Tuesday, October 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Construction around Halwara AF 
Station to be banned
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Hectic activity is on around the Indian Air Force Station, Halwara, to identify and mark an area of 900 m from the outer parapet of the station, following a recent notification by the Ministry of Defence which bans any constructional activity in the notified area.

Residents, whose houses or business establishments fall in the area, however, need not worry about any move to demolish the existing structures, houses or shops like the bitter controversy over a similar rule around the Baddowal Ammunition Depot.

IAF authorities and District Administration officials state that there was no need for the public to panic as no existing construction would be razed.

An IAF team, under the supervision of the Chief Administrative Officer, Grp Capt S. K. Midha, along with Mr Ajmer Singh, SDM, Raikot, have held a couple of meetings to chalk out the plan of identifying the area.

Notice Boards would be put up on the earmarked area shortly and the people informed through public announcements and meetings.

Sources said the residents of the area were still unaware of the development as officials concerned had kept the new notification under wraps.

The officials, however, said they did not want to create unnecessary panic among the public as had happened in the Baddowal Ammunition Depot Controversy.

The sources said while in Halwara, directions were that no fresh construction would be allowed, in Baddowal, a lot of construction had taken place after the notification.

Group Captain Midha said the Ministry of Defence had issued a notification in June this year under Sections 3 and 7 of the Works of Defence Act, 1903 according to which ‘‘ no building of structure should be erected within 900 m from the crest of the outer parapet of IAF aerodrome and installations. There was a bar on plantation of trees, especially massive plantation. The trees attract birds, which were dangerous for the aircrafts’’.

Mr Ajmer Singh added that there would be a bar on sale and purchase of land in the notified area. Only sale or purchase for agriculture purpose would be allowed. Necessary permission for the deals would be required from the district administration and the Halwara Air Force authorities, he said.

A couple of meetings have already taken place between the IAF officials and the civil administration and a complete map of the notified area was being prepared on which boundaries would be marked and laid out.

Meanwhile, Group Captain Midha had requested the public to cooperate adding that national security was above any other consideration.

“The Ministry of Defence had already kept the people's interests in mind by not allowing razing down of the existing structures which would have affected hundreds,” he said.

He said the Air Force and the civil administration was open to any kind of problems being faced by the residents of the notified area.

Sources said the development may not trigger panic among the residents but it would have an impact on the land prices. Farmers planning to plant poplar or fruit trees would also not be able to do so. 



City being decked up for festive season
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 28
The municipal corporation is giving effect to its commitment of giving a new look to the city roads in the wake of approaching Divali. Giving details sources in the MC told Ludhiana Tribune that around 400 km of roads with bitumen top had already been covered under the patch work programme. Supporting walls of all flyovers, medians on most of the major roads and kerb channels at important crossings were being white washed, road markings on several roads and zebra crossings at 37 places were repainted to give a better look to the city roads. In addition, electric poles for streetlights were also being given a fresh coat of paint. While the civic body had undertaken the task for extensive renovation work in the city at its own level, several private companies had also joined the campaign and had made significant contribution towards achieving the objective.

Further, in order to clear the roads and streets of all impediments in the way of smooth flow of traffic, around 400 sites in the city where building or waste material was stacked had been identified. The owners of the buildings on these sites were being asked to clear the ‘malba’ as the case may be, immediately failing which penal proceedings including prosecution under the relevant law would be initiated.

The sources said the officials of the Engineering Branch of the civic body had been given explicit instructions to ensure time-bound completion of the programme so that the MC could present a Divali gift to the city residents in the form of ‘neat, clean and well maintained’ roads. 



Dalit women’s abduction: ADGP told to probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has directed the ADGP with commission to inquire, within three weeks, about an alleged kidnapping and beating case of two women of Tusse village, that took place last week and the alleged police inaction on their complaint.

In an alleged land grabbing case, some persons had kidnapped and beaten up the two women, Dalip Kaur and Balwinder Kaur, in Tusse village. The accused as well as the victims were Dalits and related to each other. Both the groups were already fighting legal battles over a piece of land worth Rs 1.5 lakh. Cases had been registered against both the parties earlier also.

