.P. Puri, ITO, to discuss various measures for solving general grievances of the Bar members and assessees.

Mr Sandhu said every tax payer was free to deposit tax in any authorised bank branch irrespective of the area where he resided or carried on business and authorised banks could not refuse to accept any challan on that plea. Further, as per the latest instruction of the Reserve Bank and CBDT No DGBA/62/42 Dt. July 30, 2002, banks were bound to accept tax challans if tax payer produced a copy of PAN/TAN application or stated in writing that he had applied for the same. Mr Sandhu said banks should cooperate with tax payers.

Mr Juneja and Mr Kaushal said the IT Commissioner had assured them that refunds would be issued speedily. Cases of charitable trusts and societies would be disposed of in a time-bound manner. Mr Didar Singh, patron, Mr Subhash Aggarwal, chairman, Mr Lalit Takyar and Mr H.O. Arora, co-chairmen, Mr Rajpal Gupta, Mr Ajay Choudhry, vice-presidents, Mr P.C. Garg, secretary, Mr Vijay Sharma and Mr Manmohan Singh, executive members, also expressed their views .



MC dumps cleaning drive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
Thousands of residents of at least 12 colonies near New Kitchlu Nagar—who had been having a harrowing time due to the garbage dumped in their area heaved a sigh of relief when a team of Municipal Corporation employees along with the recovery van started removing the garbage from the spot.

But their happiness soon turned into despair when the vans and trolleys moved from the place after removing only a few heaps of the garbage. The residents who had thought that the days of their trouble were over realised that it was not so.

The residents of New Kitchlu Nagar, Greater Kailash, Altos Nagar, Mahavir Colony, New Ram Dass Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar Lane, RK Puram and surrounding areas have been living amidst stink and germs of various diseases since the local Municipal Corporation had started dumping the garbage of the city in an open place right in the middle of the residential areas.

The place that is known to be a fodder mandi of the city has been converted into a virtual garbage dump by the MC, notwithstanding the fact that it is a residential area and the dump is posing a threat to the health of the residents.

The Tribune had reported the plight of these residents in these columns a few days ago but there has been no relief for the residents. The residents said although today morning the employees had started moving the garbage but by noon the work was stopped.

They claimed that the garbage of Civil Zone -D of the city was being dumped here even as the MC had its own dumping ground a few kilometers away from the site.The residents have been complaining of the suffocating stink emanating from the dumping ground.

The residents said they had an argument with a trolley driver just yesterday as they told him not to dump garbage there but they claimed that the driver said that he was permitted by the authorities to do so.

The residents have been writing to the officials concerned including the MC Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner but to no avail.

Mr Parveen Sohi, a resident of the area, said they had tried all methods to make the authorities aware of the problem but nothing had happened so far.



No headway in note question
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , September 22
Even a month after a million dollar note was recovered by the local police from a master swindler, the police is yet to find out whether the bill was fake or real.

CIA sources told Ludhiana Tribune that the case had been referred to the Division Number 5 police station. However, the officials of the police station claimed that they were yet to write to the Reserve Bank of India to ascertain the authenticity of the note.

The million dollar bill was recovered from a former terrorist-cum-robber- turned- swindler last month. The accused Harjinder Singh Kali and his accomplice Bharpurjit Singh were accused of duping over 24 persons in various parts of the state by selling them these US dollars. While speculation was rife in the police circles about the note, it had also been suspected that the note was one of the many such notes stolen from a US bank.

The Tribune investigations had, however, revealed that the note could actually be a certificate, available for anything between 50 cents and $100, printed by the International Association of Millionaires (IAM) to use it as a promotional product to show appreciation to the customer.

The Tribune team had culled the information from the Internet, according to which the bill, that was commissioned in 1988 as One Time Issue only by the IAM, is not US currency but a finely detailed, limited edition that is collectible. The million dollar bill actually looks and feels better than real money. Each bill comes within a clear plastic currency holder, with a Certificate of Authenticity and a brochure that tells the story behind the million dollar bill.



