Friday, March 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


‘Mystery’ delaying indoor stadium project
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 27
In a rather unprecedented manner, the Finance and Contracts Committee of the Municipal Corporation has set a process in motion through which four year old tenders for the proposed Rs 15 crore indoor stadium project in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar locality on the Pakhowal road were sought to be revived to pave way for allotment of work to the lowest bid.

In a resolution adopted at the F&CC meeting on March 1, it was decided that a subcommittee, comprising five MC officials, would assess whether the tenders were correct or not and would recommend further action in this respect.

While granting administrative permission to put the matter in the F&CC meeting, the MC Commissioner had observed, “We may constitute a technical committee to make a detailed study as to whether the tender quotations submitted to the MC are in order from all angles and also to finalise the bidding, of course, strictly as per law, as the matter and details thereof are highly technical. The committee may associate, apart from engineers, technical staff, financial expert and legal expert to arrive at a correct, logical and legal decision.”

What, however, is beyond comprehension, is the urgency being shown to revive the project and allot the work against such tenders which has lapsed long back and was not only technically ‘invalid’ but contained several such conditions that could compromise the quality of the so called prestigious project. Moreover, inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune led to the conclusion that even the site for the project was not in possession of the civic body and negotiations in progress with the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in this regard were still inconclusive.

Tenders were invited for the indoor stadium in October, 1999, against an approved estimate of Rs 16 crore when Dr S.S. Sandhu, the then MC Commissioner also held the charge of Chairman of the Improvement Trust. The stadium was to be constructed on the land owned by the trust after the same was handed over to the MC. However, after his unceremonious exit from the scene, the next Chairman of the LIT was not much enthusiastic about the project and a resolution to drop the proposal was also adopted. Till now the LIT authorities had not accepted the proposed exchange of land against the site for the stadium on the ground that the land being offered by the MC did not have equal commercial value.

While the comparative statement prepared on the basis of bids received for the project show that the offer made by a leading local builder was the lowest, it failed to take note of several conditions in the tender which could have a significant bearing on the total financial involvement and even quality of the structure, say technical experts.

For example, one of the conditions in the bid mentioned that ‘tested steel’ would be used whereas the structural engineers recommend that ‘thermo-mechanically tested’ (TMT) steel, which is expensive by about 15 per cent, should be used for such huge buildings. Similarly, another condition said that material used would be ISI branded, which also had a catch because there is a big gap between the price of the two. The bid was further protected by the ‘escalation’ clause and prices of ‘non-schedule’ items, as a result of which the MC might end up spending a lot more than the estimated cost.

Although the officials concerned were tight-lipped, it was reliably learnt that at the initial stage when the four-year-old tenders were sought to be enlivened, reportedly on a word of ‘recommendation’ from a very senior bureaucrat, the Chief Engineer of Local Government had advised against the process, saying the tenders had lost their validity and in case of revival of the project, fresh tenders should be called for.

Interestingly, the MC administration, while making an announcement of the project in a press release recently, said that the conceptual plan of the project had been approved and offers would be invited from leading architects of the country for the design and consultancy of the stadium to be named after great martyr Bhagat Singh. In its over-enthusiasm to see the project through hastily, the civic administration completely forgot that right at the time the project was mooted in 1999, the MC had arranged a competition of architectural design for the stadium and first prize of Rs 1 lakh cash was awarded to the best entry of M/s Arkitektural Grid, New Delhi.

The MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, said a sub committee was closely examining the whole matter and no decision had been taken as yet for allotment of the work.



Playway kids bid adieu
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
The outgoing batch of St Xavier Playway School, Civil Lines, were bid adieu at a function held here today. The kids presented a colourful programme. Ketan Dhanda presented a welcome song. A Rajasthani group dance was also performed. Kids gave a scintillating dance performance on the song titled ‘Chiki dhoom’.

Thirty kids participated in a fancy dress competition. All participating kids were awarded prizes by Mr 
Sushil Raju Thapar, councillor and general secretary of the district Congress committee. Prof V.M. Chopra, director of the school, and Ms S. Chopra, principal, thanked the little ones for their performance. 



Plot’s auction to be probed
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Taking cognizance of a complaint against the auctioning of a commercial plot in the Rajguru Nagar area, which was allotted to a politically influential person of the city, allegedly at a throwaway price, the state government has directed the local Improvement Trust to conduct a high-level probe into the case.

The 500 sqm plot situated at a prime commercial location was sold to the influential person at the rate of Rs 5,150 per sqm after an open auction on January 31 this year. The price was considered abysmally low compared to the current price of the real estate in the metro city of state. The control price of this site was fixed at Rs 5,000.

The trust has been told to submit the report within a week. Sources in the trust told TNS that in all probability the allotment would be cancelled, as on the very face of the inquiry, there seemed to be enough irregularities in the auctioning of the land. The land was of prime value as a large department store can be constructed on it.

Authoritative officials of the trust, on the condition of anonymity, said as the inquiry was on, it was found that while other properties were auctioned at much higher prices, only this property had gone for so less a price.