The Jagraon police has denied the allegation of the alleged victims’ family. It produced an FIR’s registered on their complaint. Mr Arvind Puri, SHO, Sudhar police station said the police was clean in the case and had acted according to the law and circumstantial evidence.

A copy of the PHRC orders said that Baljinder Singh of Tusse village had, in his complaint, to the PHRC, alleged that police had not acted on his complaint. The orders said the allegations were very serious and pertained to the inaction of the local police on the asking of a former MLA of the present government. The complaint was substantiated with the medico-legal reports of Dalip Kaur and Balwinder Kaur which revealed that the two had been subjected to torture. The facts mentioned in the complaint were brought to the notice of the Jagraon police but according to the complaint it did not address to the grievances of the complainant.

The orders said in the light of the serious offenses, it would be appropriate if the ADGP of the commission enquired into the matter. The ADGP had been accordingly directed to conduct this inquiry personally and could take the help of a police officer by deputing the DSP of this commission to forthwith visit the spot and to make enquiries into the allegations In this context he may also take into consideration the evidence the complainants may wish to give him. The officer would specifically give his findings as to why, if so, the FIR was not registered. He would consider taking the version of the concerned police officer also.

However, Mr Arvind Puri, SHO, Sudhar police station, said the police had taken timely action and reached the alleged crime site within minutes. He said on the complaint of the two woman and their relatives, a case was registered on October 23 under Sections 342, 506 and 148 of the IPC. He said seven out of the eight accused persons were arrested in this connection.

He said the accused party had claimed that they had been wronged and the allegations levelled by the two women were false. He said the police in an unbiased role had registered a case on their complaint also.



Cycle traders oppose VAT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
The Cycle Trade Union has opposed the government’s decision to introduce the value added tax (VAT) system in the state, apprehending that this may create bureaucratic hurdles in the functioning of the industry.

In a representation to the Principal Secretary, Finance, the president of the union, Mr Brij Mohan Sarin, and the general secretary, Mr Jaswant Singh Virdi, Said the introduction of the VAT system in Punjab was not acceptable to the trading and industrial community under the present circumstances when the industry was facing a severe recession.

Moreover, members of the union feared that the introduction of the system would lead to harassment as it would involve more paper work in the shape of maintenance of VAT account registers and tax adjustments.

This system would lead to a loss in revenue collection for the state, members said adding, “more the hurdles in the way of trading and manufacturing processes, the more erosion in the shape of corruption”.

The representation listed several other demerits of the system. It claimed that VAT was a multi-stage tax system and would, create multi-stage bureaucratic corruption. It apprehended that the system would create inspector raj with delegation of extra powers. “The VAT system requires very good character of both the assessing officer as well as the person in the business”, the representation observed.

Members have suggested that if the government cannot withdraw the decision, it should postpone its implementation for a few years when the economy and the industry had recovered.



2 run over by police bus 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Two persons, who were changing a tyre of a three wheeler, were killed when they were reportedly run over by a police bus near the Dholewal Chowk this morning.

According to police sources, the duo — Vinod Kumar and his unidentified friend — were employees of an electroplating firm and were on their way to deliver some goods to a customer. On the way, a tyre of the three wheeler - PB 10 B 9423 - got punctured. They were changing the tyre when they were allegedly run over by the driver of the bus - PB 10 S 9812 - who reportedly claimed that he did not see them since they were hidden from view. The vehicle was ferrying undertrials to the courts.

A case has been registered against the driver of the bus and further investigations are on.



Capt Ravinder’s statue unveiled
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, October 28
With the ceremonial unveiling of the statue of Capt Ravinder Singh, a martyr of 1965 Indo-Pak War, and naming the government girls middle school as Capt Ravinder Singh Memorial, Latala village gets a rare distinction of having the maximum number of patriotic memorials including Kartar Singh Dukki Memorial, Government Senior Secondary School.

