Saturday, April 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cheating case against industrialist hushed up
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
In a surprise development in an over one-year-old case of cheating and sales tax evasion by a leading Industrialist family of the city, the district police has recommended cancellation of the charges.

The complainant in the case, who is a common man without any ‘connections’, is left fuming at the development. The complainant, Harbhagwan Passey, has alleged that immense influence of the accused family in the city has done the trick.

The case was registered on February 11, 2002 against industrialist Raman Marwaha who owned Adinath Textiles and Adinath Yarn Ltd in the city. Mr Passey had alleged that the accused had forged his signatures to evade sale tax.

The accused had taken a portion of his house in Rupamistri street in 1989 on lease for opening M/s Adinath Textiles Industrial unit. Later on, the accused showed in his sale tax records that the unit existing there was Adinath Yarn ltd.

The landlord was not informed. It was mandatory to get the signatures of the landlord . These signatures were allegedly forged. The police registered a case of sale tax evasion and fraud. The accused also did not pay rent to the complainant. The accused was also charged with sale tax evasion, as the company was non-existent.

However, instead of putting up a challan against the accused, the district police surprisingly filed a cancellation report of the case in a city court last week.

A copy of the cancellation report claims that the case has been dropped because the complainant had not filed any complaint before the Sale Tax Department. It has also been argued that the complainant should have informed the Sale Tax Department when the sale tax number was taken.

Mr Harbhagwan Passey has completely opposite documentary proof in his possession. Countering the police argument that no case was filed before the Sale Tax Department, he showed at least two complaints he made to the sale tax department much before the case was registered by the police.

Further, Mr Pasey argued that the cancellation of the case on this ground was a fictitious one. Sale tax evasion was one charge about he had documentary proof. There were other accusations like forging his signatures but the police was silent on the issue.

The family of Mr Passey has spent a large amount of money on the legal battle after which they succeeded in getting their house vacated. The accused is yet to pay him rent of several months.

Police sources said the cancellation report must have been filed after proper investigation. No official was sure about the reasons as the case was handled by various officials.

Mr Passey has prayed to Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh for intervening in the issue and curbing corruption in the Police Department. He alleged that just because he was a commoner, he could not get justice.

As per the procedure, the cancellation would be decided in a court of law now.



'Naked' protest by hosiery manufacturers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Faced with total indifference from the government on the issue of abolition of the Central excise, the hosiery manufacturers today took off their clothes, claiming that they had been stripped off everything. They said, the levy of Central excise will leave them like that only as they were not in a position to pay it.

The protesting hosiery manufacturers today resorted to the "naked protest" against the levy of the central excise on hosiery products on the nineteenth day of their strike today. They said they will try to use every means and method to register their protest and create an impact on the government for the withdrawal of the Central excise duty on hosiery.

A handful of hosiery manufacturers took off their clothes ahead of a long procession. They walked through different parts of the city and leading markets shouting slogans against the government and demanding the withdrawal of the Central excise. They asserted that they will not withdraw their strike till the government does not abolish the Central excise duty on their products.

One of the representatives of the hosiery manufacturers, Mr Vinod Thapar, told this reporter that it was a symbolic protest to draw the attention of the government towards their problems. He said, while today it was a symbolic protest only, tomorrow all the hosiery owners would be reduced to such a plight when they will have nothing to eat and wear. Because, he claimed, imposition of the central excise will ultimately lead to closure of small and medium-scale units.

The hosiery manufacturers started the strike on March 31. First the strike was against the VAT and the Central excise. However, the government deferred the imposition of VAT and there was no word about Central excise. The manufacturers are worried that the levy of Central excise will spell doom for them as they will not be able to pay the tax at each and every stage of the manufacturing process.

The hosiery manufacturers are being supported by all the political parties, including the BJP, the Congress and the Akali Dal. These parties have demanded the withdrawal of the central excise and sought that a minimum exemption limit be fixed so that small manufacturers will not have to pay the Central excise. The hosiery manufacturers led by the former Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, also met the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on April 10. However, nothing seems to have come of that meeting as yet. 



