Saturday, April 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sarpanch suspended for bungling
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The sarpanch of Bassian village, near Raikot, has been suspended by the Panchayats Department for alleged large-scale irregularities. It has also ordered the recovery of Rs 7 lakh from him.

According to sources, villagers had alleged that sarpanch Ved Parkash Rawal, who is also the chief of the Raikot Panchayat Union, had encroached upon panchayat land, received commission in various projects and collected large sums of money from them in the name of developmental activities.

The Deputy Director, Mr Narinder Singh, conducted an enquiry and it was established that the charges levelled against the sarpanch were true. Recommending the suspension of the sarpanch, he also wrote to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer that the bank accounts of the accused must be frozen so that a sum of Rs 7 lakh, forcibly collected from the villagers, could be recovered. The orders were passed exercising powers conferred on him under Section 14 of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, the sources added.

The villagers had written to the authorities that Ved Parkash had pocketed the money by showing repair of village drains, hand- pumps, earth filling done on the premises of the telephone exchange, constructions at the dharamshala, construction of bases for foundation stones, expenditure on publicity and lawyers fees in the panchayat accounts.

A perusal of the records and a survey of various sites revealed that the sarpanch had reportedly resorted to fraudulent means. Other charges of misusing the grants for desilting of a village pond, selling a prime piece of land and keeping the proceeds with him were also proved.



2 more cops held in police-criminal nexus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Two more cops accused in the sensational police pay-off scandal were arrested by the local police here today even as strong deliberations were on to whether or not register a case against Subash Katty and Bittu Chawla who were seen giving bribes to the cops.

Highly placed police sources disclosed to TNS that the police had almost finalised the registration of a case against the two lottery traders cum alleged gamblers yesterday only when cases were registered against 10 cops involved in the scandal.

The move was, however, stalled by the advice of some senior state-level police officers. They advised that the registration of the case against the two at this juncture can prove counter-productive.

The issue was still being debated today as a section of the police officers wanted the two persons to be booked for giving bribes to the cops. Sources said the police was ready for registration of the case and only a green signal from the senior officers was required.

The two cops arrested today were Head Constables Milkha Singh and Amrik Singh. Meanwhile, four cops arrested yesterday were remanded in police custody for one day by a district judge. The cops were Head Constable Jaswinder Singh, constables Rakesh Kumar and Sartaj Singh and SPO Prem Singh.

Quite a drama took place in the district courts to this afternoon when the accused cops were brought to the district courts. The police tried to avoid the mediapersons and photo journalists by bringing the accused through the back door but did not succeed. The police earlier tried to hoodwink them by spreading a rumour that the accused cops would be produced before a different judge.

Ultimately, the accused and the cops accompanying them had to run to avoid being photographed. There was quite a melee in the district courts because of the hot chase. The accused and the cops were running ahead and the photo journalists were after them.



Roof collapse: school looks to social 
bodies for funds
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, April 25
While coffers of the state government seem empty, Government High School at Chowni Mohalla seeks the support of social organisations to help it re-construct the building after the roof collapse incident this Monday. Officials of the District Education Department visited the school on Wednesday and prepared an estimate of the amount required for the re-construction work. But it is being felt by them that the amount required might not be arranged through them. The department then forwarded the case to the Public Works Department whose employees visited the school today to draw an approximate idea of the funds that would be needed for the purpose.

Under such circumstances, the school authorities are looking for some social organisations which can help them raise their building. At present, the school has just two rooms where five classes have to be taught. The students and staff have to sit in verandahs during the hot, sunny afternoons.

Realising the risk due to termite infestation in wooden ceilings of corridors and rooms, the school staff has been looking for a house with a few vacant rooms where the school could be shifted temporarily. To their utter disappointment, no one was ready to give them space as they probably apprehended that the school authorities could take permanent possession of their house.

Without adequate space and a conducive environment, the teaching work in the school has been hit. Ms Harminder Kaur, headmistress, and teachers either remain occupied with the visiting officers or visit VIPs and social organisations seeking some grant to re-build the school.

