L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Congress workers flout ban orders
Admn turns blind eye as DCC burns Badal’s effigy
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 30
Is the district administration turning a blind eye towards the assembling of Congress workers, who burnt the effigies of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) at Ghanta Ghar Chowk here today despite the imposition of Section 144 of CrPC?

The answer seems to be in the affirmative if the gathering of many Congress workers in the morning today to protest against SAD for their alleged corrupt practices is any indication. The rally was taken out by the District Congress Committee (Urban).

The district administration had only yesterday imposed Section 144 in view of the showdown being planned by the Akali workers at Ropar on December 1, when Mr Badal is scheduled to appear in a court. The orders clearly banned the gathering of five or more than five persons in a public place and taking out of rallies and processions. The orders will remain into force till December 28.

Going by the political confrontation between SAD and the Congress, the burning of such an effigy can cause a law and order problem. While the Akalis alleged that there were different rules for different people in the city, the DCC(U) chief, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, said they had taken permission from the administration yesterday for burning the effigies.

‘‘Moreover, there were orders from the party’s command that effigies of Mr Badal should be burnt in all cities. With the kind of following we have, the gathering of hundreds of party workers at the Ghanta Ghar chowk is a normal phenomenon for us,’’ added Mr Sharma.

Although he was not aware of the fact that whether they had a prior permission from the administration or not, a party worker claimed that they had taken the permission only yesterday. Mr Rahul Bhandari, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said he was not aware whether they had the permission from the authorities concerned or not.

Contesting the claims of Mr Sharma, some of the Akalis asked, ‘‘If we ask for their permission to hold a rally and burn the effigy, will they allow us? How come they have allowed these people? ’’

Meanwhile, a press note by Mr Jagmohan Sharma, Office Secretary of the DCC(U), claimed that the Congress-led government in the state had not take action against Mr Badal on its own but it was after the findings of Vigilance Bureau that a charge sheet was prepared against him.

He further alleged that the Badal-led government had looted innocent people of Punjab and when the axe had fallen on him, the Akalis were trying to raise a voice by organising protests. ‘‘But their recent chakka jam also failed miserably,’’ he added. 



Akali leaders go underground
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 30
Following a crackdown on Akalis in the district in view of the Akali showdown scheduled for December 1 at Ropar, many senior Akali leaders of the city today went underground.

As many as 40 Akali workers have been put under preventive custody by the police since last evening though no senior leader was among the arrested. An Akali leader claimed that some leaders, including Amarjit Singh Madaan, Shivtar Singh and Satnam Singh, had already been arrested by the police and raids were on to arrest many others.

The leaders said that they were committed to reach Ropar on tomorrow and try all possible means to evade the arrests. They said the police had raided the houses of MLA Ranjit Singh Talwandi and SGPC member Harbans Kaur Sukhana but failed to arrest them as they had gone into hiding.

Meanwhile, the arrested leaders were produced in a city court today. Interestingly, the administration had made special arrangements for the Akalis who were kept in the police custody. As many as seven magistrates were put on duty to produce them in the court compared to normal days when there is only one magistrate on duty.



CM needs to depoliticise challan against Badals
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 30
At long last the challan against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and President of the Shiromini Akali Dal and his family members has been presented in the court by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on charges of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has also given clearance for the establishment of two fast track courts for day-to-day proceedings of the case.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had promised to unearth the alleged amassing of wealth by the Akali ministers and Mr Badal during the five years Akali Dal-BJP ruling in Punjab. The Chief Minister took too long to prepare the case and it looked as if it was the political persecution of the Badals. But with the presentation of the challan in the court, the scene has changed. It has now become a test case for the Chief Minister to substantiate the charges in the court and for the Badals to stear of the clear of the charges.