Confusion over drought relief bonus
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Pakhowal, April 18
Even as farmers resent non-payment of dues by various wheat procurement agencies in the state, confusion as to whether to include drought relief bonus in the sale receipts or prepare it separately prevails among the officials of the market committees and commission agents in forwarding necessary details to the agencies concerned before the cheques are released.

Although the procurement started a fortnight ago, no clear guidelines have been issued by the state government regarding the drought relief bonus of Rs 10 announced by the Congress government. The procurement agencies, market committee officials and even commission agents are at sea on what is to be done on this issue. The farmers are understandably distressed at the delay which has initially been attributed to the long holiday spell by the Food and Civil Supplies Department. The department had claimed that the cheques would be disbursed once the banks reopened.

A Tribune team which surveyed the mandis at Pakhowal, Gujjarwal, Mullanpur Dakha, Lalton, Kila Raipur and Dehlon met farmers who had been making rounds of the market committee offices and their commission agents but to no avail. “ Nobody is willing to tell us what is causing the delay, First, it was the holidays now they tell us that they have no guidelines on drought relief. They can give us the amount for the crop sold and keep the relief pending or give it to us at a later date,” said Gurcharan Singh of Mohi village.

Some farmers said they had been backing on this money to settle their dues but had to leave disappointed everyday. They added that they were making do with small amounts given to them by arthiyas. Stating that the payments were very important to them at this juncture, the farmers said they owed money to various banks and cooperative institutions. These agencies had been sending them reminders for paying up the dues.

‘‘The government should make up its mind over the issue. They have not even paid up dues at this stage when 30 per cent of the crop has been harvested. What will they do when the entire produce will reach the market? They should make payments as soon as possible otherwise farmers will be forced to start an agitation,’’ said Kartar Singh of Pamal village.

Officials of Market Committee, Mullanpur Dakha mandi, said they were also at a loss over the issue of drought relief as no guidelines were issued to them till date.

‘‘We don’t know whether drought relief at the rate of Rs 10 per quintal is to be incorporated in the current procurement dues or it has to be prepared separately. Till this matter is cleared, we cannot ask the commission agents to submit details of the procured grains which in turn have to be cleared by us before they are submitted to the procurement agencies that dispatches cheques to the agents.’’



Truckers’ strike enters fifth day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Trucks continued to remain off the roads on the fifth day today in response to a strike call given by the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC). Most of the trucks were seen parked in the yards and along the Grand Trunk Road as there was no word about the strike being withdrawn. Thousands of truck operators, affiliated to various state and regional truckers' unions, are supporting the strike.

The truckers have been maintaining that the government has been indifferent towards their problems which are pending for the past so many years. They claimed that hundreds and thousands of people were associated with this industry and the government appeared to be indifferent towards their plight. The transporters are particularly sore about the reported move of the government asking them to phase out vehicles which are more than 15 years old.

They are also opposing the highway toll tax introduced by the government across the country.

Meanwhile, hundreds of truck drivers continued to remain stranded in and around Ludhiana for the fifth day today. Since the AIMTC has made it clear that there will be no movement of trucks anywhere in the county, the truck drivers are staying put at their respective places. These drivers, who belong to different parts of the country, are finding it difficult to while away their time.

Some of them from deep South are not even able to converse properly. like Rajshekhar from Hyderabad who left his home about 10 days ago. He said he usually returned home within a fortnight. But this time everything appeared to be uncertain. He said it was for the first time that he was stranded anywhere like this

But there are others like Abdul Rehman from Kashmir, who did not mind spending some days in Ludhiana. He said once he got stuck along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway when the weather got bad. He was stranded there for three days in intensely cold whether without sufficient food. Luckily the experience now appeared to be better for him.

It is not just the truck drivers who are held up at different places, some even on the highways, but even the industrial houses which are desperately waiting for the strike to end as their stocks are piling up and orders awaiting delivery.



Panic buying of petrol, diesel ‘not required’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
Even as the residents are resorting to panic buying of petrol, owing to the ongoing nationwide truckers’ strike, the petrol pump dealers claim that there is no need to worry as they are receiving full quota of petrol and diesel everyday.