The school staff said they wanted total demolition and re-construction of the building and that they would not allow any renovation of the existing building. They said a few year ago, they had got a verandah ceiling renovated with a few wooden logs changed and were told that it would not fall now. However, the logs gave way and the ceiling collapsed. 



Employees feel cheated
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
More than seven months after 180 government employees from Ludhiana went to Jammu and Kashmir for poll duty in September last year, they are still awaiting the daily allowances and remunerations for the duty.

Several employees had themselves volunteered to go to Jammu and Kashmir to contribute in the country’s democratic process, while many others, especially teachers, had refused to go there. They claim that despite their sincere feelings for the country, they have been treated badly.

The employees have not been given their daily allowance for their stay in the valley that lasted for more than 15 days, besides 40 per cent of their remunerations. They say they had spent money from their own pockets to survive in the valley and the government had not even bothered to pay them their dues.

The state government had asked employees to volunteer for poll duty and had offered them Rs 5,000 for it. Moreover, each of the employees opting for such duty was to be given an insurance cover of Rs 25,000 for injury and Rs five lakh for death. None of the local employees had volunteered for the job on the plea that it was risky to go there. They had argued that during the difficult times in Punjab its own employees were performing such duties and nobody was called from other states.

The Deputy Commissioner had then issued show-cause notices to erring employees. After reading reports of refusal, these employees had volunteered to go to the valley. The local administration had paid them 60 per cent money in advance. The employees, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said while they were feeling ‘‘mistreated’’ they had become a laughing stock among their colleagues.

“Our colleagues say we were ready to martyr ourselves at that time and now we are knocking at various doors to get our dues. We should not have been treated like this. They have made a mockery of us. We are just employees and an amount of around Rs 6,000 means a lot to us. Does it look nice that we are asking for remuneration again and again?” said an employee.

Dr Pushproop Singh Brar, a veterinarian, who had gone to the valley, said he, along with some colleagues, had met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Agarwal, but he had expressed his inability to do anything as the money was to be paid by the Jammu and Kashmir Government. He said he had written to the Chief Election Commissioner about the issue, but had not received any reply so far. Reminders to the Jammu and Kashmir Government had also not bore any fruit, he said. He would also submit a representation to the Punjab Chief Minister, he added.



Urmila needs a good Samaritan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
“Urmila is suffering from cervix cancer which is in the first stage. She is just 23 and if timely treatment is provided to her, I am sure she will be alright”, these words were expressed by Dr Veena Jain, Head of the Gynaecology Department, Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Memorial Hospital, who’s treating Urmila.

A resident of district Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh, Urmila is the wife of a migrant labourer, Santosh who is working in a flour mill in Lalton Kalan. Her husband while talking to this correspondent said, “We had migrated from UP in search of a good fortune. We were leading a happy life till last month when Urmila complained of excessive bleeding. One of my friends suggested me to take her to Mohan Dai Hospital. We came to know about the disease only when test reports came out to be positive”.

Dr Veena Jain said her disease was at an early stage. “We have already started the treatment. They cannot afford the cost of treatment but we are trying to save her. She requires at least Rs 40,000 for the treatment but the hospital authorities have decided to provide her as much concession as they can. At present, there is an emergent need of Rs 25,000 and she will be started with the treatment”, said Dr Jain.

The couple has a two-year-old boy. “I cannot bear the cost of treatment any more. How can God be so unkind towards people like us. Whatever little resources I had have already been exhausted on the treatment. The city has no dearth of good Samaritans and I hope someone will come to our rescue. Urmila is also an anaemic and needs blood also”, said Santosh.

Those interested to help can contact the Gynaecology Department of Mohan Dai Oswal Memorial Hospital.



DC’s detractors get a drubbing
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The controversy sparked off by the suspension of the local Satluj Club general secretary that resulted in the demand for the transfer of Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Agarwal has taken a dramatic turn. His detractors have got a drubbing from the people who matter at the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh. Going by the developments that have taken place in the state capital over the past three days, it appears Mr Agarwal is here to stay and those opposed to him will have to make do with taking the back seat for the time being.

