Wednesday, July 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Jat-Dalit clash: SHO transferred
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission of India has taken up the case of Bhattian Bet violence and directed the state government and the district administration to submit a detailed report on the incident to the commission with in a week.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, SHO, Salem Tabri police station, was today transferred to the CIA-II wing. Sub-Inspector Warryam Singh was posted in his place.

Mr Narinderpal Singh, SSP, said he had transferred the officer on administrative grounds.

The SHO was accused of not paying any heed to complaints of Dalits for the past one week. They were complaining about the harassment meted out to them by Jats. They had accused him of showing sympathy for Jats. The Dalits alleged that had the SHO listened to them earlier, the violence would not have sparked off.

Mr Jaswant Kataria and Mr Shiv Ram Saroye, chairman and general secretary, respectively, of the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission, said the commission had ordered an inquiry. A delegation of the mission met the Director of the commission, Mr Tenzing Wangial, in Chandigarh last evening.

Resentment, however, prevailed among Dalits over the inaction of the police in arresting the accused. Mr Sarwan Ram, sarpanch, while expressing his dissatisfaction over the role of the police, said it had not tried to arrest the accused and had picked up some persons who were not associated with the case. He alleged that the state government was patronising the powers responsible for spreading casteism. He said the panchayat had called a meeting of both the parties in the village tomorrow.

The sarpanch also alleged that the police and the civil administration was concentrating more on patch up instead of redressing their grievances. He said the police had arrested only one accused and failed to arrest the other. He demanded that the administration should allot a place to them in the village, which they could use as a toilet.

Mr Malvinder Singh Jaggi, SDM, said the situation in the village was under control and the administration was taking steps to keep the situation peaceful. He rubbished the claims of the villagers that the police was not taking action against the accused.



Unauthorised boundary wall demolished
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
A demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation razed illegal structures raised by a school in the Kitchlu Nagar area here today.
The authorities of Navyug Public School had constructed a wall in the area earmarked for the green belt. They had even put up a gate on public land.

Swinging into action, the MC demolition squad led by Mr Tirlok Singh, Area Town Planner, descended on the site today along with a JCB machine and demolished the structure. The Area Town Planner said the school authorities were issued a notice to remove the structure themselves but they failed to do so.

He added that the stay was vacated recently and they demolished the illegal structure today.

The squad took up another demolition on old DMC Road and razed a structure belonging to Mr Sumit Aggarwal. He had constructed it a fortnight ago.

He alleged that the building was meant to house the office of Zodiac Showroom. He said the authorities had no problem when he was constructing it and when he had finished it they came to demolish it.

Mr Aggarwal further alleged that he was not issued a notice. He accused the MC of selective demolition in the case.



Control rooms set up in all MC zones
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, July 8
The Health Department and the Municipal Corporation have joined hands to combat the outbreak of gastroenteritis in the city. Control rooms functioning round the clock have been set up in all MC zones to register complaints regarding contaminated water, leakage of water, choking of sewerage system or any other related problem.

Mr S.K.Sharma, Commissioner, MC, today held a meeting with corporation officers, the Civil Surgeon and other doctors. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the Commissioner said in all these control rooms, a team of doctors, sewerman and sweepers, equipped with machinery and medicines, would remain ready to meet any eventuality.

Mr Sharma said water samples were being tested by teams consisting of zonal commissioners and the O and M cell staff. Unhygienic eatables sold in the open are being destroyed by chief sanitary inspectors, he said.

All zonal commissioners have been directed to hold regular camps in schools and slum areas to create awareness among children and other residents regarding taking preventive measures during the rainy season.

It may be mentioned that 61 cases of gastroenteritis have been reported from two localities in the city, Puneet Nagar and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony, reportedly due to contaminated water and insanitary conditions. In the absence of water supply, the residents of the affected localities have been depending on groundwater that they fetch with the help of hand pumps.

