Saturday, February 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Missing file: 6 officials booked
Bid to hide building bylaws violation
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 14
Six officials of the municipal corporation, including an Assistant Town Planner, a head draftsman, a building superintendent and an inspector have been booked by the police for their alleged involvement in the disappearance of a file concerning building bylaws violation in the construction of a restaurant in Model Town. The MC employees, dealing with the case at different times, have been charged with concealing the file with ulterior motives.

According to sources, the owners of the restaurant was challaned about two years ago and a composition fee of around Rs 5 lakh was imposed, which was deposited by them. However, certain MC officials were said to be receiving illegal gratification from the owners.

With the intervention of the MC top brass, the composition fee was reassessed last year at around Rs 39 lakh and a fresh demand was raised by the civic body. The owners of the building protested against the arbitrary hike and refused to make further payments until the case was re-examined and the composition fee was calculated on the basis of actual violations. It was also alleged by the owners of the building that certain employees had acted in a vindictive manner and the case had been reopened only because their frequent demands for bribe had not been met with.

After the notice for the payment of enhanced composition fee met with no response, the MC had ordered the demolition of the portion of the building a few months ago. It was, however, stayed at the last minute after the MC team received a cheque for Rs 10 lakh as arrears. Senior MC officials, who were contemplating to move the court against the builders for non-payment of the fee, were in for a shock when they learnt that the relevant file was missing. The MC administration then ordered that a criminal case should be lodged against those who had dealt with the file. The police is investigating the matter. 



Chaotic start to board examinations
Private candidates find names missing
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, February 14
Overcrowding, lack of invigilators and incomplete candidate lists at the class VIII examination centres caused much inconvenience to the school authorities and candidates who had come for the first written test here today.

While the upper limit of candidates to be accommodated in a centre is 250, the number was far greater at most centres here. Normal functioning in such schools, too, was affected, as the authorities had to make students of the other classes sit out.

The board has issued directions that there should be eight invigilators at each centre, but only three or four teacher invigilators could make it to most centres today. This made the superintendents call in more teachers from other schools. Some of the schools put primary-school teachers on invigilation duty, which affected the revision classes in junior sections.

Besides, many private candidates found their names missing from the candidate lists and had to wait for long before permission was taken from the Education Department to accommodate them. In Arya Senior Secondary School of Old Sabzi Mandi here, two examination centres had been set up. While 250 candidates turned up at one of the centres, 263 were accommodated in the other. Nine private candidates found their names missing from the list at one of the centres.

When the candidates approached the superintendent with admit cards bearing the centre name, he called up the Education Department to take permission to accommodate the candidates No inspection squad visited this centre today.

Everest Public Senior Secondary School received 290 candidates today and found it difficult to make arrangements for all. Three of the eight invigilators remained absent and teachers of nearby schools stood in for them.

Guru Harkrishan Public School of Dugri Road here, that received 263 candidates, was no better. Here too, three of the eight invigilators were missing and the centre superintendent had call primary-section teachers for help. This affected the revision classes of junior-section students, who were preparing for their final examinations.

New Senior Secondary School of Civil Lines accommodated 245 candidates, but four invigilators failed to reach the centre. The superintendent faced problems in making stop-gap arrangements. While most centres were overcrowded, some centres like Gupta Model High School were different. The school had only 99 candidates in there.


Minor argument cost woman her life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
A minor argument over a ‘wife’s duty’ cost a woman her life in Kalyan Nagar. She was allegedly murdered by her husband.
Claiming to have solved the murder case of a middle-aged woman, Poonam, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the bathroom of her house in the colony, the Basti Jodhewal police today arrested her husband, Jagdish Kumar, on the charges of killing his wife. The couple had four children.

Police sources said the man, while confessing to his crime, stated that he and his wife often had bitter arguments over household duties. On that fateful day he had come home tired from a day’s work. He asked his wife to cook food. The woman, who was washing clothes, refused to do so. They began to quarrel and in a fit of rage, he hit his wife with an iron rod. The woman suffered fatal injury on her head.

Police sources said the man after committing the crime fled from the city. He belongs to a village in Himachal Pradesh. The police was on the lookout for him for the past three months.

The police succeeded in catching him today. Sources said the man immediately confessed to his crime, but kept saying he was worried about the future of his children.