A controversy was created in the city when Mr Agarwal suspended Satluj Club, general secretary, Mr Sunil Jain earlier this week. Several senior Congress leaders, city mayor, councillors and club members have been demanding the transfer of Mr Agarwal accusing him of being autocratic and rude.

Led by the District Congress Committee (DCC) urban president, Mr KK Bawa, leaders including Mr Surinder Dawer and Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha (both MLAs), Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the city Mayor, the DCC(Rural) president, Mr Gurdev Lapran, senior vice president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka and the chairman of the industrial cell of the PCC, Mr Rajinder Singh Basant, have issued statements demanding the removal of the deputy commissioner for acting in an “arbitrary and dictatorial” manner on various issues, including the suspension of the club general secretary.

Congress leaders, including those mentioned above, had thrown their weight behind Mr Jain. For the past three days these leaders have been unsuccessfully moving around in Chandigarh and Delhi to air their grievance before the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. It is however, learnt that the Chief Minister refused to give them a hearing and they were asked to meet a close aide of the Chief Minister.

Sources said the Congress leaders and around 24 (municipal councillors) and supporters of the mayor have been told in clear terms that the “deputy commissioner was here to stay” and, therefore, they would be well advised to mend their fences with Mr Agarwal. A senior judicial officer at Chandigarh is said to have put in a word for Mr Agarwal at the CM’s secretariat. When contacted, an official in the CM’s inner circle said, “the CM will do nothing to demoralise his officers, even if it is at the cost of annoying party men”.

Meanwhile, a petition filed by former club general secretary, Mr Jain seeking a stay on his suspension has been put off for hearing till Monday. Legal experts however opine that the petition is so poorly drafted that it stands little chance of success. Mr Jain is believed to have levelled some serious allegations against the deputy commissioner in his petition. The outcome of the petition is reportedly being closely monitored both in the city and Chandigarh. It is further learnt that the Deputy Commissioner had taken his superiors at Chandigarh into confidence before taking action against Mr Jain. The superiors ensured that the Congress leaders could not meet the Chief Minister for three days despite trying hard.



Rs 530 crore to be spent on 
housing, urban development
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
In order to fulfil the dream of common man to have a house, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, would spend Rs 530 crore on urban development and construction of houses in the city for providing houses to maximum number of people under different categories during the current financial year.

This was announced here today by Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Development Punjab, after inaugurating a new PUDA office complex and a community centre in the city.

Constructed at a cost of Rs 2.50 crore in 1.44 acres, the PUDA complex would be used for housing the office of PUDA and a community centre-cum-swimming pool, constructed at a cost of Rs 1.47 crore at Urban Estate, Phase-II, would provide recreational facilities to local residents.

Mr Puri said that for the current financial year, the total budget of PUDA had been enhanced to Rs 650 crore, out of which 530 crore had been kept for development and Rs 200 crore for the construction of 8000 HIG, MIG and EWS houses in the state. Out of these 4000 houses would be built for the economically weaker sections in the state.

He said that a suitable memorial was also being set up in memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at Hussainiwala at a cost of Rs 60 lakh and new administrative complexes were being set up at Hoshiarpur, Patiala, Moga and Bathinda.

Referring to the programmes of the government, the minister said that the current financial year was being observed as development year and funds amounting to more than Rs 1000 crore would be spent on different development projects in the state. He said that during the first year, the government had been engaged in bailing out the state from serious financial crises caused due to the "wrong policies of previous government". Now with the financial measures and mobilisation of new resources, the financial condition of the state had substantially improved.

He claimed that the drive against corruption had given excellent results, but without the full cooperation of the public, it could not be completely checked. He announced that a suitable site would be allotted for the construction of Yoga Bhavan in Urban Estate Dugri Road and sports stadium would be provided.

Addressing the function, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, State Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Jails, said that PUDA had chalked out a large number of schemes to provide good quality houses for different sections of society in various cities of the state.

He said the government would fullfil all promises made with the people during the elections in the coming days, as it had managed to overcome the financial crises.

Giving details of various projects in the Ludhiana zone, the minister said new urban estates were being developed at Khanna, Jagraon and Moga and as many as 10,000 houses had been constructed for different categories, out of which 8,000 had already been allotted to weaker sections at subsidised rates.

He further said that PUDA had also developed 1708 commercial sites, out of which 400 had been sold on the auction after completion. He said that 57 new colonies to be developed by the private colonisers had been approved and strict steps had been taken to check the unauthorised colonies in the city.

To promote the development of approved colonies in the state, 196 estate agents and 70 promoters had been registered.

Mr Birmi said that a canal colony in 12.30 acres had been developed on the local Pakhowal Road and commercial sites had been auctioned for Rs 12.68 crore.



Holiday demanded on Labour Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has urged the Union Government to declare International Labour Day on May 1 as a holiday under the Factories Act, the Negotiable Instruments Act and the Shops and Commercial Act so that the working classes could observe the occasion with zeal and spirit.

In a memorandum, submitted to the Union Labour Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, the INTUC functionaries, Mr Balwant Rai Kapoor, president, and Mr Shiv Gupta, general secretary, pointed out that the Union Government should take the initiative and declare a gazetted holiday on May 1. Several state governments, including Punjab did not declare a holiday under the Factories Act and the Negotiable Instruments Act, thereby depriving the factory workers, private labour, contract labour, bank and insurance sector employees and those working in shops and other commercial establishments from participating in Labour Day celebrations.

INTUC asked the government to declare a national holiday on International Labour Day on May 1 to honour the aspirations of the working classes and to enable them to take part in the Labour Day functions. Since such a move by the Centre would apply to all states, there would be no need to issue separate notifications by the state governments for declaration of holiday.



Protest march by brick-kiln workers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
Hundreds of brick-kiln workers, led by activists of the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union, took out a protest march from Chatar Singh Park to Mini Secretariat here yesterday, demanding implementation of labour laws and other facilities. The protesters also submitted a memorandum to the district authorities for submission to the state government.

Addressing the rally at the Secretariat, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA and general secretary of the union, demanded that the brick-kiln workers be paid wages and granted other facilities like provident fund and the ESI in accordance with the Factories Act. Further, the government should initiate measures to provide basic facilities, adequate health cover and education for the family members and children of the workers.

He charged brick-kiln owners with intimidating tactics and high-handedness to forcibly retain workers. “The kiln owners flouting labour laws and exploiting workers should be brought to book.” He further called upon the government to accept and implement other pending demands listed in the memorandum in consultation with the union activists and representatives of the kiln workers.

Prominent among those who addressed the rally were Mr Mohinder Singh Seelon Kalan, district president, Jamhoor Kisna Sabha, Mr Ram Saroop Kalsia, president, Dehati Mazdoor Sabha, Mr Sinder Singh Jawaddi, Mr Ram Singh Pakhowal, Mr Labh Singh Sekhowal.



PSEB harassing farmers: BKU
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has charged the PSEB with harassing farmers regarding the release of new tubewell connections. The union has threatened the PSEB management with legal action if the long-pending connections are not immediately released and compensation, as directed by the Consumers Forum, is not paid to applicants.

The district president of the BKU, Mr Sukhminder Singh Kadian, said in a statement here today that the tubewell connections had not been released by the PSEB for years together while the farmers were suffering massive losses due to unavailability of adequate water for irrigation. “ In Raikot block alone, more than 2,500 tubewell connections are pending despite the applicants made the required deposit way back in 1999.”

He urged the government to make arrangements for the speedy lifting of wheat crop from mandis.



Fall in wheat arrivals
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 25
The arrival of wheat in the grain market of the Amloh Market Committee has decreased this year as compared to last year. In the year 2002, the arrival of wheat was 5,80,187 qt. till April 23 but the arrival this year has been 5,36,512 qt. This was stated by Mr Darshan Gopal Sharma secretary, Market Committee, Amloh after the inauguration of the Ragheri village purchase centre which was earlier inaugurated by Sant Baba Ganga Ram. 