Dr S.N.Tewari, Civil Surgeon, said all kind of medical help was being provided to residents, including supplying literature, chlorine and antibiotic tablets, ORS packs, etc. Dr Tewari stressed that there was a need to educate the masses in the slum areas. “These diseases keep recurring till the time people are thoroughly educated. The situation is now under control in both areas and the patients are recovering,” he claimed.

The public can contact at phone numbers 2745776, 2749120 (Zone A, Daresi Ground), 5004391 (Zone B, Shingar Cinema), 2545877, 2545878 (Zone C, Gill Road) and 2452804 (Zone D, Sarabha Nagar).

Meanwhile, doctors at CMC and DMC said they were receiving patients suffering from gastroenteritis but these were only sporadic cases from different areas.



DC visits Dhussi Bundh, reviews flood-control measures
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, along with other officials today visited various vulnerable sites on the Dhussi Bundh alongside the Sutlej falling in the district to review the spot situation and directed the officers concerned to keep round-the-clock vigil at these points, keeping in view the time release of water from the Ropar headworks in the river.

Mr Verma started the visit from Dhullewal village, the most vulnerable site, where the flow of water was hitting the river bank straightway and discussed the situation with officers and villagers. The villagers informed him that the bundh from RD 76,900 to 76,800 was build of sand and the water in the river was flowing close to it, which could harm the bundh on the release of more water in the river any time.

They demanded constant vigil and informed that all villagers were fully alert and in constant touch with the control rooms keeping in view the past experience. Mr Verma asked the panchayat to keep a regular watch even during the night and in case of any threat, inform the SDM, Samrala, or the control room on the phone.

The Deputy Commissioner also asked the SDMs to direct the patwaris to stay in the villages situated along the bundh so that immediate rescue measures could be started in case of emergency.

Mr Verma also discussed about the number of the villages that could be affected in case of any breach in the area. The panchayat informed that nearly 12 villages, including Dhulewal, Mand Sherian, Ghounsgarh, Road Mazari, Mand Fathegarh, Daulatpur, Milkowal, Issewal, Mand Jharowal and Sherpur, situated near the bundh could be affected.

The SDM, Samrala, said two centers, one in Gurdwara Charan Kamal, Machhiwara, and second in Senior Secondary School, Panjgraian, had been identified for housing the evacuated persons.

The villagers also informed him that the condition of roads approaching the bundh were in bad shape. Mr Verma asked the XEN, PWD, to get the funds sanctioned for the repair of the road between Dhulewal and Machhiwara.

Later, the Deputy Commissioner inspected other vulnerable points, including Issewal, Ghumana, Kasabad, Mattewara, Jamalpur, Leily, Khera Bet and Madhepur.

Mr Verma asked the XEN, Drainage, to constantly keep in touch with officials of the Ropar headworks regarding the time to time release water.

Mr Verma said the control rooms at the DRO office in Ludhiana with phone No: 2401352 and in the offices of all SDMs with their office phone numbers had started functioning round the clock. He said a sufficient number of medical teams had been constituted by the Health and Animal Husbandry Departments to provide medical facilities, in case of emergency. 




Ludhianvis have become quite media savvy. So much so that in case mediapersons fail to make it to a function where they have been invited, the function is postponed.

Last week, a playway school in Model Town invited mediapersons to cover an exhibition that had been organised to mark the concluding day of a summer camp. Since many other schools of the city had also organised similar functions on that day, mediapersons failed to make it to their programme. By noon, the Principal of the school called up all media offices to check if their reporters were coming. When they expressed their helplessness, the school Principal again made calls to them and said the function had been postponed for Monday and requested. He also requested them that the school function be ensured of a good coverage.

No admission blues

Seeking admission to engineering classes has become damn easy. One needs no intellect, no money, no power and no approach and can still achieve it. Mushrooming of a number of engineering colleges in the state has reversed the situation that exited earlier. While earlier, only the top few hundred students used to get admissions, now students with rank as law as 25,000 in the entrance test also manage to get admission. Earlier, students used to plead for admission, now colleges approach the university requesting it to allow students to take admission to their colleges.

Thieves in hospital

‘Jeb katron se savdhan’ (beware of pickpockets). This warning sign can be seen pasted all over the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). Being robbed in a hospital is the last thing on one’s mind. But this is what exactly happened with some patients in the hospital recently. The thief was a woman who wore branded jeans and a sleek top. She moved with an air and was wearing jewellery, besides carrying a costly mobile phone. She used to steal costly articles of patients and their attendants. She was caught by some alert hospital employees last Friday. She is not the only one who is active in the hospital. Pickpockets also target relatives of patients. Hospital authorities had earlier pasted pictures of some thieves, but these were removed on the direction of the district police. Thus, the authorities can only caution the patients and their attendants.

Same SHOs

The district police seems to be facing a shortage police officials who could be posted as station house officers (SHOs). There is just one set of SHOs, who have been changing posts among themselves for the past several years. When one SHO commits a mistake, the other one posted in the Police Lines is posted in his place. The ‘punished’ one does not have to wait long in the reserved position as one or the other police official commits a mistake and they exchange places. Senior officials said they had limited options and could not help trying the same officials again and again. They said they hoped that these cops would learn some lesson after ‘cooling it off’ in the lines. But more often than not, the hope had remained a distant dream only.

Dhussi Bundh

Will the administration find a way or formulate a definite strategy to combat the problem of floods? Activities are undertaken every year by the administration to strengthen Dhussi Bundh in order to check floods. The activities have become a part of a vicious circle that takes a full round every year. The bundh is weakened, strengthened and again weakened every year. Despite technological advancements, there is no permanent solution to the problem. Crores are spent every year on the same activities, which have to be repeated every year.


Staff and relatives of patients at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) were surprised to see a woman sitting with her child in a car that remained parked outside the hospital for two days. The woman did not speak to anybody and kept sitting continuously. Curious to know about her problem, an elderly woman went to her and asked her what she wanted. Moved at her gesture, she told the women that she had a fight with her husband following which she walked out of her house. As she could not go to anybody, she found it a safe place to park her car and spend her time here till her anger subsided. The elderly woman advised her to return to her house. The advice was followed and she was not seen there after that.

Illegal LPG outlets

Even as the District Food and Supplies Department keeps raiding unauthorised outlets refilling LPG cylinders, such outlets are still thriving in the district. One such outlet is located on the Chandigarh-Samrala road. The shopkeeper has kept the cylinders by the roadside. “Nobody ever comes here for a check. We cater to villagers who don’t get LPG supply at their doorstep,” said the shopkeeper.


As the monsoon sets in, outbreak of various diseases is reported by the media widely. The officials concerned instead of helping mankind in misery, start behaving in defensive. In case of New Puneet Nagar area also, where hundreds of residents were down with gastroenteritis, the officials were seen busy in passing the buck. The authorities were heard saying that the residents were living in an encroached area so water supply could not be provided to them. Ironically, nobody cares that there is nothing bigger than life in the world. But when will we start valuing it? Sentinel



Panchayat poll: villagers in a fix
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
With just four days before fresh elections to be held for the post of sarpanch of Kot Umra village, near Jagraon, residents are in a quandary on whether the post has again been reserved for a Scheduled Caste (SC) candidate or a woman from the general category. Fresh elections to more than two dozen villages across the state will be conducted on July 13. Panchayat election were held across the state on June 29.

It may be recalled the poll had been cancelled after the lone candidate had been found to have made a fake vote from the village on the basis of a forged ration card although he was not a resident. His election was cancelled by the State Election Commissioner (SEC) who also ordered the registration of a police case against him.

However, the elections to the post of five panches were held, the results of which had been withheld by the commission pending the repoll. As per the revised rules for the panchayat poll this time, the post of sarpanch was reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate even though there is not even a single family from the community in the village. Officials had attributed this lapse as routine last time, but have yet to come out with a declaration on its status.

