L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Lower rate of interest on civic arrears favoured
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 18
Cutting across party lines, the city councillors have joined hands to impress upon the state government to slash the rate of interest on arrears of civic charges like water rate, sewerage charges and house tax. The present rate of interest on arrears is 18 per cent.

In the general house meeting of the MC held last week, it was unanimously resolved that in the wake of heavy reduction in the rates of interest by banks and other financial institutions, charging of 18 per cent compound interest on arrears of water supply, sewerage and house tax was in no way justified and the rate be slashed to 6 per cent simple interest. The decision, however, would have to be ratified by the state government before being given effect.

The City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, while supporting the move and appreciating the sentiments of the councillors had pointed out that the rates of interest on civic arrears were fixed by the state government and were uniformly applicable to all the local bodies. Any cut in the interest rates also, therefore, had to be approved by the government and notified for implementation all over.

The district unit of the ruling party has also jumped on the bandwagon to echo the sentiments of its party councillors to reduce the rates of interest.

To draw political mileage, a meeting of the DCC (Urban) presided over by Mr Jagmohan Sharma demanded that levy of 18 per cent interest on arrears of civic charges be remitted completely and the residents be allowed to make payment of outstanding civic charges in easy instalments. The office- bearers of the district and block- level units were present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the BJP has flayed the Congress government for giving effect to the hike in the water and sewerage charges in all major towns of Punjab. In a statement, the group leader of BJP councillors in the previous house, Mr Pran Nath Bhatia, has alleged that a large number of city residents were slapped with inflated bills of water and sewerage charges. He said the revised rates were based on plot size of the residential houses and the civic staff had issued most of the bills showing the plot area as 248 square yards without ascertaining the actual area of the houses from the house tax records. As a result, people had to repeatedly visit the MC offices to get the bills corrected.

The issue of inflated water and sewerage bills was also raised in the last general house meeting and the councillors had demanded that the mechanism for the preparation of these bills be streamlines so that people were saved from the harassment of visiting the civic body office to get the bills corrected before payment. 



Models display talent at beauty pageant
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 18
The four preliminary rounds of ‘Ayur-Face of the Year 2003’ — Best Costume, Best Personality, Best Catwalk and Best Talent were held here today. There were 18 contestants from places like Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi. Other titles of the beauty pageant like Best Skin, Ms Beautiful Smile, Ms Beautiful Eyes, Ms Beautiful Body and Ms Photogenic, have already been conducted in the past seven days at Chandigarh. The results of all the titles will be declared on December 20 at hotel Marc Royale, Zirakpur.

“They are all budding models. They have not taken any specialised training in the profession, so we must encourage them. Their hidden talent should be found and appreciated. The contestants have come from places like Barnala, Chandimandir, Mohali, Gurdaspur, New Delhi, Panchkula, Ludhiana and Jammu and Kashmir. Today’s titles would be judged by the Gladrags Super Model, Simran Sachdeva”, said Mr Bansal.

Mr Vijay Roy, choreographer of the event, said that he had choreographed many designer shows in the country. “Face of the year, perhaps is the only pageant that not only focuses on beauty and poise but on talent too. A pageant that helps grooms and brings out the finesse of the young and budding talent in this region, it is a platform that encourages you for what you are and what you can be”, said Mr Roy.



Sharma appears before power regulatory panel
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 18
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab) President, Mr P.D. Sharma, today appeared before the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission and presented a explanatory note pointing out the major deficiencies in the tariff order of the commission dated 6-9-2002. The presentation was made following direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to Mr Sharma, in the meantime the PSEB has also given its petition to the commission for the recovery of unpaid amount of hiked tariff due to the stay granted by the High Court. The chamber had objected to the application of hiked tariff retrospectively with effect form April 1, 2002, when the commission ordered the hike in 6-9-2002. the chamber has pleaded with the regulatory commission that petition of the PSEB be dismissed as court has set aside the entire order of the commission.

Mr Sharma said the High Court had in its judgement commented that the commission had taken the versions of the Punjab Government and the Punjab State Electricity Board and ignored the interest of the consumers as was evident from the following points :

Lot of information was required to be supplied by the PSEB which was not available and commission placed reliance on practice or on best judgement on the basis of inconclusive facts. The commission tried to bridge the revenue gap of the PSEB ignoring its lapses and deficiencies thus ignoring the interests of the consumers.