The officials said it was due to the pressure of some senior officials of the trust that the plot was sold at this price causing losses.

Mr Kultar Singh Jaggi, president, Property Dealers Association, Sanjay Gandhi colony, had complained to the government about the irregularities. The complaint was taken up very seriously and an inquiry was ordered immediately. Sources said it was common for the government to receive complaints after every auction but action was taken in a few cases.

Local officials said that might recommend the cancellation of allotment and the trust would re-auction the site. They further said the finger of suspicion was raised as other 12 properties, auctioned on the same day went for higher prices. A site in Model Town Extension with a control price of Rs 1,360 per square yard was auctioned at Rs 7,000 per square yard.

Similarly another property at control price of Rs 13,000 per feet was auctioned at Rs 14,000 per feet.



Petrol pump site nets 48.8 lakh
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, march 27
The Municipal Corporation today sold a petrol pump site in the Sukhdev Market in the prime locality of Civil Lines for Rs 48.80 lakh through open public auction at its zonal office in Sarabha Nagar here. The site, carved out of a 600 square yards of land, with partly built up pillars and basement, behind Kailash Cinema, went under hammer at Rs 12,200 per square yard against the reserve price of Rs 8,000.

According to MC officials, the auction of another petrol pump site near the railway station at Dhandari was put off because only two bids for the same were received at the spot and the area councillor was also not present. Similarly, the proposed sale of two shops in the Kartar Singh Sarabha Market on the Gill Road was also deferred for the time being after the shopkeepers from the area complained that the setting up of shops at that particular site would obstruct the passage to the shop-cum-offices complex of the civic body. 



MC poll: 70 file papers
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 27
A total of 70 candidates filed their nomination papers for the Doraha Municipal Council poll at the office of SDM, Payal, today, the last day for submitting nominations.

According to Mr Sucha Singh Mast, SDM, Payal, “The scrutiny of papers shall be conducted tomorrow and the withdrawal of names could be done up to 3 p.m. on March 29. The symbols to various parties shall be allotted on the same day.”

The ward -wise list of the candidates, who filed their nomination papers, is as under:

Ward No 1 — Ajit Kaur, Sardaro Devi, Sheela, Sheela, Mukhtiar Kaur.

Ward No 2 — Rajdevi, Navjeet Singh, Prem Singh, Gurmit Singh, Ram Singh, Gurmit Singh, Kulwinder Kaur, Phool Chand, Darshan Kumar, Gurnam Singh.

Ward No 3 — Rakesh Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Kuljit Singh, Parmod Bector, Adarsh Pal Bector, Sandeep Kumar.

Ward No 4 — Priya Sharma, Kiran Bala, Anju Sharma, Raj Dulari.

Ward No 5 — Sham Sunder, Rajvir Singh, Karnveer Singh, Jasminder Singh, Karamjit Kaur, Mandeep Singh, Sukhminder Singh.

Ward No 6 — Balwant Singh, Surjit Kaur, Kiran Bala, Jagir Kaur, Pritpal Singh, Jalpreet Kaur, Jasjit Singh .

Ward No 7 — Rajinder Kaur, Inderjit Kaur, Harnam Kaur, Inderjit Kaur.

Ward No 8 — Sham Sunder, Vinod Kumar, Yogesh Kumar, Arvind Sood, Surinder Pal Sood.

Ward No 9 — Gurwinder Singh, Baljinder Singh, Gurnam Singh, Rajinder Singh.

Ward No 10 — Jaspreet Kaur, Gurcharan Kaur, Raj Rani, Kusum Lata.

Ward No 11 — Inderjit Singh, Jaspal Singh, Bant Singh, Surinder Kaur, Subhash Chander Sharma, Pankaj Sharma.

Ward No 12 — Jagroop Singh, Sardara Singh, Harbhajan Singh.

Ward No 13 — Gurmit Kaur, Harwinder Kaur, Jagbir Kaur, Surinder Kaur.

Fatehgarh Sahib: As many as 120 persons have filed nomination papers for the Municipal Council election at Sirhind -Fatehgarh Sahib till today. The elections will be held on April 5. This was stated by Mr Mohan Lal Sharma, SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib.



BJP leader asks Mufti to quit
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 27
Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Sat Pal Gosain, while condemning the massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pandits in the valley by militants, has asked the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, to quit office on moral grounds.

In a statement issued here today, he said the government had completely failed to curb the activities of terrorists and anti-national forces and ever since the new government took over, acts of terrorism and killing of innocent persons had gone up. Denouncing in strongest words the appeasing policies of the PDP and the Congress government in the state, he said the terrorists were posing a serious threat to the national security while the government was watching the situation helplessly like a mute spectator.