Till now famous for its largest rural grain market, the village came into news, when a Tribune Team noticed a statue on the road covered by a sheat unusually. The statue was later found to be of martyr Capt Ravinder Singh whose, 80-year-old widow mother Surinder Kaur had been moving from pillar to post for getting it unveiled by some officer of 18 Cavalry Regiment of the Army, through which the martyr had served the nation. Taking the suo motu notice of stories published in The Tribune, the court had intervened. Ultimately the old mother got justice and a group of officers of the regiment, led by Col Jaidev Singh, unveiled the statue.

The Government Girls Middle School of the village was also named as Capt Ravinder Singh Memorial on the same day, for which they Punjab Government had given its approval. Besides these memorials, a room in Sardar Kartar Singh Dukki Memorial Government Senior Secondary School is named in memory of the martyr. An engraved stone in martyr ‘s name had been found by Ms Krishna Sharda, Principal of the school, who with the consent of panchayat fixed it on the wall of a room which was got built by the mother of the martyr.

Prior to this, government Senior Secondary School, was also named in memory of a freedom fighter and leader of the Gaddar Party, Sardar Kartar singh Dukki. Once known as Khalsa School, it had been taken over by the government. But in 1999, residents of the area inspired Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura of the USA, to donate Rs 15 lakh to the school after which the government would allow to name the school after his father Jagpal Singh Khangura. The NRI has been sending around Rs 50,000 every year for organising functions to honour meritorious students of the school.

The village has yet another memorial which is dedicated to four martyrs of the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak Wars. It is Sardar Gurdial Singh Amar Shaheed Stadium situated close to Senior Secondary School. Major contribution to the construction of the stadium came from Kanwaljit Singh of the USA. It is built in memory of Capt Ravinder Singh and Havaldar Avtar Singh (martyrs of the 1965 War) and Shaheed Gurmail Singh and Shaheed balwant Singh (martyrs of the 1971 War).

Residents of the village, who are proud of sacrifices made by their forefathers are still preparing to raise another memorial. Mr Baldev Latala, a kissan union leader, and Mr Avtar Singh said they were collecting information about two martyrs who laid their lives during the Kooka Movement. Villagers would build a memorial in their name also, as usual without any grant from the government, they asserted.



Gift the needy kids to celebrate Divali
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 28
This Divali spare a few moments for those children who have been orphaned and have no one to look after. Children who need the support of people to get a home where they can grow up.

The SOS Children’s Village of India was established 38 years ago with the commitment to providing love and care of a family to needy and deprived children. This Divali, give these children a gift they will cherish forever and that is by sponsoring and becoming friends of these destitute children .

The team of SOS village has distributed 2 lakh Divali mailers in Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, and Chandigarh. Life turned upside down for little Seema when she lost her parents in devastating floods. Barely a few months old, she was suddenly all alone. Fortunately she found happiness and security and happiness in SOS Children’s. Thousands like her are awaiting help.



Salary on Oct 31
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 28
In the wake of Divali, which falls on November 4, the Punjab Government has issued directions for disbursement of pension for the month of October to the pensioners on October 31.

According to Mr Yash Pal Ghai, additional general secretary, Government Pensioners Association, the salaries to the government employees would also be paid the same day since the government offices would remain closed from November 1 to 5 on account of gazetted holidays.



Industry resents PSEB scheme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
The Northern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry has resented the PSEB scheme to club various cases of industrial consumers for one-time settlement and asking them to pay the charges for a three-year period. According to Mr Balwant Rai, president of the chamber, the move has been made without taking industrialists into confidence.

Mr Rai said recently the PSEB issued a notification saying: “All cases which have not been identified for the clubbing, the difference of tariff and 3 per cent transformation charges shall be levied for a maximum period of three years. The consumers whose cases are pending with courts or various review channels of the board can avail themselves of the benefits of this scheme”.

He said the maximum period of three years had been mentioned by the PSEB. But, there was no mention of the minimum period, which should have been there. He observed that if the period of checking, detection and identification was less than three years, the lesser period should be taken into consideration and the consumers should not be made to pay for the extra period, which was three years. Moreover, if the period of starting of the court cases is above three years, then the maximum period of three years should be taken into consideration.


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