Further the commission had based the consumption in the agriculture sector merely on the presumptions. The PSEB had conducted sample study on mere point 0.38 per cent of the total population of 85 lakh pump sets in the agriculture sector. The PSEB concluded that in the agriculture sector the consumption in 1930 units per kw per year. Industry had concluded by Gujrat State Electricity Regulatory Commission. In Punjab farmers take two to three rops in a year and this consumption should be even more. The commission accepted the consumption of 1700 units per kw arbitrarily. This the major portion of consumption in the agriculture sector is converted into T and D losses from which the burden is passed on to the consumers including industry.

The chamber has further pointed out that the Punjab Government had suggested to board to restrict T and D losses to 22.5 per cent but the commission based its tariff order on 25.5 per cent T and D (Transmission and Distribution) losses. The difference between this and the figure given by the central electricity authority is to the extent of 10.5 per cent to 15.5 per cent. The burden on this substantial burden has been passed on not the consumers. The PSEB is overstaffed. The cost on account of manpower is taken at 58 paise per unit which is the highest in the country. The High Court has stated that if power is cheaper industry will developed and generate more employment.

The Punjab Government has committed a subsidy of Rs 4570 crore to the PSEB to compensate loss due to free power or power on lowest rates. But this subsidy has not been dispersed to the PSEB. The PSEB had borrowed funds to finance its revenue deficient caused by the undisbursed subsidy from the government. The interest of these loans has been unjustifiably passed on to the consumers.

The courts has remarked that the PSERC is not supposed to form a consensus between the government and the PSEB at the cost of consumers. The commission has given only advices and opinions rather than directions to the PSEB.



BSNL drive against defaulters
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December. 18
BSNL, Jagraon, which was striving for the recovery of arrears from the defaulters, which runs into lakhs of rupees, has ultimately filed cases of recovery in the local court.

The defaulters include former a MLA, a former minister, industrialists as well as the police. Though for the time being BSNL has not opted to sue the police for the long - standing arrears but the telephone services to PS Sadar, PS city, PS CIA stand disrupted putting, the general public to inconvenience. Harjeet Singh one of the defaulters who had a telephone connection at his residence has caused a loss of Rs 2,60,000 as he used the same for running a PCO and is now one of the defaulters against whom the case has been filed. The defaulters include councillor Bhajan Lal, former Agriculture Minister Gurdev Singh, former MLA Nirmal Singh Mahant of Raikot and many others.



Close-circuit camera installed
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 18
A close-circuit camera was installed at a first-aid post in Doraha by Mr D.G. Bhatti, ADGP, PAP, and Mr Gursharanjit Singh, general secretary, Punjab apex body of NGOs.
The camera has been donated by various voluntary organisations and will help regulate the traffic on the GT road.

On this occasion, the BSB Welfare Society also donated money to five orphans and widows. A free eye donation camp was organised by the Bajigar Basti, Doraha. As many as 36 students were provided books from the first book bank, established by the Punjab Human Rights Commission, at Begowal village, which was inaugurated by Mr Bhatti. About 230 students of a primary school were given free notebooks.

The chief guest gave identity cards to 100 community health volunteers of UNICEF.

Ms Raj Rani, president, Municipal Council, Doraha, Mr Rajwinder Singh Mangat, Sarpanch, Begowal, Mr Om Parkash Bector, Mr Rajpal Singh Mangat, Chairman, Blood Bank Society, Payal, Mr Amrik Singh, DSP, Payal, Mr Adarshpal Bector, Ms Ajit Kaur, Mr Balwant Singh Bajwa, Mr Gurmit Singh, Hawldar Manjit Singh, Mr Jatinder Puri and Mr Hardeep Chand were also present.



Bank gifts button-stitching machine to centre
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
The State Bank of India here presented a button-stitching machine to the Knitwear Training Centre on the Bahadur-ke road on the second anniversary of the centre yesterday under Project Uptech.

With the addition of this machine the centre is now equipped with almost all hi-tech facilities required for stitching of garments.