Mr Gosain observed that in the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union government would have to intervene and ensure safety of the life and property of minorities in the valley. “It is strange that while the minorities are safe and secure in all other parts of the country, why is it not so in the Kashmir valley. This crucial question called for an immediate answer”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Lal Bahadur Shashtri Social Forum held a condolence meeting to pay tributes to innocent Kashmiri Pandits who were gunned down in Pulwama by Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists and demanded the dismissal of the Mufti government. The forum also appealed to the government to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the surviving members of the families besides a government job to the legal heirs of the deceased.

At a meeting presided over by Mr Sushil Malhotra and Dr Shiv Gupta, president and secretary-general of the forum, the speakers protested against the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Centre over their failure to contain terrorism and cross-border infiltration.

Fatehgarh Sahib: Sirhind units of the Brahmin Sabha at a meeting held here today condemned the killing of 24 Kashmiri Pandits. In a resolution passed at the meeting the sabha members urged the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of residents of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly Kashmiri pandits and members of other minorities.

Addressing the meeting, Mr R.N. Sharma president of the Brahmin Sabha, said the Kashmiri pandits were being made a scape goat of the failure at government policies in the valley. The J&K Government had failed miserably to protect the lives of innocent citizens. He said by initiating the move to bring back the Kashmiri Pandits to valley, the Mufti government had made them vulnerable. The sabha also urged other Hindu organisations to come forward in support of the Hindu community there.

Dr Onkar Sharma, Mr Sanjay Sharma, Mr Ram Neel Sharma and Mr Hari Krishan Sharma also addressed the meeting.



Cong rally on march 30
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
The Congress would hold a ‘Desh bachao’ rally in the Capital on March 30 to focus on the overall round failure of the BJP-led NDA government in the Centre. The rally, to be addressed by the All-India Congress Committee President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and other senior leaders of the party, would also highlight the party policies in the context of the welfare of farmers and farm workers, scheduled castes, backward classes and economically weaker sections and problems like ever-increasing unemployment.

This was stated by the District Congress Committee (Urban) President, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, while addressing a meeting of the newly appointed block Presidents in the Congress Bhavan here yesterday. 



Co-op societies hail FM’s move
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
The Cooperative Societies Employees Union has hailed the proposal to free the societies from the control of Markfed which was announced by the Finance Minister during his budget speech.

Mr Gurmel Singh Bharowal, president of the union, said this was one of their long pending demands which had caused large losses to the farmers on account of highly priced fertilizers. As much as 18 lakh quintals of fertiliser is sold in Punjab of which a major part was sold through cooperative outlets.

He said there were 4,000 outlets which used to supply more than 70 per cent of fertilisers to farmers across the state till 1998. The then Akali government suddenly decided to bring the societies under the control of Markfed which entered into an agreement with certain private parties and supplied fertilisers which were costlier than in the open market with the result that the market share of the societies came down to just 40 per cent now-a-days. While fertiliser is available for Rs 450 — 455 per quintal in the open market it is supplied through their outlets for more than Rs 490 per quintal, he pointed out.

Mr Bharowal said the union will hold a public rally in the Chhatar Singh Park in Ludhiana on March 29. to decide the future course of action.



Tohra to organise “Akhand path”
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 27
Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, will organise “Akhand path” at Akal Takht from 28 to 30 as thanks-giving following his recovery from bypass surgery.

Jathedar Tohra has already partaken ‘amrit’ afresh at Takht Kesgarh Sahib on March 23 as a measure of ‘shudhi’ after his bypass surgery in Delhi.

According to the Sikh rehat maryada, every Amritdhari Sikh has to partake ‘amrit’ afresh after surgery is performed of any part of his body. The hair on the body of Jathedar Tohra had to be removed for the purposes of the surgery.

Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, President, Sant Samaj, has hailed the partaking of ‘amrit’ afresh by Jathedar Tohra.



Trader shot, 3.5 lakh looted

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 27
Two scooter-borne miscreants took away Rs 3.5 lakh from Dwarka Dass after shooting him last night. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Dawarka Dass of M/s Rajinder Paul-Vinod Kumar was going to a neighbouring shop, when the miscreants opened fire at him and snatched the bag carrying the money. A case has been registered.



Traders form panel on VAT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
In an open defiance of the government decision to charge central excise from April 1 onwards and also the value added tax (which has been deferred for the time being), over 150 trade and industrial organisations today decided not to get the registration numbers from the concerned departments, which would consequentially mean that they will not be paying the duty.

Leaving their ideological inclination apart, these associations today formed a four-member joint action committee (JAC) comprising Mr Inderjeet Singh Pradhan, president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), Mr D.S. Chawla, president, Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, Mr Jagmohan Sharma of the Beopar Mandal and Baba Ajit Singh of the Pradesh Beopar Mandal, to fight against the government decisions on VAT and the central excise.

Addressing a press conference these leaders said any government official, who was found trying to enforce the decision and harassing traders, would be gheraoed.

It had also been decided that representatives of all 150 associations would stage a sit-in at the Vishwakarma chowk on March 29 for two hours. They said it would only be a symbolic protest which would be followed by nation-wide 48-hour bandhs on March 31 and April 1. 


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |