Thursday, August 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Narrow escape for Lahore bus passengers
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Over zealous Punjab Police escort almost jeopardised the Delhi-Lahore journey of those aboard the Sarhad-e-Sirhind when a rash driver of the police escort rammed into a Maruti car at the Doraha toll barrier, seriously injuring an occupant of the car and causing a jolt to the passengers of the bus that had to come to a screeching halt to avoid hitting the escort vehicle.

The incident took place at the Doraha toll barrier when a speeding police escort vehicle rammed into a stationary car that was paying toll. The impact of the crash was so strong that the petrol tank of the car burst. The occupants of the Maruti car (PB 10-AD 1046) suffered injuries on their necks and back due to the sudden impact. While most bus passengers received severe jolts due to sudden breaking of the bus, none of them received any serious injuries.

Describing the incident, Mr Ajay Kumar, the car owner, said: “I had just stepped out of the car to get a pass made when a Bajaj Trax escort vehicle came and rammed into my car from behind. The driver of the pilot vehicle did not even try to apply breaks. The vehicle which was at a speed of over a 100 km per hour and was being driven rashly”.

The driver of the car, Mr Charanjit suffered injuries in the neck and the spine. He was immediately taken to Sidhu hospital at Doraha and later moved to Khanna for treatment.

Eyewitnesses said that both the escort vehicle and the bus were driving at a high speed without maintaining a proper distance between the two vehicles. Since the bus driver had to jam his breaks in order to avoid hitting the escort vehicle in front, there was commotion among passengers, some of whom were see praying inside the vehicle soon after the incident.

The escort vehicle hit the stationary car with such impact that the car went into circles before coming to a final halt. Employees at the toll barrier say that overspeeding by the Delhi-Lahore bus is a regular feature. “Several times we have asked the driver of the escort vehicle to slow down at the toll barrier, but they ignore our requests”, said an official at the toll barrier.


CIA in charge in vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today arrested the in charge of the CIA wing of the Ludhiana police in a case pertaining to accumulating assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. Inspector Naginder Rana was summoned to the office of the SSP (Vigilance), Mr Naunihal Singh, where a team from SAS Nagar told him that he was under arrest.

While, the vigilance is tight-lipped about the incident, the Ludhiana SSP, Mr. Narinderpal Singh, confirmed his arrest and said the vigilance team led by Mr S.P.S. Kahlon had informed the Ludhiana police that they were arresting Inspector Rana and taking him to SAS Nagar for further investigation in a case of corruption against him.

The entire operation was kept under wraps and a message was sent to Inspector Rana that he should see the SSP, (Vigilance) in connection with some case. When Inspector Rana arrived at the office of the SSP, the team from SAS Nagar told him that he had been placed under arrest following the completion of an inquiry against him. He was frisked and his mobile and other belongings were handed over to his gunman.

It is also learnt that an inquiry had been going on against Inspector Rana for the past several months and he had been summoned to appear before the investigating officer in Chandigarh on several occasions prior to his arrest today. Inspector Rana had been promoted as the DSP under the own rank and pay (ORP) scheme, but was reverted back after a directive on the ORP by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The SSP, Ludhiana, also said that a departmental inquiry would be ordered against errant Inspector after receiving a written communication from the Vigilance Bureau.

Meanwhile, in another case ASI Ram Murti of Division No 6 was caught red-handed and arrested by the Vigilance Bureau while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 for registering a case. The arrest was made after one Mr Inderjit Singh made a complaint to the vigilance that the ASI was demanding money for the registration of the case.


Hospital ‘industry’ on fast track
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Besides being the industrial and financial capital of Punjab, Ludhiana is also emerging to be one of the important medical centres in the region. With premier institutes like the Christian Medical College and Hospital and the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital having established a reputation all over the region, there are some other hospitals which are doing phenomenally well in terms of services and finances.

Ludhiana may only be next to Chandigarh in terms of medical care. With institutions like the Hero DMC Heart Centre, Sigma (in cardiac care), Arora Neuro Centre and Satluj Hospital (in neuro care), SAS Grewal Mediscan (in general medical care), Deep Hospital and several other hospitals establishing themselves in the city, the people no longer feel the need to look to other cities.

An important factor that is almost common to all of these institutions is the financial turnover which runs into crores of rupees. The turnover is increasing and the hospitals are bringing in more and more facilities. According to Dr G.S. Grewal of the SAS Grewal Mediscan Hospital, who introduced ultrasound scanning in Ludhiana, the city can boast of the best medical care and diagnostic facilities like CT scan or the MRI. These are costly machines and people have invested huge amounts in them. Obviously the tests are also costly.