Rally against drug addiction
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The Bharatiya Yuva Maitrik Sangh held a scooter rally to make people aware of the ill-effects of drug abuse. This was the sangh’s second rally. The rally was held under Mr Goldy, president of the sangh, and was flagged off by Mr Parminder Mehta, Youth Congress leader.

The rally started from Jalandhar by-pass and passed through Old Sabzi Mandi, Nanak Nagar, Bhadur Market, Clock Tower and ended at Field Ganj.

Mr Parminder Mehta said drug-addiction was ruining the youths. He urged the NGOs to get united and start a strong movement against drug addiction.

A number of youths participated in the rally.



Hoteliers hail move on casinos
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab (HRAP) has expressed its gratitude to the Punjab Chief Minister for releasing a “liberal and far-sighted” tourism policy for the state.

The policy, if given effect in letter and spirit, will give a much-needed boost to the industry and promote domestic and international tourism in the state.

The HRAP president, Mr N.S. Nanda, also extended tacit support to the government’s move to allow casinos in the state. He said though the project was still in a conceptual stage and a Bill had not been passed so far in this regard, the project could have the desired results on attracting international tourists and generating crores of rupees as revenue.

He said that in the wake of SARS threat looming large over the entire world, the government must make foolproof arrangements at all international airports for screening of all persons visiting India. Countries like China, Hong Kong, Singapore were badly affected and a few confirmed cases had been reported from places like Goa, Pune and Mumbai. “We should be fully prepared to deal with the threat, but at the same time it should not be a cause of panic.”

Focusing on salient features of the new tourism policy, he said the relaxations and incentives to hotel and tourism industry like scrapping of luxury tax, expenditure tax, service tax and exemption from house tax for the first five years for new projects of classified hotels and restaurants as well as projects of amusement parks involving an investment of more than two crore, were welcome steps for the recession-hit industry. Similarly, the promised rationalisation of licensing procedures and fee structure for bars would make things easier for the hotels and restaurant owners, he added.

The state government, he added, had also done well to make provision of soft loans through financial institutions like Punjab Financial Corporation and Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) to new tourism projects and for expansion of existing units. Other major incentives granted to the hotel and tourism industry, he observed, were special concession to new tourism projects having investment of Rs 5 crore or more on case-to-case basis, power tariff on a par with other industrial units, 15 per cent rebate on power bills for three years from the commencement of business with a maximum ceiling of Rs 15 lakh and a subsidy of Rs 30 lakh for new hotel and tourism projects in border areas.

He said he, along with other members of the Classification Committee consisting of Mr J. Nath, Assistant Director, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Mr Surinder Bajaj, Deputy Director, Tourism, Punjab, Mr Navin Nanchahal, Principal, Institute of Hotel Management, Chandigarh, Mr Harmit Singh of IATO, New Delhi, had inspected some of the hotels of Punjab and approved the following classification for hotels: Hotel Cheveron, Ludhiana — three-star; Hotel Neelgiri, Ludhiana, Hotel Sahil Palace, Ropar, and Hotel Standard International, Pathankot — two-star. Hotel Nagpal Regency and Hotel Aditya, both in the city, would be inspected after three months, he added.



Lacklustre takeoff for trade fair
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
Trade and Cultural Fair today failed to take off as planned. According to the organiser, Mr Pritam Singh Bharowal, it was the truckers’ strike that delayed the arrival of goods which were being brought by industrialists and artisans from other states. The fair is being held in the Government College for Women and will be continuing till May 4.

Only a few local stalls were ready. Other participants from different states could be seen unfolding their things and arranging these as well as they could. The fair presented a half-ready look.

Mr Chaman, who has brought lovely earthen pots and other terracota articles from Panipat, was seen arranging these in haste.

This was the story which was more or less common with other traders and participants of the fair. According to Mr Sewa Singh Chaudhry, 250 stalls have been booked and by tomorrow all stalls will be fully ready.

Mr Pritam Singh Barowal said last year such a trade fair was a great success which had encouraged us to hold it again. Folk artistes from different states would be displaying their skills.


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 |