The village with 244 votes had been a focus of attention in the media since it was one of the few villages in the state which had been declared reserved for a male candidate, even though there was not even a single SC family. The matter was brought to the notice of the SEC, wherein the villagers had claimed that no SC family had been residing in their village after 1992. Before that there was a family which migrated after selling its property. The village had a total of 244 votes, out which 124 were men and 120 women.

Villagers said their pleas to the SEC fell on deaf ears and the village was reserved. Following this, they received a shock when Naginder Singh, who claimed to belong to the Sikligar community, became one of the claimants for the post of sarpanch from the village along with one Makhan Singh.

Interestingly, he had attached an SC certificate issued by the Naib Tehsildar, which was rejected during scrutiny by the issuing authority on the plea that the document had been erroneously issued on the basis of the village patwaris report. The candidature of Makhan Singh too remained a sore point with the villagers but their contention that he too did not belong to their village proved true when the SEC ordered the registration of a case against Makhan Singh since he too had managed to get a vote made from the village.

This time around the villager are looking for directions from the authorities and say that they have to decide on a candidate and that there is no time left for canvassing. The villagers have appealed to the election authorities to look into the matter and remove their predicament.

Moreover, the panches who fought in a keen contest are eager to know their fate which will only be declared once the election for the post of sarpanch is held.



Badungar reiterates resolve to step down
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Reiterating his resolve to step down from the presidentship of the SGPC as per the directions of his party, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar said contrary to media reports, removing the committee chief was not an easy task and involved a lengthy procedure.

He was interacting with mediapersons after attending a board meeting of Guru Nanak Engineering College here this evening. He said after the chief stepped down, the executive of the committee met and ratified the resignation. Then a 21-day notice was given prior to the date of election of the new incumbent.

Commenting on Akali unity, he said basically there were three issues confronting the Akalis. First, what party posts were to be given to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and his loyalists, as the post of the Leader of the Opposition could not be given to the former since he was not a legislator. Similarly, he could not be accommodated as the party chief since that post was being held by Mr Parkash Singh Badal himself. The only other option left was the presidentship of the SGPC.

When it was pointed out that Mr Tohra had been removed in haste in 1998, he pointed out that the committee had moved a no-confidence resolution against the former, which was passed. As such Mr Tohra was removed from his post and did not resign, he clarified.

Answering another query, he said there was no possibility of such a scenario in his case since he had declared his intention to abide by the party directive. “But I will continue to discharge my duties to the best of my ability and serve the Panth till the party directs me to step down,” he reaffirmed.

Reacting to reports about the formation of a new Akali Dal by Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, he said these were the ratings of spent forces. “They have been our colleagues for the past many decades but did not witness or point out any shortcomings in us earlier. But now they are painting us in a bad light, he added.

Having a dig at them, he said, “We have 171 SGPC members, 42 MLAs and hundreds of newly elected sarpanches and panches. What do they have to show for their efforts?”

Regarding the raids targeted at the Badal family, he said the Vigilance Bureau would find nothing incriminating since they had done nothing wrong. He said rampant corruption in the Congress was coming to the fore and the dismissal of Dr Harbans Lal was just the beginning.

Mr Badungar said it was a serious matter that there was no Sikh judge in the Supreme Court at present and their number was negligible in various high courts.

He said today’s meeting was held to finalise preparations for celebrating the 500 anniversary of Guru Angad Dev and 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. Those who attended the meeting included Mr Kewal Singh Badal, Bibi Kartar Kaur, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Harsurinder Singh Gill, Mr G.S. Sangowal, Mr Kuldip Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh and Mr Kirpal Singh Khirnian.



Soldiers could be exposed to N-radiation in Iraq: IDPD
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
The Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) has warned that the Indian soldiers, if sent to Iraq, may run the risk of getting exposed to nuclear radiation.
Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary of the IDPD, in a statement here today said, “Even if we ignore all moral, ethical, military, economic aspects or implications on international relations with other developing countries, we cannot ignore the health risk that would befall our soldiers in Iraq as several areas there are riddled with nuclear radiation.”

He said the studies conducted by Green Peace activists, who were there to check radioactivity, had revealed high level of radioactivity in villages surrounding the looted Tuwaitha nuclear site. In some villages, the radiation level was 10,000 times more than the permissible limit.

Dr L.S. Chawla, president, IDPD, said exposure to radioactive radiation meant falling prey to serious diseases like cancer and decrease in immunity level.

Dr Mitra and Dr Chawla appealed to the Indian Government not to send Indian troops to Iraq. 



Poles in middle of roads pose threat
Tribune News Service

An electricity pole that stands in the middle of a road
An electricity pole that stands in the middle of a road in Aggar Nagar. — Photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, July 8
A college-going girl had a miraculous escape in the morning today when she collided head on with an electric pole installed in the middle of the Malhar road here. Those who think it was a freak accident need to visit various areas of the city to see for themselves that poles in the middle of roads was a common sight in the city.

There are a number of areas in the city where electricity poles stand precariously in the middle of various roads. These poles often become a cause of accidents.

The Electricity Department, however, seems unperturbed as several colonies of the city have transformers fixed right in the middle of streets, causing serious traffic hazard. Transformers at Sarabha Nagar, Chaura Bazaar, Dal Bazaar and Sunder Nagar take the passers-by unawares and often result in accidents.

The roads in Ludhiana have been taken for granted by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). At some spots on the road between Ghumar Mandi and Aarti theatre, it becomes very difficult to say whether it is a road or electricity pole lane. These poles are not visible from a distance at night as these have not been painted. These poles create more problem for outsider as they are not familiar with the city.

A year ago, the PSEB had initiated a drive to remove such electricity poles from the Pakhowal road, but the drive was left midway. The department removed some of these, but left many. Many of these can still be seem on this road.

In the old city, the situation is no different. “There is a need to launch a drive to remove such electricity poles in areas like Chand cinema road, Dal Bazar, Purana Bazar and Daresi. These are congested areas and the poles are a traffic hazard,” said a resident.



Postal Dept officials seek security
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Alarmed at the two recent incidents of robbery of Postal Department’s money at separate places that also claimed the life of an employee, local Postal Department today urged the police for a round-the-clock patrolling of the nearly 120 post offices in the district.

The robbery incident at Jamalpur post office on Saturday in which a postal employee lost his life has exposed that the department is a ‘soft target’ for the criminals courtesy the archaic system of security at these places.

The incident was the second in succession. Last month, three armed youths had snatched a bag containing thousands of rupees from a postal employee near Baddowal when he was on way to a bank to deposit the cash.

The Department seems to be relying on good fortune. Sounds unbelievable but true that not a single of the about 120 post offices have installed the ‘burglar alarm’. So much so that the head post office situated near the Bharat Nagar Chowk does not have such a system.

Sources said the Postal Department had also issued instructions to all its officers to follow the security instructions laid down in the guidelines.

The sources said the postal employees at the Jamalpur post office had not kept the gates of the postoffice closed. Ms Manisha Bansal, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices (SSPO) while commenting on the issue said the authorities at the Jamalpur post office had not kept the doors locked as was mandatory. She however, added that no action was being taken as it was minor human error.

She said the gates were locked when she had visited the post office twice recently. She termed it just ill-luck.

Ms Bansal said she had sent a request letter to the police requesting to provide security. She said round the clock patrolling by the police would help.

She said the post offices did not keep cash for regular hours.

The cash was sent to the banks as soon as possible. She said the lockers of the post office were quite safe.



YC activists hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Several youth Congress leaders led by its district president, Mr Komal Khanna, today staged a demonstration condemning the alleged interference of the Central Government in his anti-corruption campaign.

Addressing the demonstration Mr Khanna criticised the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani for his observations against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

He alleged that the Central Government was deliberately trying to subvert the probe against Mr Badal despite knowing that Mr Badal was corrupt.