While giving a presentation of the machine to Mr A.K. Jain, president, Bahadur-Ke Textile and Knitwear Association (BKTKA), Mr S.K. Mishra, circle credit officer, SBI, Chandigarh, LHO, observed that with the facilities available at the centre the constraint of availability of skilled manpower for the local hosiery units would be solved to a great extent.

SBI’s Project Uptech for the modernisation of hosiery units here has been under progress for the past about two years and nine months. The project has also undertaken techno-managerial studies in 29 units involving fresh loans worth Rs 23.80 crore on modernised machinery.

Mr Vinod K. Thapar, president, FEKTAA, welcomed the participants. Mr Ram Kumar Jain, a noted hosiery manufacturer, who presided over the function, lauded the bank for initiating such an initiative for the hosiery and knitwear industry.



Book on Everest released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
“Everest — the First Indian Ascent from North Col, written by Commandant Mohinder Singh, leader of the team that scaled Mt Everest from the Chinese side, was released by Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of PAU, here today.

In his book all his experiences during the expedition have been incorporated.

Praying for his success in future, Dr Aulakh asked the Commandant to motivate and guide PAU students for taking up mountaineering. He said the book would be made available for students at the university and other college libraries.

Commandant Mohinder Singh presented the VC with a poster to commemorate the event. Dr Aulakh ordered the installation of the same at the Mohinder Singh Randhawa Library.

Giving information about the book, Dr Surjit Patar, acting Additional Director of Communication, Centre for Communication, Languages and Culture, said Mohinder Singh’s achievement was a matter of pride for Ludhiana.

A documentary film in this regard was also shown on the occasion.

Mr Gurbhajan Singh Gill, senior vice-president of the Punjab Sahit Akademi, proposed a vote of thanks.  Dr G.S. Nanda, Director of Research, Deans, Registrar, Comptroller  were also present on the  occasion. 



Jaycees installation ceremony 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
The Ludhiana Elite Jaycees held its third installation ceremony at the Sutlej Club, here on Tuesday. Mr Kuldeep Singh, SDM (West), Ludhiana was the chief guest. Mr Raman Nayyar, past executive vice-president of the Indian Jaycees was the keynote speaker. Mr Kamal Sethia was the guest of honour.

Mr Anil Sood was installed as president for the year 2004 by the zone president, Dr Vivek Maharaj. Oath of office was also administered to Chapter Governing Board members, including Mr Sandeep Aggarwal, Mr HPS Chawla, Mr Sameer Gandhi, Mr Sanjeev Gupta, Mr Sandeep Ahuja, Ms Gitanjali Datta, Ms Heena Bedi and Mr Puneet Bhatia. Six new members were also inducted into the organisation.



Woman held with poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
The Civil Lines police arrested a woman from outside a bus counter at the general bus stand after 12.5 kg of poppy husk was seized from her possession yesterday.
The police said today that the suspect, who was identified as Mohinder Kaur of Ram Nagar Basti falling under the jurisdiction of Sangrur city police station, was later booked under the NDPS Act.

Cases of assault: The division number 2 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 341 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kailash Kumar, a resident of Civil Lines, against Mukesh, alias Bablu, his father Tilak Raj and Rajesh, residents of Sham Nagar. The complainant alleged that the accused stopped him in front of Civil Hospital on Wednesday evening, beat him up and also threatened him.

The Haibowal police has registered a case under sections 323,341,506 and 34 of the IPC yesterday on the statement of Mr Darshan Singh, a resident of Sandhu Colony in Haibowal Kalan, against Sunny, Ankush and his mother, who live in the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the accused had intercepted him on the road, beaten him up and also threatened him. No arrest has been made so far.

The Sarabha Nagar police registered a case under Sections 323, 325, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Ranjeet Kaur, a resident of Vishal Nagar, against Jaswinder Singh and his son Harry, daughter Littley and his wife Gurveen Kaur, who live in the same locality. The woman had stated that accused had beaten her up and threatened her.

Forgery alleged: The division number 7 police registered a case under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr.Harveer Singh, a resident of Gahlewal village, against Mohinder Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Bhola Singh, residents of Bhammian Kalan village. The complainant had stated that the accused had prepared forged revenue papers pertaining to his landed property on the basis of which they got the same transferred in their names on December 13 last. No arrest has been made so far.