The owners of all the institutions frankly admitted that they have been earning good profits also. According to Dr Amardeep of the Sigma Heart Centre, “people do not mind paying money as long as you provide them the best and efficient services”. At the same time, he hastens to add, “but the charges should be reasonable”. He revealed that the Sigma Heart Centre had been running in good profits. He pointed out, “there is nothing wrong in earning profits…because we are also into the business and we have also to survive”.

Even bankers are also more forthcoming when it comes to providing loans and advances to the hospitals. Mr RS Chhatwal, Deputy General Manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, disclosed that the bank had appreciated and complimented two parties only. While one of these is the Garg Furnace, the other is Sigma Heart Centre. “Both of these have been very good in repaying the instalments regularly and on time”, he disclosed, while emphasising that the medical care was coming up as an industry in Ludhiana.

According to rough estimates, the total turnover of the hospitals in Ludhiana might have crossed Rs 100-crores. Of this the major share is of the DMC (including the Hero DMC Heart Centre), the CMC and the Sigma Heart Centre. Of these the Sigma is the super speciality cardiac care centre, while the CMC and DMC are general hospitals. The hospitals are learnt to have generated huge business after providing lot of services.

Not unexpectedly the hospitals have also come into the notice of the Income Tax Department. Several raids have been conducted by the IT department on hospitals which have revealed phenomenal earnings by the hospitals. A senior doctor, without wanting to be identified, remarked rather jokingly, “unless and until you are not raided by the IT department, your financial power is not recognised and when hospitals start getting raided by the IT officials, you should understand that they are doing good business”.

Doctors have been defending the commercialisation of their profession, saying when everything comes at a price, why should medical services come in charity. “As long as the doctors and hospitals remain within their limits in charging fee, there is nothing wrong in earning by providing good services”, said Dr Gursharan Singh, the Ludhiana chapter president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). He pointed out the huge input costs involved in medical education and setting up of the infrastructure do not leave any scope for low costs. He remarked: “If medical care has turned out to be an industry, it is only because it was the need of the hour”.


Excise Dept tightens noose around defaulters’ neck
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The Central Excise Commissionerate, Ludhiana, has stepped up its operation against tax evaders. Nakas are being laid at odd hours to check the movement of excisable goods without proper documents.

As a result of concerted efforts during the past one month, 11 cases relating to manufacturers of iron and steel products and fabric, involving Central excise duty to the tune of Rs 13.50 lakh, have been detected by the Headquarter Preventive Branch. The value of goods involved in these cases was Rs 1.11 crore.

A unit engaged in the manufacturing of wire rods was found to have got cleared some goods without the issuance of any invoice. In another case, a manufacturer was found to have fraudulently availed CENVAT credit on heavy defective slabs without receiving the same in his factory.

In a case of a unit engaged in the manufacturing of dyed and knitted man-made fabrics, many sets of parallel challans under Rule 12-B of the Central Excise Rules, 2002, were recovered. The serial numbers on these challans were hand written while these should have been in the printed form. These were issued from a single book which was seized by the Central Excise staff.

In yet another case, goods were found to have been cleared clandestinely without the issuance of invoices.

Twenty-one cases of evasion of excise duty to the tune of Rs 2.52 crore and involving goods valued at Rs 16.08 crore have been detected during the financial year so far.


Beopar Mandal cautions govt against exim form
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, while pleading with the Punjab Government not to take any hasty decision to introduce exim forms, has called for a detailed dialogue on the issue with the representatives of trade and industry.

In a joint statement here today, Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president and Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, general secretary of the Beopar Mandal, alleged that bureaucrats were misguiding the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, to keep the ‘misdeeds’ of the officials of the Excise and Taxation Department under wraps. They said the suggestion of the PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, for detailed discussion on exim form was a welcome step and it should be put into effect.

Maintaining that the impractical proposal of exim form would entail many unforeseen problems, the beopar mandal functionaries said there were almost 1.5 lakh registered dealers in Punjab and if each dealer utilised, at an average, five forms every day, the department would have to make available a staggering 7.5 lakh forms on daily basis, which would have to be signed by ETOs and the respective traders. Moreover, there were an estimated 125 gazetted holidays in a year when the offices of sales tax department remained closed and due to non-availability of forms on these days, the traders would have to suspend their business.