The Youth Congress activists set fire to an effigy of Mr Advani. They were shouting slogans against Mr Advani, Mr Badal and in support of the Chief Minister. They asserted that the Chief Minister would not be deterred in his mission against corruption and the people of Punjab were with him.



Dawer inaugurates tubewell
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Ludhiana East MLA, Mr Surinder Dawer today inaugurated a tubewell in Kucha Harnam Dass in Ward Number 49. The local Congress councillor, Mr Rakesh Prashar, senior Congress leader Sushil Prashar and several other leaders and workers were present.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Dawer said that the new tubewell would help in solving the problem of water supply in the area. He pointed out, this was the long pending demand of the local residents. He said, the Congress government in the state had resolved to provide basic amenities to people, including the drinking water, electricity and other things.

Mr Rakesh Prashar thanked Mr Dawer for his cooperation in ensuring the setting up of the tubewell in the area. He said, it was a long pending demand of the residents of the area and hoped it would solve their problem.

Mr Sushil Prashar also congratulated people of the area, the local councillor and the MLA for solving the problems of public.

The residents of the area and the Welfare Association of Kucha Harnam Dass, Jail Road Field Ganj also passed a resolution thanking Mr Dawer and Mr Prashar in helping in the installation of the submersible tubewell in this area. They also highlighted several other problems and sought their earlier solution.



Suspended SHO joins duty
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 8
Mr Baldev Singh Brar, SHO who was suspended on the directions of the State Election Commission in April this year rejoined the office here today. Mr Brar said he was joining the Khanna city police station as Station House Officer on the orders of the Director General of Police.

Mr Brar was suspended on the charge of negligence of duty in the municipal council election of Khanna in ward no. 17 on April 6. The presiding officer of the ward has sent a report to the election commission in which he had alleged that at the time of the counting of the votes one candidate Mr Ashok Tewari tore the ballot papers and the SHO did not take any action against the said candidate. Taking serious note of the report the State Election Commission recommended the suspension of Mr Brar but he went on leave and joined after some days. Following the report of the joining of Mr Brar the State Election Commission threatened to move the High Court if its orders were not implemented. He was later suspended.

A departmental inquiry was initiated against him. Mr Brar said he was found innocent in the inquiry report.



Man robbed of gold chain, cash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Two motor cycle-borne, clean-shaven youths caused a scare in the Gurdev Nagar and Ghumar Mandi area late last night when they snatched a gold chain and some cash from a man and made a bid to snatch a bag containing Rs 70,000 from another city resident near Arti Chowk.

The district police today set up special nakas all over the city to catch the accused. All two-wheelers were stopped and checked.

In both cases, the victims have stated to the police that the accused were clean-shaven and were riding a black Hero Honda motor cycle. In the first case, they snatched a gold chain of about 50 gm from Harsimran Singh in Ghumar Mandi. The victim, a resident of Netaji Nagar, and had come to Ghumar Mandi in connection with his business. The accused also took away Rs 700 from the victim.

In the second case, the two accused tried in vain to snatch a bag containing Rs 70,000 from Vipin, a resident of New Kundan Puri, Salem Tabri, near Arti Chowk. Police sources said they had got some clues about the accused and would soon arrest them.



ASI’s son held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The police has arrested a son of an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of the Punjab Police on the charge of forcibly snatching a mobile phone from resident of Karishna Nagar here today.

According to the FIR the complainant Rajan Sood alleged that he was travelling on a scooter when the accused, Kuldeep, son of ASI Desh Raj snatched his mobile phone.

He tried to chase the accused who was travelling on a motorcycle but failed to nab him. He saw a police naka near Civil Lines and informed the cops present there. The cops chased the accused and nabbed him.



1 killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
One person was killed and another injured in a road mishap near Chowkimaan village, about 12 km from Jagraon, today morning.
According to the police, Vicky (26) and his friend, Ravi, were heading towards Jagraon on a motor cycle when a four-wheeler hit their vehicle from behind. Vicky was killed on the spot, while Ravi, who was riding pillion, was seriously injured. He was taken to the DMC, Ludhiana, for treatment.