During the past more than one year, Mr Badal has tried to politicise the issue of corruption charges against him and his family members and he did succeed in this task and has been able to mobilise the Akali workers who were a demoralised lot immediately after the defeat of the Shiromini Akali Dal in the Vidhan Sabha elections. His opposition in the Akali groups has been diluted in the Akali groups with the unity with Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra who is also a grassroots leader of the Sikhs. Mr Badal is being described as the tall leader of the Sikhs and the ‘rasta roko’ should be seen in this light. Whatever was the response to the ‘rasta roko’, the involvement of people in almost in every part of the state should not be lost sight of.

Capt Amarinder Singh has not shown any panic over the participation of the Akali workers in the ‘rasta roko’.

The immediate task before the Chief Minister now is to depoliticise the whole issue and foil the attempts of Mr Badal in this regard. He has to present the case as a case of corruption-pure and simple-of amassing wealth by questionable means. His anxiety should be that Mr Badal should not be able to win the sympathy of the people for this case.

Mr Badal may be satisfied that except Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, all Akali groups have chosen to support him. Another major task for the Chief Minister is to ensure that he gets the full support of his party in his fight against the corruption and he has to wash off the propaganda that his is a personal fight with Badals.

The Chief Minister will have to keep his own house inorder to present a clean image of his government because there are whispers of allegations of corruption in his government too.

Another task before the Chief Minister is to foil the propaganda of the Akali leaders that the Congress is anti-Sikh and the present drive against corruption is aimed against the Sikhs. He has to prove that his crusade is not against the Sikhs but against certain individuals who have allegedly misused their positions and collected wealth with questionable means. This is daunting task and he must enlist the cooperation of his colleagues and the central Congress party leadership.

The Chief Minister has already accepted the Nanakshahi calendar by observing holiday on November 24 to observe the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur. This would help him in meeting the propaganda against the Congress government. This decision of the Amarinder Singh government also seems to be in accordance with the advice of the AICC President Mrs Sonia Gandhi to not to go too far in the SGPC affairs last year.



Opium licencees approach drug traffickers
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 30
A decrease in the quantity of opium and delay in getting their fixed quota have forced several licensed drug addicts in this part of the region to approach drug traffickers. The Health authorities, however, maintain that after assessing the condition of the drug addicts, the officials had decreased their quota. They also said that easy availability of opium from other sources could be another reason for the decrease in the number of renewal of licences.

According to Health officials, the number of licencees for renewal was decreasing each year. In 1999-2000, the number of licence renewals was 79. In 2000-2001, the number was 73. In 2002, the number further decreased to 65 and then to 60 in the year 2002- 2003. But in 2003-2004, only 48 licences were renewed.

Maghar Singh (not his real name), 64, of Dhaipai village near here said, “I have been shelling out around 100 times more money to get opium from drug traffickers because the quantity is being decreased with each passing year. Though I have been receiving my monthly quota from the Civil Surgeon’s office, still I need more opium because of acute pain in my joints”.

Another 70-year-old addict, who hails from the city, said he had been an addict for more than 30 years now. “I take 45 gm opium per month, which is quite sufficient. People who have smaller quotas do not suffer physically but those with a larger quota, come under great strain if they do not get a sufficient amount. A lot of hue and cry was raised in 1982 when the practice of issuing opium to the addicts was suspended by the government”, he added.

Another 74-year-old addict of Bangian village said he was easily getting the “required medicine” from women peddlers in the village. When there was more demand, they would sell opium at the rate of around Rs 200 per gram, he said.

Dr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, said the number of renewal of licences was decreasing each year. “Some of the licencees have died. Some are elderly people, whose health does not allow them to go out, whereas some others have gone abroad. No doubt, we are decreasing the quota of these addicts but the amount is decreased only after assessing the condition of the drug addicts.

It is a sensitive job and each addict is minutely observed by the Civil Surgeon himself. The government has stopped issuing new licences to the addicts whereas the old licences are renewed each year”, said Dr Tiwari.



Link between education, business stressed
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 30
“In the past, academicians, businessmen and scientists were functioning separately. There were some sparse links between R&D groups and academicians, but very little between them and business groups, especially in India. In the developed countries, particularly in the USA, linkages between them had become very strong during the second half of the 20th century. That is why it has have become land of opportunities and formidable economic power.”

These views were expressed by Dr Y.S. Rajan, Scientific Adviser to the Chief Minister of Punjab and Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. He was addressing members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) on the subject “ Technology-Business-Human Resource Linkages for the early 21st century” here last evening.

Dr Rajan observed that when industry sought technology from indigenous sources, it got a lukewarm response.

Even for practical ideas, the industry found it difficult to have any useful inputs from the scientists or academicians, though some improvement had taken place during the past few years.

He pointed out that the present education system only provided degree holders, whereas most industries needed trained professionals. He cautioned those who were opposed to the process of globalisation.

Stressing the need for a larger share for India in global trade, he observed that India should aim at 16 per cent of share in global trade.

Earlier, in his opening speech, Mr V.K. Goyal, the general secretary of the LMA, remarked that we were living in a world where technology was changing rapidly. Many predictions, which sounded like a science fiction at one time, were now being realised before us.

The meeting was attended by nearly 400 industrialists, entrepreneurs, management professionals, bankers, academicians and student- members of the association.



Councillor killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Doraha, November 30
The local Municipal Councillor, Mr Sardara Singh, was killed in an accident when the Icon car in which he was travelling collided with an electric pole near Natraj theatre at Khanna, late last night.

Three others including, Mr Thanpat Rai, his son, Shanti and Mr Sudarshan Kumar Sharma, former Municipal chief, sustained injuries in the accident.

The accident took place when the four of them were returning from Zirakpur after attending the wedding of the son of Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab. Due to less visibility at night the driver failed to see the pole ahead as a result of which the car collided with it killing one of the occupants on the spot. All of them were admitted to the Civil Hospital at Khanna.



298 pirated CDs seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
The police on Friday registered a couple of cases under Section 420 and various provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957, on a complaint of Mr Sunil Kumar of Durga Puri, Haibowal Kalan, who is field officer of a Delhi-based CD manufacturing company. The first case was registered against Sarabjit Singh, of Krishna Nagar and Paramjit Singh, of Gurdev Nagar.

The police said on Saturday that both the accused were arrested following raids on their shops and seizure of 290 pirated CDs on Friday.



Tempo driver arrested
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
The Division No 3 police on Saturday arrested Ramesh, a resident of Jammu, and booked him under Sections 279, 304-A and 427 of the IPC and impounded his tempo.
A case was registered against him on the statement of Mr Vinod Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Shiv Puri in Salem Tabri, who stated that the accused had hit his car and an unknown person as a result of which the man was killed. The police said today that the accused was later bailed out.

Cop manhandled: On the statement of Mr Balvir Singh, a Panjab Home Guard jawan, the Division No 7 police on Saturday registered a case under Sections 186, 323, 353 and 506 of the IPC against Avnit Kumar, a resident of MIG flats, Jamalpur. The complainant had alleged that while he was on duty at a naka in front of the Vardhman Mills, the accused came there and tore his uniform. The accused was arrested by the police today.

Bookie held: The division No 6 police on Saturday arrested Manjit Singh, a resident of Benjamin Road, from the Samrala chowk area and booked him under the Gambling Act. The police said today that Rs 750 were recovered from Manjit Singh who was a satta operator. The accused was later bailed out, added the police.

Liquor seized: The Division No 6 police on Saturday arrested Kishan Lal, a resident of Dhai Marla Colony near SDP College, and recovered 12 bottles of illicit liquor. He was booked under the Excise Act. Meanwhile, Tirlok Chand, a resident of New Mohalla was arrested by the Division No 6 police and booked under the Excise Act for possessing 12 bottles of whisky.

Motorcycle stolen: The Jodhewal police on Saturday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jai Kumar, a resident of Mohalla New Madho Puri, against an unknown person who stole his motorcycle on the intervening night of November 26 and 27.

Attacked: The police registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on a complaint of Mr Maninder Singh of Model Town against certain persons. He had stated the unidentified assailants beat him up and also threatened him before running away. No arrest has been made so far.