Theft: The Jodhewal police has registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Bhushan Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Udhewala on the Bahadurke Road, against an unknown person who stole an electricity meter from his plot in Sunder Nagar sometime in November last.

Liquor seized: The division number 4 police yesterday arrested Kalu, a resident of Qilla Mohalla, near the nullah in Shiv Puri, recovered seven bottles of illicit liquor from him and booked him under the Excise Act.

The division number 6 police arrested Manpreet Singh, a resident of Dhokan Mohalla, and recovered 204 bottles of illicit liquor at Cheema chowk from the Indica car being driven by him. The accused was booked under the Excise Act.



CII fair begins on grand note
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The fourth CII Ludhiana Fair started here on a grand note with some of the leading companies registering their participation. The fair was inaugurated by the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma. The Northern Region chairman of the CII, Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, the Punjab State Council chairman, Mr S.K. Rai and Mr Mahesh Munjal were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Verma pointed out that professionally organised trade fairs not only built public awareness but also played an important role in business promotion. He appreciated the wide array of products and services showcased at the fair as he went around different pavilions. “Such fairs provide local people exposure to new trends and products and also help companies to get valuable feedback directly from the consumers”, he pointed out.

Mr Mittal maintained that the fair not only gives companies a platform to showcase their products, but also strengthens consumers sentiments and work towards keeping the economy on the move. He observed that the large number of exhibiting companies representing a wide spectrum of products and services across different sectors clearly reflected the feel good sentiment of a resurgent economy.

He stated that the buoyant trend in regional markets was a salient feature of the fair. He disclosed that the CII fairs held earlier this year at Chandigarh and Dehra Dun had been exceptionally successful. At Dehra Dun the fair was held for the first time.

Mr Mittal has a special association with the Ludhiana Fair. It was he in 1997 as the chairman of the Punjab State Council of the CII who suggested the holding of the CII fair at Ludhiana. At that time it was organised in the grounds of the Punjab Agricultural University. Since then it has been doing well and this is the fourth fair organised by the CII in Ludhiana.

Describing the quality and technology as the buzzwords of the new economy today, he said, CII’s fairs had a key role to play in facilitating a meaningful and productive interface between manufacturers, producers, service providers and consumers.

The CII fair has six focussed expo pavilions to make shopping easy and convenient for the visitors. These include Infocom-2003, an exposition dedicated to Information Technology and Communications, Finmart 2003, representing banking and finance, the North India Auto Show 2003 for automobiles, Good Health 2003 for Healthcare and Fitness, Consumer Fair 2003 for everything for today’s consumers and Decor 2003, an exposition of home and office accessories.

People have been evincing keen interest about different brands being exhibited there. A large number of people were seen at The Tribune counter, the official media sponsor of the event. Some of the historical clippings of The Tribune, particularly relating to the Partition, appeared to be the prime attraction.



Food expo promises a lavish treat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Food Expo 2k2 will start here from tomorrow. Organised by the Excelsior Advertising and PR, the expo is an exclusive exhibition of the core competencies of the food industry. According to Mr Maninder Sethi, the organiser of the exhibition, it promises to be a “lavish treat for participants, consumers and visitors alike”.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Sethi maintained that the Food Expo 2k3 was aimed to creating a sensation in the region in bringing together the leading names in the food industry from the national as well as international spheres. The expo will also be attended among others by the scientists, professors, researchers and students, besides entrepreneurs, hoteliers, consumers and visitors. The expo being organised at Maharaja Palace will start from tomorrow and will continue for three days till December 21. The expo is being sponsored by the American Soyabean Association, LG Electronics, Coca Cola and Cremica.

Mr Ricky Thapar from the American Soyabean Association, who was also present at the press conference said that the expo will “chronicle the advancement of food industry in a revolutionary manner”. He stated that each and every company and product at the expo matches the international standards in terms of quality.

Mr Sethi maintained that the expo will also seek to explore new product categories in an effort to encourage diversification on the part of both the manufacturers and consumers. The event will also introduce and disseminate information about the specialised areas of the industry before a large audience, while ensuring that these specialised products gain a firm ground in the market.

Different product sectors being highlighted at the expo include the health and nutrition, processed food, bakery and confectionary, home appliances, speciality pavilions, dairy and poultry and beverages. Besides, some trade federations, publishers and associations will also participate in the expo. 


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