After the talks between transporters and government failed yesterday, the residents of the city started stocking petrol and diesel thinking that the strike would lead to non-transportation of petrol and diesel.

On the fifth consecutive day of the strike the residents continued to get the tanks of their vehicles filled. Some of the residents were even seen stocking the diesel to run their generators during a power cut.

Some residents said that they were really worried as the strike had thrown life out of gear. They said that despite assurances from the dealers they did not want to take risk and wanted to ensure that at least their vehicles would keep running.

They added that if every other commodity was making them feel the heat of the strike, the fuel could also fall short anytime. The residents urged the government to solve the issue soon.

The petrol dealers maintained that there was no need of panic buying as they were getting their supply normally and their business was not affected due to the strike.

Mr Yuvraj Dada, president, Petrol Pump Owners Association, said that the petrol tanker, owners had not joined the agitating truckers till date. He added that it was decided that they would not do so. Further if they went on a strike also, the petrol pump owners had their own transport system that would help them keep the filling stations running.

Mr Dada said that the petrol pump owners already had enough stocks to last for many days. He added that the oil corporations also had arrangements for transporting petrol and diesel that could be exploited as the last resort in case of strike.



Industrialists join hands to tackle waste
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
To tackle the problem of hazardous waste in the city, local industrialists have joined hands to ensure a cleaner Ludhiana, which is the major hazardous waste producing city in the state with more than 50,000 metric tons of waste already occupying acres of useful land.

The industrialists have formed a committee headed by Mr S.P. Oswal that will make efforts to find a viable solution to the problem of hazardous waste.

This came to light at a meeting of the industrialists with the Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, Mr N.S. Tiwana, held here today. The meeting was attended by representatives of major industrial groups of the state, including Vardhman, Trident, Hero, Oswal, PACL, Avon, Ranbaxy, DSM and International Tractors.

The industrialists assured the Chairman of the board that they were concerned about the ever-increasing problem of hazardous waste and wanted to make serious efforts to combat the problem.

Mr Tiwana said the major achievement of the meeting was that the industry showed a keen interest in handling its waste properly and discharging their responsibility towards society. He added that the industry was serious towards solving the problem of waste — generation and management — which was at present being dumped on their own premises.

He said the industrialists had started realising that they could no longer keep on looking towards the government for providing a facility for the disposal of waste.

He said under the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989, which were enacted for regulating, handling, storing, transporting, importing and disposing of all wastes, hazardous waste, once generated, had to be treated and disposed of in an environment friendly manner, disposal in a landfill being the last resort.

However, the amended rules also state clearly that the industry has to take measures for the reduction/recycling of waste. 



Admn ‘forces’ them to stay in ruins
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, April 18
Nearly two weeks after the MiG-23 crash that took place in the local Bank Colony on April 4, damaging some houses and killing seven persons, there was no sign of rebuilding in the area and the residents were being forced to live amidst ruins and crumbling houses, as no one from the civil administration had come to evaluate the damage caused by the crash.

The victims were living in a catch-22 situation as neither could they reconstruct their dilapidated houses, nor could they live in these. They were living under constant danger as the houses, where the air craft had hit, were developing cracks after the mishap. Some parts kept on crumbling till date.

Moreover the sight of damage was not allowing them to forget their haunting past, that reminded them of death and devastation, as they had been told by the officials that they would only be compensated if they showed the situation to a senior official who would be visiting the area soon.

But even after 13 days of the crash no official had visited them. ‘‘We are supposed to maintain the status quo if we want to seek the damages. So we have done some temporary repairs for security reasons but would be taking up major repairs after some official visits us only, ’’Mr Purshottam Singh Bholla rued.

While they were trying helplessly to reconcile to the loss of precious lives of their beloved family members, the aggrieved residents were also trying to gather bits and pieces of their once-comfortable homes. They were also seeking advice of the architects over whether they should continue to live in these houses as these were developing cracks or demolish them.

‘‘While a large portion of my house has been damaged the rest is developing cracks everyday. We are worried and seeking the advice of experts over the issue. But we think that we will have to reconstruct the entire houses as their foundations have been shaken due to the crash. Let us see what happens,’’ said Ms Pritam Pal Kaur, a school teacher in Dakha.

She added she had to take leave from her school everyday waiting for the official. ‘‘My husband also works in a school and our children are students. One of us has to sit at home as we don’t know at what time the officials would be visiting us. You know if we would miss him one day it would become difficult to show him the damage later. Surprisingly even 13 days after the crash, the officials’ visit is pending.’’

‘‘We don't even feel like entering the house. The very sight of debris makes me shudder. I lost my wife and two children in this debris only. I had even told the labourers to clear the debris as it reminds me of my irreparable losses but my neighbours stopped me. They say that I cannot construct another house in my lifetime as I can never spend that much amount once again. The officials cannot understand our sentiments. It would not take more than an hour or them to come here and see the spot. But they have no time for us,’’ said Bholla.



Ex-serviceman accuses admn 
of selective demolition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
A physically-challenged ex-serviceman based at Nathawal village near Raikot has accused the civil administration of selective demolitions on the road in front of his house.

Addressing mediapersons at his residence at Nathawal village today, Maj Gurdev Singh, a septuagenarian claimed that the BDO, Nathawal had demolished structures outside his house and but left intact the encroachments by his neighbour.

The ex-serviceman claimed that the structure erected by him had blocked around two-feet area of the road while his neighbour had encroached upon an area of eight feet. He said that the fact was established by an inquiry conducted by Mr Nagina Singh, kanugo of Raikot, who had recently submitted his report to the authorities.

Maj Gurdev Singh has written a letter to the SDM, Raikot, for looking into the matter and also sought removal of encroachment by his neighbour.

The BDO, Mr Ved Parkash, when contacted said that the removal of the encroachment was ordered by the District Magistrate and he had followed the directions strictly.



Christians hold procession 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 18
Members of the Christian fraternity here today hold a procession in the city on Good Friday. On Good Friday, Christians traditionally remember the life, the passion and the crucifixion of Jesus. The Christians here travelled in a caravan of vans, cars and trucks singing hymns in praise of Christ who sacrificed his life for the sake of humanity.

The procession started from the Holy Cross Church at 11. 30 am. It was led by Father Daniel Gill of the Holy Cross Church. The parishioners of the church joined in the procession. The nuns of Sacred Heart Convent School, along with workers of the School, also participated. The procession went to Malhar Road, Pakhowal Road, Ghumar Mandi, Bhai Wala Chowk, Ferozepur Road and ended at Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar.



Project inaugurated

Ludhiana, April 18
A Municipal Councillor, Mr Balkar Singh, inaugurated a street-light project in Mayur Vihar Colony of Ward No. 45 here, yesterday. Mr Balkar Singh assured that roads of the locality would soon be recarpetted. Mr Rajan Nayyar, Mr Kamal Sethi, Mr Ashok Jain, Mr Rajesh were also present. TNS



Man booked for not paying cellphone bill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
The district police has registered a case against a local resident for not paying the bill of CellOne mobile connection of BSNL. The case has been registered against Harpal Singh, a resident of Karabara colony here on a complaint lodged by Mr S.P. Tripathi, a senior official of the local Telephone Department.

Sources in the Telecom Department told The Tribune that this was not an isolated case. The department had prepared a list of such defaulters. Investigations were also on against some suspect cases in which phone subscribers had given fake addresses.

The accused had been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC. According to the FIR, the accused was allotted mobile phone no 94170-50102 and owed a phone bill worth thousands of rupees.

The department had sent several reminders but he did not respond. 



Student attacked in GNDE

Ludhiana, April 18
In a fresh case of violence at the Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, a student of first year was attacked by four senior students and some unidentified persons on the college campus today afternoon. Brandishing swords and sticks, the attackers injured Maninder Singh when he was drinking water from a water cooler outside his classroom. Maninder Singh claimed he had identified four senior students as his attackers. Others were probably outsiders. He said he was being harassed by seniors ever since he had resisted being ragged by the seniors several months ago. The college Principal, Col D.S. Grewal, could not be contacted for comments. TNS


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