The statement of the injured is yet to be recorded. Vicky was an employee of the ICICI Bank here. He is survived by his wife and a six-month-old daughter. A case has been registered.



CICU backs small cable operators
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has observed that the levy of service tax on cable operators being implemented by the Central Excise authorities at Ludhiana, without taking into consideration the actual liability to pay the service tax by the master cable operators namely City Cable, Win Cable, Citi Home Cable network was not justified.

These master cable operators were providing the cable signals received by them from the broadcasting agencies to the small cable operators on payment of monthly gross charges, on the consolidated connectivity package basis fixed by them for their different clients (small cable operators). The cable charges charged by the master cable operators from the client cable operators was in the thousands of rupees. The total collection made by these master cable operators was in crores of rupees.

They observed that the master cable operators were the right agencies to discharge the obligation to pay the service tax to the department, out of the heavy amount collected by them from their clients (small cable operators) on monthly basis, as being done in the case of broadcasting agencies in India.

As per the provisions in the service tax amendments in the Budget 2001-2002, the broadcasting agency or organisation having its head office situated outside India would be liable to service tax in respect of any activities of its branch office/.subsidiary/representative agent. The levy of 5 per cent would be on the gross amount collected by the agent of the broadcasting subject to deduction of amount payable to advertising agency. Similarly the master cable operators were liable to pay service tax out of the gross amount collected by them from their client sub-operators.

The chamber observed that in view of these facts small cable operators who were in fact the clients of master cable operator were not liable to pay the service tax. This obligation of paying the service tax by the cable operator was thus required to be fixed on the master cable operator only.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, respectively, Chamber have urged the Union Finance Ministry, Chairman, Central Board Excise and Customs, Delhi and Mr H.K. Mittal, Commissioner, Central Excise, Ludhiana, that the liability to pay the service tax be reviewed. 



Cellphone mania in countryside
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Lalton (Ludhiana), July 8
Imagine what is the latest craze in the countryside. The mobile phones. Thanks to the cheap offers, which began with Reliance and are being followed up by the BSNL also, there has been a flood of mobile handset in the countryside.

As the word spread out in the village that the mobile connections were available for Rs 501 only, there was unprecedented rush. Company officials who had come here a few days ago were swarmed by hundreds of people each of them rushing with Rs 501, a copy of the ration card and driving licence for the connection.

Hakim Singh, one of the village youth, said nobody seemed to care about the terms and conditions which the customers were made to sign before being allotted the connection. He pointed out that “who cares as long as you get mobile for Rs 501 only”. He said most of the village youth, a number of them are not even employed, got the connections.

Even Hakim Singh himself admitted that he was practically sitting idle. But he always loved to flaunt a mobile phone. “Not just for flaunting”, he said, “but for its proper use”. He said the landlines of the BSNL sometimes remained out of order. “Moreover, you are accessible round the clock and anybody can contact you anywhere, anytime”, he observed. Besides, the handsets were activated instantly while a landline will sometimes take months.

Gurmit Singh, panch, said even some labourers, who work on day-to-day basis, had purchased the mobile. He said labourers mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had purchased the mobile phones.

On the first the company reportedly sold over 200 handsets in this village. They stopped entertaining applications as they ran short of handsets. But the officials were not allowed to leave till they did not promise that they will come the next day. But so far they did not turn up again in the village and the villagers were convinced that the “Reliance has ordered 25 lakh handset from Korea and hired two planes for the purpose”. Such is the information of the people here.



PNB installs 200th ATM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
In the face of growing competitive environment in the banking sector, the Punjab National Bank has started pursuing excellence through continuous improvement in all areas with a view to distinguishing itself by quality of services; informed Mr U.S. Bhargava, General Manager, Punjab National Bank , Punjab zone in press release issued here today.

PNB has installed 200th ATM at Dhudike, which is a rural area. He said the bank had always given preference to the rural areas and this point was kept in view while opening ATM at Dhudike.


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