According to Mr Aggarwal, despite setting up of 32 information collection centres (ICC’s), mobile wing and intensive checking under Sections 14(b) and 13(3), a significant quantity of goods entered into the state without proper bills which proved the complicity of the officers of the Excise and Taxation Department.


Hanspal assures traders on exim form
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, has assured the traders that he would arrange a meeting between them and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to sort out the differences on the introduction of exim form in the state. He did not even rule out deferring of the decision as exim form is to be introduced in the state from September 1.

Talking to reporters at a function organised to induct Mr K.L. Chhabra, an Independent councillor into the Congress, Mr Hanspal said, he was hopeful that some way out would be found and a mutual settlement could be evolved. He said the Congress was much concerned about the problems of the traders and they would not be let down at any cost.

When it was pointed out to him that the Chief Minister had already ruled out the reversal of the Cabinet decision, Mr Hanspal said he was not contradicting anything nor making any commitments, but was only trying to facilitate a meeting between traders and the Chief Minister so that they could be heard.

Earlier welcoming Mr Chhabra into the Congress, Mr Hanspal congratulated him for his services to the public. He pointed out that, it was Mr Chhabra's personal image and reputation that helped him to win independently. Mr Chhabra's entry into the Congress vindicates the party's stand that it stood for the development of all sections of the society, Mr Hanspal claimed.

Thanking Mr Hanspal for his entry into the Congress, Mr Chhabra maintained that he has always remained a Congress worker and was much influenced and impressed by the Congress philosophy. He assured that he would continue to work for strengthening the party at all levels by serving people.

The function was among others attended by the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the Minister of State for Jails, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, the Rural and Urban unit presidents of the District Congress Committee, Mr Harmohinder Singh and Mr Jagmohan Sharma, and several other councillors and leaders of the party.


Punjab plans crucial meeting of medical colleges
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 20
The Punjab Government is contemplating to convene a meeting of private unaided medical and dental colleges of the state to persuade them to admit the students according to the counselling already made by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences as it is not possible to set up committees for admission and distribution of seats categorywise immediately. The academic session has also started from August 1. The Supreme Court has also indicated in its latest judgement on August 14 that where the admission to professional colleges has been made should not be disturbed......for the current academic year 2003-2004. The five-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice V.N. Khare, while delivering the judgement on August 14 fixed the quota of seats at 50-50 between the managements and the state governments and also directed the states to set up two committees, each headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court to fix the quota of seats and fee structure from the next year.

Mr Santokh Singh Chaudhry, Minister for Medical Education and Research, Punjab, said in an exclusive interview that he had held a meeting with the officers of his department and reviewed the situation arising out of the judgement of the apex court. Mr Santokh Singh said that they would be convening a meeting of the managements of the private unaided medical and dental colleges within the next couple of days and discuss the situation with them. He said that they would persuade them to be cooperative with the government this year and allow the admission of all the students selected through counselling done at the Baba Farid University Health Sciences.

Mr Santokh Singh was of the strong view that the academic session had already begun and the students had deposited the tuition fee. If this was disturbed and recounselling, which was not possible immediately, was done fresh, this would create a chaotic situation in the state . Those students already admitted and attending the classes, if thrown out, would knock at the doors of the courts and this would create further complications for the managements and the government.

Mr Santokh Singh asserted that the Supreme Court had not allowed any NRI quota nor any capitation fee would be allowed.

Meanwhile, the managements of the private medical and dental colleges are understood to be consulting legal experts on the implications of the Supreme Court judgement.

The management of the DMCH has already admitted 52 students under the general category and 18 students are left to be admitted, including 12 seats under the management quota.

The management of the Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical and Dental Sciences is having confrontation with the state government has refused to admit the students selected through the counselling at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh per student under the general category.

Mr Santokh Singh maintained that even the setting up of two committees as advised by the Supreme Court would take time and the studies would suffer.

The Supreme Court has directed the states to set up two committees each headed by a retired judge of the high court for the fixation of tuition fee structure and also distribution of seats for different categories and for the conduct of the entrance test for admission to professional college. Each committee will have five members including the chairman of the committee.

The Supreme Court in a significant observation has opposed the collection of tuition fee for the full duration of course in one go and advised that the fee should be accepted for one semester/year.