A case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC was registered on a complaint of Mr Ashok Kumar of Vakilan Wali Gali, Purana Bazar, against Rakesh Kumar, Sandeep Kumar, who live near the Dhuri Lines. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on Friday on the road, beat him up and also threatened him. He was injured in the attack. No arrest has been made so far.

TV stolen: The police on Friday registered case under Section 380 of the IPC on a complaint of Mr Rajinder Prashad of Gandhi Nagar against an unidentified person aged around 29. The complainant had stated that about 200 gm of silver had been stolen from his place at Gurdev Ashram, Gandhi Nagar.

A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered on a complaint of Mr Nachhattar Singh of Azad Nagar, near the Dhuri Lines, against an unknown person who stole a Videocon TV and a juicer-grinder from his house. The police is yet clueless about the thefts.

Man ran over: The Koom Kalan police on Friday registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on a complaint of Mr Mohan Singh of Dholanwal village against Mohinder Singh of Mangli Tanda village. The complainant had stated that Mohinder Singh, who was riding a tractor, ran over Ganga Singh of Dholanwal village on October 30 injuring him seriously. The victim succumbed to his injuries later.

Girl injured: The Haibowal police registered a case under Sections 279 and 338 of the IPC on a complaint of Mr Sanjiv Nanda, of Durga Puri, Haibowal Kalan, against Sarabjit Singh, who lives near the Threeke railway crossing. The complainant had stated that the suspect who had been driving a Maruti car, hit his daughter and injured her while passing through the colony on November 26. No arrest has been made so far.

Liquor seized: The police on Friday arrested Jagdish Kumar, of Sanjay Gandhi Colony and seized 12 bottles of countrymade liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered. Inderjit Singh, alias Sonu, a resident of Manjeet Nagar, was arrested and nine bottles of countrymade liquor were seized. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Arrested: Gurdeep Singh, alias Rangeela, a resident of Guru Gobind Singh Nagar, Shimla Puri, was arrested for possessing a knife. A case under the Arms Act has been registered.



Anomaly in steel prices alleged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has expressed concern over the alleged double standards being adopted by banks and steel producers in the country.

Mr P.D. Sharma, the president of the chamber, said today that the steel producers were charging high price from the domestic steel consumers and were exporting the same at lower price. He has written to the Prime Minister, the minister and other officials concerned in this connection.

Mr Sharma said he was informed by the Cold Rolled Steel Manufacturers Association of India that manufacturers of HR coil were exporting the same at the rate of $245 per tonne, whereas the same was being sold for $265 per tonne in the country.

He pointed out that at the same time, they were enjoying the benefits of the export incentives, adding that by doing so, they were cheating the domestic consumers.

He said the international price of hot rolled coil was $310 per tonne, whereas the steel producers were exporting the same at the rate of $290 per tonne. He added that this was being sold at the rate of $400 per tonne to the domestic consumers.

Mr Sharma pointed out that the rise in the steel prices was having an adverse effect on the steel products in the country, such as the price of bicycle had been raised by Rs 100 per unit.

He further alleged that the banks were charging higher rates of interest from the small-scale sector.

Mr Sharma said different banks had different prime lending rates (PLR), ranging from 10.5 per cent to 12 per cent, which was unfair.

In the credit policy announced last month, the RBI had asked the banks to evolve a benchmark PLR. He demanded that the disparity in the PLR should be removed.



Industry resents IT raids
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
The recent surprise raids being conducted by the Income Tax, Sales Tax, Customs and Central Excise Departments at the offices and residences of traders and industrialists had created panic within industrial establishments.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, President, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), while condemning the raids to detect evasion of taxes, described it a coercive and intimidating exercise. He asserted that when the routine preventive checks were carried out by the respective field staff of these departments, there remained no justification for such repressive methods. The industry which was already reeling under massive recession needs to be protected and not pushed towards annihilation.

Mr Pardhan urged the Ministry of Finance and the Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister to stop such drive which was being undertaken to achieve their yearly revenue collection targets in total disregard of adversities and bottlenecks faced by entrepreneurs and industrial houses. 


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