Elaborating on the circumstances leading to the murder, he said his relationship with his wife had turned sour. His wife was not willing to go outside to earn for the family.

He said they had four children and it was becoming difficult for him to earn enough to feed them. The children were now staying with their grandparents, the police said.



Lovebirds trapped by police
Tribune News Service

I have so many hearts to offer
I HAVE SO MANY HEARTS TO OFFER: This is what a youth in Ludhiana seems to have on his mind. — Photo Pradeep Tewari

Ludhiana, February 14
Sellers of flowers and greeting cards did rousing business on the occasion of Valentine’s Day here today even as the police was on a challaning spree.
Lovebirds came out on the streets early today but fell into the traps laid by the traffic police at strategic places. According to sources, over a hundred persons were challaned. The number of women challaned was also high.

The police had difficulty in maintaining discipline on roads. The pressure on the force was so high that though policemen work in shifts, the morning and the evening shift cops had been directed to remain on duty. Only an hour’s rest was given to them in the afternoon.

Police sources said the exact number of challans issued would be available only after the teams return and file their report. It is being estimated that the challans issued today would break all records.

The main reason for this is that the police had started challaning women drivers and pillion riders also. The sources said youngsters, in order to be spotted easily, were not wearing helmets.

At Sarabha Nagar market, Model Town, there was a heavy rush of youth but the police deployment deterred “romeos” to cross limits. No incident of violence was reported from the city until the filing of this report.



Dr Sofat released on Rs 20,000 bail bond
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 14
Mr J.S. Chauhan, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ludhiana, today granted bail to Dr Sumit Sofat in a case of extortion, trespass and illegal confinement. He was arrested yesterday. The court has ordered his release following the furnishing of bail bonds of Rs 20,000.

The police had booked Dr Sofat and his father, Dr J.R. Sofat, on the complaint of Rampal Tangri who had alleged that they had forcibly taken his signatures on a property added. He has also levelled other allegations against them.

During arguments, the defence counsel had pleaded that his client has been falsely implicated. He also argued that the accused was in judicial custody and no useful purpose would be served by keeping him in jail. The public prosecutor opposed the bail but after hearing the rival contentions, the judge granted bail to the accused.



Stop politicising Akal Takht, SSF to Vedanti
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 14
The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF) has appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to stop politicising the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs and work towards ensuring justice for the widows of the 1984 riots.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu said Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti had started politicising Akal Takht and was misusing his position by doing objectionable acts like declaring human-bomb Dilawer Singh and Satwant Singh national martyrs.

“He has appealed to the community worldwide to offer prayers for the long life of Davinderpal Singh, who has been sentenced to death in the 1993 bomb blast case. On the other hand, he has failed to come to the rescue of Delhi-riot victims. It was shocking that the Jathedar refused to meet the women who were widowed in Delhi riots even after giving an appointment. Is this not politicisation of Akal Takht?, he asked.

He stated the Jathedar of this supreme institution should be an unbiased personality who could understand the social and moral obligations of the prestigious post. “I appeal to the jathedar to stop hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs.”

Dr Ranu said the demands of the widows were genuine and that the Badal government in Punjab and the BJP in Delhi had failed to ensure justice to them.

He said if any of the women committed suicide as they had threatened, it would be very shameful and unfortunate for the entire community. He requested the widows not to do so and appealed them to be strong and keep fighting for their rights.

Dr Ranu appealed to the state government and all Sikh organisations, including the DSGMC, to come forward to the rescue of these destitute widows and help them.



‘Link all sectors for healthy economy’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
Dr S.S. Johal, vice-chairman of the Punjab State Planning Board, said all sectors of the economy were interlinked and needed to grow simultaneously for overall growth of economy. He said, however, relative share of different sectors varied on the overall-growth path.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Restructuring of Agricultural Production Pattern and its Effect on the Economy of Punjab’ organised by the Ludhiana Management Association.

“As the economy develops, the relative share of primary sector (agriculture) declines and shares of secondary (industrial) and tertiary (services) sectors improve. Income generation (purchasing power) in one sector affects the other sectors, in a direct and positive relationship, except in the backward-bending curve situation. Agriculture-sector growth affects demand for goods and services from other sectors significantly,” he said.

In areas like Punjab, where rural incomes are such that significant effective demand exists for goods and services from secondary and teritiary sectors, the growth of industry and business is significantly influenced by the growth of agriculture sector. Therefore, present stagnation in farm incomes needs to be removed through promoting growth in the farm as well as non-farm activities,” Dr Johal said.

“Presently, total factor productivity in the farm sector is declining due to over dependence on wheat-rice rotation. The same level of yield is obtained with higher levels of inputs, especially non-conventional inputs. Also, increase in the prices of output is not commensurate with the increase in costs. This is because the godowns of the country are overflowing with huge stocks of foodgrains and government is reluctant to increase the minimum support price,” he also said.

“Some other issues that need immediate attention are that foodgrains are not finding easy market clearance and the degradation and pollution of soil, water and air are causing problems. Underground water is being overdrawn and the quality of water is also being affected adversely.”

“The solution, therefore, lies in shifting the cropping pattern away from the wheat-rice rotation. Farmers should get remunerative prices for other crops. For farmers to grow other crops, contract farming is the only solution, where farmers would get good-quality seeds and crop would be sold directly to industries at a predetermined price,” said Dr Johal.

Earlier, Mr V.K. Goyal, general secretary of the LMA, who introduced the subject, said: “In 1947, there was a great shortage of foodgrains, so, these had to be imported at a heavy cost. The situation started changing in the mid-1960s, with the introduction of high-yielding varieties of paddy and wheat. Farmers of Punjab and Haryana took to new seeds and allied technology and made India a food-surplus nation.”

Mr Mahesh Munjal, vice-president of the LMA, said: “Agriculture still dominates the economy of Punjab, with about 40 per cent of the net state domestic product coming from the agriculture sector”.

He further said, “within agriculture, Punjab has shown a sluggish growth rate in the 1990s. In the 1990s, the overall growth in agricultural net domestic product of Punjab was 2.3 per cent, the rate was 3.3 per cent for India. This is a sharp decline from the 1980s, when Punjab saw a 5.3 per cent growth in agricultural income, while, in India, the rate was 3.08 per cent, then.”



Shifting of cremation ground sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
Residents of the local Urban Estate, Phase I, have demanded the shifting of cremation ground from their area on the plea that being located in residential area it caused a lot of problems for them.

The Urban Estates Welfare Association (Punjab) in a memorandum to the Mayor has stated that the Dugri village came under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, in 1991 and as a result councillors were elected twice from Urban Estate (ward No. 40) and from Dugri village (ward No. 32). The old cremation ground belonging to Dugri village (vide Khasra No. 661), measuring to 1B-10 biswasian, has so far not been mutated in the name of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, though the copy of the Jamabandi has already been forwarded by the PUDA Additional Chief Administrator, Ludhiana, vide letter No. PUDA-ACA-Ldh-2000 /3082 dated June 26, 2000, addressed to the MC Commissioner.

PUDA has already provided requisite site for cremation ground in Phase-2 of Urban Estate and a sizeable amount has been sanctioned for its development. Even then the cremation ground in Phase-I has not been discarded. Two or three families of Dugri village still cremate their deads there in clear-cut violations of the Punjab Pollution Control Act. As the cremation ground in the residential area, it causes a lot of problems for the residents.

According to Mr Kirpal Singh Kalra, president of the association, the court of Mr S.K. Garg, Judicial Magistrate vide stay order dated September 27, 1995, had prohibited the then village sarpanch, Mr Kuldip Singh, and others from constructing a boundary wall around the cremation ground, but they continued the same in violation of the court orders. PUDA had also invited tenders for developing the site as a park. The tender (dated April 26, 1995), submitted by contractor Jagtar Singh, was likely to be approved and the site was also earmarked as a park in the master plan of PUDA.

The cremation ground situated in Phase-I must be shut and shifted to Phase-2 of Urban Estate. The place should be developed as a park as shown in the PUDA master plan, demanded Mr Kalra.

Listing other problems being faced by the residents, Mr Kalra said the roads in various Urban Estates had not been metalled for the past six years. Street lights, too, need urgent repairs and maintenance. Pigs loitering in parks and residential areas cause a lot of problems. The menace should be checked he said. A number of plots are lying vacant near the cremation ground in Phase-I wherein rainy water accumulates and causes heavy damages to the nearby houses, he added.

There is no PSEB complaint-cum-bill deposit office in the Urban Estate and the residents have to go to the Model Town office to deposit electricity bills and lodging complaints. Though PUDA has accepted deposits from the Punjab State Electricity Board, no site has been provided to it. The residents want that the matter be expedited” he added.



Sena rally on February 25
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 14
The performance of the Punjab Government has been a failure on all fronts. Farmers, traders, industrialists, students and employees have been forced to come on the roads, said Mr Pawan Gupta, state President, Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) at a meeting of workers of Fatehgarh Sahib and Khanna districts held here last evening.

Mr Gupta said the party had decided to launch a statewide stir against the policies of the government and hold a rally on February 25 at Parade Ground, Chandigarh.

Commenting on the policies of Capt Amarinder Singh, which he called against the interests of Punjab, he feared that it may help to bring the black days of terrorism back into Punjab. The Chief Minister had called an all-party meeting on the SYL, including Sikh factions that supported terrorists but no organisation of the Hindus.

The Shiv Sena leader accused the Chief Minister of misguiding the people that the state was starved of funds, even as he was spending huge funds by declaring Patiala a heritage city.

With the motive to keep the MLAs with him, he had lured them with Qualis cars to them. On the other hand the provision of free food to patients at Rajindra Hospital, Patiala had been stopped and X-ray fee hiked in hospitals.

The Shiv Sena chief said his party would contest the ensuing civic elections at selective places and consider a joint front with other parties. However, it had formed a front at Patiala with the BJP. Among others who spoke were Vaid Amarjeet Sharma, district president, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Yadwinder Singh, (Lucky) president, Khanna, Mr Baljeet Singh, organising secretary, and Mr Purshotam Giri, president, local unit.



Rs 400 cr to be spent on poor: minister
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
The Transport Minister of Punjab, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, said here today that the state government had chalked out a special plan to spend Rs 400 crore on the Maharashtra pattern on the uplift of the poor. The minister said this at religious congregation to mark the Parkash Utsav of Bhagat Sri Guru Ravi Dass at Jarg village, 45 km from here.

He said the system of implementing welfare schemes had failed to utilise the funds in time, so, it was being revamped. The procedures were being simplified, so that, funds could reach the poor.



Couple injured in attack
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, February 14
A couple was injured in an attempt to save their handicapped relative from attack by three persons of the same village on Thursday.
Sikander Kumar of Umaidpur village has complained to the Sahnewal police that Jeeta Akali, his father Bhinder Singh and his brother Charanjit Singh attacked his handicapped brother and when he along with his wife, Pinky, tried to save him, the three hit him with sharp weapons.

Sikander Singh was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana his wife, too, had received minor injuries. A family dispute is said to be the reason for the attack.

Although a case has been registered against the accused, none has been arrested.

Cyclist injured: A cyclist coming from the Jhabewal chowk towards Jamalpur factory was injured when an Ambassador car hit him yesterday.Raja Singh , a factory worker, residing in Jamalpur village, alleged that a white Ambassador car No. PB27-7585 hit his cycle from behind due to which his hip bone got fractured.

He was admitted to Nauriamal Hospital at Jamalpur. A case has been registered against the driver of the car who was later identified as Indermohan Singh.The accused has been missing.

Liquor seized: A case under Sections-61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against Mewa Singh of Barwala village and a total of 29 bottles of illicit liquor seized from his custody by Havildar Nirmal Singh of the Sahnewal police station on Friday.



ACCI disputes minister’s claim
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has disputed the claim of the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, that it was only traders who were opposed to the introduction of the Exim form and not the industry. In a statement today, the president of the chamber, Mr P.D. Sharma, said it only showed the ignorance of the minister.

He said the exim form affected the industry more critically, adding that “no dispatch from a factory is possible without the Exim job of the factory can be more important than dispatch. On the other hand, the restricted and delayed arrival of industrial inputs with the Exim form in place shall hamper the production”.

Mr Sharma said earlier the state government maintained that the Exim form was an integral part of VAT which was unfortunate. There was absolutely no link between the two, he said adding that VAT was a unique system of taxation and the Exim form was required only to check the movement of goods under any system of taxation.


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