Tuesday, February 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Inquiry ordered into non-submission of UCs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
The District Planning and Development Board today decided to fix responsibility on officials who failed to submit utilisation certificates (UCs) of the grants sanctioned to them for the development of various projects.

Mr Lal Singh Finance, Planning and Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Punjab, who is also the Chairman of the development board, ordering an inquiry into the non-submission of the UCs, said the certificates of various grants worth Rs 853 lakh, released during 1994 to 2001 were not submitted to the district administration.

He directed the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Agarwal, to prepare a list of details of the grants and take action against the guilty.

In charge of certain departments had not even got the objections put up by the Audit Department cleared some of them dated back to 1991. Mr Lal Singh, addressing the first meeting of the reconstituted board at Bachat Bhavan, directed the respective in charge to take the matter seriously and give a positive report to him at the next meeting.

Pulling up the Ludhiana police, the minister directed the heads of departments to appear personally at the next meeting or send a representative of the level of a Superintendent.

He said the government was going to embark upon an integrated development programme under which Rs 101 crore had been released for development projects and welfare programmes.

He said revenue receipt this year was up by Rs 373 crore, while the revenue expenditure had been brought down by Rs 25 crore.

He said the World Bank was going to release Rs 817 crore for the supply of drinking water in rural areas.

The Finance Minister said to carry out beneficiary-oriented schemes in the district, Rs 15.97 crore had been earmarked. Of these, Rs 12.23 crore had been set aside for the rural areas and Rs 3.74 crore for cities and towns.

Funds amounting to Rs 80 lakh had been released to purchase land in villages, where panchayati land was not available and for the construction of houses for SC families, he said.

Dr Harbans Lal, State Minister for Forests and Food and Civil Supplies and Deputy Chairman of the board, said to enhance the green cover in the rural areas, the government had decided that each panchayat should bring 10 per cent of the land under forest cover in the villages.



DSP kin named in fake currency case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
After claiming to have exposed a police-smuggler nexus that facilitated a fake-currency racket in the state, the Basti Jodhewal police is learnt to have detained the father-in-law of a serving Punjab DSP after an old smuggler named him during his interrogation.

The man, Paramjit Singh, was caught after Paramjit Singh ‘Pamma’, key accused in the case, said in his confession to the police that he had been helped by the DSP’s father-in-law in running the racket.

The city police is, however, silent on the arrest, saying only that the name of the DSP’s father-in-law had been included in a report regarding the case.

It has seized Rs 2 lakh of fake currency from three persons who were arrested last week on the charge of circulating fake currency in the city. The arrest followed the busting of a fake-currency racket by the Jalandhar police.

The police had also raided a hotel in Chaura Bazar recently and seized fake currency. All this began with the arrest of a man for attempting to use Rs 500 fake notes in a city market. The market persons handed him over to the police and his interrogation took the lid off the rampant fake-currency racket; and two more persons were arrested.

It was the interrogation of a key man, Paramjit Singh ‘Pamma’, that gave the police a fresh insight into the case. His disclosures led to more recoveries and the charge against the DSP’s relative.

The DSP had also faced charges in some cases, a few months ago. The police said his father-in-law was being held responsible for circulating Rs 33 lakh of fake currency. The sources, however, said the news of arrest could be confirmed only by senior officials. No senior official could be contacted, as a “routine meeting” of the district police was underway at the Police Lines today.

There have been reports that the fake-currency racket was being run from Kapurthala and the Ludhiana police had conducted raids there and at Ferozepore, Jalandhar and parts of Hoshiarpur to crack the case. Some hosiery traders were also said to be involved in the racket. The police is investigating the role of some local hosiery manufacturers and dealers in the case. Sources said the naming of a DSP’s relative had suggested the presence of a police-smuggler nexus in the racket. Sources said it was yet to be known how the relationship had worked out to shield the smugglers.

The DSP’s father-in-law is the second relative of a police officer who has been found indulging in smuggling fake currency. Earlier, a former Ferozepore SSP, Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, and his relatives were held by the state police on the same charge.



Flower show at PAU begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 24
A cricket field made out of biscuit wafers, world cup trophy made out of aluminium foil, stumps made out of toothpicks, the Tricolour made out of white and saffron carnations amid green foliage were some imaginative creations during a two-day flower show organised by the Department of Floriculture and Landscaping at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Among hundreds of participants were students and staff from schools, colleges and the PAU, besides owners of private nurseries. The competition was divided into various sections, including arrangements of fresh flowers, dry flowers, cut flowers, flower ornaments, flowers grown in pots, foliage, cacti, succulents and perennial flowering plants in pots and bonsai.

In the fresh flower arrangement, a majority of contestants had used a variety of bright flowers. They wrote catchy captions and used accessories like mirrors, crystal pieces, coloured chips, shells, golden and silver tissues and wooden birds. Captions pertained to love, harmony, hope, peace and solitude.

In the flower ornament category, the participants had made bouquets, garlands, bracelets, gajra, ear-rings and hair rings.

Among the flowers grown in pots and cut flowers were pansies, gerbera, daisies, calendula, canditufts, dahlias, gladiola and marigolds.

The flower show was inaugurated by Dr K.S. Aulakh, PAU Vice-Chancellor. Dr Ramesh Kapoor, Head of the Department, welcomed the participants and visitors. Dr G.S. Sidhu, a professor, said the number of contestants this year was less as frequent rain and bad weather had destroyed several flowers at homes and institutions.



Multimedia facilities soon in PAU library 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 24
To help students get access to wider information on topics of desire, Punjab Agricultural University will, soon, add many multimedia facilities to its library.
The university has tied up with the Information and Library Network Centre, of the Union Grants Commission for acquiring a software that would help users get access to latest research projects of various universities in India. The Software of University Libraries (SOUL) will also help the university float its own research papers, with a fast medium of communication and exchange of with other universities.

The software will, soon, be installed in the computer section of the library that is connected to various departments of the university through intranet. This will give students and faculty an option to access information, sitting in their departments.

Mr S.C. Uppal, Chief Librarian of the university, said the UGC team had already given a demonstration of the software. Its purchase at a cost of Rs 50,000 has been approved by the authorities and the software is likely to be installed here within a fortnight.

Mr Uppal said that the university had also purchased a server that used 1,000 diskettes simultaneously. This server, purchased at Rs 2 lakh, would replace a CD tower, that, in contrast, took just 14 CDs at a time, he said. Access to the material in those 1,000 diskettes could be made from all departments through the intranet, he said. Earlier the departments had to request the library for access to the material, but, now, each departments would get a password for such access during working hours.

The library is also introducing internet facility at Rs 12 per hour or (Rs 6 for half an hour). The library has replaced its previous contractor, who gave the facility at Rs 25 per hour. “The new contractor is likely to take charge this week,” said Mr Uppal.

Last month, the library had subscribed to various online service for access to research articles from more than 7,000 journals. Mr Uppal said the paid site provided statistical information on India through the Internet, for which, the university had acquired user name and password.

This year, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) had selected the university for receiving a Rs 60 lakh annual grant as part of a scheme under the National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) funded by the World Bank. This grant is being utilised for the purchase of various core journals, costly books, dissertations and various multimedia facilities for the library.



Jassi case: death penalty clause withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Kaonke Kalan (Ludhiana), February 24
The Punjab police has sought to assure the Government of Canada through the Indian Ministry of External Affairs that the two Canada-based accused in the sensational NRI Jassi murder case would be tried only as conspirators and hence would not get death penalty.

With the Geneva Protocol Treaty advocating the abolition of death penalty for all nations and non-extradition of accused to non-subscribing nations proving to be a major hurdle in the extradition of the accused in the Jassi murder case, the state police has put up a revised proposal to the Canadian Government in which the earlier main accused were now wanted under Section 120-B, IPC, as conspirators in the killing of the girl and murderous attack on her husband.

The need for the revised proposal came after the Ministry of External Affairs had rejected for the third time the plea of the Punjab police to extradite the victim’s mother Malkit Kaur and uncle Surjit Singh. They had allegedly hired about a dozen contract killers, including a Punjab police Sub-Inspector, to execute the killing.

It is shocking that even after three years of the murder, the case file is yet to cross the Indian borders courtesy lack of awareness of international laws by the Punjab police. Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, Sangrur, said the treaty was the main stumbling block in the case.



Congress hopeful of victory in HP
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, February 24
The Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, today claimed that the Congress was set to win the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections with a thumping majority. Mr Pandey, who had returned from his extensive campaign in Hamirpur district, claimed that the anti-corruption campaign launched by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had generated phenomenal response among the voters of the state.

The minister maintained that the people of Himachal Pradesh were fed up with the “corruptionridden” BJP government being led by Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal.

He observed that like in Punjab, the people in Himachal Pradesh were all set to “give a befitting reply to the BJP in these elections”. He said during his tour of various Assembly segments in Hamirpur district, he had found great enthusiasm among the people for the Congress.

Mr Pandey said the leaders and workers from Punjab had put in efforts in Himachal Pradesh and these were certain to yield good dividends. He disclosed that it was probably for the first time that so many leaders and workers from Punjab had gone to Himachal Pradesh and campaigned for the party there. “The Congress workers from Punjab added colour to the Congress campaign in Himachal Pradesh and it generated a wave in favour of the party”, he disclosed.

He claimed that the BJP was demoralised as the rallies of senior BJP leaders had been miserable failures. Compared to this, the rally addressed by the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, had witnessed a phenomenal turnout, he claimed.

In a separate statement, senior vice-president of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, said the anti-corruption campaign led by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had picked up in Himachal Pradesh. He said the communal card which the BJP tried to play in Himachal had failed miserably.

Mr Grewal said Congress workers from Punjab had created a massive impact on campaigning in Himachal Pradesh which was duly acknowledged by the Congress leadership of Himachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Mayor of the city, Ms Sushil Gupta, today claimed that the Congress was all set to assume power in Himachal Pradesh. The electorate had made up their mind to rid the state of the corrupt BJP government, headed by the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, she said.

Ms Gupta, who had taken part in electioneering in support of party nominees in Theog and Nalagarh assembly segments on the directions of Mr Upinder Sharma, Secretary, PPCC, charged the BJP government with virtually looting the state in the past five years.

The Chief Minister had amassed wealth through corrupt practices and manipulating government contracts, besides gross misutilisation of the Central grants.

She said the ruling party had betrayed the people of Himachal Pradesh and the senior BJP functionaries. Most of the ministers had worked solely for serving their own interests and making personal fortunes, she said.

The Deputy Mayor was accompanied by Mr Balraj Bhasin, president, SDP Sabha and Mr Virinder Gupta, special invitee to the PPCC, during her election tour of the Himachal Pradesh.



Residents stage dharna in front of MC office
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 24
The residents of ward No. 9 of the Doraha town are living in unhygienic conditions. Sewerage water collects in front of their houses making their lives difficult, but the authorities concerned have done little to check the problem.

The residents of ‘Bhainawali gali’ who are having a tough time, today collected in front of the municipal committee office and staged a dharna. Resentment was writ large on their faces as they raised slogans against the authorities concerned.

Mr D.S Jaggi, secretary of the Rotary Club, Doraha, and a resident of the ward, said “Our situation is pathetic. For the past two years, we have been facing the problem of garbage, filth and water stagnation, but now it has become unbearable. The street where we live is being ignored by the municipal committee. The drainage and sewerage systems are very poor here. Today is the 11th day of water blockage. We have repeatedly brought the matter to the notice of the committee members through letters and by holding personal meetings, but to no avail. We are haunted by the fear that some dreadful disease may break out in our area any time.”

The residents taking part in the dharna said they were forced to stage a dharna as the authorities concerned had not given them any assurance that the problem would be rectified. “The passers-by, including college students, find it difficult to cross such a big pool of water. The filth and squalor is unbearable. The MC sweeper clears off the stagnant water, but within no time it recollects. The awful smell emanating from the stagnant water makes us sick. We want a quick solution to the problem,” said Mr Jandeep Kaushal, a resident of the area.

Mr Sudarshan Kumar Sharma, president, Municipal Council, Doraha, reached the spot and gave a patient hearing to the demands of the residents. He said the work of laying sewerage had already been allotted to a contractor. He said, “An amount of Rs 5 lakh has already been granted for the work. The work will begin in the next three days. The delay was caused due to adverse weather conditions. The problem of stagnant water is a five-year-old and we are duty bound to solve it at all cost”.



MC staff ‘misbehave’ with trader
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 24
While the municipal corporation claims to be working overtime to achieve the budget target and mobilise resources as the financial year is about to end, the employees of the civic body seem to be unmindful of their responsibilities.

A trader of the Chaura Bazar has alleged that on the night of February 21, two employees deployed on the octroi post on the Pakhowal road here were found sleeping after locking the shutters of the post. Not only this, when some drivers of transport vehicles knocked at the octroi post for the payment of octroi, the employees allegedly abused them. He alleged that they were under the influence of liquor.

The trader has lodged a complaint with the Zonal Commissioner and also brought the incident to the notice of Octroi Superintendent. He further alleged in his complaint that the employees entered into altercation with several drivers when the employees offered to let them pass without the payment of octroi if some bribe was paid to them.

As the trader, accompanying the transport vehicle, insisted on paying the actual amount against a proper receipt and threatened to report the matter to senior MC officials, the employees retorted that they would call the police and blame the trader and driver of the vehicle with bid to rob the octroi post.

In the meantime, the trader, who knew a councillor, called him on his mobile phone. The councillor has also taken up the matter with the corporation and has demanded stern action against the erring employees.



Shiv Sena unit to check exploitation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 24
The Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) will constitute a unit of the Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, a frontal organisation of the party, to work for the emancipation of the working class and put to end the exploitation of workers.

This was stated here today by the district president of the party, Mr Rajiv Tandon, who also released the list of office-bearers and executive committee members, of the district unit of the party. He said to focus on the problems of trade and industry, a unit of the Shiv Udyog Sena would also be set up in the industrial hub of Punjab. “While nominating office-bearers in accordance with the party constitution, preference had been given to prominent persons in the fields of industry and social service,” he said.



Federation stages dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
Members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation today staged a dharna in front of the mini-secretariat in protest against the anti-employee policies of the government.

Speaking on the occasion, various leaders alleged that both the Centre and the state governments were framing policies which were against the interests of class III and IV employees. Thousands of posts were being abolished every year. No recruitment on compassionate grounds were being made. Leave encashment and contributory pension were being effected and the interest on the EPF was being lowered every year.

The protesters alleged that the government was indulging in false propaganda that the employees were lethargic and not doing their jobs conscientiously. In this guise many allowances and benefits were being scrapped in the board.

The protesters said in case the government continued with such policies, the employees would stage a dharna in Chandigarh during the current Budget session.



Resentment among Sutlej Club members
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 24
Resentment prevails among senior members of the Sutlej Club over the withdrawal of certain facilities granted to senior citizens. The senior members, who were instrumental in the development of the club, are feeling that they are being maltreated by certain ‘autocratic’ elements at the helm of affairs of the club.

In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, more than 50 senior members have taken a strong exception to the enhancement of monthly subscription and infrastructure charges with effect from January. According to the memorandum, “The preface to the constitution clearly shows that the draft constitution proposed by the executive committee was approved by the general house before it came into effect. As such, the provisions under rule 11-A, relating to the payment of monthly subscriptions at half the rate by the senior citizen, cannot be changed by the executive committee”.

Questioning the renaming of the building fund as ‘infrastructure charges,’ the memorandum says the general body meeting of the house had decided that no more building fund would be charged from the members. Even the building fund charged from members under the officers’ category was refunded subsequently. As such the levy now imposed is in contravention of the decision taken by the general house.

The memorandum further states that the last annual general meeting was held on December 15, 2002. It is not clear as to why such important matters, which are contradictory to the provisions of the constitution and decisions taken in the earlier meeting, were not be presented and discussed in the general house.

It is unfortunate that the executive committee, within two weeks of the annual general meeting, took such illogical decision.

The club members allege that the people at the helm of affairs of the club are more interest in their personal glorification by taking up projects that have been repeatedly undertaken by previous managements in order to ‘leave a name behind’.

The members have also alleged that certain members do not observe decency norms while playing cards in rummy rooms and use abusive language while talking with one another.

The senior citizens have alleged that they are being treated as ‘unwanted elements’ in the club. The signatories include retired civil and Army officers, advocates and doctors.



Birth anniversary of Baden Powel celebrated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 24
Three hundred scouts and guides from different schools of Fatehgarh Sahib district celebrated the birth anniversary of the founder of the movement, Lord Stephen Smith Baden Powel, at Government High School, Jallah, near here, on Saturday.

Mr Davinder Singh, State Secretary, was the chief guest and the function was presided over by Principal Roshan Lal Sood. Besides the students and teachers, people of the neighbouring villages participated.

Mr Davinder Singh said Lord Baden Powel was born in a middle-class family and rose to become Lieutenant-General of the British Government. He launched the scout movement after his retirement with the aim that peace and brotherhood generated among the nations could bring them closer. District Forest Officer T. Gnana Parshad spoke on pollution and appealed to people to plant saplings in the district.

A team of traffic experts, led by Mr Bhupinder Singh and Mr Charanjeet Singh, was sent by Mr Dinesh Partap Singh, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Amloh, to acquaint the scouts and the public with the traffic and safety rules.



Thief gives cops a slip
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 24
A thief, who had been caught by some residents of Ranjit Nagar in Shimla Puri and had been admitted to the Civil Hospital here by the police following severe injuries, escaped under mysterious circumstances from the hospital last night.

The thief, identified as Pallu, was injured when he fell from the roof of Nagar Paradise industry, where he had gone with two other persons allegedly to commit a theft. An alert watchman raised the alarm on seeing them and the residents zeroed in on the thieves. Pallu, one of the thieves, fell from the roof while trying to escape.

The residents caught him and handed him over to the police. Ironically, he succeeded in cheating police personnel on guard duty at the hospital and escaped. A case has been registered at Division No 2 police station.


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