The Apex Court has observed: “In our view an educational institution can only charge prescribed fee for one semester/year. If an institution feels that any particular students may leave in mid stream them, at the highest, it may require that students to give a bond/bank guarantee that the balance fees for the whole courses would be received by the institute even if the student left in midstream. If any educational institution has collected fee in advance, only the fees of the semester/year can be used by the institution. The balance fees must be kept invested in fixed deposits in a nationalised bank. As and when fee fall due for a semester/year, only the fee falling due for that semester/year can be withdrawn by the institution.”

Dr Livtar Singh Chawla, Founder, Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, said here today that if two committees as proposed by the Supreme Court work effectively, menace of accepting black money under the table can be eliminated. This practice was rampant in Karnataka and Maharashtra and now UP was also following the same pattern, he added.


Tributes paid to Rajiv Gandhi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
Youth Congress functionaries, led by Mr Pawan Diwan, senior vice-president and Mr Akshya Bhanot, general secretary, Punjab Youth Congress, celebrated the birth anniversary of the late Rajiv Gandhi as ‘prerna divas’ (inspiration day) at a function organised in Jawahar Nagar Camp here today.

Addressing party workers, Mr Diwan fervently asked them to rise above petty differences based on language, caste, creed and religion and follow the cherished ideals of Rajiv Gandhi like unity and communal brotherhood. He said under the dynamic leadership of the youngest Prime Minister, the country had achieved phenomenal progress and in particular, the foreign policy had taken a new direction. “The youth of the nation should be grateful to Rajiv Gandhi for he was the one who had granted voting right at the age of 18 years.”

Prominent among those present at the occasion were Mr Jarnail Singh Grewal, chairman, Urban Development Cell, Mr Nirmal Kaida, organiser, Congress Sewa Dal, Mr Navneesh Malhotra, Mr Munish Tandon and Mr Jaspreet Singh, president, National Students Union of India.

At a function organised by the District Congress Committee (Urban), Congress functionaries offered floral tributes to Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary. Presiding over the function, the DCC president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, recalled the contribution of Nehru and Gandhi families in the making of modern India. The activists of the Mahila Congress, led by district president Usha Malhotra and Ms Asha Kailey, member, PPCC, also attended the function.

Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president, Bairagi Mahamandal and former chief of District Congress Committee (U), along with Mr Pawan Diwan, Mr Surinder Singh Kooner, Mr Amandeep Bawa and Mr Jiwan Das Bawa planted saplings in Rajguru Nagar Colony to mark the birthday of Rajiv Gandhi. Paying homage to the late Prime Minister, he said the Congress government in Punjab was giving shape to the dreams of Rajiv Gandhi by launching schemes like healthcare for rural population and empowerment of panchayats.

Congress workers offered flowers and garlands at the portrait of former Prime Minister at a function in Rupa Mistry Street which was presided over by Mr Parminder Mehta, Secretary, PPCC. Speaking at the occasion, Mr Mehta described the slain leader as a great visionary who had guided the country towards a scientific and technological revolution.

Workers of the Congress Sewa Dal celebrated the birthday of Rajiv Gandhi as ‘sadbhavna divas’ under the presidentship of coordinator Sushil Parashar.


Retrenched staff stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
The Moulder and Steel Workers Union has warned the district administration that the situation arising out of the non-payment of salary arrears and the termination of the services of some workers by a plywood unit located on the Sua road in Saraswati Nagar, Dhandari Khurd, would take an ugly turn if the workers’ demands were not met.

Following the refusal of the factory owner to talk to the workers, nearly 40 workers staged a dharna yesterday demanding payment of their wages and re-employment of retrenched workers.

Meanwhile, the union has decided to hold a dharna in front of the labour office here on August 22.


Nishkam to take care of juvenile inmates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
The Nishkam Sewa Trust has now been given an additional task. The Director, Social Security, Women and Child Development has asked the trust to lend a helping hand to look after the delinquent, inmates of the juvenile jail.

Giving details of this new project, Sarwan Kumar, chairperson of the trust, said, “Earlier, we used to distribute eatables to these inmates but ever since Mr. Som Prakash, Director, Social Security, Women and Child Development Punjab, asked us verbally at a meeting to take care of these inmates, we have started working in this direction.”

Mr Sarwan Kumar said Nishkam people have started providing rations and fruits to these children. We will also send our doctors for medical check-up and provide them with medicines. There are 50 such inmates in the juvenile jail who are being taken care of by the Trust, “ said Mr Sarwan Kumar.