Servant killed in attack, 2.5 lakh robbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
A shopkeeper in Jamalpur area was injured and robbed of Rs 2.5 lakh, while his servant was killed by four assailants last night.

According to police sources, the shopkeeper, Mr Mukesh Kumar of Mukesh Sweets, was going back to his house with his servant, Nand Lal, with Rs 2.5 lakh on him when four persons accosted him and took him into a shop, also owned by Mukesh Kumar.

According to the victim, the accused downed the shutter of the shop from inside and attacked them with a sharp-edged weapon. Mukesh’s arm was injured in the attack and the robbers took away the cash. When his servant tried to resist, he was attacked on the head. He died on the spot.

The robbers fled the spot after the crime. The police has registered a case and investigations are on.



A rich display of Indian culture
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 22
Today was the last day of the Craft, Cultural and Food Mela, which started on September 13, held under the aegis of the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC). A lot of excitement and brouhaha was witnessed during the 10-day fair. The colourful pottery of Kuurja was a visual delight. Similarly, evening bags, bedcovers and wall hanging from Gujarat dazzled the eyes. A lot of variety of bed linen and suits was available at Kantha Work and Kashmiri embroidery. The woven Pochampali fabric for dresses and bedcovers from Andhra Pradesh, tussore silk from Assam, Khadi ensembles from Haryana, Delhi were all for the audience to appreciate.

There were exotic bangles of lac from Rajasthan and “n” number of jewellery at several stalls. The reasonably-priced readymade clothes had the girl going ga-ga over it. For homemakers, there were a lot to choose from wrought iron and terra cota objects. A variety of lamps, lanterns, tables, icons of Ganesha and racks were all for grabs. Similarly, beautiful Madhubani paintings from Madhya Pradesh and paintings from Rajasthan had many takers.

The folk-dances included Singi dance of Sikkim, Kalbelia and Bhawai dance of Rajasthan, Vanjara dance of Andhra Pardesh, Ghumar dance and Banchari dance of Haryana. From Gujarat came Dandia and Garba dance and from its neighbouring state Maharashtra came famous dance Lavani. From Jammu and Kashmir, the dancers brought with them Ruff dance and Natti and Dogri dance, while from Himachal Pardesh dancers presented Barsana ki Holi.

The famous Dhadi singer, Eedu Sharif, sang in his own inimitable style. The lovers of Sufi music got mesmerised by “sufi kalams” sung by Dev Dildar and Hakim Suffi. The lovers of qawwali were entertained by Yashin Quwal. Gurmeet Bawa, Dolly Galleria, Sunita Bhatti thrilled the audience with their Punjabi folk songs. Subhash and Anjuman Goyal, singers from Delhi, entertained the crowds. Jagat Ram Lalka, Sukhi Brar, Santosh Basra and host of young singers like Jaswinder regaled the audience.

Many items prepared by the NZCC like bhangra and dances by Tehl Singh and party, Mohinder Singh and party, Neelam Malhotra and party were also appreciated by the audience. For children there were puppet shows and magic shows by S.K. Sharma. The new generation people became familiar with “bhands”, “mirasis” and “nachars”. For connoisseurs of food, there were dal bati churma, raj kachori mirch, aloo kachori besides well-known preparation dal bati churma from Rajasthan. Mouth-watering ghepla, gatta, kadi and halwa from Rajasthan were also there.



‘Death valley’ riders not challaned
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, September 20
There is hardly any lane in town of Punjab where a cop might not have challaned a person for driving his vehicle without driving license, reckless driving, and even for the absence of a pollution certificate. But none of top police officials have ever dared to challan the riders of ‘death valleys’ who had been organising shows at Chhapar mela in which a couple of unskilled youths drive their bikes and cars on the side walls of a well-shaped installed temporarily wooden structure. Even passers-by are not safe because a minor lapse on the part of the rider can throw him and his vehicle on them due to the centrifugal force which the vehicle gains on account of its rotation at a very high speed.

The ‘death valley’ attracts spectators of all age groups and sexes. Help of unskilled workers are taken for erecting the structure and out of hundred of nuts and bolts many are worn out. Many wooden planks cannot even bear the thrust of the outward force. Earlier, one scooterist used to drive his bike on the slanting walls of the well, now as many as six drivers perform acrobatics on high velocity bikes and cars. While the announcer at main entrance invites spectators the drivers do not hesitate to put their lives in danger. They exhibit more enthusiasm when some of the spectators offer money and elure them to catch the notes. A red colour Maruti car got smashed last year when its driver tried to catch a Rs 500 note, after opening the car’s window. The spectator had withdrawn his money at last moment. The driver was rushed to a city hospital.

Whether the owner of the ‘death valley’ had received any permission from the administration or not could not be ascertained as the owner was not available for comments. When contacted Mr Amarjit Singh SP, Jagraon-cum-mela-in-charge, said it was under the purview of the administration to issue permits after verifying technical requirements. Traffic rules could only be applied on vehicular traffic on roads, he asserted.



CBI probe sought into SBI’s promotion test
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
Indian National Bank Employees Congress (INBEC) has urged Union Finance Minister Yashwant Singh to order a CBI inquiry against the promotion test held by the State Bank of India, Chandigarh local head office, for promotion of clerical cadre to officer cadre against 180 vacancies for the years 2001 and 2002.

Mr K.R. Tripathi, president of the unit, said a written test was held on July 28 and interviews were conducted between September 2 to September 7 at Ludhiana and Chandigarh offices. The result was declared yesterday night at 9.30 p.m. at the Chandigarh office.

He alleged that gross irregularities have been committed by the management of the bank as certain candidates have been favoured. All answers sheets must be sealed and checked again, so that large scale bunglings are revealed. Such inordinate delays in declaration of the results are resorted to in order to accommodate favourites of the management, he alleged.

Mr Tripathi expressed surprise as to why detail marks were not declared and intimated to the employees who passed the written test. Normally 1:3 ratio is followed as per settlement signed by the management with the staff federation, for passing the candidates for promotions. But in this case of 180 vacancies, more than 1,280 candidates had been called for interview with malafide intentions to demoralise the remaining staff of 1, 100 clerks.

“Now 188 candidates have been declared pass against 180 posts. How? In this promotion test, no marks have been awarded to those employees who have passed CAIIB examination, whereas five marks are given in the Trainee Officers Promotion scheme. He further alleged that the vacancies of officer Scale-I should be reassessed from 1985 till 2002, “as the management eliminated all those posts of officer JMGS-I scale, who were promoted to Scale MMG-II, where have these posts disappeared ? Such frauds have been committed by the management in active connivance with top union leaders to cause big loss to the clerical staff in their career prospects. The CBI enquiry will bring more results, facts before the employees of State Bank of India.”



Vanamahotsava celebrated
Our Correspondent

Samrala, September 22
The Lions Club, Samrala, celebrated vanamahotsava in the campus of the local veterinary hospital where Mr R.P. Aggarwal, manager of State Bank of Patiala, was the chief guest, yesterday.

About 150 saplings were planted.

On the second round, the club members distributed note books, pencils, slates and rubbers, including ink pots, to all 108 schoolchildren of Government Primary School, Shamgarh 3 km from here.



Bank distributes new notes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 22
A customer meet was organised at Punjab and Sind Bank, Gurdwara Kalgidhar Road Branch, Ludhiana, to exchange old and soiled currency notes. Mr R.S. Chhatwal, Zonal Manager, presided over the function and highlighted the RBI scheme with regards to exchange of old and soiled notes. He also dwelt upon the innovative loan schemes for retail traders, small business and service class. Mr J.S. Gill, Senior Manager of the branch, assured the customers that all their requirements for new currency notes and coins would be met on priority basis.

Mr Rajinder Singh of Basant Food Chain and Mr K.K. Chhabra of Chhabra Group appreciated the services of the branch towards retail customers. Mr A.K. Chopra, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Jasmeet Singh, Mr A.S. Vohra and Mr Ujjal Singh (Bank officials) helped the branch staff in distributing new currency notes and coins worth Rs 15 lakh among the public.


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