Face to face with writer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
The Baba Farid Foundation International in collaboration with the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi will organise an interaction with Canada-based writer Iqbal Ramoowalia on August 23 at Punjabi Bhavan here at 5 pm.

The president of the foundation, Mr Jaswant Singh Chappar, and the secretary, Prof Nirmal Jaura, said Ramoowalia had contributed a lot towards the growth and popularising Punjabi in Canada. He is the author of six anthologies of poetry. He also edits ‘Khabarnama’, a popular Punjabi journal of Canada. The Bol Punjab De and the Punjab Sahitya Vichar Manch will honour Ramoowalia.


Tempo driver booked for killing man
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 20
The Sahnewal police has booked the driver of a Tempo (PB-10-9585) under Sections 279, 427 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Daljit Singh, a resident of Adarsh Nagar, Sahnewal. The complainant has stated that the accused had rammed his vehicle into the car which was being driven by his brother, Ranjit Singh, who was on his way from Ludhiana to Samrala on the evening of August 18.

Ranjit Singh died on the spot, while the Tempo driver sped away from the scene. No arrest has been made so far.

Assault cases

The Koom Kalan police on Tuesday registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 452, 506, 448 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Torkhi, a resident of Massian Khurd village, against Sunil Kumar and his wife, who live in the same village.

The complainant had alleged that the accused forced their way into her house, beat her up and locked her house on the morning of August 16. No arrest has been made so far.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 324, 323 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohinder Kumar, a resident of New Janta Nagar, against Raju and his brother, residents of the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the accused beat him up and injured him on Monday night in Daba Colony and fled. No arrest has been made so far.

The Haibowal police on Tuesday registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Balwinder Kumar, a resident of LIG flats in Rishi Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, against Paramjit Kumar, his wife, Suman, and his son, Prince. The complainant had alleged that the accused stopped him on the road, beat him up and injured him on Monday night. No arrest has been made so far.

Tobacco seller held

The Division No. 1 police on Tuesday registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC and Sections 78 and 79 of the Copyright Act against Vijay Kumar, a resident of Nim Wala Chowk. The police said the accused was arrested from near Girja Ghar in Chaura Bazar area on Tuesday evening and duplicate pouches and tins of a particular brand of tobacco were seized from his possession.

Fraud alleged

The Division No. 4 police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sangu Sharma, a resident of Mullanpur, who runs a shop in local Sarrafa Bazar, against Mohinder Kumar, a resident of a village in Lucknow district of Uttar Pradesh. The complainant had alleged that he had given about 2,215 gm of gold to the accused for polishing, but the accused did not return it. No arrest has been made so far.

Four booked

The Focal Point police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC against Ram Lal, a resident of Kasba village in Kanpur district of UP, now living near Thapar Mill on the Jugiana Road, Balinder, another migrant from UP living at the same address, Sita Ram, a migrant from Rajasthan, and Anmol Paswan, a Bihari migrant. The police said the case was registered on an information that they had committed a theft. No arrest has been made so far.


The Division No. 7 police has registered a case under Section 354 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Meena, a resident of Ram Nagar, against Dev Verma, a resident of Rajat Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused had teased her daughter with bad intentions on Sunday night. No arrest has been made so far.

Driver booked

On the statement of the SDO, Electricity Board, Janta Nagar, unit number 2, the Shimla Puri police on Tuesday registered a case under Sections 279 and 427 of the IPC against an unidentified driver of a truck (PB-10AF- 5198). The complainant had stated that the accused had hit an electricity pole on the night of August 18 and damaged it. No arrest has been made so far.

Held for quarrelling

The Kotwali police on Tuesday arrested Surinder, a resident of Kailash Nagar in Basti Jodhewal, and Radhe Shyam, a resident of Shimla Puri, and booked them under Section 156 of the IPC. The police said the accused were quarreling on the road near Girja Ghar chowk on Tuesday afternoon and disturbing the peace of the area.

Knives seized

The Division No. 3 police on Tuesday arrested Avinash Kumar, a migrant from Bihar, and Sikandar Kumar, a migrant from Nepal, and seized a ‘kamanidar’ knife from their possession. The accused were separately booked under the Arms Act.

The Division No. 7 police arrested Sunil Kumar, a resident of Puneet Nagar, and seized a ‘kamanidar’ knife from his possession. He has been booked under the Arms Act.

Liquor seized

The Division No. 7 police has arrested Surjit Singh, a resident of Guru Bazar, Doraha, and seized six bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. The accused was booked under the Excise Act.

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